Advocates push to get recreational marijuana initiative on the ballot in Arkansas – KTBS


TEXARKANA, Ark. – The first medical marijuana dispensary opened in the state of Arkansas in May 2019 and more than two years later the sales continue to grow.

The state has surpassed $300 million and more than 50,000 pounds in overall sales. But moving forward, advocates are concerned the program will never meet the needs of the state’s patients.

Arkansans voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2016 through a ballot initiative with 53 percent support. The first dispensary opened in May 2019.

Medical marijuana advocate Melissa Fults said the program really can’t grow because there’s not enough dispensaries.

“There can only be a maximum of 40 dispensaries and that is not enough to cover the state of Arkansas. They kept spouting that it was only going to 30,000 patients. We’re about to hit 80,000,” said Fults.

You must have a medical marijuana card to purchase product from the dispensaries.

Right now, the law has a cap on the number of dispensaries and cultivators allowed to operate in the state. That’s why Fults says there are still patients driving an hour and a half and two hours one way to get their medicine.

“We’re locked in right now with no way to expand the program. No way to reach people in the smaller rural areas,” explained Fults.

Two dispensaries opened in Texarkana in January 2020. Red River Remedies and Bloom Medicinals have sold a combined amount of more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana.

Last August, Arkansas regulators awarded licenses to dispensaries in Garland County and the City of Texarkana, Ark. For now, the two new licenses will fill the quota that the state is allowed to issue under state law.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the program

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