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Arkansas Medical Marijuana Sales Set New Record

Medical Cannabis sales in Arkansas have generated nearly $50 million in tax revenue for the state since mid-2019

Dude Grows

Medical Cannabis sales in Arkansas have generated nearly $50 million in tax revenue for the state since mid-2019. Half of that total revenue was collected in just the last 9 months, reports KATV.

The demand for medical marijuana is growing. And with the cap on the number of dispensaries allowed, prices for patients are often higher than in other states.

Good Day Farm in Little Rock is one of 37 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of Arkansas. “In terms of traffic, it’s honestly just all walks of life for our patients,” said Mike Bonis, director of retail at Good Day’ Farm. “Old and young come in here to find all sorts of relief, especially during a pandemic.”

Community Gathering Places For Patients

According to Bonis, dispensaries have even become community gathering places for some of their patients.

“A lot of people in the industry were worried about the high tax rates and everything,” Bonis said “But we’re just happy to have a program and be able to get back to the community.”

More than 78,000 state residents have a medical marijuana card, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Industry Has Thrived During Pandemic

“Since that first dispensary opened in 2019 in May, Arkansans have spent about $430 million to purchase … almost 64,000 pounds of medical marijuana,” said Scott Hardin, with the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. “Which I think it’s safe to say that exceeds our expectation because you never know how many people will participate. It’s just a bit of a wild guess.”

Hardin said the medical Cannabis industry has thrived during the pandemic.

Medical marijuana is taxed 10.5% in Arkansas. There’s a 6.5% sales tax on most retail items in the state. The 4% privilege tax goes to the University of Arkansas for Medical Science, to establish a national cancer institute.

Arkansas Has A Cap Of 40 Dispensaries Statewide

“If you walk into a dispensary and spend $100, you’ll spend 10.50 additionally in state taxes,” Hardin said. “Those two taxes, we’ve collected just under $50,000,000, $49.6 million to be specific.”

But there are challenges facing the industry in Arkansas. There’s a cap of 40 dispensaries in the state while right next door, Oklahoma boasts thousands.

“When this amendment passed back in 2016 it did not give the state any oversight into pricing,” Hardin said. “The state doesn’t set pricing. There’s really nothing that we can do. It’s just driven totally by the market. So when you go to some of these websites and compare Arkansas‘ pricing to other states, you have a number of patients that are frustrated by the fact that you can obtain it cheaper in Oklahoma.”

Ending The Stigmas

At Good Day Farm, they say it’s the same thing with coffee shops. That is, not everybody is going to have what you need.

“Cannabis is not very socially accepted here,” Bonis said. “And we try to do our best to end those stigmas that have been brought to this industry. As far as I’ve seen I can tell you a lot less people are stressed in Arkansas right now.”

There are two paths for Arkansas to allow for more dispensaries. Voters could do it with a state-wide vote. Or alternatively, two-thirds of the Arkansas Legislature could vote to change the amendment to the state constitution to allow more dispensaries.