Medical marijuana sales up 4.6% for the year, prices becoming ‘more competitive’

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 668 views 

Arkansas’ medical marijuana sales totaled $164.6 million in the first seven months of 2023, up 4.64% compared with the same period in 2022, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). Sales are on track to top the 2022 record of $276.3 million.

Licensed patients spent $23.2 million in July to buy 5,157 pounds of medical marijuana in the state’s 38 licensed dispensaries. The July sales were down compared to $23.3 million in July 2022, but the July 2022 sales were for 4,171 pounds.

“Dispensaries are moving more product as prices become more competitive,” DFA spokesman Scott Hardin told Talk Business & Politics.

According to the DFA report issued Monday (Aug. 28), Suite 443 in Hot Springs had the most sales with 551 pounds. Following are the top five dispensaries for pounds sold in July.
• Suite 443 (Hot Springs): 551.66 pounds
• Natural Relief Dispensary (Sherwood): 462.07 pounds
• High Bank Cannabis (Pine Bluff): 282.59 pounds
• CROP (Jonesboro): 279.69 pounds
• The Releaf Center (Bentonville): 274.22 pounds

The Arkansas Department of Health reports 93,524 active patient cards, up from 89,855 at the end of 2022.

“If sales remain consistent for the next several months, we will complete 2023 with total sales reaching more than $280 million,” Hardin noted in Monday’s report. “The state collected $2.5 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana in July. This brings total medical marijuana tax revenue in 2023 to $18.5 million, and $108 million since the first dispensary opened in May 2019.”

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.