Policy Recommendations Arkansas

2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

Drawing from a $1.3 million grant from the NIH, researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement began a study on the overall health outcomes of medical cannabis use in the state. The study will examine product variety consumed by patients, motor vehicle accidents, opioid prescription rates, and the frequency of doctor’s visits, among other factors. Doctors in Arkansas will no longer be bound to a restricted conditions list; they will now be allowed to recommend medical cannabis for any patient they feel may benefit from it.

Arkansas patient enrollment has continued to grow at a steady pace adding just over 8,000 patients since our last report. Doctors in Arkansas will no longer be bound to a restricted conditions list; they will now be allowed to recommend medical cannabis for any patient they feel may benefit from it.

In 2022, ASA recommends legislators in Arkansas enact legislation that will protect the rights of minor cannabis patients to dose on school grounds, preferably with assistance from school staff like the nurse. The state should also look to expand retail access beyond the 38 dispensaries currently licensed as they are not likely to be enough to sufficiently meet patient demand and cover underserved areas. Arkansas officials should also consider allowing existing and future retailers to offer curbside pickup to patients as well as telemedicine for certifications and renewals. These measures were introduced across the country as measures to maintain safety during the COVID pandemic and measurably improved access. Many states chose to make these popular policies permanent; Arkansas should do the same. Finally, Arkansas lawmakers should consider allowing patients and caregivers to grow up to six plants at home.