Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, told 5News that Arkansans spent an average of $751,720 per day on medical cannabis in July and since January 1, patients have spent a total of $157.9 million on 27,782 pounds from the state’s 38 dispensaries.
Natural Relief Dispensary in Sherwood led the state in pounds sold in July with 392.64 pounds, followed by the ReLeaf Center in Bentonville (308.61 pounds), CROP in Jonesboro (281.83), Suite 443 in Hot Springs (281.08 pounds), and Green Springs Medical in Hot Springs (217.77).
Earlier this month, Responsible Growth Arkansas submitted enough signatures to put an adult-use legalization question on November ballots; however, the state Board of Election Commissioners rejected the initiative’s popular name a ballot title, claiming it didn’t fully explain the constitutional amendment and that the measure would repeal the state’s current THC limit on medical cannabis products. The decision by the board effectively bars the question from ballots.
Following the board’s decision, the campaign filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court challenging that decision, saying the commissioners used an “overly stringent” approach that violates the state constitution. The lawsuit also challenges the 2019 law that gave the board the power to certify ballot initiatives. Prior to the 2019 law, ballot measures had to be reviewed by the state attorney general prior to the circulation of petitions.
Earlier this week a separate lawsuit was filed that could doom the state’s medical cannabis industry. The lawsuit seeks to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO, to target medical cannabis companies plaintiffs accused of deceptive trade practices. The lawsuit claims some medical cannabis was sold in Arkansas with a potency different than what was advertised – a deceptive trade practice – and that cannabis businesses are subject to RICO because cannabis is federally outlawed.
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