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Marijuana dispensaries in Arkansas


Marijuana dispensaries in Arkansas

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Cannabis Dispensaries in Arkansas

Arkansas shares a history with other states in the American South, but its position on the western edge of the region has long given Arkansas a slightly more independent spirit. Arkansas was among the first Southern states to create a statewide medical marijuana program, particularly one available to a large number of medical patients and one that offers more than just CBD. Though some conservative Arkansas counties and cities still prohibit cannabis in all forms, the state as a whole is moving toward more tolerant cannabis consumption, which is a boon for medical and recreational users alike.

Cannabis Laws to Know in Arkansas

Arkansas first outlawed cannabis in 1923, long before the Federal Government passed the Marihuana Tax Act to prohibit cannabis across the nation. Today, recreational cannabis consumption remains strictly against Arkansas state law, but as mentioned above, the Arkansas medical marijuana program is perhaps the most accommodating of the region. Created via a state constitutional amendment in 2016, the first Arkansas dispensaries opened in 2019.

Recreational and Adult-Use Cannabis

Currently, there are no dispensaries in Arkansas catering to recreational customers, but that doesn’t mean that Arkansas won’t legalize adult-use consumption soon. Though an initiative for recreational cannabis regulations failed to reach the 2020 ballot, Arkansas cannabis activists are optimistic about a 2022 ballot initiative reaching voters and winning approval. This measure would create a constitutional amendment allowing adults aged 21 and older to buy up to 4 ounces of dry flower per day from a licensed Arkansas dispensary.

Medical Marijuana 

Arkansas’s medical marijuana program is managed by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, which is a division of the Arkansas Department of Health. Adults aged 18 and up can apply to the program to receive a medical marijuana card, which permits access into Arkansas dispensaries and possession of up to 2.5 ounces of dry flower. Minors can also apply to the program with consent from a parent or guardian over 18, and Arkansas visitors with valid out-of-state medical marijuana cards can apply for visitors’ passes that grant medical marijuana access. Unfortunately, medical cannabis cardholders cannot cultivate cannabis at home, and members of the Arkansas National Guard and U.S. Military are ineligible for the program.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arkansas

Applicants to the Arkansas medical marijuana program apply through an online portal on the ADOH website. Patients must submit a written certification from an Arkansas-licensed physician of diagnosis of a qualifying health condition. Fortunately, Arkansas’s list of qualifying conditions is much lengthier than those of neighboring states. Additionally, patients must submit a copy of a photo ID proving residency in Arkansas as well as a $50 processing fee. Processing applications requires about 10 to 14 days, after which patients should receive their valid marijuana card in the mail to use for entry and purchases at an Arkansas dispensary. Cards remain valid for a year, and they require renewal before their expiration date.

Where Is It Legal to Consume Cannabis in Arkansas?

Cannabis consumption is restricted to private spaces with landowner permission. Public consumption of any kind — to include consumption within view of the public, like on a front porch or in a parked vehicle —  incurs steep penalties.

How to Buy Cannabis at an Arkansas Dispensary

Patients visiting an Arkansas dispensary must bring their valid medical marijuana card and a photo ID. Dispensaries in Arkansas operate much like pharmacies, with budtenders typically serving customers on a one-by-one basis, so many patients feel comfortable bringing information about their health condition to receive customized recommendations for cannabis products. Currently, there are no mandated hours of operation for Arkansas dispensaries, but most open mid-morning around 10AM and close around 8PM. Both home delivery and curbside pickup are outlawed in Arkansas.

How Much Does Cannabis Cost in Arkansas?

Though costs can vary somewhat from city to city, it is common to find a gram of dry cannabis flower for around $15 in Arkansas medical marijuana dispensaries. Extracts, concentrates, and other specialty products can vary more widely depending on quality, dosage, and availability.

Cannabis Taxes in Arkansas

Arkansas imposes a 6.5% sales tax and a 4% privilege tax on all cannabis purchases, and the state allows cities to add up to 5% in local sales taxes, as well. Though the state isn’t completely transparent with how it uses tax revenues from cannabis, it seems that much of the collected tax goes to maintaining the state medical marijuana program and funding cancer research at the University of Arkansas.

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