Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in Arkansas. Though there have been some attempts to legalize it, recreational use still remains against the law.
There are rather strict punishments for cannabis recreational use. Using it for the first time may cost you a maximum of 1 year imprisonment. But this is only for up to 110g marijuana use.
For 1st-time marijuana adult use, you can also be fined up to $2,500. Moreover, your AR driver’s license will not be available for you for up to 6 months.
The 3rd time use of marijuana is a $6,000 fine. You will also have to stay in prison for 6 years.
Like Delaware, Cannabis for medical use is legal in Arkansas. It has been legal since 2016.
AR legalized medical marijuana use only in 2016. But it doesn’t mean that marijuana is no longer an illegal drug.
The process of legalizing marijuana’s medical use in AR wasn’t that easy. AR has one of the strictest laws in the US about the use of marijuana.
AR rejected the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act in 2012. It was rejected by a slight difference between votes. About 49% of voters were for the legalization. While 51 % were against the legalization.
The act should have legalized the production of medical cannabis. It should have also legalized the sale. However, both growers and sellers had to be only non-profit organizations. Patients could grow plants well.
In 2016, the committee of AR approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA). In this case, almost 54% of voters said yes to the law. However, the previous act still remained rejected.
Though the admission of law in 2016, the first marijuana sale accrued in 2019. The first dispensary in AR was “Hot Spring”. It did the first legalized sale.
AR AMMA permits patients to use marijuana as a medicine. But there are some restrictions. The restrictions are for cannabis use.
The restrictions of cannabis medical use are the following.
You can use medical cannabis in some other cases as well. Even if your disease is not listed in the qualifying conditions.
There’s an alternative option. You can submit a petition. The petition is for adding a new qualifying condition.
There are 3 cases when you can submit the petition. First, if you are a patient. Second, if you are a caregiver. Lastly, if you are a doctor.
First of all, you should complete the Petition Form. Then you can send it to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). You can only use mail.
There are also some requirements you should remember:
The ADH can conduct a public hearing. During that hearing, your petition will be approved or rejected. But this is only if the petition meets the requirements. You will get the notice about it.
Currently, there are 79,133 active medical marijuana ID cards holders. You can get your medical marijuana license from the Arkansas Department of Health. ADH is the only legal body in AR issuing this type of license.
There are 2 cases when you are eligible for a marijuana license. First, if you are a patient who needs some medical help. Second, if you are a caregiver.
Let’s look through the processes for each physical person.
Patients can apply to get medical cannabis license in AR. The application process is not that long procedure. It may take from 10 days to 2 weeks. If the application is not complete the process will not be possible.
The patient is eligible for medical cannabis in the following cases.
There are, however, people who can’t apply anyway. The exception is members of the AR National Guard. US Military soldiers can’t get licenses too.
You can apply for a cannabis license online. Applying by mail is also possible.
For applying online you should first create an account. After, you should complete the Application Form. Finally, you pay the fee. The fee is $50. It can’t be refunded.
The card is valid for a year. Thus, you should renew it each year. It means you pass the same procedures again and again.
The fee for a renewal is also $50.
You should use a credit card to pay. Sometimes, debit cards are also accepted.
You can also apply by mail. You can call 1-833-214-8619 and request an application form.
There may be cases when the patients are not able to buy medical marijuana by themselves. In that case, there is a need for a caregiver. The patient must be disabled or minor to have a caregiver. The caregiver must have a license. The license allows caregivers to legally buy medical cannabis. However, cannabis should be only for the patient.
You can be a caregiver if:
A member of the AR National Guard can’t be a caregiver. A representative of the US Military can’t be a caretaker as well.
The application can be submitted in 2 ways. You can submit it online or by mail. You can use the caregiver application form. It is only for online applications.
You can also request a special form for applying by mail.
Note: Criminal history check is not obligatory for the minor’s parents. Minor’s guards can also not pass the check. They should only pay for the license.
The criminal history check is not free. The fee is $37.
The caregiver license costs the same amount as the patient license. The fee is $50. The fee can’t be refunded again.
Patients need doctor certification. This is a must to obtain medical marijuana license.
Doctors don’t need to have a special license to sign the certificate. There is no special training as well. Each medical doctor can sign the form.
The medical marijuana doctor’s certificate form is to make sure that:
ADH approved the doctor’s certificate official form you should sign. You should fill the form completely. The patient should also sign the form.
Remember that the certificate is valid only for 1 month.
Currently, there are 8 licensed marijuana growers in AR. However, only 3 of them are now working.
Marijuana cultivation license allows grow and process marijuana. It also permits the sale and delivery of cannabis to a dispensary. There are limitations as well. In 500 sq. ft can operate limited growers.
You can operate as a marijuana grower only after having a license. For getting a license you should meet the following criteria.
There’s also a law to be obeyed about the location. The cultivation facility should be 3,000 feet away from a school, church, or daycare.
The Marijuana grower license application fee is alone $15,000. You have to pay a fee each time you submit the application. You can pay it in cash.
However, half of the fee is refundable. In case of application refusal, you will get back half of the fee of $7,500.
You must also pay $100,000 for the license. This is only if the application is approved. You will have only a week to pay the fee.
The license renewal is annual. The renewal fee is $100,000.
Arkansas can’t issue more than 40 dispensary licenses. Moreover, they should keep the balance between the 8 zones. Each zone can have only 4 dispensaries.
Now, there are 32 dispensaries in AR. No dispensary can operate without a license.
There are restrictions as well. For example, one organization can have only 1 license. The dispensary should be 1,500 feet away from a school, church, or daycare center.
Dispensaries that don’t grow also marijuana should provide the following information.
The marijuana dispensary license application fee is alone $7,500. Half of the money is refundable. You will get $3,500 if the application is not approved.
The fee for a dispensary license is $15,000.
The annual renewal fee is $22,500.