Arkansas Marijuana Laws
Updated August 2019
Historically, the marijuana laws in Arkansas have been very strict, with small use and possession being misdemeanors. However, just recently voters approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana, with qualified patients allowed access to cannabis to help in the treatment of more than 15 conditions. Learn more about Arkansas marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Arkansas
In Arkansas, the possession, use, cultivation, and transport of less than 4 ounces of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by 1 year in jail and $2500 in fines. However, anything beyond 4 ounces is considered felony and can lead to 6 to 30 years of imprisonment, and fines from $10,000 to $15,000.
Citizens of Eureka Springs and Fayetteville have voted to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. Marijuana continues to be illegal in those two cities, but police officers and other law officials don’t make enforcing cannabis laws a top priority.
Medical Marijuana in Arkansas
With the support of 53 percent of voters, Arkansas passed Issue 6 in November 2016 to legalize medical marijuana. Issue 6, also known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, establishes a system for the cultivation, acquisition and distribution of marijuana for qualifying patients. Patients must have a written certification from a licensed physician in the state to acquire access to cannabis for medical purposes. Home cultivation is not permitted.
In May 2019, two and a half years after Arkansans voted to legalize medical marijuana, the state’s first dispensary opened its doors. The first dispensary to be officially licensed, located in Hot Springs, is the only one operating as of May 2019 .
The following conditions have been approved under the law:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Severe Arthritis
- Ulcerative Colitis
Additionally, medicinal cannabis can be recommended for any chronic or debilitating medical condition that produces:
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Intractable Pain
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Severe Nausea
- Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms
The Department of Health can also approve medical marijuana for any other medical condition or its treatment.
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Arkansas
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Arkansas
The cultivation of marijuana for recreational, medical, or research purposes is illegal in Arkansas.
In 2017, the Arkansas State General Assembly approved House Bill 1778 (eventually became Act 981), creating the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act. The law created a research program to investigate the agricultural and economic potential of hemp production. It allows the state’s Plant Board to license growers to participate in a 10-year industrial hemp research program.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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With more states legalizing the use of marijuana it can be hard to stay up to date on Arkansas marijuana laws. Click to learn more about marijuana laws in AK!
Arkansas Marijuana Laws
Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated August 14, 2020
Marijuana laws vary quite a bit from state to state, with a growing number of states even legalizing the federally prohibited herb. Several states also allow the medical use of marijuana with a physician’s written recommendation, but each state has its own unique approach to regulation. Arkansas is one of more than 25 states which allows for medical use for certain conditions. But for the most part, states do not punish people as severely for marijuana offenses as they do for other drugs, such as heroin or methamphetamines.
Arkansas Marijuana Laws at a Glance
Arkansas drug laws allow some discretion by the court, with the possibility for up to one year of incarceration for possession of small amounts. The state also imposes mandatory minimum sentences for possession of more than 10 pounds or sale of more than 4 ounces. Possession of more than 500 pounds is considered trafficking, or “presumption of intent” to traffic.
In 2019, the Arkansas legislature specified that cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol derived from hemp are not considered marijuana under the criminal statute.
Additional details about Arkansas’s current marijuana laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw’s Drug Charges and Patient Rights sections for more information.
Less than 4 oz., 1st offense: Class A misdemeanor (max. 1 yr., $2,500 fine);В
1-4 oz., and any subsequent offense: Class D felony (max. 6 yrs., $10,000 fine);В
4 oz. – 10 lbs.: Class D felony (max. 6 yrs., $10,000 fine);В
10-25 lbs.: Class C felony (mandatory min. 3 yrs – max. 10 yrs. and $10,000 fine);В
25-100 lbs.: Class B felony (mandatory min. 5 yrs. – max. 20 yrs. and $15,000 fine);В
100-500 lbs.: Class A felony (mandatory min. 6 yrs. – max. 30 yrs. and $15,000 fine).
14 g or less: misdemeanor (max. 1 yr., $2,500 fine);
14 g – 4 oz.: Class D felony (max. 6 yrs., $10,000);
4 oz. – 25 lbs.: Class C felony (mandatory min. 3 yrs. – max. 10 yrs. and $10,000 fine);
25-100 lbs.: Class B felony (mandatory min. 5 yrs. – max. 20 yrs. and $15,000 fine);
100-500 lbs.: Class A felony (mandatory min. 6 yrs. – max. 30 yrs. and $15,000 fine); increased penalty within 1000 ft. of school
Yes, in 2016 voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, (Issue 6) as an amendment to the state constitution. This amendment legalized marijuana for medical use in Arkansas for 17 qualifying conditions and allowed for the establishment and regulation of marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities. Qualifying medical conditions include:
- Positive status for HIV/AIDS
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- TouretteвЂ™s snydrome
- CrohnвЂ™s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Severe arthritis
- AlzheimerвЂ™s disease
For the most updated information, speak with an attorney or contact the Arkansas Department of Health.
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new statutes but sometimes as the result of a higher court’s ruling. You may want to contact an Arkansas drug crimes attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Arkansas Law
- Official State Codes – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Arkansas Marijuana Laws: Related Resources
- Medical Marijuana Laws by State
- Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Overview
- Drug Cultivation
- Drug Possession Defenses
Learn More About Arkansas Marijuana Laws by Speaking to an Attorney
Laws surrounding marijuana use, either for recreational or medical purposes, change constantly. It’s important to have the most up-to-date information if you or someone you love is being charged with a crime or is interested in using marijuana for qualifying medical conditions. Speak with an experienced drug crime attorney near you to learn more about Arkansas marijuana laws and how they apply to your situation.
Chart providing details of Arkansas Marijuana Laws