Arkansas medical marijuana tax revenue down in the first half of 2022

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,834 views 

Arkansas collected $15.8 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana sales in the first six months of 2022, down from $16.9 million in the same period of 2021. Pounds of product sold at state-licensed dispensaries is up almost 10% in the first half of 2022.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), the parent agency of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, reported Thursday (July 14) that the state’s 38 medical marijuana dispensaries sold 23,251 pounds of product in the first half of 2022, up 9.6% compared with the 21,000 pounds in the same period of 2021.

Medical marijuana patients spent $22.29 million in June to obtain 3,926 pounds.

“On average, patients in Arkansas are spending $22.37 million each month to purchase 3,920 pounds of medical marijuana,” Scott Hardin, DFA spokesperson, said in a statement. “State tax revenue generated from medical marijuana totaled $32.12 million in Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022). The state’s 38 dispensaries sold 23,521 pounds of medical marijuana through the first six months of 2022.”

Hardin told Talk Business & Politics that “the average price at the time may have played a role in a larger amount of state tax revenue in 2021.” He said the injection of federal stimulus money in early 2021 likely helped with sales and prices in that period.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 84,472 active patient cards as of July 14, more than the 82,151 in the April report on medical marijuana sales. According to DFA figures, the state has collected $73.228 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana since sales began in May 2019.

Following are the top five dispensaries for product sold in June.
• Natural Relief Dispensary (Sherwood): 388.79 pounds
• The Releaf Center (Bentonville): 313.01 pounds
• CROP (Jonesboro): 286.63 pounds
• Suite 443 (Hot Springs): 253.41 pounds
• Green Springs Medical (Hot Springs): 214.66 pounds

Taxes collected are 6.5% of regular state sales tax with each purchase by a patient, and a 4% privilege tax on sales from cultivators to dispensaries. Most of the tax revenue is placed in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences National Cancer Designation Trust Fund. The state also collects a cultivator privilege tax, which means tax revenue is not always tied to how much product is bought by consumers at dispensaries and the price for the product sold to dispensary customers.

The constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana for 17 qualifying conditions and creating a state medical marijuana commission, was approved by Arkansas voters 53% (585,030) to 47% (516,525) in November 2016.

Eligible Arkansans spent $264.9 million on medical marijuana in 2021 with the 37 licensed dispensaries active in 2021.