How to Open a Dispensary in Arkansas 

7 min read

How to Open a Dispensary in Arkansas 

March 7, 2023

Cannabis dispensaries have become an increasingly relevant topic in Arkansas in recent years. As more states across the US legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use, Arkansas has joined the growing list of states that allow for medical cannabis use in 2016. With the opening of dispensaries across the state, patients now have access to a range of cannabis products to help manage their medical conditions. However, establishing these dispensaries has also sparked debate and controversy, raising concerns about the impact of cannabis use on public health and safety. In this context, understanding the role and regulations of cannabis dispensaries in Arkansas is crucial for both patients and the business community. This blog will give a clear view of how to open a dispensary in Arkansas. 

For a detailed overview of Arkansas marijuana laws, click here

How to Get a Dispensary License in Arkansas

Before opening a dispensary, the first thing to do is learn how to get a dispensary license in Arkansas. It requires a thorough understanding of the state’s regulations and requirements. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) oversees the licensing process and ensures all applicants meet the necessary criteria.

To apply for the Arkansas dispensary license, interested parties must first meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age;
  • Be an Arkansas resident for at least seven years;
  • Have no felony convictions or drug-related convictions;
  • Have a business plan that meets the state’s requirements.

Once the eligibility requirements are met, the application process can begin. The AMMC accepts applications during specific periods, and interested parties must submit their applications during these periods. The application includes a non-refundable fee and requires detailed information about the business plan, proposed location, security measures, and inventory tracking.

To be considered for a dispensary license, individual applicants or applying entities must submit their application to the commission following the specific form and submission process established by the commission.

After the commission publishes a legal notice, the application period for the dispensary license will start ten days later and continue for ninety days from the publication date.

If an application is approved, the information and commitments outlined in the application become binding conditions of the license. Non-compliance with these requirements could result in the license’s revocation or renewal rejection.

The AMMC reviews each application thoroughly and assesses each applicant’s qualifications and proposed business plan. In summary, getting a cannabis dispensary license in Arkansas requires careful planning, attention to detail, and compliance with all state regulations. With the right preparation and adherence to the rules, interested parties can successfully apply for and obtain a dispensary license in Arkansas.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Dispensary in Arkansas

To open a dispensary in Arkansas can be a significant financial investment. The cost of opening a dispensary can vary depending on several factors, including the location, size of the dispensary, and the amount of inventory and equipment needed.

To obtain a license to open a dispensary in Arkansas, applicants must pay a non-refundable application fee of $7,500. Additionally, if an application is approved, the applicant must pay a license fee of $15,000. These fees are necessary to cover the cost of processing and reviewing applications and maintaining regulatory oversight.

Beyond the license fees, several other costs are associated with opening and operating a dispensary. These can include:

  • Rent or purchase of a suitable location;
  • Construction or renovation costs to prepare the space for the dispensary;
  • Inventory costs, including the purchase of cannabis products, security systems, and tracking software, which is Biotrack in Arkansas;
  • Staffing costs, including salaries and benefits for employees;
  • Marketing and advertising expenses.

Overall, the total cost to open a dispensary in Arkansas ranges from $150,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the specific circumstances. However, these costs can vary widely, and interested parties should consider all financial aspects before opening a dispensary in Arkansas.

A dispensary license allows the business to acquire, possess, manufacture, process, prepare, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, and dispense medical marijuana to qualifying patients and caregivers. No more than 1 license shall be issued to any entity. 

How to Draft a Dispensary Business Plan

Drafting a comprehensive business plan is crucial when starting a dispensary in Arkansas. Here are some key components to include in a business plan: 

Executive Summary

This should be a brief overview of the dispensary’s mission, goals, products, and target market.

Company Description

This section should include information about the dispensary’s history, ownership structure, legal structure, and location.

Market Analysis

Conduct thorough research to understand the market trends, demand, competition, and demographics of the area where the dispensary will operate.

Products and Services

Describe the types of cannabis products and related services that will be offered, including details about quality control measures and pricing.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Outline strategies for reaching and retaining customers, including advertising, social media, and customer loyalty programs.

Financial Projections

Include financial statements such as cash flow, profit and loss, and balance sheets. Estimate the costs associated with opening and operating the dispensary, as well as revenue projections.

Management and Staffing

Detail the experience and qualifications of key staff members, as well as plans for hiring and training additional employees.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Detail all relevant laws and regulations the dispensary must comply with, including tax requirements, security measures, and record-keeping.

Risk Management

Identify potential risks and challenges the dispensary may face and outline strategies for mitigating those risks.


Additionally, seeking feedback from industry experts and potential investors can help refine the plan and increase its chances of success.

How To Choose The Right Dispensary Location

Some factors need to be considered when selecting a location to open a dispensary in Arkansas. It is important to research local zoning laws and ensure the chosen location is zoned for commercial cannabis use. Arkansas requires dispensaries to be at least 1,500 feet away from schools, daycare centers, and churches. The dispensary should be easily accessible for patients, ideally located in a convenient and visible location. It is as important to research the competition in the area and ensure that the dispensary is not in close proximity to other established dispensaries. 

Overall, careful consideration of these factors can help ensure that the chosen location is the right fit for the dispensary and has the best chance of success. 


In Arkansas, authorized marijuana stores must set up a seed-to-sale monitoring system that oversees the whole process of cannabis product development, from growth to purchase. This must be done according to the regulations on monitoring and reporting in North Dakota. While dispensaries may use different tracking software, Biotrack is the specific system used in Arkansas.

How To Get Funding To Open A Dispensary

Getting funding to open a dispensary in Arkansas can be challenging, but several options are available to prospective business owners. Here are a few ways to secure funding:

  • Self-funding: One option is to self-fund the dispensary. This involves using personal savings, investments, or assets to finance the business.
  • Traditional financing: Some business owners may choose to apply for a traditional business loan from a bank or credit union. However, this can be difficult for cannabis businesses as many financial institutions are hesitant to provide loans due to the federally illegal status of cannabis.
  • Private investors: Private investors or venture capitalists can be another option for funding. These individuals or firms provide funding in exchange for a percentage of ownership in the business.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding involves raising funds from a large number of people through online platforms such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe. However, this may not be challenging for cannabis businesses due to legal restrictions.
  • State funding programs: Arkansas has several programs to support small businesses, including cannabis businesses. These programs provide funding, technical assistance, and other resources to help businesses start and grow.
  • Partnerships or collaborations: Another option is to partner with an existing cannabis business or collaborate with other business owners to share resources and costs.

It is important to have a solid business plan and financial projections when seeking funding to open a dispensary in Arkansas. Additionally, prospective business owners should research and understand all state and local regulations regarding cannabis businesses to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.


In conclusion, cannabis dispensaries have become an increasingly important part of Arkansas’s economy and healthcare landscape. However, opening and running a dispensary in Arkansas require careful planning, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and a significant financial investment. Prospective business owners should conduct thorough research, develop a comprehensive business plan, and explore funding options to increase their chances of success. With the right approach and a commitment to ethical and professional conduct, cannabis dispensaries can benefit patients and the broader community in Arkansas.