LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV) - As the state of Arkansas prepares to dispense medical marijuana, 222 Arkansans already have their certification to get the drug.

It's been nearly a month since the state began taking applications for medical marijuana certification.

"We've accepted about a thousand online applications, we sent out about 500 paper applications that people have asked for," said Robert Brech, General Counsel for the Arkansas Department of Health. "As of yesterday we've approved 222 of those."

The application process requires a visit to a state licensed physician with a DEA number.

There are 18 conditions that make an individual eligible for an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card. A doctor must sign off on one of those before the application is submitted.

"One thing that they have noticed is people are forgetting to sign the bottom of the written certification," Brech said. "The doctor will sign certifying you have one of the 18 conditions then the patient has to sign at the very bottom of that."

A study conducted by a division of UAMS showed that nearly 500,000 Arkansans are possibly eligible for certification.

Brech, who issues the medical marijuana cards, is expecting roughly 30,000 applications.

"There's not a big rush for them, but I would encourage them to go ahead and apply as soon as possible, so they don't get caught in the big rush once marijuana is available we think we will get a lot of applications," he said.

Every applicant must pay a $50 application fee and include a state issued photo ID.

"There not actually going to get the card," Brech explained. "They will get a letter or correspondence that they have been approved. Cards won't be issued until marijuana is for sale. Thirty days prior we will start issuing cards."

The Health Department said they are validating those certifications through the physicians who sign off on the applications. The application process for cultivation sites and dispensaries is still underway.