The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration issued the state’s first six medical cannabis dispensary licenses on Friday, according to an Associated Press report.
The six recipients were the first among 32 approved applicants to pay the $15,000 licensing fee and post the $100,000 performance bond required for each license. A spokesperson for the department told reporters that officials expect the remaining applicants to pay and post their bonds throughout the next week.
Dispensaries who receive licenses are allowed to construct their retail locations but cannot open for sales until their facilities pass a final inspection.
Arkansas has already licensed multiple medical cannabis cultivators; one cultivator on Friday, however, became the first to receive both cultivation and retail medical cannabis licenses. Medical cannabis products could be ready for store shelves by April, a company representative said.
The Arkansas cannabis licensing process began in early 2018 but was quickly mired in controversy when a judge ruled the state’s first set of cultivator licenses “null and void” after finding that the state Medical Marijuana Commission disregarded licensing rules. Additionally, two members of that commission were found to have had a financial relationship with two people with ownership stakes in approved cultivation centers.