Arkansas regulators are notifying 32 medical marijuana dispensary license winners statewide, after the Medical Marijuana Commission unanimously approved the final scores produced by an independent evaluator.
The top four scores in each of eight regions will receive the letters, but before the winning companies are awarded an actual dispensary license, they must pay a $15,000 licensing fee and post a $150,000 performance bond within seven days, according to Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas MMJ program.
The state received roughly 200 applicants.
In addition, companies that had one of the top four scores in more than one zone must choose which they want to operate in. In those zones they do not choose, the license will be offered to the fifth-highest-scoring applicant, Hardin said.
Here are some details surrounding the situation:
- Out-of-state investors were allowed to apply, but the rules require each ownership group to consist of 60% Arkansans at a minimum, Hardin said. For example, if 10 investors are equally invested in a company, then six of them must be Arkansas citizens.
- The launch of Arkansas’ MMJ market has been hampered by legal and licensing delays but now looks poised to move forward.
- Boston-based Public Consulting Group was hired last summer to individually evaluate and score the applicants.
- In July, the commission awarded five grower licenses, so some product is expected to be ready for sale in the state by this spring.
As in other MMJ markets nationwide, banking is an issue.
Only one bank, the HomeBank of Arkansas, is willing to do business with the state’s medical cannabis companies, Little Rock TV station THV reported.