Twenty-eight months after Arkansans voted to legalize medical marijuana, the state’s 10,000 patients with cannabis cards can expect to wait a bit longer for their medicine to reach the market.
In February, state officials expected sales would begin in mid-April. Then that was pushed back to the end of April.
Now Robert Lercher, director of customer relations for the state’s first operating marijuana cultivation center, Bold Team LLC of Cotton Plant, tells Whispers that the state’s first legal crop will be harvested on April 24. But drying, packaging and distribution will take another two weeks, “give or take,” he said.
That means no cultivator-grown products are likely to be available before the first week of May.
Most of the state’s 32 medical marijuana dispensaries are licensed to grow or bring in 50 mature marijuana plants to process for customers, thus won’t have to rely on cultivators for their initial supply. But Scott Hardin of the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, which oversees medical marijuana enforcement through its Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, said only one dispensary has indicated that it’s ready for a required final inspection before opening. That inspection is likely to take place in the next two or three weeks.
That dispensary, Doctors Orders RX in Hot Springs, could be open by the end of April, Hardin said, but “we see the industry really taking off as we enter late spring and summer.”