Official: Rx pot demand on rise – Arkansas Online

FAYETTEVILLE — Medical marijuana sales in Northwest Arkansas have amounted to about 30% of the state total since sales began in 2019, and residents can expect the industry to continue to grow, a state official said.

Two dispensaries operate in Benton County and another two in Washington County. The fifth, Natural Root Wellness, recently received a license to operate in south Fayetteville, said Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. State law limits each county to four dispensaries.

The four dispensaries in Northwest Arkansas have sold a combined total of about 7,100 pounds of medical marijuana, or about 30% sold in the state, Hardin said.

Dispensaries in Arkansas have sold 24,067 pounds since the first dispensary opened in May 2019, totaling $154 million of medical marijuana as of Sept. 29, according to Hardin.

“The market really saw an increase in mid-March and that increase has held,” Hardin said.

Hardin said a combination of factors probably contributed to the sales volume, including the covid-19 pandemic that spread to the U.S. in January and stimulus checks the federal government began issuing in April.

Another factor is the steady increase in the number of residents allowed to buy medical marijuana over the past 14 months. More than 85,000 people are registered compared with about 40,000 in February, according to Hardin. Doctors do not prescribe medical marijuana as they do other medications, but rather, verify that patients have qualifying conditions that make it legal for them to obtain medical marijuana cards. Patients are limited to buying 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana every 14 days.

Updated data for the number of residents in each county with the cards was unavailable. Benton and Washington counties had 6,924 and 6,324 residents, respectively, with the cards as of May 31. They had the second-

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