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Arkansas' medical marijuana sales proving to be a boon for the state

Medical marijuana sales are proving to be icing on the state's revenue cake nearly two years after the first dispensaries opened in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported $330.4 million of statewide medical marijuana sales — more than 48,914 pounds — as of June 3.

That adds to the state's projected surplus revenue of nearly $1 billion.

NWA's four dispensaries alone have collectively sold 28.3% of the total volume in that time, more than 13,850 pounds.

Why it matters: Northwest Arkansas has become a key driver of the state's medical marijuana industry and of the sales tax revenue Arkansas collects on each purchase.

Data: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Chart: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: Arkansas collects 10.5% of pot sales purchased for medicinal reasons.

A 6.5% state tax goes to general revenue and state government.

A 4% privilege tax goes to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, specifically for the establishment of a National Cancer Institute.

Statewide, sales have generated more than $31.7 million in taxes as of March.

Data only go through March due to the lag time in reporting.

NWA buyers have paid nearly $9 million in tax on cannabis.

The big picture: Advocates and lawmakers favoring marijuana reform are trying to capitalize on the social justice movement and COVID-19 economic rebound to legalize the use of pot nationally, Axios' Alayna Treene reported recently.

U.S. sales of marijuana hit $17.5 billion in 2020.

What's next: Five more dispensaries are licensed but not yet open in Arkansas, including one licensed to operate in Fayetteville.

The Source, now located in Bentonville, is planning a move to Rogers to expand the business.

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