At its January 10, 2017, meeting, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (the “Commission”) took its’ first actions regarding the medical marijuana dispensaries authorized by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 (also known as “Issue 6”). The Commission voted 4-1 to initially license 32 dispensaries. This means that the number of licensed dispensaries will be more than the minimum of 20 but less than the maximum of 40 dispensaries authorized by the Amendment. Commissioner Travis Story voted against the proposal.
The Commission also set the dispensary fee structure:
- The initial dispensary application fee will be $7,500, with half refunded to unsuccessful applicants.
- The Amendment allows dispensaries to grow or possess up to 50 mature marijuana plants at any one time. Dispensaries that choose not to grow or possess plants will be subject to a $2,500 license fee and a $10,000 annual renewal fee.
- Dispensaries that grow or possess marijuana plants will be subject to a $25,000 license fee and an annual renewal fee of $32,500.
The Commission also discussed draft dispensary rules that call for awarding dispensary licenses through a lottery, and that provide that the 32 licenses will be distributed equally among the four congressional districts in Arkansas.
This is in contrast to the Commission’s rules for medical marijuana cultivators, which provide that the five authorized cultivator licenses will be awarded based on merit. While the Commission initially voted to locate one cultivator in each of Arkansas’ five public health districts, the Commission subsequently voted to include the economic impact of the proposed location of a cultivation facility as one of the criteria weighed in determining the merit of a cultivation application.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission web site is http://www.mmc.arkansas.gov/.