In November of 2016, Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment (Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment - AMMA) that provided for the creation of a medical cannabis program. In the 12 months that followed, the Arkansas Department of Health worked diligently to create rules and regulations implementing the voter-approved program. Arkansas still has areas for improvement, such as authorizing patient home cultivation, but The Natural State showed significant program improvements in just its first year. Following the passage of the constitutional amendment, the Arkansas legislature approved 16 bills that made technical and nuanced changes to the program that voters passed.  In May of 2017, Arkansas implemented Rules and Regulations for the Registration, Testing and Labeling of Cannabis, which greatly strengthened their program. Arkansas also implemented rules governing the oversight of medical cannabis cultivation facilities and dispensaries. 

Last year, Arkansas dispensaries which first began the licensing process in 2019 began opening their doors to patients. Through our previous report, 22 dispensaries had been operating. 2020 also saw the state issue the eighth and final cultivation license authorized by the 2016 constitutional amendment.