FORT SMITH — Thousands of Arkansas residents with valid medical marijuana licenses can receive a temporary medical marijuana adult license in Oklahoma, authorities said.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has issued more than 33,000 patient licenses since voters overwhelmingly authorized medical cannabis in June. Residents of Arkansas and other states with state-issued medical marijuana licenses can apply for a temporary license in Oklahoma.
The temporary license lasts for 30 days. It can be renewed but can’t exceed the expiration date on the out-of-state license.
Arkansas health officials say more than 6,400 patients in the state have been approved for medicinal cards, but it’s unclear whether those cards have been issued. The approval letter patients received will not be accepted as verification.
An out-of-state resident who wants to apply for a temporary license must pay a $100 application fee, provide an out-of-state medical marijuana license and proof of identity.
Voters approved medical marijuana in Arkansas in 2016, but the process has been sluggish compared with Oklahoma. The constitutional amendment that authorized medical marijuana in Arkansas is far more restrictive than what passed in Oklahoma, and Arkansas is still in the process of implementing that amendment.
The state has awarded five licenses for cultivators to grow marijuana, and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has said it will award licenses to the state’s first dispensaries early this year. The amendment limits the number of dispensaries to no more than 32.
In contrast, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has awarded licenses to 805 dispensaries, 1,302 growers and 341 processors as of Dec. 31.
On New Year’s Day, a new medical marijuana dispensary opened in Roland, Oklahoma, about 167 miles (269 kilometers) east of Oklahoma City and 7 miles (11 kilometers) west of Fort Smith. Employees of Pharm 788 said they had a steady flow of traffic throughout their first day of business.
“We had a lot of different customers come in,” said Maeghan Barclay, a dispensary bartender. “We had a lot of medical cards that came in and also a lot of people that came in kind of inquiring information on how to obtain a card.”