The Medical Marijuana Commission of the state of Arkansas has confirmed recommendations from an outside consulting group and unanimously conducted a voted to approve 32 cannabis dispensaries which will serve the state. The decision by the commission opens the road for cannabis-related sales to start in 3 months, about two years since voters approved an amendment to legalize the use of medical marijuana in November 2016. Licenses to cultivate have been granted, and many patients have received approval to use medical marijuana.
The recently approved 32 dispensaries signify the four top performing applications in the eight medical marijuana dispensary zones in the state. According to a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Scott Hardin the qualified applicants will get official notification from the state sooner or later.
According to Hardin, the letter of intent is expected to reach 32 companies that were qualified in each zone. He added that the 32 companies have seven days to pay the licensing fee, post a performance bond, and after that, they are confirmed before they will be granted licenses to operate.
The medical marijuana program of the state will be launched alongside five cultivation facilities and the newly approved 32 dispensaries. If demand permits, the medical marijuana reform permits a maximum of eight cultivators and 40 dispensaries.
According to Dr. Dane Flippin, the physician at Arkansas Progressive Medicine in Jonesboro, access to medical marijuana in the state is strictly monitored.
Flippin said that a medical doctor must certify patients and they must be residents of Arkansas to participate in the program.
Flippin stated that when the approved dispensaries in Arkansas begin operation, patients will have the opportunity to receive their medications in the state.
Flippin added that medical refugees who live in different states because of marijuana legalization would have the opportunity to return to their home state.
Recently, the Medical Marijuana Authority of Oklahoma declared that it would grant temporary licenses to buy cannabis to patients lacking state identification cards. According to Connie Melton, branch chief for health systems, licensing and certification for the Arkansas Department of Health, this decision has made most of the approved patients in neighboring Arkansas to begin requesting for their cards.
Melton said that authorized patients have begun asking for their cards so that they can benefit from the Oklahoma visiting patient opportunity, and so pending the result of the upcoming Marijuana Commission meeting and the scoring of the dispensaries, the agency is expected to issue Arkansas Medical Marijuana Registry ID cards in a month.
Melton also said that the state was planning to give the cards when dispensaries were ready to open.
According to Melton, usually, the agency thought it was in the best interest of the patient not grant the Arkansas medical marijuana registry ID card until about 30 days before the availability of Arkansas medical marijuana. By using this method, the cards won’t expire before the patient uses it.