As Arkansas crossed the thousand-pound landmark in medical marijuana sales in a busy run-up to Labor Day weekend, the Hot Springs dispensary that sold the state's first legal cannabis on May 10 became the first retail outlet to grow, harvest and prepare to sell self-grown product.
Doctor's Orders Rx expects to have nearly a pound each of three dispensary-grown strains on its shelves by Tuesday, in addition to a full array of products from the state's three operational cannabis cultivation facilities. Another dispensary, Native Green Wellness in Hensley, is also currently growing product, according to a state spokesman.
"We are thrilled to be able to provide the widest array of products to patients in Arkansas," Doctor's Orders manager Bud Watkins said in a statement. "We have maintained the highest quality of growing conditions in order to produce some of the highest-quality product in Arkansas — and independent testing proves that."
Arkansas voters approved a medical marijuana program in November 2016, and more than 1,000 pounds have been sold at eight dispensaries since Doctor's Orders was the first dispensary to open May 10. Six of the eight dispensaries currently operating have licenses allowing them to grow a small portion of the products they sell.
Scott Hardin, the state spokesman, said that by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, total sales at all dispensaries were 1,132 pounds worth $8.1 million.
The state's ninth dispensary site, Acanza, in Fayetteville, was scheduled for a state inspection Thursday, Hardin said, and will be set to open almost immediately if it passes. Another outlet, Harvest Cannabis Dispensary of Conway, has requested a final inspection, and the state is confirming an inspection date, Hardin said. Most of the state's 32 licensed dispensaries are designated as "grow" dispensaries, allowed to cultivate 50 adult cannabis plants at a time.
Doctor's Orders has harvested, dried and sent its product for testing at Steep Hill Arkansas, officials said. The dried flower of three varieties will be for sale: Giesel, Super Skunk, and Sour Tangie, the variety highest in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana products.
Don Sears, sole owner of Doctor's Orders, emphasized quality.
"I am proud of our team for working so hard to be the first dispensary to open, the first to grow, and constantly endeavoring to provide Arkansans medical marijuana," Sears said. "With the leadership of Shanna Weidl, we are confident that the products grown in our facility are the cleanest, highest-quality products on the market."
Hardin said the state expects September and October to be busy months for the growing industry. "Several dispensaries are in the final stages of preparing facilities and expect to request inspection over the next two or three weeks," he said. "Through the end of October, the number of operational dispensaries should grow significantly."
Total Sales Through 4 P.M. Sept. 4
- Doctor's Orders in Hot Springs had sold 123.26 pounds of medical marijuana. It first opened May 10.
- Green Springs Medical in Hot Springs had sold 436.54 pounds since opening May 12.
- Arkansas Natural Products in Clinton had sold 88.79 pounds since opening June 20.
- Greenlight Dispensary in Helena had sold 86.9 pounds since opening June 27.
- Native Green Wellness in Hensley had sold 152.41 pounds since opening July 2.
- Fiddler's Green in Mountain View had sold 75.04 pounds since opening July 11.
- The Releaf Center in Bentonville had sold 101.57 pounds since opening August 7.
- The Source in Bentonville had sold 51.726 pounds since opening Aug. 15.
Combined, that's 1,132 pounds of medical marijuana totaling $8.1 million in sales, Hardin said.