FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – (KNWA/KFTA) – There are businesses in Arkansas that have experienced success during this pandemic that you may initially think of. One of those is the Medical Marijuana industry which saw a 900% increase from 2019.

Scott Hardin with the Arkansas Department of Finance says that the Marijuana industry in 2020 shattered everyone’s expectations 

Hardin says, “overall Arkansasans spent over $200 million since that first dispensary opened, but if you are just looking at 2020 alone we are looking at 180 million dollars.”

Hardin says the $180 Million of marijuana sold in the state of Arkansas equates to 26 thousand pounds and he thinks COVID-19 has a lot to do with the increase in sales.

“The CDC said everyone needs to have a two week supply of all medication it looks like to us quite a few people did that,” says Hardin.

One dispensary in Fort Smith says the stimulus payments have also had a direct effect on sales.

Jordan Mooney, manager at Fort Cannabis Co. says, “we noticed a sharp day of sales when those payments were said to be going out.”

It’s not just dispensaries that have seen an increase in sales, its been hemp-derived products across the board.

Owner of Miss D’s CBD and Hemp Shop, Dawn Harpell says, “we survived COVID very very well, people were very stressed out and we turn to our vices when we are stressed. We do CBD and we saw a lot of people with anxiety during that time period.”

And all of this success is going a long way in supporting Arkansas’s economy in the middle of a pandemic  

Hardin says, “in state taxes, you can take 10.5% of that and that is what the state is going to be collected, so ruffly $20 million overall collected.”