Arkansas medical marijuana spending spikes on April 20; sales up 5.1%

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,122 views 

Average per day spending on medical marijuana in Arkansas is $787,000, but that tally toked higher to more than $2 million on April 20, a date – 4/20 – associated with the celebration of marijuana use.

Data from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) also show that licensed medical marijuana patients in the state spent $94.44 million for 18,847 pounds of medical marijuana, above the $89.835 million for 15,768 pounds in the same period of 2022. The sales total was up 5.1%, and the amount sold was up 19.5%.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports 94,282 active patient cards as of May 30, above the 93,977 active patient cards as of April 21, and up from 89,855 at the end of 2022.

“With $2.85 million in medical marijuana tax revenue collected in April, the state surpassed $100 million in overall tax revenue since the industry launched in 2019,” said DFA spokesman Scott Hardin. “On average, patients are spending $787,000 a day at the state’s 38 dispensaries. If this continues, 2023 sales will surpass the $276 million spent in 2022.”

Following are the top five dispensaries in terms of pounds sold in April.
• Suite 443 (Hot Springs): 537.41 pounds
• Natural Relief Dispensary (Sherwood): 477.95 pounds
• CROP (Jonesboro): 288.33 pounds
• Purspirit Cannabis (Fayetteville): 254.55 pounds
• The Releaf Center (Bentonville): 251.24 pounds

The state posted record medical marijuana revenue in 2022 of $276.3 million, up 4.3% compared with the previous record of $264.9 million in 2021. For the year, Hot Springs was the hot spot for sales, with a combined 6,258.77 pounds sold in the city by two dispensaries (Suite 443 and Green Springs Medical) in 2022. The 38 licensed dispensaries in the state sold 50,547 pounds in 2022, up 25.2% compared with 40,347 pounds sold in 2021.

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.