More than 24,000 pounds of medical cannabis has flown off Arkansas’ shelves

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Medical cannabis sales in Arkansas have exceeded 24,000 pounds of product. This is according to a KARK.com report, which highlighted that the state’s patients have spent $154 million on medical cannabis since sales began in May of last year. 

Currently, the number of patients enrolled to obtain medical cannabis in Arkansas rests at around 83,779. Those patients can obtain their medicine at 29 of the actively operating dispensaries. Soon, access to plant-based medicines will expand, what with eight additional dispensaries expected to kickstart operations in the near future.

At the beginning of September, $600,000 was being raked in through the state’s medical cannabis program on a daily basis. According to Scott Hardin of the Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control Division, this works out at $20,689 being spent every single day at the state’s dispensaries.

Consumers have forked out more than $140 million on medical cannabis in Arkansas since the first dispensary opened its doors in 2019.

Medical Marijuana Commission to rejects additional dispensary license

On September 30, the state Medical Marijuana Commission narrowly turned down a licensing opportunity for a fifth Dispensary in Zone 6. The decision was made with a 3-2 vote. Hot Springs-based Green Remedies would have been on the receiving end of the new license to serve patients in Zone 6, which comprises eight counties wedged between the Oklahoma border and Pulaski County. 

Due to social distancing measures, Arkansas’ Medical Marijuana Commission has been conducting regular online meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During one of those meetings, officials considered opening a new dispensary due to growing customer demand. Unfortunately for hopeful licensee Green Remedies, the waiting game continues.

Zone 6 currently has four actively operating dispensaries. They are as follows:

  1. Green Springs Medical in Hot Springs
  2. Suite 443 in Hot Springs
  3. Hensley Wellness Center in Hensley 
  4. Custom Cannabis in Alexander

The Hot Springs-based cannabis dispensaries in Arkansas were the first to open their doors. Since the official launch of Green Springs on May 12, 2019, the dispensary has sold in excess of 3,000 pounds of medical cannabis, putting it ahead of any other cannabis retail store actively operating in the state.

Product shortages are a problem for Arkansas’ medical cannabis market 

It appears that the medical cannabis market in Arkansas is facing product supply issues. This is what the owner of Green Springs medical cannabis dispensary Dragan Vicentic says. 

During a recent interview with reporters at Little Rock TV station KATV, Vicentic said that supply constraints have been a growing burden since June. From this point onwards, he claims that his store shelves have been stripped bare of around a dozen cannabis strains.

“We had to raise our prices because we had just too many people coming through the shop,” said the dispensary owner, who believes that cultivation capacity must be increased if the problem is to be resolved.

With more than 83,000 patients having already registered for medical cannabis in Arkansas and just three cultivation facilities operating, the ability to meet consumer demand is proving to be a challenge. On a more positive note, a state medical cannabis operations report recently confirmed that two more grow sites will be serving the industry before 2020 is over.