Since Arkansas Gov. Ava Hutchinson (R) signed the executive order declaring a public health emergency, medical cannabis sales in the state reached $24.37 million – about one-third of total sales since May 2019, KUAR reports.
Hutchinson signed the order on March 11.
Scott Hardin, director of communications for the Department of Finance and Administration indicated that Arkansans are making the maximum purchase of 2.5 ounces every two weeks, adding that those purchases can total $1,000.
“We saw the [Centers for Disease Control] in March, with the recommendation that Americans have a two-week supply of prescription drugs. And it looks to us like in that exact same time frame… people made the trip to the local pharmacy and then followed that up to the dispensary, really taking those guidelines pretty seriously and making that maximum purchase.” Hardin to KUAR
Currently, only 22 of the allowed 33 medical cannabis dispensaries are open in Arkansas and regulators must make renewal decisions for all license holders by the end of June, the report says.
The coronavirus pandemic has had varied effects on the cannabis industry. Retail sales were mixed and dependent on state actions and responses, but capital raises have sputtered since the start of the year with just two totaling $5.6 million as of March 27. Comparatively, the industry saw 17 capital raises totaling $169 million over the same period last year.
Oklahoma, for example, saw its highest medical cannabis sales ever – $61.4 million – amid the pandemic, while Illinois reported its second-highest sales total for both medical and adult-use cannabis sales since the legal market launched in January. But some operators have reported lower-than-normal sales during the pandemic.
In all, Arkansas medical cannabis sales have totaled $73 million or about 11,000 pounds.