The limited parameters of Arkansas’ new medical marijuana industry hasn’t slowed it down in the slightest. The state generated $21 million in sales within the first six months of operation, or an average of $3.5 million per month. The state is selling around 210 pounds of cannabis per week.
Those figures exceed those of Illinois’ medical marijuana program. But in Ohio, a state with more residents than Arkansas (four times, to be precise), their sales are only slightly higher, bringing in in $3.6 million per month. From the start of medical marijuana legalization in May (when the only product on shelves was dry flower) and through the end of November, licensed dispensaries in Arkansas sold 3,098 pounds of cannabis to customers. The product mix included edibles and vape cartridges once summer rolled around.
The demand for medical marijuana surprised the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), which oversees the state’s medical marijuana program. Initial estimates doubted that sales would reach 1,000 pounds per month — that guesstimation has since been adjusted, and with the impressive weekly sales figures, regulators are now looking at sales of up to 4,000 pounds per month. Even more impressive? As of November, just 11 of the planned 32 licensed dispensaries were up and running.
Arkansas residents approved the ballot measure for medical marijuana in 2016, but things moved at a glacial pace. By the summer of 2017, not a single business license had been applied for. There was a bit of an issue with delays and progress stalled. Fast forward two years, and just over 12,000 medical marijuana patients were enrolled in the Arkansas medical marijuana program when it kicked off in May. By November, close to 30,000 patients were enrolled. That’s a huge increase of 150%.
Now that demand is brisk and patients are clamoring for product, ABC officials are threatening action against the remaining 21 dispensaries, urging them to open for business by the end of January 2020.