Arkansas opens up medical marijuana processor, transporter licensing

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The steadily growing Arkansas medical marijuana program is offering new business opportunities: processor and transporter licenses.

Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, wrote in an email that the state’s MMJ constitutional amendment didn’t establish a limit on the number of those licenses, so the commission will consider applications as they come in.

Processors will be allowed to produce a variety of items ranging from edibles to vape products as allowed under recently finalized program rules, he wrote.

Processors may accept product from cultivators, other processors and dispensaries.

Transporters, meanwhile, may deliver product among cultivators, dispensaries, processors and testing laboratories but won’t be able to deliver directly to patients.

The application fee for the new licenses is $5,000 with a $100,000 bond required for licensing.

The first dispensary in Arkansas didn’t open until May 2019, and sales were slow at first.

But the state recently crossed the $200 million sales threshold in sales, with the lion’s share of that coming in 2020. Operators now have sold more than 30,000 pounds of medical marijuana since the market launched.

The recently updated Marijuana Business Factbook projects that medical cannabis sales in Arkansas will reach $300 million to $365 million in 2021 alone. The program had around 60,000 patients as of late 2020 and more than 30 dispensaries.