Politicians and other officials might be relatively more resistant to marijuana legalization in the central U.S. states, but it seems to be a different story with the people who live there. Sales of medical cannabis in Arkansas hit $10 million in the first six weeks of this year, according to state data cited by Marijuana Business Daily.
That figure was higher than expected. A spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said, "[w]hile there was some uncertainty regarding sustained strong sales in 2020, the numbers we receive daily show that sales are not only strong but continue to significantly expand."
After people voted to legalize medical marijuana in a ballot initiative in late 2016, the first medical pot dispensaries opened for business in May 2019. Recreational sale and consumption remains illegal at present, and unlike in other states, it has not been decriminalized. This is typical in the region; none of the six states bordering Arkansas have legalized recreational cannabis. Two -- Tennessee and Mississippi -- prohibit all forms of the drug.
In Arkansas, individuals must qualify for treatment and be in possession of a marijuana ID card in order to be permitted to buy cannabis. Purchases have to be made at licensed dispensaries.
The state's Medical Marijuana Commission currently lists 32 active dispensaries, divided into eight zones. A subsidiary of Grassroots, apparently soon to be absorbed into acquirer Curaleaf (CURLF -0.39%), operates one. Harvest Health & Recreation (HRVSF) also has a retail presence in the state.
Neither Curaleaf nor Harvest has yet commented on the Arkansas sales figure. High-profile marijuana stock Curaleaf fell by over 4% in Friday trading, while Harvest's shares slumped by 1%.