How to open a Dispensary in Arkansas:
Although Arkansas has passed an amendment that legalizes medical marijuana sales in the state, there are currently no marijuana dispensaries in operation. However, this will not be the case for long, as voter support was overwhelming, with well over 100,000 people actively pushing for legalization.
Although the initial fees required to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Arkansas are high, so is the potential for profit, with sales for 2016 exceeding $50 million.
Here are the basic details that you need to know to open your own marijuana business in Arkansas.
When was cannabis made legal
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, legalized medical marijuana sales in 2017 in Arkansas. The monitoring unit for the medical cannabis program is the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. The regulatory agency for the state’s marijuana program is the Medical Marijuana Commission.
A group lobbying for cannabis legalization, Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, managed to collect more than 106,000 signatures on July 8, 2016. Secretary of State Mark Martin verified 72,309 of the necessary 84,859, which is about 85% of the required number of signatures.
Since over 75% were proven legitimate, the pro-cannabis campaign was granted an additional 30 days to collect the remaining signatures and bring them to Martin’s office.
Since the legislation happened so recently, there are no marijuana businesses in operation in Arkansas yet. However, the law explicitly states that the state will have at least 20 but no more than 40. 32 will be issued during the initial application round.
Arkansas will allow business owners to open a dispensary. Municipalities and counties reserve the right to ban or prohibit the operation of a marijuana business in their town or region.
The financial requirements for opening a business in this state are steep. Applicants for a dispensary license must provide proof of assets or a surety bond in the amount of $200,000.00, and proof of at least $100,000.00 in liquid assets.
There will be a $7,500 fee at the time of application, of which only half (or $3,750) is refundable. The license fee is $25,000 for Cultivating Dispensaries and $2,500 for Non-Cultivating Dispensaries.
The Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications on June 30th, 2017, and the process ended on September 18th. However, you can still review the application documents on their website and be ready when the state re-opens the process.
The Medical Marijuana Commission decided to allow for 32 dispensaries and 5 cultivation facilities. Applicants’ assets will be reviewed by the commission and will be awarded a license based on proof of merit.
As mentioned above, applicants for a dispensary/delivery license must provide proof of assets or a surety bond in the amount of $200,000.00, and proof of at least $100,000.00 in liquid assets.
There will also be a $7,500 fee at the time of application. Half of this amount can be refunded. The license fee is $25,000 for Cultivating Dispensaries and $2,500 for Non-Cultivating Dispensaries.
Dispensaries can request to be allowed to grow up to 50 “mature” plants under the marijuana amendment for a fee of $25,000, though legislation has been filed to give the commission a choice in the matter. Dispensaries that opt not to grow any marijuana will pay a $2,500 annual licensing fee.
How much does a marijuana dispensary in Arkansas make?
Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas are expected to reach $56,400,000 by 2021 – and this number will continue to grow due to the enthusiastic support of the people. Marijuana dispensaries can make anywhere from $50,000 a year up to millions.
The time frame varies greatly on how long it takes to get a cannabis business up and running, but it can often take one year or more to get finances in order, acquire necessary licenses, get suppliers and employees lined up, etc.
Links to consulting companies that can help open a marijuana dispensary in Arkansas
Looking to start a growing operation in Arkansas? The consulting companies listed below provide a wide range of services from helping with state licensing requirements and applications to running and stocking your business.
- Canna Advisors
- Medicine Man Technologies
- Green Rush Consulting
- Quantum 9 Inc.
- Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting