Arkansas awards sixth medical cannabis grow permit as sales rise

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Arkansas regulators approved a sixth cultivation license to support a rapidly growing medical cannabis market nearing $100 million in total sales.

Carpenter Farms Medical Group, a minority-owned company, was awarded the license Tuesday, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Currently, only three growers have sold products, but two additional ones are expected to harvest soon.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission awarded the sixth cultivation license after accepting a settlement agreement that resolved a lawsuit by Carpenter Farms, according to the Democrat Gazette.

Carpenter Farms had placed sixth in the license scoring but was disqualified for application errors.

The company alleged in its legal challenge that the errors were typographical and that the commission hadn’t similarly punished competing applications.

Several lawmakers argued an additional license is needed to bring down costs, noting that some MMJ patients are traveling across the border to Oklahoma to buy cheaper products.

But officials representing the existing cultivators and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association opposed the move, arguing that current demand can be satisfied by the five licensed cultivators.

Arkansas officials recently reported that sales have totaled $92 million over the past year and are projected to hit the $100 million milestone by July 1. The program launched on May 10, 2019.

The number of qualified patients stood at 60,268 as of June 12, according to state figures.