Arkansas Group Recommends Medicinal Marijuana Access Easing After Record Sales


Following a record year for state medicinal marijuana sales ($283 million), a group is attempting to get a constitutional amendment on the Arkansas ballot that would ease state rules.

The proposed ballot initiative produced by Arkansans for Patient Access would amend state law in three crucial areas:

  • Allowing patients and caregivers to cultivate up to seven mature and seven young marijuana plants.
  • Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists will be able to certify patients as well.
  • Allowing physicians to certify patients based on any medical need, rather than only the state’s 18 criteria.
  • Allowing for evaluations via telemedicine.
  • Recognizing patient cards from other states and enabling non-residents to receive Arkansas cards.
  • Increasing the expiry date of new cards from one to three years.

The proposed amendment also establishes a trigger that would enable any adult in Arkansas to possess up to one ounce of marijuana if it becomes legal under federal law.

Arkansas Group Recommends Medicinal Marijuana Access Easing After Record Sales

Flashback: Arkansas voters defeated a recreational marijuana ballot issue in 2022. State of play: Tax income from medical marijuana was $31 million in 2023, down from $32 million in 2022, and has surpassed $120 million since the business began in mid-2019.

  • 6.5% of sales to cardholders and dispensaries go into the state’s general tax income, which is used to fund the government.
  • 4% of all sales to cards were originally directed to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, but are now used to pay free lunches for low-income public school kids.

According to the figures, the state has 38 dispensaries, eight growers, and nine licensed processors.

  • The state’s 97,000 medical cardholders purchased 62,227 pounds in 2023, a 23% increase from 50,605 in 2022.
  • In 2023, the four shops in Northwest Arkansas accounted for 16.5% of total marijuana sales in the state.
  • NWA’s revenues increased 5.5% last year.
  • Meanwhile, a dispensary opened earlier this month in Pineville, Missouri, just half a mile from the Arkansas-Missouri border. Missouri allows recreational use by anyone over the age of 21.
  • It will likely take many months to know if the new facility takes any business away from Benton County’s two dispensaries.

What happens next?

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin is scheduled to respond to the proposed amendment language on Monday, according to Stephen Lancaster, a lawyer for Arkansans for Patients, via email.

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