Two new marijuana markets – AR and MA – encounter obstacles

Arkansas’ medical marijuana program and Massachusetts’ adult-use industry have encountered stumbling blocks that could slow their full-fledged launches.

According to Talk Business and Politics, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission said it will need to push back the rollout of the program because of the time it will take to conduct FBI background checks for the 320 MMJ business applications it received.

The Arkansas commission is working on processing applications for five cultivation licenses and 32 dispensaries, the bulk of which it received on or near the Sept. 18 deadline.

No licenses will be approved until well after January, Talk Business and Politics reported. A state official previously had estimated medical cannabis sales could start before January.

Arkansas was expected to have a smooth rollout after voters passed an initiative last November to allow medical marijuana.

Farther east, in Massachusetts, the state’s Cannabis Control Commission is predicting the recreational marijuana business won’t be fully operational until after July 2018, according to broadcaster WCVB.

“We will not have a full-fledged industry up and running on July 1 of 2018,” commission Chairman Steven Hoffman said.

However, during a budget meeting, Hoffman did say he expects some retail facilities to open by July 1.