Medical Marijuana in Arkansas
In 2012’s November ballot, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (“AMMA”), or known as Issue 5, failed to pass with a narrow vote of 48.6% in favor, to 51.4% in disfavor. Over the next two years as amendments were made, the current AMMA, Issue 6, was finally passed by 53.2% of voters in 2016.
Due to a revolving door of amendment changes, the citizens of Arkansas did not step foot into a dispensary until three (3) years later.
Fortunately, the State’s medical marijuana industry has steadily grown. Around the state, there are thirty-one (31) operating dispensaries that are selling medical marijuana, while another seven (7) dispensary companies have licenses and are in the process of setting up operations. In total, there are a total of forty (40) dispensary licenses allowed by state law.
There are also five (5) cultivation companies currently operating around the state, with a maximum of eight (8) licenses available. Three (3) other companies have licenses and are also in the process of establishing their processes.
The state’s medical marijuana program is regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health (“ADH”), which issues medical marijuana ID cards for patients and caregivers. The State’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Division regulates dispensaries and has issued regulations for dispensing and cultivation. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has also been created under the AMMA to regulate licensing of dispensaries and cultivation facilities, and support the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division in implementing regulations.
Under the Issue 6 AMMA provisions, the State of Arkansas permits eighteen (18) qualifying conditions:
Cancer; Glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; Hepatitis C; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Tourette’s syndrome; Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; PTSD; Severe arthritis; Fibromyalgia; Alzheimer’s disease; Cachexia (wasting syndrome); Peripheral neuropathy; Intractable pain; Severe nausea; Seizures; and Muscle Spasms.
Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses in Arkansas
There are currently four (4) different medical marijuana business licenses that are provided by the ADH and are as follows:
- Allowed to acquire, possess, manufacture, process, prepare, deliver, transfer, transport, supply and dispense medical marijuana to qualifying patients and caregivers. No more than 40 dispensary licenses shall be awarded within the “8 dispensary zones”
- Application Fee: $7,500.00
- Allowed to cultivate, prepare, manufacture, process, package, sell and deliver usable marijuana to Arkansas state-licensed dispensaries.
- Application Fee: $15,000.00
- Allows an entity to acquire, possess, manufacture, process, prepare, deliver, transport, and supply marijuana to a licensed dispensary or cultivation facility.
- Application Fee: $5,000.00
- Allows an entity to acquire, possess, deliver, transfer, transport, or distribute marijuana to a licensed dispensary, cultivation facility, or processor.
- Application Fee: $5,000.00
Presently, there is an open application process for Manufacturing/Processing or Transportation licenses. In addition, there is no set cap on the number of these licenses that may be granted.
Due to Arkansas’ restrictions on the number of Dispensary and Cultivation licenses, there is currently no open application period for these licenses.
As the application process is open for some of the medical marijuana business licenses granted by the State of Arkansas, now is the time to reach out to an expert to begin structuring your business plan. You can provide your information here to be notified of cannabis business updates. Schedule a time for a consultation here!