Arkansas rakes in $6 million in medical cannabis sales

By the end of August, almost 20,000 medical cannabis cards had been issued and approved by the Arkansas Department of Health

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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More than $6 million has already been accrued by Arkansas’ medical cannabis industry; to be exact, $6.04 million, according to figures published by the state. These figures are impressive, considering the fact that legal cannabis sales unfolded across Arkansas this May.

Data unveiled by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division confirms that over 800 pounds of regulated cannabis was sold statewide from eight licensed dispensaries since cannabis retail sales began.

Arkansas’ medical cannabis sales outshine sales in fellow ‘green’ states

Based on the latest cannabis sales figures published by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, the state managed to surpass sales accrued by other medical cannabis-friendly states during their initial roll-out stage.

Back in July, the four percent privilege tax imposed on medical cannabis transactions in Arkansas enabled the state to pull in $91,213. A regular sales tax was also imposed on the plant’s sale inside Arkansas’ licensed dispensaries, with the State Department of Finance and Administration claiming that Arkansas earned $77,358 from this.

If we put Arkansas’ medical cannabis sales figures next to Ohio’s, where the first cannabis dispensary opened its doors in January, Arkansas certainly outpaces its neighbor. Even though Ohio’s population is three times as big as Arkansas’, the Republican-dominated state managed to reach $6.4 million in initial sales revenue. 

Over in Ohio, just $2.5 million worth of legal medical cannabis sales went to the system. This is according to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer which pinpointed the contrasting sales figures to Ohio’s excessive pricing.

Just a quarter of Arkansas’ licensed cannabis dispensaries have opened 

Sure, Arkansas’ medical cannabis industry might be off to a good start, but the state has a long way to go for its market to fully blossom. Just one-fourth of licensed dispensaries have opened their doors statewide within a six-month period since the state started issuing permits. 

“As we approach the fourth month of dispensaries in operation, we will soon reach 1,000 total pounds of product sold across the state,” said the Alcoholic Beverage Control Director, Doralee Chandler. “While we are exceedingly pleased to see patients served, our focus remains providing the remaining 24 dispensaries the support and encouragement to begin serving patients as soon as possible.”

The state of Arkansas boasts eight licensed zones, in which Chandler says that patients should be provided equal rights to obtain medicinal-grade bud.

May 10 was the date on which the first dispensary launched for business in Arkansas, following the addition of Amendment 98 to the Arkansas Constitution in November 2016. Patients jumped for joy at the news, what with the delay spanning over two years.

ABC confirms that old dispensaries will be operational next year  

Medical cannabis patients in Arkansas will be able to obtain their medicine from all state-licensed dispensaries by January 2020. This is a promise made by the ABC.

“ABC is prepared to take action in January 2020 should any dispensaries not be operational or in the final stages of preparation. We expect fall to be a busy time for Arkansas’ medical [cannabis] program,” reads an official statement from the agency.

Under the terms of the amendment made to Arkansas’ medical cannabis program, patients must be diagnosed with one or more of the 18 qualifying conditions to buy, consume and possess the drug legally.

By the end of last month, almost 20,000 medical cannabis cards had been issued and approved by the Arkansas Department of Health; a figure expected to triple when the market has fully flourished.