Arkansas moves from lottery to merit-based MMJ licensing system

What’s the right revenue per square foot? What’s a realistic business outlook for cultivators? Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks. Get the 2023 Factbook.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has had a change of heart.

Instead of picking MMJ business winners and losers by random through a lottery, the commission will instead use a merit-based scoring system to award dispensary and cultivation permits.

The change was made to a draft regulation after pushback from stakeholders at a public hearing, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. In other states, lottery permitting systems have commonly resulted in lawsuits, though markets with a merit-based approach have also seen legal action as well.

The commission has yet to announce details on how applications will be scored. The commission will eventually issue 20-40 dispensary and four to eight cultivation permits.

The commission also made other changes to proposed industry rules, including lowering license fees for dispensaries that don’t plan to grow their own cannabis, and increased a residency requirement to mandate that at least 60% of MMJ companies be owned by Arkansans.