Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana in the state last year. Since then the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC), under the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration, was established to organize the program and work out its details.
Arkansas officials said they expect 20,000 to 40,000 patients to apply for a medical marijuana registration card. Those cards will cost $50 so even if 30,000 apply, the registration fee will cover the $1.5 million officials have said it will cost to run the marijuana program there.
The AMMC will also begin accepting applications Friday for “cultivation” facilities, or marijuana grow operations. The AMMC will issue only five licenses but can also issue less than that number if “an insufficient number of qualified applicants” meet the September 18 application deadline.
Also, the commission will start to accept applications for 32 dispensaries across the state. The commission carved up the state in eight geography zones and each zone will get four dispensaries. The zone closest to Memphis stretched from the Missouri boot heel to Crittenden County, home to West Memphis.
Arkansans will get their marijuana registration cards as soon as dispensaries are approved, established, and ready to sell. State officials said that could be early 2018.
Not all cities are required to have medical marijuana dispensaries, though. The law passed by voters allows cities to opt out. So far, only Hot Springs and Siloam Springs have chosen bans (but those bans are only a few months long).
Of course, the law does not give marijuana patients carte blanche to smoke just anywhere. According to the law, marijuana cannot be consumed on a school bus, on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary