MADISONVILLE, LA (WVUE) - People in Madisonville have a variety of reactions on word that a small pharmacy in their community will be one of 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in Louisiana. The award was just announced last week, and the pharmacy owner is planning on beefing up security.
"I haven't heard anything about this yet. It's news to me," said Dr. Zachary Pray.
In Madisonville's Belle Point subdivision, neighbors were surprised to learn that a medical marijuana pharmacy was locating right across the street on Highway 22
"It may have been nice to get a notification," said Jacob Brouillete, who serves on the neighborhood association.
Willow Pharmacy will become the Northshore's first medical marijuana dispensary, thanks to action by the State Pharmacy Board last week. Owner Darren Martin has been in the pharmacy business for the last 17 years and says neighbors have no reason to fear.
"We just want to be the local community pharmacy that has a license to provide medical marijuana and assist people in their physical recovery," said Martin.
Martin says he looks forward to getting into the medical marijuana business because he believes they can help epilepsy suffers and cancer patients as well as people dealing with opioid addiction.
"It could be part of the solution to help patients for being addicted to opioids. They can use it to help with their withdrawals," said Martin.
Neighbors were surprised, but remain open-minded.
"It's something that might be a reasonable thing to prescribe," said Pray.
But there are concerns.
"I worry about security. I don't want to bring crime into the area," said Pray.
"The first thing is to follow the law, safes doors, cameras, alarms, increase patrols by the sheriff's office," said Martin.
Unlike other parts of the state where the marijuana dispensary license went to a second- or third-place finisher, the owners of Willow Pharmacy placed first in this North Shore region.