The path to legal marijuana in Arkansas has been rocky at best. Though voters in 2016 approved a medical cannabis measure granting access to patients with certain conditions, residents have seen a plethora of stumbling blocks from anti-pot Republicans and legal complainants. On Tuesday, one more hold-up was announced: the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is delaying its designation of 20 to 32 more dispensary licenses until next year.
The meeting was rescheduled from Dec. 19 to Jan. 9, and the reasons are nominally unremarkable. “This will provide newly appointed Commissioners adequate time to receive briefings on all matters related to the MMC,” said Scott Hardin, communications director for the commission. Hardin also cited calendar issues with the medical director of Public Consulting Group– the agency picked to help the state with evaluating dispensary applications last August– as a reason for the Jan. 9 re-scheduling.
Up until now, only five companies have been approved to sell medical marijuana in the state (which has a population of three million), and none are expected to be retailing product before April 2019 at the earliest. Eventually, the state will approve up to 32 dispensaries to be evenly distributed geographically.
The road to licensing hasn’t been