Rolling in the Green: Arkansas’ Booming Medical Marijuana Market
The green rush is in full swing in Arkansas, and the state is rolling in it. Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry is flourishing, with medical marijuana sales surpassing a whopping $211.3 million in 2023. With over 92,000 medical patients in the state, it’s not a surprise that they’re making waves that are shaking the economy in Arkansas for the better.
According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), the first nine months of 2023 have been nothing short of impressive. A total of 44,979 pounds of medical marijuana have been sold from January 1 to September, and the numbers keep climbing. In August alone, sales hit $23.3 million, followed closely by $23.2 million in September, with a combined purchase of 10,765 pounds during those two months.
Comparing the current year to the previous one, the DFA reports that AR medical marijuana sales through nine months of 2022 totaled $205 million, falling short of the staggering $211.3 million for the same period in 2023.
One of the most significant benefits of this green wave is the tax revenue it generates. Medical patients are subject to paying 6.5% sales tax on weed, as well as an additional 4% excise tax on every purchase. All of that money has earned Arkansas $23.5 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana sales, contributing to more than $113 million in tax revenue since the industry’s launch in May 2019.
Those taxes are used to make Arkansas a better place to live. A lot of it is going towards medical and cancer research, but Act 657 just passed, which helps allocate some additional funding from cannabis tax revenue for food insecurity and health needs. That means that students in need won’t have lunch debt or have to apply for reduced or free school lunches— cannabis sales have them covered.
Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, shared some insight into the industry’s growth: “Overall, patients have spent more than $965 million on medical marijuana purchases since the industry launched in May 2019. This included $31 million in 2019, $182 million in 2020, $265 million in 2021, $276 million in 2022, and $211 million through September this year. With monthly sales averaging $23.4 million, we remain on track to set a new sales record this year.”
When it comes to dispensaries leading the pack, Suite 443 in Hot Springs takes the crown with 1,103 pounds sold in both August and September. Natural Relief Dispensary in Sherwood isn’t far behind, with 939 pounds sold in the same period.
The medical marijuana scene in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley also boasts impressive numbers. In August 2023, dispensaries in the region made substantial sales, with The Releaf Center in Bentonville selling 268.40 pounds, The Source in Bentonville selling 180.00 pounds, and The Hill in Fayetteville (formerly Acanza) selling 192.12 pounds, to name a few.
With such remarkable growth and sales figures, Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a lucrative green rush that continues to benefit both patients and the state’s economy. It’s also a good sign for the future of recreational cannabis in Arkansas. If these trends continue, it’s logical for the state to tap into the adult-use market, which could bring Arkansas into a bright, green future.