Arkansas begins awarding licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is set to award 32 dispensary licenses (Photo: MGN)

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission on Wednesday approved the scoring results for dispensary applicants and began the process of awarding dispensary licenses.

Thirty-two of the 198 applicants will receive a dispensary license. A spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Administration said letters of intent to award a license will be sent by Monday. The applicants will have to accept the license and pay fees before it becomes official.

Fayetteville, West Memphis, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Fort Smith, Bentonville and Texarkana appear set to receive multiple dispensaries.

The state divided dispensary applications by eight geographic zones. The top four applicants from each zone will be offered a license. Some applicants ranked in the top four in multiple zones but can only receive one license. That means some lower-scoring applicants may still receive a license.

The top five applicants from each zone are listed in order below.

The meeting Wednesday was originally set for Dec. 19 but was delayed to give newly-appointed commissioners enough time to review the dispensary scores. The commission said the medical director for Public Consulting Group, a company hired to score the dispensary applications, was also not able to attend the meeting in December but will be able to attend Wednesday.

A Boston-based consulting firm was hired to score the applicants after the state faced public criticism and litigation over how it evaluated applicants for marijuana cultivation licenses.

Arkansas voters approved a medical marijuana program in 2016. The five marijuana cultivators licensed by the state plan to have the drug available as early as April.

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