Johnson-based Shake Extractions has obtained the state’s first medical marijuana processing license and plans to use it to manufacture health, beauty and other products for sale in Arkansas pharmacies.
The company plans to use chemical-free processing to make marijuana products, including concentrates and rosin, infused extracts for oral and topical use, and skin care and personal care products.
Shake Brands Corp. was founded in 2017 by four founders and investment partners – Julie Brents, Brittany Phillips, Antigone Davoulas and Syrona Scott – and is the parent company of Shake Extractions. The group also provides branding and product development services to cannabis companies through Shake Collaboration, and manufactures a line of products for the CBD market called CBD & Me.
Brents has extensive experience in the California cannabis market. Because products containing medical marijuana cannot be sold across state borders, the items for sale in Arkansas pharmacies have so far been limited to what can be made in the state. Shake Extractions products offer Arkansas customers more options.
According to Brents, getting the permit and starting the company was time-consuming, noting that the permit application alone was over 350 pages.
“There were a lot of complicated problems to solve,” she said.
Phillips said the company’s experience in the CBD market will enable Shake Extractions to easily manufacture consumer products containing medical marijuana. She called CBD, which does not contain THC, as the “sober cousin” of cannabis. THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
“There just aren’t a lot of product options,” she said for Arkansas pharmacies.
A second application for a medical marijuana processor in the Little Rock area has been filed and is currently under review, according to Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. In January, Arkansas opened the application process for processors and vans. These licenses have no upper limits on the number that the state will issue.
The production license enables a company to obtain products from cultivators, pharmacies and other processors.
Arkansas approved the use of medical marijuana in late 2016, and its first pharmacy opened in May 2019. According to the state’s Department of Finance and Administration, 32 pharmacies are in operation, with six expected to open in the near future, a total of 38 licensed pharmacies. The state has limited the available licenses for pharmacies to 40.
There are eight licensed cultivators in the state with five operating and three heading towards production. Arkansas has limited the number of cultivator licenses to eight.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, there are 69,287 medical marijuana patient cards. Since Arkansas’s first pharmacy opened, the state’s residents have spent $ 258 million on more than 39,000 pounds of medical marijuana. As of mid-2019, the state has levied around $ 27 million in taxes on medical marijuana sales.
Morgan Fox, a media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, a trade group, said cannabis companies across the country face many challenges, including difficulties in obtaining banking services, restrictions on international trade and less favorable tax breaks compared to other companies .
According to New Frontier Data’s “Cannabis in America for 2021 and Beyond” report, sales in the legal cannabis market were estimated at $ 13.2 billion in 2019 and $ 20.1 billion in 2020, of which $ 8.6 billion is intended for legal medical use. The report points to strong consumer demand, with projected average annual growth of 21% to more than $ 41 billion by 2025, of which $ 16.3 billion is for legal medical use.
According to the report, sales growth over the next five years would come from the addition of new legal markets. sustainable growth in legal markets; and increased cannabis use as its therapeutic use gains popularity with the general public and it is diversified into various forms of medicinal and wellness uses.
Balms infused with CBD oil will be in the Shake Extractions manufacturing area in Johnson on Friday March 12th, 2021. The female-owned company is the first in Arkansas to be licensed to manufacture medical marijuana. Visit nwaonline.com/210321Daily/ for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)