Arkansas medical marijuana patients have spent more than $1 billion since the program began in 2019, the state Department of Finance and Administration said this week.
At the end of last month, total sales had reached $988.3 million. Based on an estimated $772,000 in sales per day this year, the department said the number has now surpassed $1 billion.
“We’re totally confident we’ve surpassed that,” department spokesman Scott Hardin said Tuesday.
The state’s medical marijuana patients purchased $31.2 million worth of products in 2019, $181.8 in 2020, $264.9 million in 2021 and $276.3 million last year. Patients had purchased $234 million through October of this year, Hardin said.
The state has 38 dispensaries, eight cultivation facilities and eight processing facilities.
Bill Paschall, who is the executive director of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, called the $1 billion mark a significant milestone for the industry on Tuesday.
“It underscores the growing acceptance and recognition of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and the commitment of the state’s medical cannabis licensees to providing safe, quality and innovative products that meet patients’ needs,” Paschall said. “The men and women employed by the marijuana industry look forward to continuing to positively impact the lives of Arkansans and contributing to the evolving cannabis landscape.”
Paschall said the industry still has “untapped potential,” citing patients’ difficulties in getting medical marijuana cards and the requirement to renew them annually. Eliminating some of those barriers would lead to a significant increase in the number of patients in the state over time, he said.
The number of active Arkansas medical marijuana cards has risen from 89,855 in January to 97,682 this week, according to the state Department of Health.
The medical marijuana industry has outpaced expectations that said the state would have 50,000 patient cards in a mature market, Hardin said.