LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Monday marks five years since 53% of Arkansas voters said ‘yes’ to legalizing medical marijuana.
Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, said it was a slow rollout, with the first dispensary not opening until May of 2019 in Hot Springs. The state had a couple more dispensaries open that month, but has grown tremendously over the past several years.
The program is tightly monitored and controlled, limiting the number of dispensaries allowed in the state to 40, and growers to eight.
“The state is divided into eight different zones and each zone of the state gets five dispensaries,” Hardin said.
So far, there are 37 dispensaries operating and serving patients across Arkansas, and one currently working toward opening for business. The medical marijuana commission expects to issue the two-remaining dispensary licenses after the first of next year.
Since the first dispensary opened, Hardin said Arkansans have spent roughly $430 million dollars to purchase just under 64,000 pounds of medical marijuana.
“Here we are, into the program a couple of years and Arkansans, I think by the end of this year, will be pushing right around $500 million spent on medical marijuana,” Hardin said. “For a small state in a really strictly, tightly controlled program I think