After Arkansas legalized medical marijuana last fall, the state government created a deadline this September for people to apply to grow and dispense cannabis products. But according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the state's received zero applications to do either thing, creating doubt about the future of the state's industry.
The state originally planned to award five licenses for marijuana cultivation and 32 licenses for dispensaries. According to regulations set up for the industry, cannabis growers must be 3,000 feet from churches, schools or daycares and dispensaries must be 1,500 feet. Officials for the state say they believe applicants are simply working hard on their paperwork to ensure they're accepted and expect they'll receive applications before the September 18th deadline.
There's also a shortage of people applying for marijuana ID cards that would allow people to use medicinal cannabis products. The state predicted that 30,000 people would apply for the state's medical marijuana program, but as of last week only 400 people had registered for the program.
"This number was based on population, types of qualifying conditions, and trends in other states," Arkansas' Director of Health Communications Marisha DiCarlo said. "At this time, it is too early in the process to know if that number will be reached, since usable, legally obtained Arkansas marijuana is not yet available in the state."
Perhaps once the state's medical marijuana industry actually begins, their will be renewed interest from the people. But so far, Arkansas' medical marijuana industry has hardly been the success that many expected.