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Arkansas one step closer to completing medical marijuana program

The Medical Marijuana Commission voted on a rule change that will allow the final two licenses to be distributed.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The Medical Marijuana Commission is one step closer to giving out the last two licenses to dispensaries.

On Thursday, commissioners voted to change the rules for distributing licenses.

The vote was needed after the applications expired. In doing this, the commissioners would not have to start the process over again.

"Although this really has taken a long time, this was the quickest way to get those last two out the door," said Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the Medical Marijuana Commission.

There are only two licenses left to distribute to complete the medical marijuana program voters passed in 2016. 

Voters passed an amendment that would allow 40 dispensaries and 8 growers to do business in the state.

The first dispensary didn't open until 2019. Right now, there are 37 in operation.

The two next in line are: Green Remedies Group, to be built in Garland County, and T&C Management, planned for Texarkana.

Both dispensaries told THV11 they're "excited" to start meeting the medical needs of Arkansans.

The two licenses are expected to be formally assigned to those dispensaries this spring.

Since the first dispensary opened in 2019, Arkansans have spent more than $500 million on medical marijuana. Last year was, by far, the biggest year of sales yet with more than $264 million of product sold.

"Now that we are a couple years in and we can actually look at it and see how it's doing, things are going well," said Hardin.

The rule change will now head to the legislative committee where they will formally sign off.