Read the full story at the Times Record.
With only five medical marijuana cultivation facilities in Arkansas operating — two of which have still not rolled out the product — the people who have legal cards to use cannabis as a medicine for a variety of ailments are paying double the price as those in our neighboring state of Oklahoma.
In our report Thursday to highlight the wide gap between prices for medical marijuana in Arkansas and Oklahoma, we showed how simple economics is at play in the pricing.
The supply is higher in Oklahoma because they have more cultivation facilities. There are almost more legal cultivation sites in the small town of Poteau just across the border in LeFlore County than the entire state of Arkansas. Although a majority of the 33 licensed dispensaries in Arkansas are allowed to grow 50 plants, it does not make up for the difference.
Oddly enough, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is authorized to add seven more dispensary licenses and three more cultivation facility licenses that would allow people to get to work and help bring down prices in Arkansas. Economics again plays into this. One of the licenses approved for cultivation is in Fort Smith.
Storm Nolan of River Valley Relief Cultivation, said the release of their license from the MMC would mean up to 50 jobs for the city, with a roughly $50 million economic impact. It would also help bring down the prices in Arkansas.
It would not be too surprising to hear that the higher prices in Arkansas have sent many medical marijuana card holders back to the black market for their medicine of choice. It was certainly not surprising to hear from a former Oklahoma dispensary worker that he knows firsthand that many Arkansans have been venturing across the state line to pick up green meds because the prices are much cheaper.
A temporary license for Oklahoma allows an individual with a medical license from another state to legally buy and use medical marijuana in Oklahoma. A license there will cost the patient $100 and be valid for 30 days. A temporary card for Arkansas is only $50, but the price for cannabis is higher in Arkansas by double in comparison to Oklahoma. The price difference is made up with about 5 grams of cannabis.
If someone were to purchase a gram of medical cannabis in Arkansas they would be paying double the amount than they would if they were in Oklahoma. A gram in Oklahoma costs about $10 depending on the quality, but a gram of that same quality would be $20 in Arkansas.
We hope the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is taking this into consideration and will soon release the remaining licenses to those who were approved. The voters authorized them to do it. And it is the smart thing to do, both economically and morally.