Medical marijuana in Arkansas has had a long, complicated past with ever-changing regulations. Unfortunately, this isn't uncommon in the world of MMJ, and it makes keeping up with cannabis laws difficult — especially in the Natural State. But, that's why, today, we're addressing the ins and outs of Arkansas medical marijuana laws.

From possession limits to cultivation regulations and everything in between, we're covering it all regarding marijuana in AR. So, is marijuana legal in Arkansas? Let's find out.

Is marijuana legal in arkansas

Yes, but there’s more to the story.

Medical marijuana legislation in Arkansas goes back to 2006 when residents of Eureka Springs set the ball rolling and passed a voter initiative by 64%–36% to make police enforcement of marijuana crimes a low priority. In 2008, Fayetteville followed suit with a similar voter initiative.

The first attempt to legalize medical marijuana at the state level came in 2012 when the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act made it as far as the statewide ballot. It was defeated by a vote of 48.6% to 51.4%. However, legalization advocates were undeterred, and four years later, they made it happen.

On November 8, 2016, 53% of Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment and legalized medical marijuana. The law allows patients with qualifying conditions to obtain and use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval and provides for the licensing of state cultivation facilities and dispensaries. 

According to statistics from the Arkansas Department of Health, there are 82,151 active medical marijuana ID cards in the state. Local media reports that medical marijuana sales average $500,000 daily in the state.  

What Are the Marijuana Laws in Arkansas?

Now you know that medical marijuana is legal in Arkansas. It is also important you know the marijuana laws in Arkansas, or you could find yourself facing the consequences of breaking the law. You can’t just walk into a store and purchase medical marijuana like you can potato chips. Patients must have the Arkansas Department of Health issue their medical marijuana card.

As part of the Arkansas MMJ laws, you need to have one of the following qualifying conditions and a doctor’s recommendation before applying for a medical marijuana card in the state:

Other medical conditions can be added to the list subject to a petition. You can petition the Department of Health for consideration of an illness, and the petition will be approved or denied within 120 days of submission. To learn more about the petition application, click here.  

Where Can I Consume Marijuana?

Even with a medical marijuana card, you can’t consume medical marijuana anywhere you like. Marijuana consumption is prohibited in public spaces such as school buses, youth centers, school grounds, and correctional facilities. 

You can’t consume marijuana in your car or in any private residence used to provide licensed child care or other similar social care services. It is also prohibited to consume marijuana in any building owned or leased by state or local government, in health facilities or spaces where smoking is prohibited according to the Clean Air Act of 2006, and in physical proximity to anyone under 18.

The best place to consume medical marijuana is in the privacy of your home.  

LEARN MORE: If You Have a Medical Card, Where Can You Smoke?

What Are the Requirements for a Medical Marijuana Card Application?

 To apply for a medical marijuana card, you need the following:

  • The completed application form
  • Physician certification  
  • Photocopy of your state-issued Driver’s license or state ID
  • Non-refundable $50 application fee

Applications for Arkansas medical marijuana card may take up to 14 days to process, and it is valid for one year or as designated by the physician. The Department of Health recommends that medical marijuana cards be renewed 30 days before expiration. 

Note that members of the Arkansas National Guard and the United States Military cannot apply for medical marijuana in Arkansas. 

Does My MMJ Card Offer Employee Protection?

You may be wondering if your employer can take action against you because you possess or use medical marijuana. Well, Arkansas medical marijuana law states that “An employer shall not discriminate against an applicant or employee in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee, based upon the applicant’s or employee’s past or present status as a qualifying patient or designated caregiver.”

However, the law does not stop employers from implementing a drug-free workplace policy. It’s best to speak with your employer for clarity. 

Where Can I Buy Medical Marijuana?

After a successful medical marijuana card application, where can you buy medical marijuana?

is marijuana legal in Arkansas

According to Arkansas MMJ laws, you can only buy from a licensed dispensary. If you buy from any other source, you are not protected by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act. In addition, you must show your medical marijuana card at the dispensary before making a purchase. Caregivers can purchase marijuana on behalf of the patients they represent.

For a list of licensed dispensaries, click here

Is There an Age Limit for Medical Marijuana?

The Arkansas medical marijuana program is open to everyone, but minors aged 18 and under can only apply for or purchase marijuana via a caregiver. Typically, the caregiver will be a parent or guardian.

LEARN MORE: The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Caregiver Process

If you prefer edibles, they are available at licensed dispensaries. However, don’t expect to find them in the colorful packaging.

AR medical marijuana laws prohibit manufacturers from making edibles that are “likely to appeal to minors,” including “candy, cookies, and brownies.” You’re likely to find dark-colored gummies tablets instead of colorful little bears, hard candies, which are basically a harder form of gummies, and chocolate bars.  

If you don’t have a medical marijuana card, it’s best to avoid cannabis because recreational marijuana is illegal in Arkansas, and possession can incur stiff penalties.

Possession of fewer than 4 ounces or 110 grams is a Class A demeanor and carries a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one-year imprisonment. For offenders with two existing convictions, possession of 1 ounce or 28 grams is a Class D felony which attracts a fine of up to $6,000 and a maximum of six years in prison. 

First-time offenders who are caught with up to 4 ounces or 110 grams face a fine of up to $2,500, imprisonment of up to a year, and mandatory suspension of their Driver’s license for six months. 

As you can see, the penalties for recreational use of marijuana in Arkansas are stiff. Avoid it altogether.

On the bright side, the legalization of recreational marijuana is on the horizon as efforts are ongoing to get recreational marijuana legalized in Arkansas. The coronavirus pandemic handicapped a 2020 petition to put the question to voters. 

However, efforts are still ongoing, and the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative may make it to the ballot in November 2022. If voters approve, recreational marijuana will be legal for adults aged 21 and older.  

CBD and Hemp Rules in Arkansas

You may be wondering, “is THC legal in Arkansas?” Well, it depends.

Arkansas law aligns itself with US federal law regarding CBD and hemp. A few years ago, the government passed the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill legalized hemp and hemp products as long as they don’t contain more than 0.3% THC. Thus, CBD products derived from hemp that doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC are legal in Arkansas. 

For more information about hemp in Arkansas, you can click here.  

Arkansas Cannabis Cultivation Center Licenses

If you want to grow marijuana and you’re wondering how to get a grower’s license in Arkansas, it’s pretty straightforward.

To run a cultivation center for marijuana, you must apply to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission and fulfill the following requirements before your application for an Arkansas cultivation license can be considered:

  • Be 21 years or older
  • Be a current resident who has been a resident for seven consecutive years prior to the application
  • Have not held a prior license for cultivation or dispensary, which has been revoked
  • No felony convictions
  • Have up-to-date tax records
  • Own no other cultivation facility in the state

For detailed information on AR cultivation licenses, click here

Arkansas Possession and Cultivation Limits

A crucial aspect of Arkansas medical laws is the possession and cannabis limits. How much medical marijuana can you possess? Can you grow your own weed?

california medical marijuana laws

Medical marijuana may be legal, but even with your MMJ card, there’s a limit to how much you can possess. Qualified patients or their caregivers can buy up to 2.5 ounces every 14 days from a registered dispensary. Also, patients and their caregivers cannot cultivate medical marijuana. Access to the drug is only through medical marijuana dispensaries.  

LEARN MORE: Is Home Cultivation Allowed in Arkansas?

Arkansas Marijuana Reciprocity 

What if you’re from out of state and want to purchase medical marijuana? You’re in luck: Arkansas has reciprocity laws.

Patients from out-of-state who possess a valid MMJ card from another state can register as visiting patients. The application costs $50, and if approved, you can purchase medical marijuana in Arkansas for a 90-day period.

You can access the application form via the patient registry process here

Getting Your AR MMJ Card Through Elevate Holistics

The therapeutic benefits of marijuana are backed by science, and they have been proven to alleviate the symptoms of many ailments, particularly pain. 

Here at Elevate Holistics, we believe access to the wonders of nature’s gift should not be a barrier to Arkansas residents. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to embark on your journey to wellness via marijuana by laying out all you need to know about AR marijuana laws.

Got more questions and inquiries? Ask us. If you need to find a physician, locate a dispensary or renew your AR MMJ card, we can help. Contact us today, and let’s help you along.