Medical marijuana in Arkansas was recently legalized through an amendment to the state constitution. The initiative passed with 53% of the vote in 2016. The first legal sales of medical marijuana finally occurred in 2019 alongside the opening of the state's first dispensaries. Since then, the Department of Health has issued permits for 33 dispensaries, 22 of which are currently operational. Nearly $26 million worth of sales has been recorded since the state adopted medical marijuana.
The effort to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas had been well underway before the passing of the MMJ amendment. In the early 2000s, several municipalities had passed referendums directing their police departments to make cannabis enforcement the lowest of priorities.
The administration and oversight of the MMJ program is overseen by the Arkansas Department of Health. According to the constitutional amendment, patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. However, unlike several other states who've legalized medicinal cannabis, the state of Arkansas does not allow their medical patients to cultivate their own plants. Instead, the amendment called for 4-8 cultivating licenses to be granted to some dispensaries.
Not every qualifying patient can obtain and administer their medicinal cannabis by themselves. If this is the case, they can assign a designated caregiver to assist them with their medical marijuana needs. Becoming a caregiver in Arkansas is relatively simple, as well. First, the caregiver must apply for a caregiver registry card after submitting their designated caregiver application and paying the $50 registration fee. If approved by the Department of Health, Arkansas medical marijuana patients may designate them as their caregiver.
Designated caregivers may have several medical patients associated with them. However, they must pay the $50 registration for each designated patient. Caregivers can, under no circumstances, use the medical marijuana that was dispensed to them on behalf of their patients, nor can they use medical marijuana at all unless they themselves are licensed, medical marijuana patients.
The traditional home of the Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw Native Americans, Arkansas derives its name from the word akansa, the Algonquin term used to refer to the Quapaw people. The Spanish were the first European explorers to enter Arkansas, doing so in the mid-1500s. In the 1700s, the control of the territory shifted between the French and the Spanish, before finally being acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Arkansas would later become a state in 1836.
The largest city in Arkansas happens to be its capital city, Little Rock. Its second-largest is Fayetteville, with almost 93,000 residents. Almost 1/3 of the total population lives in the Little Rock Metropolitan area.
Arkansas is also home to many beautiful highlands, coastal plains, and deltas. To the northwest are the Ozark Plateau and the Ozark mountains. To the southeast lies the rich soil of the Arkansas Delta formed as a result of the flooding of the Mississippi River
It costs $50 to apply to the state Department of Health. This fee is not subject to a refund.
The medical conditions that qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation in Arkansas are the following:
Arkansas Medical Marijuana IDs are only valid for one year after their issue date.
Yes. Before legally being able to use or purchase marijuana, patients must first register with the Arkansas Department of Health.
While medical marijuana is now legal in Arkansas, the legislation that was passed has given significant leeway for employers. Ultimately, an employer has the right to define the marijuana policies as they see fit in their workplace. However, this doesn't mean that testing positive for the use of cannabis means you can be fired from your job. Employers must have a "good faith belief" that cannabis was used, or possessed by an employee during work hours or on company property with documentation to support their belief. Nevertheless, there are some notable exceptions:
* The employer in question must comply with all federal regulations to receive federal funding
* The positive-testing employee doesn't have a medical card with the Arkansas Department of Health
* The employee is tasked with “safety-sensitive” job
* Those jobs in which a lapse in attention could result in injury, illness or death
* Safety-sensitive positions would be all those jobs in which any impairment on behalf of the employee can potentially result in serious injuries or death. These may include jobs such as:Hazardous material handler,The operator of heavy machinery or vehicle,Firefighters, police officers, or EMS
* Those technicians who operate or maintain critical infrastructure such as, electric, gas, and water utilities
* Registered nurses.
Ultimately, your marijuana use affecting your Arkansas employment will come down to your individual job and your individual workplace. Many companies are accommodating of their MMJ employees. However, this isn't the case with every workplace. Be sure to consult the marijuana policies at your particular place of employment.
The Health Department in Arkansas will not issue their patients with any form of temporary ID. Patients must wait the full 10-14 days for their applications to process, along with any additional time associated with the mailing of their IDs.
If you don't have an Arkansas state ID card or driver's license, you can still use a passport, bank statement, or another form of proof of residency to apply for the MMJ program.
The Arkansas Department of Health has a list of several medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatments. You can find a full list here.
The MMJ constitutional amendment states that medical patients may possess up to 2.5 ounces of "usable marijuana," which also includes concentrates and edibles.
If a medical patient feels as though they need additional assistance in the purchasing and administration of their medicinal cannabis, they may designate a caregiver to help them. A potential caregiver need only apply with the Department of Health and pay the registration fee of $50, before a patient may designate them as their legal caregiver.
In most cases, it will only take the Arkansas Department of Health between 10-14 days to process an MMJ application and mail out MMJ IDs. In the meantime, however, a temporary ID will not be issued on behalf of qualifying patients.
Yes, at this time, several dispensaries in Arkansas include delivery services for medical patients.
Yes, in Arkansas there is something called the "visiting qualifying patient" rule which allows out-of-state marijuana cards to be used in Arkansas. If you live in another state, but do not have a medical marijuana ID, the Department of Health also allows you to apply for a visiting patient ID, which is valid for 30 days following a $50 non-refundable registration fee.
No. Qualifying patients are not allowed to smoke or vaporize medical marijuana anywhere in public where they can reasonably expect to be observed by others.
In Arkansas, the standard conditions for parole and probation issued by the Arkansas Community Correction state that parolees and those on probation cannot violate any federal laws. As such, this would mean that medical marijuana cannot be used by those on parole or probation unless this condition is explicitly modified by a circuit court presiding over the case.
Arkansas parents can still legally use medical marijuana if they're licensed with the Department of Health. However, if a parent allows their children to use their marijuana or breathe in second-hand smoke, the law will consider that child abuse, which may cause child custody problems.
Unlike many other states that have legalized medical marijuana, Arkansas does not allow their patients to cultivate their own cannabis. This is also the case for caregivers. As such, the only entities that are legally allowed to grow marijuana in the state are one of the 4-8 dispensaries that have acquired their certification to cultivate. As such, the state has a much easier time enforcing the quality control procedures that have been put in place by the marijuana legislation, which includes stringent lab tests on the quality and potential contamination of cultivated cannabis.
At this time, there is no program of this kind in the state of Arkansas.
Yes. Like most purchases in Arkansas, cannabis comes with a 6.5% sales tax. However, medical marijuana also comes with an additional 4% sales tax that goes towards the National Cancer Research Institute.