Arkansas Legal Information
On November 8, 2016, 53% of Arkansas passed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. Under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment program, patients will be able to purchases up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis every 14 days from one of up to 40 dispensaries in the state (no patient cultivation is allowed). While the qualifying conditions language has harsh restrictions on access for pain patients, the Department of Health (DOH) can add new conditions and improve the pain condition language. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division will be regulating dispensaries (DOH regulates the patient component) and must issue regulations for dispensing and cultivation in 120 days after passage and begin accepting applications June 2017. Under the law DOH is required to issue patients cards in 120 days of passage.
In January of 2017, the legislature passed legislation that would delay the patient applications by 60 days and delay the business licenses by 30 days. However, the legislature also removed restrictions on physicians having to certify that a patient’s use of medical cannabis would outweigh the harms. In May of 2017, the state implemented Rules and Regulations for the Registration, Labeling and Testing of Cannabis.
The state Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications for those growing or supplying cannabis opened on June 30, 2017, and began serving patients in May of 2019.
In This Section
While the basis for a medical cannabis program came from the passage of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, the Arkansas legislature provided many updates and changes to the original language. Additionally, the Arkansas Department of Health has provided additional rules and regulations governing licensing and cultivation facilities.
Patients with a " debilitating medical condition" who are over the age of 18 (or minors who have a designated caregiver) and are Arkansas residents may become patients. All patients will be required to register with the Arkansas Department of Health.
In Arkansas medical cannabis can be recommended by a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathy. The physician must complete a written certification that certifies their patient has one of the qualifying conditions recognized by the state.
Similar to patients, designated caregivers must also register with the Arkansas Department of Health for a ID card. The applications to be a provider and a producer in Arkansas are currently open.
Unfortunately, patients, caregivers, and providers are still vulnerable to federal and state arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration. They also suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care.