LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Health has said it will automatically reissue its year-long medical marijuana cards to qualifying patients who have received them in the months before the drug could be sold.

A department spokeswoman told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Wednesday that the cards will be sent to patients and caregivers when the first dispensary opens so they can be used for the full year term.

Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, but the first cultivation facility does not expect to have the plant ready for harvest until at least May 12. At least two dispensaries in Hot Springs are nearing final approval from the Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates medical marijuana.

As of last week, the health department had issued more than 10,500 medical marijuana cards.