Arkansas Medical Marijuana sales hit record $141M in first 6 months of 2023
Medical marijuana sales broke a record in the first six months of 2023, showing a progressive increase in the popularity of cannabis since the first dispensary opened four years ago.
From January to June of 2023, Arkansans spent $141 million on medical marijuana products, totaling 29,057 pounds of cannabis.
The numbers, released Monday by the Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees the medical marijuana industry in the state through the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, is a sign of the growth of demand for the drug.
"Since the first dispensary opened for business in 2019, approximately $900 million has been spent on medical marijuana purchases in Arkansas," Department of Finance and Administration spokesperson Scott Hardin said in a statement. "With a sales average of $23.5 million monthly, we should surpass $1 billion in overall sales toward the end of this year. Patients are spending an average of $785,000 a day at the state's 38 dispensaries."
The numbers from the first half of 2023 are a slight increase from last year, where the state saw $134 million in medical marijuana sales totaling 23,611 pounds of cannabis. There are also 94,373 with an active medical marijuana patient card, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
While medical marijuana sales are up for the first half of this year, tax receipts were down when compared with the same time last year. Tax revenue doesn't always correlate with sales numbers, as audits and delayed payments can cause a lag in tax receipt, Hardin said.
In total, the state received $16 million in tax revenue in the first six months of 2023 from the medical marijuana industry, bringing the total to $105 million since the first dispensary opened in 2019.
The overall numbers reflect a growing industry since voters legalized the drug for medicinal use through a 2016 constitutional amendment.
In June, Suite 443 in Hot Springs led all dispensaries selling 540 pounds of medical marijuana, followed by Natural Relief Dispensary in Sherwood, which sold 466 pounds. CROP, located in Jonesboro, sold 286 pounds.
Sales continue to grow despite the 2022 legalization of recreational marijuana in neighboring Missouri, which led some Arkansas medical dispensary owners to wonder whether widespread legal cannabis in the Show Me State would cut into their sales.
Hardin said the numbers released by the Department of Finance show the state isn't seeing an impact from legalization of recreational cannabis in Missouri yet, as Arkansas is still seeing record sales in medical marijuana.
While Missouri legalized recreational marijuana in 2022, Arkansas voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for recreational use.