WHITE HALL, Ark. – The owner of a local pharmacy chain in Jefferson County has sued the state’s first dispensary to open its doors due to the similarity of its name and logo.
Doctor’s Orders Pharmacy filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs, claiming the company has caused its customers to believe that it is now operating as a medical marijuana dispensary.
The pharmacy is seeking a preliminary injunction that would require the dispensary to immediately stop using the pharmacy’s name, terms and symbols in its operations and advertising. However, the pharmacy is not asking the dispensary to formally change its name with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission or the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
“We’re not looking to shut down another business,” said Lelan Stice, the owner of Doctor’s Orders Pharmacy. “We simply don’t want them using our name and causing the confusion that’s gone on. It’s two completely different types of businesses.”
According to court documents, the dispensary’s counsel responded to the pharmacy’s cease-and-desist letter Monday and said the company would continue to advertise as “Doctor’s Orders” despite the pharmacy’s demands.
According to Scott Hardin, the spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the dispensary “has an option of filing a change of trade name with the Medical Marijuana Commission at any time. It is a simple process and would not impact the day to day operation.”
The dispensary has yet to comment on the pending litigation.
WHITE HALL, Ark. – For medical marijuana patients, a dispensary is their pharmacy.
But don’t be fooled by the name: Doctor’s Orders Pharmacy isn’t the same as Doctor’s Orders RX.
The local pharmacy chain in Jefferson County has had to weed out consistent customers from confused callers since the product hit shelves.
“We’ve probably had 50 or so calls since Friday,” said Lelan Stice, the owner of Doctor’s Orders Pharmacy.
That’s when the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary, Doctor’s Orders RX, made its first sale. Some of its patients have confused the Hot Springs business with the pharmacies an hour away in Pine Bluff and White Hall, which sold their first prescription in 2009.
“The confusion is absolutely there because of the similarity of the names and the logos,” Stice said. “Even the colors are the same.”
Stice spent the weekend replying to Facebook reviews, messages and check-ins meant for the dispensary.
“We’ve asked those people to take those posts down, but they haven’t responded yet,” he said. “We can’t remove a check-in.”
Stice and his attorney sent a cease and desist letter to the dispensary Monday, asking the owners to change its name. A spokesperson for Doctors Order’s RX did not have a comment at this time. If Stice doesn’t hear from the dispensary, he plans to file an official cease and desist order against it.
“We don’t need that kind of confusion,” Stice said.
Doctor’s Orders RX and the state’s second dispensary to open its doors, Green Springs Medical, have sold in total more than 26 pounds of medical marijuana since Friday, according to Scott Hardin, the spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.