Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas have broken through the $6 million barrier after three months of trading.
The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division revealed that more than 800 pounds (363 kg) has already been sold since the first retailer opened in May. It forecasts that will rise to more than 1,000 pounds after four months of sales, and it could top 2,000 pounds by the end of the year.
Arkansas legalized medical cannabis via a ballot in 2016, allowing patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces if they suffer from one of 18 qualifying conditions. The 53% vote ensured that Amendment 98 of the Arkansas Constitution went through.
The state issued 32 retail licences in February, but so far just eight dispensaries have opened their doors.
“While we are exceedingly pleased to see patients served, our focus remains providing the remaining 24 dispensaries the support and encouragement to begin serving patients as soon as possible”, said Doralee Chandler, director at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.
She added that her department would take action if any dispensaries are not operational or on the brink of opening in January 2020.
Two of the dispensaries opened in Bentonville at the start of the August and the nascent industry is only just finding its feet. Two dispensaries in Hot Springs have sold almost 500 pounds between them since they opened, while the two operational dispensaries in the northwest region of the Natural State are also enjoying a roaring trade.
Arkansas takes a 4% privilege tax on medical marijuana transactions, along with sales tax, and it will collect more than $650,000 on the $6 million sales.
The state has issued five cultivation licenses, but just three are operational, although Natural Stage Wellness Enterprises and Delta Medical Cannabis have promised to commence cultivation before the end of the year.
Around 20,000 Arkansas residents have gained medical marijuana cards since May.
Some of them cannot get to dispensaries, which are thinly spread out, so retailers have started to offer delivery services, dropping buds, edibles, and vape cartridges to their doors.
There is typically a $100 minimum basket spend and a delivery fee of $5 to $20 depending on how far away they live.