Arkansas currently allows for medical marijuana use under Constitutional Amendment 98, known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 (pdf). The law allows for patients with qualifying conditions to register with the state and purchase cannabis at a certified dispensary.
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Arkansas at this time, and the state is known for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. However, there are two proposals trying to make it to the 2020 ballot aimed at legalizing cannabis in the state. Here are the current laws:
Possession and Purchasing
Qualified registered patients are allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces from a dispensary every 14 days. Possession limits reflect the same amount.
Arkansas recognizes these conditions as qualifying for medical marijuana:
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Arkansas:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable pain which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six (6) months
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Seizures including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Severe arthritis
- Severe nausea
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health
Additionally, the applicant must be an Arkansas resident (with proof), 18 years of age or older or be a minor patient with parental consent. An official written certification from a physician is also required and state law prohibits members of Arkansas National Guard and United States Military from obtaining a registry ID card.
Consumption is only permitted in a private residence. Using medical cannabis is prohibited in the following places:
Prohibited Consumption Areas:
- Any public place where an individual could reasonably be expected to be observed by others (a public place includes all parts of buildings owned in a whole or in part, or leased, by the state or local unit of government).
- In a school bus.
- On the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school.
- In any correctional facility, in any motor vehicle.
- In a private residence used at any time to provide licensed child care or other similar social service care on the premises and in any public place where an individual could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.
- In a health care facility or any other place where smoking is prohibited by the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006 and knowingly in close physical proximity to anyone under the age of 18.
Driving Under the Influence
Arkansas medical cannabis patients cannot drive under the influence, specifically, they cannot “operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, aircraft, motorized watercraft, or any other vehicle drawn by power other than muscle power while under the influence of marijuana.”
Patients and designated caregivers can carry their medical marijuana purchased from state-approved dispensaries as long as it does not exceed possession limits (2.5 ounces).
Arkansas allows medical marijuana patients to designate a caregiver if they are under 18 years of age or physically disabled. Caregivers are authorized to purchase products and transport products to and from the dispensary on a patient’s behalf. In order to qualify for a designated caregiver registry card an applicant must meet the following qualifications:
- Be 21 or older.
- The individual being provided must be physically disabled or a minor.
- Cannot have been convicted of an excluded felony offense.
- Be an Arkansas resident with proof of residency (AR Driver’s License or AR State ID card).
- State law prohibits members of Arkansas National Guard and United States Military from obtaining a registry ID card.
- Submit to a background check ($37 fee)
The fee for the registry card application is $50. Parents or legal guardians of a minor with a qualifying condition are not required to complete Criminal History Check. Parent or guardian will still register as a caregiver and pay the registry card application fee ($50).
A caregiver may serve more than one patient; however the state does not make mention of how many caregivers a patient can have. A caregiver must apply for a registry card for each patient and pay $50 for each registry card.
Visiting patients may apply for a temporary approval to purchase at an Arkansas medical dispensary. There is a non-refundable $50 application fee. If approved, the patient can make purchases for a 30-day period, per application. Applications can be completed here.
Arkansas does not allow patients to cultivate their own cannabis. Cannabis products may only be obtained from a licensed dispensary.