How To Open A Dispensary in Arkansas

how to open a dispensary in arkansas

Cannabis legalization in Arkansas has a complicated history. After the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment was passed in 2016, the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (AABCB) was given control of the state’s legal medical marijuana program. Specifics regarding the owners’ residency requirements, qualifying medical conditions, company requirements, and zoning issues are covered in the regulations provided by the AABCB.

The task of managing and overseeing the issuing of licenses to operate medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities falls within the purview of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. Furthermore, a person may not own more than one cultivation facility and dispensary.

Medical marijuana was introduced gradually. Despite the fact that the medical marijuana program was formed in 2016, the first patient was not served until May 2019. There are 32 operating dispensaries in the state as of March 2022. Additionally, the commission has approved each of the five cultivation permits allowed by the amendment.

In this blog post, we’ll go through cannabis legislation in Arkansas, license types and how to get them, tax rates, and more.

Can I Open A Dispensary In Arkansas Right Now?

Applications for permits to operate medicinal cannabis facilities in Arkansas are not currently being accepted. However, Arkansas has operational dispensaries that are authorized by the state.

How Much Can You Buy?

Patients who have obtained a doctor’s recommendation can possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 g) of cannabis for the treatment of any qualifying medical conditions. Home cultivation of cannabis is not allowed. 

Recreational Cannabis Legalization

Arkansas is a step closer to adopting a recreational marijuana program after a written ruling by the state Supreme Court. The decision allows the issue 4 ballot initiative to be placed on the upcoming November ballot. Arkansas will have the country’s strictest recreational marijuana laws if approved.

Ballot issue 4 would allow:

  • Recreational marijuana can be purchased by cannabis users over 21 without a medical ID.
  • Beginning on March 8, 2023, licensed dispensaries can sell marijuana for recreational use.
  • Medical marijuana cardholders will be able to purchase nonmedical marijuana without it counting toward how much they can buy for medical purposes
  • Medical marijuana cardholders will be able to buy recreational cannabis without it affecting the amount of cannabis they can purchase for medical use.
  • Arkansas marijuana authority would have to issue 40 recreational marijuana dispensary licenses using a lottery system if the amendment passes.
  • The existing dispensaries in the state would automatically receive a license to sell non-medical marijuana at their current location beginning on March 8, 2023.
  • Elimination of existing sales tax on medical cannabis and introduction of sales tax on recreational cannabis. 
  • Lawmakers will have no authority to change the amendment without another vote of the people.

Current Cannabis Laws In Arkansas

  • Cannabis in Arkansas is legal for medical use and the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2022 could likely be pushed ahead to 2024.
  • Qualifying patients or their caregivers can purchase up to 71 g.
  • Medical cannabis can be acquired only by qualifying patients suffering from conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and any medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health.
  • Cannabis plant home cultivation is not allowed.
  • Qualified patients under the age of 21 are not permitted to consume herbal cannabis.
  • Under the law, regulators have licensed up to 32 dispensary providers and up to five cannabis cultivators.

How Much Cannabis Can An Adult In Arkansas Possess?

The Arkansas Cannabis Act enables an individual with a qualifying condition under a doctor’s recommendation to possess up to 71 g. Also, patients under the age of 21 cannot consume herbal cannabis. Home cultivation of cannabis plants is not allowed.

Tax Rates in Arkansas

Patients in Arkansas must pay a sales tax of 6.50% on each medical marijuana purchase. Additionally, there is a 4% excise fee added to every medicinal marijuana purchase.

Expected Cannabis Market In Arkansas

Industry research indicates that Arkansas’s share of the legal cannabis market will rise from 0.01 percent in 2017 to 0.3 percent in 2025. By 2027, Arkansas’s annual sales could exceed $984 million.

Types Of Cannabis Licenses In Arkansas

As per the Amendment, an owner can apply for 1 dispensary license along with a cultivation facility only.

There are 5 different categories of marijuana business licenses available in Arkansas. These include:

  • Dispensaries
  • Cultivation Facilities
  • Distributors
  • Transporters
  • Processors

How To Get A License In Arkansas

Arkansas is not currently accepting applications for licenses to operate medical marijuana facilities. However, once they do here are the pre-requisites:

  • The applicants must demonstrate that a minimum of 60% of the ownership interest in the medical marijuana facility is held by an Arkansan who has lived there for at least seven years in a row.
  • The applicant must demonstrate throughout the application phase that no “owner, board member, or official” has been convicted of an excluded felony offense.
  • Only those who will have an ownership stake or the power to influence operational choices are required to undergo a background check during the application phase. During the application phase, background checks won’t be necessary for people who are merely working in advisory roles.
  • Organize all documents, article of organization, and agreements, among others.
  • Possess a solid business plan.

Arkansas Dispensary Fees

Type of FeeAmount
Non-refundable Application Fee$7,500
Proof of Liquid Assets or Surety bond$100,000 / $200,000

What Else Do You Need to Open a Dispensary in Arkansas?

Step 1

Understand Cannabis Laws In Arkansas

Cannabis regulations differ from state to state and are not subject to federal law. While some jurisdictions only allow the medical use of marijuana, some only allow recreational use, and others only allow the use of certain low THC products, there are states that allow both recreational and medical use of the drug. Therefore, you must be aware of the laws and regulations and abide by them in order to open a dispensary in Arkansas.

Step 2

Create A Solid and Scalable Business Plan

Any business that wants to be successful must be established and operated with a thorough understanding of its target market, internal competitive advantages, external environment, and future competitive landscape. Additionally, money is required for a company to launch, operate, and grow. If you take the time to draft an extensive business plan, you will have a solid approach to enticing investors. Your business plan defines the path your business will follow. It goes into great depth to explain your position, strategy, and plan of action. In the cannabis business, it will also help you keep a step ahead of your rivals.:

Management & Organization

Your business plan’s Management & Organization section should include a description of your company’s organizational structure.

For each of your company’s key employees, write a succinct résumé. If you’re a solopreneur, be sure to mention how your previous training and employment can assist you in managing each area of your business. If you have any partners or staff, also include the relevant education and experience they have.

Market Analysis

In the market analysis section of your business plan, you can discuss the research you conducted to identify and understand your target market—the potential buyers of your products. People that seek a business plan want to be sure that you are well-versed in your sector, the state of the competition, and your most likely customers. It’s crucial to demonstrate that there is a sizeable enough market for your product to be viable and/or generate a sizable return on investment.

Financial Requirements And Projections

Financial planning is an important part of drafting a business plan. One of the characteristics of a successful business is maintaining a record of how much money you are earning and spending.

In your financial projections, describe your company’s expected revenue and spending levels for the first or following five years. The objective here is to demonstrate that any investment, whether made with your own funds or from a capital lending business, may easily generate the revenue you want.

Finally

There you have it—a comprehensive overview of how to create a business plan. Whether you’re just establishing a business or seeking to expand an established one, it’s a crucial and helpful document. A solid business plan is painstakingly created using your knowledge of your business and the market it competes in. You can use it both internally and externally to help you stay focused on your goals. 

Step 3

Staffing Your Dispensary In Arkansas

The goal is to develop a team that is aware of and devoted to the organization’s success. The creation and management of such a team are difficult; it demands planning and commitment. To begin with, you need to conduct a thorough hiring process to ensure that your team is comprised of the right people. Then, through recognition and continuous advancement, you must be capable of maintaining the people’s engagement, attention, dedication, and drive.

Step 4

Choose Your Location With Care

When choosing an office or retail facility, location is important. A commercial property’s value is influenced by a variety of factors, including its proximity to neighboring properties, its location along main highways, its desired addresses, and its amenities.

One cannot overstate the value of a cannabis dispensary. For location-based assessments, measurable elements for predictable sales include foot traffic, proximity to other businesses of a similar nature, parking ratios, local population demographics, and ease of access. These are all related to where a store chooses to rent a building.

However, before choosing a location for your cannabis dispensary, keep in mind that each state has its own laws.

Step 5

Tech Integration With Leading Technology Partner 

Dispensaries need to use a variety of hardware, software, and point-of-sale (POS) systems in order to conduct their daily operations. These devices capture a lot of data, including information about the clients, payroll data, sales history, and many other things. Only a good tech partner will be able to integrate and help optimize this data for your business.

Businesses with well-integrated technologies can also explore the data more extensively. This makes it possible for corporate leaders to carefully study the data, gain valuable knowledge, and improve their current procedures to outperform their rivals.

You can get in touch with Cure8 for assistance with tech integration. We have scanners, tablets, PCs, POS systems, surveillance systems, and more that you need to execute the tech installation in your store. We can create and design your store from scratch.

How Can Cure8 Help?

Cure8’s tech solutions can transform your business for the better. We collaborate with you to determine which IT services and solutions are best for your cannabis business. Our solutions and services include tech consultation, managed IT services, and custom hardware and software solutions.

Check out more about our solutions here.

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