Arkansas Prepares to Score Dispensary Applications in Next Phase of Medical Marijuana Rollout

Although legal troubles threatened to halt cannabis business licensing and the launch of Arkansas’ medical marijuana program earlier this year, industry advocates report a relatively smooth and timely rollout in the Natural State.

Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment in November 2016 to legalize medical cannabis, and lawmakers moved quickly to implement the program, according to Robert deBin, president of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA). The industry trade association was founded in 2017 and focuses on advocacy, educating potential business applicants and patient outreach. “It’s government, so there’s a lot of red tape everywhere, but that was really the only real delay, just the government process that’s required by our constitution.”

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And the state has already worked out a solution to the industry’s limited access to banking, he added. “We’re going to start off with a cashless system,” deBin said. “There’s a startup here by some local Arkansas guys called MediPays, and it’s both for consumer and business-to-business. It will involve an app where patients can purchase their medicine through the app, and it also allows for cashless, electronic payments for dispensaries [and] cultivators.