Jun 10, 2021 - News

Arkansas' medical marijuana sales proving to be a boon for the state

A flowerpot with a plant growing out of it that looks like marijuana, but is made of greenbacks.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Medical marijuana sales are proving to be icing on the state's revenue cake nearly two years after the first dispensaries opened in Arkansas.

  • The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported $330.4 million of statewide medical marijuana sales — more than 48,914 pounds — as of June 3.
  • That adds to the state's projected surplus revenue of nearly $1 billion.
  • NWA's four dispensaries alone have collectively sold 28.3% of the total volume in that time, more than 13,850 pounds.

Why it matters: Northwest Arkansas has become a key driver of the state's medical marijuana industry and of the sales tax revenue Arkansas collects on each purchase.

Data: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Chart: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: Arkansas collects 10.5% of pot sales purchased for medicinal reasons.

  • A 6.5% state tax goes to general revenue and state government.
  • A 4% privilege tax goes to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, specifically for the establishment of a National Cancer Institute.

Statewide, sales have generated more than $31.7 million in taxes as of March.

  • Data only go through March due to the lag time in reporting.
  • NWA buyers have paid nearly $9 million in tax on cannabis.

The big picture: Advocates and lawmakers favoring marijuana reform are trying to capitalize on the social justice movement and COVID-19 economic rebound to legalize the use of pot nationally, Axios' Alayna Treene reported recently.

What's next: Five more dispensaries are licensed but not yet open in Arkansas, including one licensed to operate in Fayetteville.

  • The Source, now located in Bentonville, is planning a move to Rogers to expand the business.

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