ARKANSAS — Revenue at the state of Arkansas down double digits, but one state agency is still making money and lots of it.
That industry seems to be saving the state right now after many people in Arkansas didn’t want it to come in the first place.
The industry is medical marijuana.
The state told FOX13 sales are going through the roof during the coronavirus pandemic.
Concerns about the profitability of Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry are going up in smoke.
The state’s dispensaries have experienced record sales over the last two months, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
They also report the state’s general revenues are down $50.5 million or 12.4 percent below last year.
“We’re looking at opening June 1, probably closer to June 15,” said Taylor Riddle, spokesperson for Delta Cannabis.
Delta Cannabis is a medical marijuana dispensary preparing to open in West Memphis.
A lucrative time to be in the medical marijuana industry.
The state’s dispensaries have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, selling more than $30 million dollars in product since March, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, or DFA.
The DFA reports 12,000 pounds of medical marijuana products have been sold across the state since the amendment was passed.
“As more facilities open, more patients will be obtaining their cards, and I think you’re only going to see those numbers continue to grow,” Riddle said. “The numbers so far have proven that.”
According to DFA, 56,000 Arkansans now have medical marijuana patient cards, and because of COVID-19, new patients can qualify for one via a telehealth visit with their doctor, no longer having to physically see a doctor to qualify.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a surprise,” Riddle said. “I would say it’s a good thing for the industry overall and for the growth in the patient count and them having access to the products they need.”
West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon has been outspoken about his excitement for the tax revenue the city’s two dispensaries will generate.
Sales tax on medical marijuana is 10.5 percent.
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