Arkansas’ Booming Medical 'Marijuana' Market Five Years and Over $1 Billion in Sales

Arkansas’ Booming Medical ‘Marijuana’ Market: Five Years and Over $1 Billion in Sales

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The first medical marijuana shop in Arkansas opened five years ago, resulting in significant revenue for the state as well as some backlash.

Arkansas voters authorized medical marijuana in November 2016, but the first dispensaries did not open until May 2019. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s spokeswoman stated that since 2019, patients have paid more than $1.10 billion for the products. He stated that sales have been gradually increasing since the first year.

In addition, a group is attempting to increase medicinal marijuana access in the state through a referendum measure that seeks to amend the state Constitution.

According to Melissa Fults of Arkansans for Patient Access, this proposal would allow nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and pharmacists to prescribe the items.

“My entire family has benefitted from having medical marijuana,” stated Fults. The medical condition qualifications under present law would also be expanded. The proposal would also make medical marijuana cards expire after three years, rather than the present one-year cap.

Jerry Cox of the Arkansas Family Council is opposing the initiative, seeking to persuade Arkansans to think twice before signing.

“Marijuana is big business all over, we all know that,” Cox stated. “The question is, how many people in Arkansas have medicinal marijuana licenses for valid medical reasons? And how many people are already utilizing it for recreational marijuana?

According to the DFA, the state’s medical marijuana sales started with $31 million in 2019. There was a steady climb to $276 million in 2022, with another record year in 2023 at $283 million. That is 203,000 pounds of medical marijuana since May 2019.

There are already over 100,000 active patient cards in the state.

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