LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A state commission has decided that Arkansas residents hoping to grow medical marijuana will have to pay an annual fee of $100,000 to operate a cultivation facility.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission set the fee amount on Tuesday. The commission also decided that people who apply must have a $1 million bond or assets worth $1 million and be able to show $500,000 in cash liquidity. The requirements are in addition to a $15,000 application fee the commission approved last week.
The commission was created by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment passed by voters in November. The panel must create rules by June to govern how Arkansas residents can apply for cultivation and dispensary licenses.
Two commissioners, Dr. Carlos Roman and Travis Story, noted that potential growers would not be able to secure bank loans if they run out of cash because medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Roman, who proposed a $15,000 license fee, argued that the fees for would-be growers should be kept as low as possible to receive the maximum number of applications.
"It’s an expensive endeavor, so it’s not something that someone could just go in with $10,000 and start a cultivation facility. The cost is very high," Roman said. "So we want to respect the price point on it, but I’m just trying to fight at every level to make it accessible to as many people … to make it open to as many Arkansans as possible."
Story, who proposed a $185,000 license fee, said the fee is important to fund the commission and enforcement. The state finance department estimated government oversight of medical marijuana in Arkansas will cost between $4 million and $6 million a year.
The commission has not yet decided on fees or requirements relating to dispensaries.