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recreational marijuana in arkansas

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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

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.

Group aims to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Medical marijuana is already legalized in the state of Arkansas but now several groups are pushing to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

It would allow anyone who is 21 and over to use, process, grow, transport and sell marijuana along with marijuana products.

Arkansas True Grass is for recreational marijuana. They’ve collected over 10,000 signatures to try and get recreational marijuana on the November ballot.

They say recreational marijuana can help reduce crime and people will have individual rights.

But organizations like Family Council in Little Rock are against recreational marijuana.

They say Arkansans already have medical marijuana and it will bring problems to children and drug dealers.

Recreational marijuana is illegal in the state of Arkansas, but the group “Arkansas True Grass” hoping to change that.

“We want to free the people and the plant. We believe people should not be in prison or jail over a plant,” Briana Boling with Arkansas True Grass said.

But not everyone agrees.

“well Arkansas already has medical marijuana and people who have certain medical conditions can get a card and they can use marijuana any way they want too,” Jerry Cox with Family Council said.

The amendment would release marijuana offenders from jail or prison and expunge their criminal records.

“A lot of times that what’s prosecutors get people on they can’t get them on what crime they’re really looking for so they go after them with the marijuana and it’s putting dads in prison it’s creating homelessness in our population,” Bill Barger said.

Family Council says releasing people from jail or prison is concerning.

“it’s extremely concerning because what does that say to our society our children those who are trying to live the law what does it say if you bring recreational marijuana into our society. What does that do to us,” Cox said.

If recreational marijuana is legalized, Bill Barger says the money would go to the general fund.

“Rather than pay more cops to chase people, and keep more people in prison we tax revenue from marijuana,” he said.

“Well if we are going to rely on marijuana to fund our government that’s a pretty sad day. We don’t need to be doing that we don’t need to be encouraging people to smoke weed so we can get more tax dollars that’s foolish,” Cox said.

Family Council says the amendment would make marijuana easier to obtain than tobacco products.

“Kids can get their hands on it and if it’s legal they must think it’s okay to use it. It sends a bad message all the way around,” he said.

“If everyone is following the law and it was to pass. It would end the black market and keep it out of the hands of children,” Briana Boling said.

The group, Arkansas True Grass and any other groups hoping to legalize marijuana must have 90,000 signatures by July 03, 2020

To read more about the amendment, how much a license would cost if it passes and how it would be regulated, click here.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Medical marijuana is already legalized in the state of Arkansas but now several groups are pushing to legalize recreational marijuana. The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. It would allow anyone who is 21 and over to use, process, […]