Arkansas

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. 

Legislation history

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. 

Regulation authority

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

Qualifying conditions

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • 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.

Application process

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.

Reciprocity

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.  

Lab testing

The ADH requires cannabis in the state to be tested by an analytical testing laboratory for the following:

  • Microbiological contaminants
  • Solvents
  • Water activity and moisture content
  • Cannabinoid concentrations (CBD and THC)
  • Heavy Metals

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. 

Frequently asked questions

What are the open carry laws of Arkansas?

Whether it's legal to openly carry a firearm in Arkansas is a matter of interpretation and you should consult an attorney with related questions. As for the intersection of gun laws and medical marijuana in the state, federal law prohibits anyone in any state from owning a firearm if they are an “unlawful user” of marijuana. Since federal law also prohibits all use of marijuana, it counts everyone who consumes it as an “unlawful user,” regardless of state law. Firearms dealers are not required to ask specifically about medical marijuana use, however, and the medical marijuana card application does not ask about firearm ownership. The ATF will assume that felony perjury has been committed by anyone who purchases a firearm from a dealer after obtaining a medical marijuana card. 

How close is Arkansas to recreational marijuana?

Illinois is the state closest to Arkansas where recreational use of cannabis is legal. As far as efforts to legalize adult or recreational use of marijuana, a petition campaign to put the question before voters in 2020 was derailed due to coronavirus concerns. The group behind the campaign, Arkansas True Grass, plans to try again for the 2022 election.  

What drugs are legal in Arkansas?

Here at Weedmaps, we mostly know about weed, which is illegal in Arkansas except for medical marijuana cardholders and their caregivers. The state's full schedule of controlled substances is available on the Pharmacy Board's website. 

Is possession of a controlled substance a felony in Arkansas?

It depends on the substance. For cannabis, first time possession of 4 ounces or more is a felony. 

Are edibles legal in Arkansas?

Cannabis is legal in food and beverages for medical marijuana patients.

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

This page was last updated January 6, 2021.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on January 29, 2021.