LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in Arkansas?
Adult-use cannabis is prohibited in Arkansas, though patients with qualifying conditions and their doctors’ approval may consume medical marijuana.
In 2020, the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative failed to receive enough signatures to appear on the general election ballot. If passed, the initiative would have legalized marijuana use in Arkansas for adults age 21 and over. The measure may be revisited in the 2022 election cycle.
Prior to Arkansas’ legalization of medical cannabis, the city of Eureka Springs passed a voter initiative in 2006 to make marijuana crime enforcement a low priority. Fayetteville passed a similar voter initiative in 2007.
Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), or Issue 6, with 53% of the vote on Nov. 8, 2016. The law allows seriously ill patients to obtain and consume medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval and establishes licenses for state cultivation facilities and dispensaries.
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) issues medical marijuana ID cards for patients and caregivers. The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Division regulates dispensaries and has issued regulations for dispensing and cultivation. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has also been created under the AMMA to regulate licensing of dispensaries and cultivation facilities and support the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division in implementing regulations.
Where is it safe to purchase weed in Arkansas?
All medical marijuana products must be purchased through medical marijuana dispensaries registered with the state. Patients must show their medical marijuana ID card to purchase from a dispensary. Caregivers are allowed to purchase medical marijuana for their designated patient, provided they show their designated caregiver registry card.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Arkansas
Medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in Arkansas and search by major metro areas including Hot Springs, Jonesboro, and Little Rock. Many dispensaries in Arkansas offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
Where is it safe to consume weed in Arkansas?
Arkansas patients may consume medical marijuana only in their homes. Consumption in public is not allowed.
Possession and cultivation limits
No patient or caregiver cultivation is allowed.
Patients and caregivers may purchase up to 2.5 ounces, or 70.87 grams, of medical cannabis every 14 days from one state-approved dispensary. There are restrictions for pain patients, but the ADH can add new conditions for eligibility. All medical marijuana used by qualifying patients in Arkansas must be grown and treated inside state boundaries.
Recreational possession is illegal. Possession of less than 4 ounces, or 113.4 grams, of marijuana on a first offense is a misdemeanor that comes with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Cultivation is prosecuted as either simple possession or possession with intent to deliver, depending on the amount of marijuana being produced. Possession of less than 14 grams, or half an ounce, is a misdemeanor that carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a $2,500 fine. More than 14 grams is considered a felony with penalties depending on the quantity. Any amount greater than 4 ounces carries a mandatory minimum three-year prison term and $10,000 fine.
Medical marijuana program
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable pain, defined as pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment, or surgical measures for more than six months
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe arthritis
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Severe nausea
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the ADH
Patients suffering from medical conditions that aren’t on the list may file a petition with the ADH to receive access to medical marijuana.
Prospective medical marijuana patients in Arkansas can register with the ADH online . Both patients and caregivers must pay a $50, non-refundable fee. Caregivers must also pay $37 for a background check. If the caregiver is the legal guardian or parent of a patient who is a minor, the caregiver is not required to undergo a background check or pay the $37 fee.
To qualify, patients must:
- Be 18 years of age or older (minors may qualify with parental consent)
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
- Have official written certification from a physician (physicians must certify patients by filling out and signing the ADH-approved certification form)
- Show proof of Arkansas residency
Members of the Arkansas National Guard and United States Military do not qualify for medical marijuana.
Arkansas allows medical marijuana patients with valid recommendations from other states to access medical marijuana provided they fill out a visiting patient form and provide proof of out-of-state registration.
The ADH requires cannabis in the state to be tested by an analytical testing laboratory for the following:
- Microbiological contaminants
- Water activity and moisture content
- Cannabinoid concentrations (CBD and THC)
- Heavy Metals
Licensing for dispensaries and cultivators
All dispensary applicants must pay a $15,000 application fee, half of which will be refunded to unsuccessful applicants. After applying for a license to sell medical cannabis in the state of Arkansas, applicants must also pay a $15,000 license fee and carry a $100,000 performance bond. Cultivators who are awarded a license must pay a $100,000 license fee and carry a $500,000 performance bond.
CBD and hemp rules in Arkansas
After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill , which legalized hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) and allowed for its cultivation and distribution as an agricultural product, the Arkansas legislature also passed HB 1518 , which decriminalized hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). As a result, hemp-derived CBD is regulated within the state’s medical marijuana program.
This page was last updated on September 14, 2020.View the marijuana laws & regulations for Arkansas.
AR Marijuana Qualification
Updated on June 15, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Qualification
Patients in Arkansas diagnosed with one or more of the following “debilitating medical conditions”, are afforded legal protection under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment:
- AIDS (Positive Status)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable Pain (Pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six (6) months)
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- HIV (Positive Status)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures (Including Epilepsy)
- Severe and persistent Muscle Spasms including without limitation those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis
- Severe Arthritis
- Severe Nausea
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
and any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Program: Information
- To qualify for Medical Marijuana in Arkansas, patients must be eighteen (18) years of age or older. If under eighteen (18) years of age, the minor patient must have parental consent.
- Patients must be a resident of Arkansas and provide proof of residency through a valid Driver’s License or valid State Identification Card.
- Patients must be diagnosed with a Qualifying Condition (listed above).
- Patients must have an official written Certification from the qualified physician.
- Patients must then submit an application for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (Medical Marijuana Card). Patients can submit applications online here or mail the application to Arkansas Department Of Health Medical Marijuana Section 4815 West Markham Slot 50 Little Rock, AR 72205
- The Application Fee is $50.00 and Non-Refundable.
- If the application is approved, the state will notify the approved patient and mail the Identification Card to the address listed in the application.
- State Law prohibits members of Arkansas National Guard & United States Military from obtaining a registry ID card.
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How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Arkansas
1. Patients must be at least 18 years of age.
2. Patients must be a legal Arkansas Resident with a valid Arkansas I.D. as proof of residency. If you do not have an Arkansas I.D. an out of state I.D., passport, or other photo I.D. with proof of residency such as bank statement, utility bill, etc. is acceptable.
3. Patients must obtain legitimate medical records or documentation from your primary care physician describing their diagnosis and bring these records with you to your marijuana evaluation appointment – *Learn how to request your medical records
4. The qualifying patient must have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition – *Find a certified medical marijuana physician in Arkansas
5. All patients will be required to register with the Department of Health, details will be provided once the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Program has been fully implemented by the DOH.
6. * Please note: It will take several months for the DOH to prepare the AMMP for operation, however, patients may begin the process by establishing a bonafide doctor-patient relationship with a licensed marijuana doctor now, in efforts to allow patients early access to the medicine once it becomes available.
Medical Marijuana Access in Arkansas
Some medical marijuana patients will claim they have a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana, but marijuana prescriptions are in fact illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Therefore doctors are unable to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana physicians will supply patients with a medical marijuana recommendation in compliance with state law.
Arkansas possession regulations allow patients to possess no more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana in a 14-day period.
While Arkansas is more progressive than most Southern states in allowing the possession of weed for medical purposes, advocates were discouraged in April 2017 due to the passing of a bill that would implement further taxes on medical cannabis, impacting Arkansas medical marijuana qualifications. Supporters of the bill said the additional money would be needed in order to implement the medical marijuana program, while critics argued it would only serve to make it more costly for patients to access cannabis.
It is estimated the bill, which would impose an additional tax of 4 percent, would raise the total amount of taxes levied on medical cannabis to 25 percent for patients. The bill was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017, the same day the state will start to accept applications from companies wanting to establish both dispensaries as well as cultivation facilities.
Another development that concerned medical marijuana qualifications in Arkansas concerned the process for awarding licenses to cannabis-related businesses. In November 2016, voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, which not only legalized medical weed but also allowed for the opening of as many as eight cultivation facilities as well as up to 40 dispensaries.
Many critics of the rules note dispensary applicants have to enter a lottery in order to present their business plans to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. In addition, critics are concerned dispensary applicants who wish to also cultivate plants must pay a $25,000 fee. Dispensaries that do not cultivate weed must only pay a $2,500 fee.
As a result, critics say access to cannabis would be limited. They believe the fee would make it hard for patients suffering from certain conditions to purchase specific strains they may need in order to alleviate their symptoms.
Go to our section on obtaining a medical marijuana card in Arkansas for more information on how to access medicinal cannabis in the state.Learn more about qualifying for medical marijuana in Arkansas. Get info on qualifying conditions and find local doctors at Marijuana Doctors. ]]>