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story.lead_photo.caption This Sept. 15, 2015 file photo shows marijuana plants a few weeks away from harvest in a medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

HOT SPRINGS -- The economy contracted at a record rate in the second quarter, but business continues to be brisk for the state's medical marijuana industry.

The sales report released by the state revenue agency Friday for the 20-day period that ended Aug. 4 showed the pace of sales has continued to accelerate. Daily sales averaged $600,000, up from $583,000 during the 19-day period that ended July 14 and $500,000 during the 15-day period that ended June 25.

Through Aug. 4, the 26 dispensaries in operation reported $122 million in sales on 19,362 pounds sold since the state's first legal sale of the drug in Garland County 15 months ago. Almost 20% of the reported sales revenue has come since early June.

Suite 443 on Malvern Avenue outpaced Green Springs Medical, the only dispensary licensed inside Hot Springs' city limits, for the first time. Suite 443 in unincorporated Garland County reported 148.08 pounds sold during the most recent reporting period, ranking it second behind Natural Relief, 158.28 pounds, in Sherwood for the statewide lead.

The state's first legal sale of marijuana was transacted at Suite 443 in May 2019.

Green Springs ranked eighth, reporting 105.17 pounds sold. It trailed NEA Full Spectrum, 110.46 pounds, in Brookland; Harvest, 114.12 pounds, in Conway; Plant Family Therapeutic, 117.5 pounds, in Mountain Home; Purspirit Cannabis, 119.64 pounds, in Fayetteville; and Acanza, 130.54 pounds, in Fayetteville.

The Tax Procedure Act prohibits the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration from releasing revenue figures for individual dispensaries.

Green Springs, which was the second dispensary to open, continued to lead the state in overall sales, reporting almost 3,000 pounds sold since it opened in May 2019. The ReLeaf Center in Bentonville, with 2,198.7 pounds in sales reported since it opened last August, ranked second.

The Arkansas Department of Health had approved 72,638 medical marijuana cards as of Friday, according to its website. The number of Arkansans certified to have a condition qualifying them for medicinal use of marijuana has increased 14% in five weeks.


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