Product shortages, rising prices hit Arkansas medical marijuana market

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A leading Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary says it’s facing a product shortage that can be resolved only by additional cultivation capacity.

Dragan Vicentic, owner of Green Springs medical marijuana dispensary in Hot Springs, the leading MMJ seller in the state, told Little Rock TV station KATV that the shortage has been increasing since June. He said his dispensary recently ran out of a dozen marijuana strains.

“We had to raise our prices because we had just too many people coming through the shop,” Vicentic said.

While that might seem like good news to a business, the product shortages are hampering the ability of the stores to meet patient demand.

Vicentic and Christopher Miles, who runs a website that covers MMJ news in Arkansas, agreed that more cannabis cultivators are needed.

Arkansas has 83,000 registered patients, but only three cultivation facilities are in operation. Two additional grow sites are scheduled to come online before year-end, according to a state MMJ operations report.

Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas recently exceeded the $150 million milestone for a program that launched in May 2019.

Many states are seeing high demand for medical cannabis during the coronavirus pandemic.

But Arkansas industry insiders said additional demand in that state is coming from patients whose doctors have recommended medical marijuana to replace opioids and from residents of Missouri, where the launch of an MMJ program has been delayed. Arkansas permits qualifying patients from other states to register for a temporary 30-day card.