LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration says two businesses have applied for licenses to grow medical marijuana and five have applied for licenses to sell it.

Arkansas State of Kind became the first medical-marijuana business applicant to go public Thursday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The business seeks both a dispensary and cultivation license.

Arkansas State of Kind CEO Jason Martin said he expects to begin selling medical marijuana by the middle of 2018 if both licenses are approved by the end of the year. The company plans to grant franchises to independent owners of other dispensaries.

Under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, investors can’t own an interest in more than one cultivation facility or dispensary.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will require local residents to own 60 percent of dispensaries and cultivation facilities. Medical marijuana must also be sold in the state.

Martin said his investors are all based in Arkansas.

“We’ve been in the industry — around the industry — since 2012 everywhere it’s been legal,” Martin said. “It just continues to grow, and we’re excited about it being here in Arkansas. This is where we wanted to do it all along, and unfortunately for us, when it didn’t pass in 2012, we decided not to let it hold us back from being in the industry.”

Hundreds of applicants are expected to apply for the more than 30 dispensary and five cultivation facility slots. The state doesn’t plan to release applications until the Sept. 18 deadline.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com