Final approval has been given to 32 Arkansas businesses to sell medical marijuana. State officials say the drug could be available to people with qualifying conditions by April.
The Department of Finance and Administration said Tuesday that each of the businesses selected to become a dispensary has paid the required $15,000 license fee and posted a $100,000 performance bond. Four companies were selected in each of the eight zones established statewide.
"They have completed everything required of them, so at this point technically they are licensed," said department spokesman Scott Hardin. "They will receive a formal piece of paper, a license over the next week to make it official, but really at this point it is simply a matter of how quickly can these 32 companies open their doors for business."
One of the five cultivators licensed by the state, Bold Team LLC in Cotton Plant, Ark., is growing marijuana now, Hardin said. It’s expected to have mature plants ready in time for the opening of a handful of retail dispensaries who have done preparation work to open quickly.
"You have some companies that were in anticipation of a license, hopeful anticipation, were proactively getting their facilities ready, so some of those, we think, could be open as early as April. We think it would be a very limited number. We think it’s really going to start taking off in the summer."
Hardin says registry identification cards for those who have been qualified to use medical marijuana have been sent out by the Arkansas Department of Health, or will be soon. Health officials said last month that about 7,000 people had been approved.
Voters approved the constitutional amendment allowing the use of marijuana in November 2016. Many, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson, have voiced concerns over the slow implementation of the program, especially compared to other states that have moved more quickly.
"This is all hopefully coming together to really see this industry start taking off here in a couple of months. I know its been over two years to get to this point, so the frustration is understandable," Hardin said. "The good news is we’re finally there and it’s just a matter of time until we can have it and Arkansans can go to that dispensary to get that product."
Below are the 32 dispensaries in eight zones of the state.
Acanza Health Group – Fayetteville
Valentine Holdings – Fayetteville
Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center – Bentonville
The Releaf Center – Bentonville
Fiddler’s Green – Mountain View
Plant Family Therapeutics – Mountain Home
Arkansas Natural Products – Clinton
Big Fish of Central Arkansas – Heber Springs
THC RX Inc. – West Memphis
Delta Cannabis Co. – West Memphis
Comprehensive Care Group – West Memphis
NEA Full Spectrum – Rector
JPS Management LLC (doing business as Fort Cannabis Co.) – Fort Smith
River Valley Dispensary – Bluffton
420RX – Russellville
Johnson County Dispensary – Clarksville
Harvest – Conway
Grassroots OPCO – Ward
Natural State Wellness Dispensary – Little Rock
Natural Relief Dispensary – Sherwood
Doctor’s Orders RX – Hot Springs
Green Springs Medical – Hot Springs
Native Green Wellness Center – Hensley
Natural State Medical Group – Hot Springs
Pain Free RX – Pine Bluff
Delta Cultivators – Helena
Pine Bluff Agriceuticals – Pine Bluff
Arkansas Patient Services Company – Warren
Noah’s Ark – El Dorado
Bloom Medicinals of AR – Texarkana
RX MED – Prescott
Arkadelphia – Arkadelphia