US (AR): Increased cannabis production won't solve the industry's affordability issue

On Oct. 1, the opening of River Valley Relief Cultivation on Old Greenwood Road will give the River Valley its first medical cannabis growing facility. 

Scott Hardin, director of communications for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, said Amendment 8, which was passed by voters in 2016 to legalize medical cannabis, limits the number of growers in the state to eight. The state has reached its limit of eight growers.

Fort Smith was approved to grow cannabis in 2020, along with Grady and Hot Springs. They join Pine Bluff, Cotton Plant, Newport, Berryville, and White Hall, which were approved in 2018.  

Despite legalization by the state, there are concerns that medical cannabis isn’t accessible because of its cost. Kristy Floyd, director of operations for River Valley Relief Cultivation, said the increase in supply alone won’t solve the affordability problem. She explained one of the challenges to affordability is insurance companies won’t cover medical cannabis because it is illegal at the federal level. 


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