Arkansas’ medical marijuana program is another step closer to launching, after state regulators named the five businesses that will receive licenses to grow the plant.
The Medical Marijuana Commission on Tuesday announced the top applicants for cultivation facilities, which will be allowed to grow cannabis for dispensaries throughout the state, as approved by the 2016 ballot measure. Up to 32 dispensaries are expected to receive licenses to sell marijuana later this year.
The five companies selected by state regulators have seven days to pay the $100,000 licensing fee. The companies are also required to post a $500,000 performance bond.
The companies selected: Bold Team LLC, in Woodruff County; Natural State Medicinals Cultivation, in Jefferson County; Osage Creek Cultivation, in Carroll County; Delta Medical Cannabis Company, in Jackson County; and Natural State Wellness Enterprises, in either Jefferson or Jackson County.
Natural State Wellness Enterprises’ investors include former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who, according to reports, said the company hopes to decide in the next 24 to 36 hours in which county to locate.
Delta Medical Cannabis, according to reports, is expected to have its facility up and running by the end of 2018. The company has property under contract in Newport.
The state received more than 90 applications for cultivation facilities. Each application was scored by the five commissioners on several factors, including qualifications, business experience and finances. The licenses will be formally awarded on March 14, when the commission meets next.
More than 4,100 applications were approved for patients to use medical marijuana. The state will issue registry cards about a month before the drug is expected to be available legally.
The licenses were announced the same day dozens of medical marijuana supporters appeared at the state Capitol to urge lawmakers to make changes to the medical marijuana program next year. The proposals include adding qualifying medical conditions, ending a 4 percent tax on medical marijuana sales and allowing students approved to use medical marijuana to have access to non-smokeable forms of cannabis on school grounds.
On Thursday, the state Medical Marijuana Commission released a breakdown on the scores given to each of the cultivators that applied. That breakdown can be found here.