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Medical Marijuana Sales: Arkansas Surpasses 60,000 Pounds; What Makes This Different Vs. Recreational Drug?

A man smokes a joint during a demonstration for the decriminalization of cannabis in France, in Paris on May 12, 2018. - Some 1,300 people, according to the police, marched today in Paris for the decriminalization of cannabis in France, which "remains blocked" while, for the organizers, "the other countries have never advanced so far" on this issue. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

An Arkansas official said medical marijuana sales in the Natural State recently surpassed 60,000 pounds.

Since mid-2019, medical marijuana sales in Arkansas have generated nearly $50 million in tax revenue for the state. Authorities collected $25 million of that total in the last nine months.

As a result, the demand for medical marijuana is increasing, and due to the restrictions on the number of dispensaries allowed, patient prices are higher than in other states.

404928 01: Hundreds of pro-cannabis demonstrators march May 4, 2002 in New York City. The marchers, who advocate for the legalization of cannabis, were part of almost 200 similar events planned around the world May 4 under the name of the “Million Marijuana March”. In New York, the pro-cannabis movement has been galvanized by current Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s assertion that he had smoked marijuana and “liked it”. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Medical Marijuana Sales Hit Record High in Arkansas

Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, told WREG that medical marijuana patients in Arkansas had invested $428 million on 63,815 pounds of cannabis since the first dispensary opened in May 2019.

There are currently 37 dispensaries in the state, with 19 selling at least 1,000 pounds of marijuana so far.

Since mid-2019, the two-state taxes that apply to medical drug (the 6.5 percent state sales tax and the 4.0 percent privilege tax) have generated $49.6 million, with $25 million coming since January 1, 2021.

The state’s medical marijuana reporting now includes weight sold the previous month by each dispensary, in addition to the overall weight sold per dispensary.

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According to the Arkansas Department of Health, there are 78,425 active patient cards in Arkansas.

KATV said the state levies a 10.5 percent tax on medical marijuana. Most retail items in the state are subject to a 6.5 percent sales tax. The 4% privilege tax goes to UAMS to fund the creation of a national cancer institute.

Medical vs. Recreational Explained

Cannabis for medical purposes has been legal in most states since 2014. Doctors are saying the plant can be used to manage pain and irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Paul Saladino of Newburgh told Spectrum Local News that medicinal cannabis comprises cannabidiol (CBD) rather than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD is the active component in medical cannabis that has been modified. Recreational cannabis will almost certainly have a higher THC concentration, he said.

Unlike CBD, THC can create a psychoactive effect. CBD is a naturally occurring chemical utilized to develop a sense of relaxation and tranquility in products like oils and edibles.

Saladino advises against purchasing the plant for medicinal use outside of a dispensary.

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