Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, with 53% of the vote on November 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.
Arkansas is developing a plan that could result in the state’s medical cannabis program launching in early 2019. The state’s program appeared to be derailed for a time when an injunction was issued in March 2018 by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen in a ruling that the license award process violated the state’s 2016 constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.
The state Supreme Court reversed that decision in June 2018, allowing the state to officially issue the licenses. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has since awarded licenses to five (5) cultivation companies after the injunction was lifted. In August 2018, the commission chose Public Consulting Group to grade more than 200 dispensary applications it has received and chose 32 winners to sell marijuana in Arkansas.
Patients will be able to purchase up to 2.5 ounces, or 70.87 grams, of medical cannabis every 14 days from one of up to 40 state-approved dispensaries for the under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. There are restrictions for pain patients, but the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) can add new conditions.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division will be regulating dispensaries and has issued regulations for dispensing and cultivation. The ADH is required to issue patients cards.
The state has seen some local decriminalization successes. The city of Eureka Springs in 2006 passed a voter initiative to make marijuana crime enforcement a low priority. Fayetteville in 2008 passed a similar voter initiative “to make investigations, citations, arrests, property seizures, and prosecutions for misdemeanor marijuana offenses, where marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the City of Fayetteville’s lowest law enforcement and prosecutorial priority.”
Recreational possession is illegal. Possession of less than four (4) ounces, or 113.4 grams, of marijuana is a misdemeanor that comes with up to one (1) 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 with intent to deliver quantities less than 14 grams is a misdemeanor that carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a $2,500 fine. More than 14 grams is a considered a felony with penalties depending on the quantity. Any amount over 4 ounces carries at minimum a mandatory 3-year prison term and $10,000 fine.
Where is it Safe to Purchase?
Dispensaries are not yet open in Arkansas. The state is developing a plan that could result in its medical cannabis program launching in early 2019.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Arkansas medical marijuana patients may only consume in their home. Consumption in public is not allowed.
No patient cultivation is allowed.
to Be to Consume?
Medical Marijuana Registry
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe arthritis
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- intractable pain, or pain that has shown not to respond to ordinary medical treatments or surgical measures for more than six (6) months
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe nausea
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
Prospective medical marijuana patients in Arkansas can register with the Arkansas Department of Health online. Both patients and caregivers must pay a $50, non-refundable, fee. Caregivers must also pay $37 for a background check.
To qualify, patients must be:
- Be 18 years of age or older (minor patients may qualify with parental consent)
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
- Have official written certification from a physician
- Show proof of Arkansas residency
- Members of the Arkansas National Guard and United States Military do not qualify for medical marijuana
The state of Arkansas allows reciprocity, which means medical marijuana patients with valid recommendations from other states can access medical marijuana in Arkansas provided they fill out a visiting patient form and can provide proof of out-of-state registration.
The Arkansas Department of Health 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
This page was last updated on October 31, 2018.