COTTON PLANT, Ark. — Arkansas's first legal medical marijuana plants are growing after state inspectors granted approval to BOLD Team Cultivation to begin operations.

BOLD Team LLC made the announcement Friday, saying they were "pleased to announce that we have been granted approval to begin cultivation of medical marijuana." The facility is located in Cotton Plant.

BOLD is one of five companies licensed by the state to grow cannabis under the medical marijuana program approved by voters in November 2016.

“We’re just excited about being one step closer to the medicine being available to the patients that have waited so long for it in Arkansas,” BOLD director of customer relations Robert Lercher said.

The company plans to grow 20-25 strains of marijuana that will be available for purchase at dispensaries across the state.

“Currently, we are talking with different dispensaries trying to – pun intended – cultivate relationships with them to where we can have a solid date to be able to have the medicine on the shelves,” Lercher said.

Lercher believes patients will be able to buy marijuana in Arkansas by mid to late April. As the state's only cultivation facility for now, he says BOLD Team is doing everything possible to adequately serve the nearly 7,000 Arkansans approved for a medical marijuana patient ID card.

“We're going to do everything we possibly can to meet all of the demands,” Lercher said.

He encourages anyone planning to apply for a patient ID card to not wait until dispensaries open.

“There is no reason to continue to wait because there’s going to be a log jam towards April, and if you’re going to get it, you might as well get it right now,” Lercher said.

BOLD Team plans to employ 20 to 25 people at its Cotton Plant facility.

On Monday, Jan. 14, the state will mail “Intent to Award a License” letters to the 32 companies planning to open marijuana dispensaries.