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arkansas

How to Open A Dispensary in Arkansas

 

As of November 2016, state law allows qualifying patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. It also establishes licenses for state cultivation facilities and dispensaries.  The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) within the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division oversees the state’s new medical marijuana program.

 

The AMMC accepted applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities in August and September 2017. Despite some legal delays, five groups that were initially awarded medical marijuana cultivation licenses in March 2018 were reaffirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in July. The AMMC initially stated that they would allow at least twenty medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, with the ability to approve up to 40 licenses. As of February 2020, thirty-two licenses have been approved. 

 

As of February 2020, there are three ballot initiative campaign efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis. Initiatives in Arkansas need 90,000 valid voter signatures by July 3, 2020 to qualify for the ballot. As of January 2020, the Arkansans for Cannabis Reform group reported it had 10,000 raw signatures and $10,000 in the bank. The campaign needs roughly 120,000 raw signatures to have a cushion for ones that could be invalidated due to human error. It is getting token support from the Marijuana Policy Project, but no staffing, resources, or funding. Arkansas True Grass, meanwhile, said in February that it was also at about 10,000 signatures.

 

License Types

Licensing is regulated by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, which developed regulations that govern medical marijuana businesses, as well as oversees the application and renewal of licenses. 

 

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is currently accepting additional applications for medical marijuana transporter and processor licenses. These applications can be found on the commission’s website, and have no submission deadline. 

 

Cultivation and Dispensary licenses have reached the maximum number allowed in the state. 

Cultivation license

A cultivation license allows for the cultivation, preparation, manufacturing, processing, packaging, sales and delivery of marijuana to licensed dispensaries. 

– A maximum of 8 cultivation licenses to be issued in each public health district.

– Cultivation real estate must be not less than 3,000 feet from any school, church or daycare center.

– No more than 1 license shall be issued to any entity.

– The application fee has been set at $15,000.

– Applicants shall provide proof of assets or a surety bond in the amount of $200,000.00 and proof of at least $100,000.00 in liquid assets.

 

Dispensary license 

A dispensary license allows the business to acquire, possess, manufacture, process, prepare, deliver, transfer, transport, supply and dispense medical marijuana to qualifying patients and caregivers. – with a maximum of 40 dispensary licenses awarded within the “8 dispensary zones”

– Dispensary location may not be any less than 1,500 feet from a school, church or daycare center.

– No more than 1 license shall be issued to any entity.

– The application fee for dispensary licenses is set at $7,500.

– Applicants shall provide proof of assets or a surety bond in the amount of $200,000.00 and proof of at least $100,000.00 in liquid assets.
 

Processor license 

Allows an entity to acquire, possess, manufacture, process, prepare, deliver, transport, and supply marijuana to a licensed dispensary or cultivation facility

– Regulations do not limit the number of processor licenses to be issued in the state.

– The application fee has been set at $5,000.

– Applicants shall submit a performance bond in the amount of $100,000.00.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications for additional medical marijuana processors on January 7, 2021 with no deadline for submission. Application forms are available on the commission’s website.

 

Transporter license 

Allows an entity to acquire, possess, deliver, transfer, transport, or distribute marijuana to a licensed dispensary, cultivation facility, or processor.

– Regulations do not limit the number of transporter licenses to be issued in the state.

– The application fee has been set at $5,000.

– Applicants shall submit a performance bond in the amount of $100,000.00.

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Hemp Cultivation

Industrial Hemp Research Program applications open through May 1, 2020. Grower

and Processor applications for FY2020 will be released at a later time. The

Arkansas Department of Agriculture has licensed 80 hemp farmers to

grow on more than 1,898 acres in 42 counties. It has issued 18 processor

licenses to extract CBD from the plants.

Medical Qualifying Conditions 

  • Cancer

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Hepatitis C

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Tourette’s syndrome

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Severe arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Intractable pain 

  • Severe nausea

  • Seizures 

  • Muscle spasms, including those caused by MS

 

Arkansas Market

According to MJ BizDaily, Arkansas saw $21.4 million in sales during the first six months of operation of its medical marijuana program in 2019, despite only 11 of 32 of licensed dispensaries being open for business. In the most recent data as of November 2019, the state had 29,957 registered patients and an average of $3.3 million in monthly sales.

History

On Nov. 8, 2016, 53% of Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), or Issue 6. The law allows qualifying patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. It also establishes licenses for state cultivation facilities and dispensaries.  This authorized the creation of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) within the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to run the state’s new medical marijuana program.

Previous License Types

  • As of February 2020, thirty-two dispensary licenses have been approved.

  • The Arkansas Supreme Court issued five cultivation licenses after a legal battle in March 2018.

  • As of February 2020, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture has licensed 80 hemp farmers to grow on more than 1,898 acres in 42 counties. It has issued 18 processor licenses to extract CBD from the plants.