Acanza Health Group
is renovating a space at 2733 N. McConnell Avenue in the I-49 Business Center in Fayetteville, according to Michael Mayes, spokesman and industry consultant for the dispensary. Mayes said Acanza, which received the highest dispensary scores in Zones 1 and 7, hopes to be open by the end of April or early May.

Mayes is founder and CEO of Quantum 9 Inc., a Chicago-based cannabis consulting company, which he said has over 50 consultants working for the practice in 10 countries around the world. Mayes said Acanza hired the company to help prepare its dispensary application, and Quantum 9 is now managing operations of the Fayetteville storefront.

According to Mayes, Randi Hernandez*, Acanza’s CEO and co-founder, is a licensed clinical social worker and has experience in cannabis cultivation and extraction in Maine. Hernandez owns a 39.81 percent stake in the dispensary, and other owners include Jancey Hutcherson, 15 percent; Matthew Jansen, 0.19 percent; Joseph Jansen, 18.81 percent; Grady Harvell, 2 percent; Darlene Hampton, 3 percent; Janinne Riggs, 17.19 percent; and Richard Hutson, 4 percent.

Acanza chose to locate in Northwest Arkansas’s Zone 1 because “local officials … seemed very receptive to working with us and receptive to our mission,” Mayes said. He also said the Fayetteville area would allow the dispensary to reach a larger number patients than Southeast Arkansas’s Zone 7.

Acanza will initially open with limited operating hours, and Mayes said it will adjust its hours to be “aligned with the market” after working with patients. According to Scott Hardin, director of communications for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the dispensary rules state that “each dispensary may be open for business any time between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.,” and they can be open any day of the week.

As to whether Acanza will offer delivery services, Mayes said it will depend on patient needs, as well as the rules determined by the Medical Marijuana Commission.

Mayes said the dispensary will be designed to keep patients, employees and product safe. Patients will initially enter a waiting area in which no product will be displayed, where they will be required to present their medical marijuana cards and a photo ID. These items will then be scanned into the dispensary’s computer system along with new patient paperwork before any patient is allowed into the limited access area of the sales floor.

“Camera systems will cover 100 percent of every inch of the dispensary,” Mayes added. “We assume every individual is an assailant until they’re proven not to be.” 

Once on the sales floor, dispensary consultants will work with patients to educate them on types of cannabis and methods of use before giving recommendations on strains and products based on each patient’s specific qualifying condition and needs. Mayes said the consultants will use a computer system to record the strains, products and dosages  being used by each patient to keep track of his or her experience.

“The thing about cannabis is that every individual reacts a little differently to a product,” Mayes said. “It’s a very constant and collaborative process between the patient and the dispensary agent to try something, see if works and augment it if needed, then to try different products if that strain isn’t working or to try different dosages.”

The dispensary is licensed to grow and extract from up to 50 mature plants and up to 100 plants in a vegetative state. Mayes said Acanza may sell its product to other dispensaries, but this will depend on “patient flow” and product surplus.

While Acanza has not begun hiring employees for the dispensary yet, Mayes said it intends to hire local employees. “We want it to be an Arkansas company led by individuals who are in Arkansas,” he said. “Our goal is to look inside first.”

Mayes said Acanza is accepting resumes for positions at the dispensary, and those interested can email careers@quantum9.net with the subject line “Acanza.”

*Correction: A previous version of this article spelled Acanza Health Group CEO Randi Hernandez’s name incorrectly.