Couple of stories in the Democrat-Gazette this morning with medical marijuana updates, as the rollout of dispensaries continues at a glacial pace. Half of the state’s licensed dispensaries have yet to open.
Hunter Field reports that the state’s licensing commission is putting pressure on dispensaries to open to the public soon or potentially lose their licenses:
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is preparing to meet with all 32 dispensary operators and all five growing companies to determine if their licenses should be renewed for another year.
Sixteen dispensaries remain unopened a year after the first licenses were issued, and several have yet to even break ground. Commissioners hinted last week that companies that haven’t opened or begun making progress could lose their licenses.
Voters approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in 2016, but progress has been slow since then. Dispensary licenses weren’t issued until last year; the first dispensaries opened in May. Thus far 16 of the 32 operators have opened, selling 5,000 pounds of marijuana for more than $33 million. Around 35,000 Arkansans have medical marijuana cards.
Meanwhile, in Northwest Arkansas, several dispensaries currently in operation plan to start growing their own marijuana, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports:
Acanza in Fayetteville, The ReLeaf Center in Bentonville and The Source in Bentonville plan to grow the maximum amount of marijuana, which is 50 mature plants, allowed by the state, representatives for the businesses said. The businesses currently buy marijuana from three cultivation sites in the state. Dispensaries in Arkansas may only buy marijuana from cultivation sites in Arkansas, according to state law.
Each of the four dispensaries in Northwest Arkansas were approved to add grow locations when they applied for their licenses, Hardin said. However, none of them have received approval to begin growing because the state must first inspect the cultivation rooms.