Arkansas medical marijuana patients deserve more affordable medicine

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will vote soon on whether or not to increase the number of medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries in our state.

More licensed cultivators and dispensaries in Arkansas will:

  • Lower medical marijuana prices
  • Create jobs
  • Increase state tax revenue

Call and leave a message for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission urging them to lower prices by increasing competition:

855-606-1061

Or, send them an email:

Please use your own words to tell the commission about your experience with buying medical marijuana in Arkansas.

Benefits of Granting Additional Licenses

Patient Benefits

  • Increasing the number of medical marijuana cultivation licenses will increase competition.  Increased competition could lead to better pricing for patients as well as increased diversity of products to better ensure each qualified condition can be treated with the right medical marijuana product.
  • With transportation being a responsibility of the medical marijuana cultivator, many cultivators have stated they will charge delivery fees to dispensaries, which will be passed on to patientsBy adding the Sebastian and Garland County locations, distance and drive time will be shortened for nearly half the state, which would lower cost to patients.

Geographic Fairness

  • The geographic distribution of current cultivation winners neglects the medical marijuana patients in much of the western and southern areas of the state, where populations add up to more than 25%.
  • Medical marijuana cultivation facilities will generate economic activity in their communities. Creating jobs and paying local taxesthese facilities will generate a positive financial impact for the public.
If the commission releases the remaining licenses, the three new cultivation facilities will be located in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, and Jacksonville, Arkansas.

Transportation

  • Deliveries from cultivation facilities to laboratories, fellow cultivation sites and dispensaries can only take place between 9am and 7pm. Round trip, it would take more than 6 hours for the southernmost current licensee in Pine Bluff to reach the bottom of our state – consuming most of the allotted transportation time in a given day. These long-distance trips raise safety concerns as well. Drivers “shall not deviate from the delivery route or make unnecessary stops” under ABC rules, and long routes raise the likelihood of diversion in this state.
  • If a dispensary in DeQueen, Arkansas needed product, it would take 4.5 hours to arrive from Eureka Springs and more than 3 hours from Pine Bluff. Comparatively, the Garland County location is less than 2 hours away. Patients, especially those who suffer from debilitating and life-threatening conditions, deserve to have their dispensaries supplied from a reasonably close cultivation facility. In an emergency situation, an hour saved could make a huge difference.
  • Increasing the number of cultivators, will improve market stability. With strict regulations in place, it is probable that license holders will have their licenses revoked at some point.  With only five cultivators, the loss of one will lead to a 20 percent reduction in market availability per licensee lost.  Additionally, it will take a significant amount of time for a new cultivator to become operational.

Opioid Epidemic

  • Garland County has the second-highest prescription rate of opioids in the state, where doctors write 176.3 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. That ratio is 169 prescriptions per 100 patients in Sebastian County, which is among the five highest in Arkansas
  • Medical Marijuana can provide an alternative to these devastating drugs; and reducing the prevalence of opioids can help prevent deaths.  According to the CDC, deaths related to opioids and heroin are on the rise. Among our country’s youngest demographics, nearly a quarter of American teens admit to having used prescription drugs for nonmedical uses. Most commonly, these drugs are sourced from parents and grandparents who are prescribed opioids.