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A medical marijuana dispensary set to open tomorrow in Conway will be the state’s 10th legal outlet for cannabis, state officials said Wednesday, a day after an Alcoholic Beverage Control leader lamented the slow rollout of dispensaries.
Harvest, at 1200 Thomas G. Wilson Drive, passed a final ABC inspection on Tuesday. It plans to open at 9 a.m. Friday, leaving 22 licensed dispensaries yet to open across the state.
Since the state’s first dispensary opened in Hot Springs on May 10, patients have bought more than 1,730 pounds of medical marijuana totaling $12.35 million in sales, according to ABC spokesman Scott Hardin. Nearly 25,000 Arkansans have qualified for cards allowing medical cannabis use, and the number is steadily growing.
The Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration’s ABC Division oversees enforcement of medical marijuana rules. Its director of enforcement, Boyce Hamlet, told a gathering in Hot Springs on Wednesday night that the slow pace of adding dispensaries was creating a demand problem in Arkansas, keeping medical marijuana prices high and driving patients to the black market.
The chief enforcer in the newly legal medical cannabis industry, authorized by a 2016 statewide vote, asked what will happen if prices remain “through the roof,” according to the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record. “What are people going to do? They’re going to hit the streets. We don’t want that.” The state constitutional amendment on medical marijuana gave the state no oversight on pricing, which is set entirely by the market.
With just 10 of 32 authorized dispensaries in operation, prices are running at more than $15 a gram so far, among the highest prices for legal cannabis in the nation. Patients are authorized to buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks, about $1000 at today’s prices, though most patients