How to Open a Dispensary in Arkansas

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Medical cannabis is legal in the state of Arkansas. However, there are currently no dispensaries operating in the state.

The initial feed for setting up a cannabis dispensary are high, but there is also a great deal of potential for profit, with 2016 sales exceeding $50 million. Here is what you will need to know to open a dispensary in Arkansas

Legalization in Arkansas

Voters passed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6 which legalized medical cannabis in Arkansas in fall of 2016. The law went into effect in 2017. The cannabis program is monitored by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. The Medical Marijuana Commission regulates the state’s cannabis market.

The group lobbying for cannabis legalization, Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, collected more than 106,000 signatures by July 8, 2016. Eighty five percent of the signatures were verified by Secretary of State Mark Martin.

When was cannabis made legal

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The petition was given extra time to obtain the remaining signatures. Currently, no dispensaries operate in the state, but this is because they are so new. Arkansas state law explicitly states that the state will have at least 20 but no more than 40 dispensaries operating in the state. Out of forty, 32 will be issued during the initial application round that happened last year.

Owner’s Requirements

Arkansas allows business owners to open a dispensary. As always, individual municipalities and counties have the right to reject operation of a dispensary in their area.

The financial requirements for operating a dispensary in Arkansas can get pretty pricey. Applicants for a dispensary license must provide proof of assets or a surety bond in an amount equalling 200 thousand dollars, as well as proof of liquid assets totaling 100 thousand or more.

There will be a 7,500 fee at the time of application, of which only half is refundable. The license fee is 25 thousand for Cultivating Dispensaries and 2500 for Non-Cultivating Dispensaries.

Licensing Requirements

The Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications on June 30-September 18th 2017. However, you can still review the application documents on their website and be ready in the event that Arkansas re-opens the process.

The state is divided into eight zones regarding license distribution. No more than four dispensaries can operate in one county.

Financial Requirements

The Medical Marijuana Commission decided to allow 32 dispensaries and 5 different cultivation facilities. Applicants will be given licenses based on whether or not their assets can be verified.

All applicants for a license must provide proof of assets, or a surety bond in the amount of 200 thousand. They must then provide proof of at least 100 thousand in liquid assets.

Financial requirements

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All applicants will pay a fee of 7,500 dollars. Half of this amount can be refunded. The license fees for Cultivating Dispensaries is 25 thousand dollars and 2,500 for Non-Cultivating Dispensaries.

Dispensaries can request to be allowed to grow up to 50 “mature” plants for 25 thousand dollars. Just so you are aware, legislation has been filed to give the commission a choice in the matter. Dispensaries that opt out of growing cannabis will pay a $ 2500 annual licensing fee.

What is My Expected Profit?

Medical cannabis sales in Arkansas are expected to reach 56.4 million by 2021. This number is expected to grow due to the enthusiastic support by Arkansas residents. Medical cannabis dispensaries can make anywhere from 50 thousand a year up to millions of dollars.


It typically takes up to a year or more to get all of your affairs in order, get all of your funding, find employees and obtain a license. Timeframe can vary depending on your situation.

Consulting Companies

The following companies listed below provide a wide range of services for opening and operating a dispensary in Arkansas.


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