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2021 medical marijuana sales top $250 million

by David Showers | December 22, 2021 at 4:05 a.m.
A photo illustration showing products from Green Springs, left, and Suite 443. File photos by The Sentinel-Record

Medical marijuana sales have netted $54 million in state sales tax revenue since the first legal sale of the drug in Arkansas in May 2019, the state revenue agency said Monday.

Medical marijuana patients have spent $250 million on the drug this year, raising the total to $486 million since the first dispensary opened more than 30 months ago. The state levies its 6.5% sales tax and a 4% privilege tax on medical marijuana sales.

Earlier this year, the Legislature extended the sunset date of the latter tax through the state fiscal year that ends June 30, 2023. A 2019 law made the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences a beneficiary of the tax, the proceeds of which are helping UAMS achieve a National Cancer Institute designation.

The Department of Finance and Administration said November sales from the 37 operating dispensaries generated $2.56 million in state sales tax revenue. May was the largest month for collections, with medical marijuana sales raising $3.28 million in sales tax revenue for the state.

Sales of 332.55 pounds Suite 443, the Malvern Avenue dispensary where the state's first legal sale of the drug was transacted in May 2019, reported for the 37-day reporting period that ended Dec. 16 ranked third, putting it in the top five for the 15th-consecutive reporting period. Sales of 235.57 pounds and 239.77 pounds it reported in October and November also ranked third.

The Tax Procedure Act prohibits the state from releasing revenue figures from individual dispensaries.

The 226.50 pounds Green Springs Medical, the only dispensary licensed inside the city limits of Hot Springs, reported in sales during the most recent reporting period ranked sixth, putting it in the top 10 for the sixth-straight reporting period. Sales of 166.97 pounds and 168.05 pounds it reported in October and November also ranked sixth.

The more than 5,500 pounds in total sales Natural Relief reported bumped Green Springs from second place in overall sales. The Sherwood location's sales through Dec. 16 surpassed Green Springs by more than 200 pounds, overtaking Green Springs despite the Hot Springs location opening 10 months prior to Natural Relief.

The 516.82 pounds in sales Natural Relief reported for the period that ended Dec. 16 ranked first, giving it the sales lead for the second consecutive reporting period. The ReLeaf Center was the sales leader in 15 of the previous 16 reporting periods. The Bentonville location holds the overall sales lead, reporting almost 7,500 pounds in sales since it opened in August 2019.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 79,167 Arkansans had an active patient card as of Saturday, a 2% increase from the number reported two months earlier.

The constitutional amendment approving marijuana for medicinal use that voters approved in 2016 authorized the Medical Marijuana Commission to award 40 dispensary licenses. Thirty-seven dispensaries are currently in operation.

Print Headline: 2021 medical marijuana sales top $250 million

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