Renewal Process To Begin For Arkansas Medical Marijuana Licensees

Mar 11, 2020

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, seen here on Dec. 20, 2016, is about to begin the renewal process for dispensaries and cultivators in the state.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is preparing to consider whether to renew licenses for the state’s dispensaries and growers. During Wednesday’s regular commission meeting, renewal meetings are to be scheduled.

Commissioners must decide by the end of April which licenses will be renewed for the next fiscal year. The state constitutional amendment approved by Arkansas voters in 2016 calls for the licenses to be renewed annually.

The first dispensaries opened last May, but commission spokesman Scott Hardin says 14 of the 32 entities issued licenses still have not opened their doors. That, he says, could affect whether those licenses are renewed.

"The commission has been pretty open about its frustration with those that aren’t open," Hardin said. "I think you’re going to see some really tough questions asked over the next month as those meetings take place."

The licenses that have been issued by the state expire at the end of June.

Ownership and location changes, which must be approved by the commission, have kept some entities from completing the process. Dispensaries and cultivators must pass a final inspection by state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents before being allowed to open.

Hardin says this phase of the process is when the commission can take action against those viewed as not adequately meeting their obligations.

"The MMC really didn’t have any power to revoke a license up to this point, but now they do have the decision-making power on whether or not these are renewed," Hardin said.