Your source for Arkansas cannabis
Learn more about marijuana in Arkansas.
The land of the Ozarks, Arkansas is a state immersed in wilderness. Full of caves, trails, mountains, and hot springs, Arkansas is the home of nearly three million people. Joining over half the country in the pro-marijuana mindset, Arkansas legalized medical marijuana in November 2016. Arkansas represents the first reformative notch on the southern United States Bible Belt. While the industry is not yet operational, this is what we know:
Is Marijuana Legal in Arkansas?▼▲
Arkansas voters have passed laws to allow the medical use only. Officials predict marijuana will be available in April 2019.
When Did Marijuana Become Legal in Arkansas?▼▲
Voters in Arkansas have voted on two separate occasions on the matter of medical marijuana. Failing once in 2012, reform backers worked hard to increase their number of supporters. In November 2016, voters voted yes on the ballot initiative.
Where Are the Dispensaries in Arkansas?▼▲
The rules and regulations have not yet been finalized for the program. Based on the wording of the amendment, dispensaries will be licensed separately from cultivation facilities and no more than four dispensary locations may be located in any one county. To help facilitate this, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has separated the state into eight geographic zones to promote equal distribution of dispensary and growing centers and offer at least twenty but not more than forty dispensaries and as many as eight cultivation facilities but no less than four.
The state has announced a list of 32 companies they intend to license to sell marijuana. The dispensaries on that list are located in places like Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Eureka Springs.
Are They Medical or Recreational Dispensaries?▼▲
Once the rules have been finalized, medical dispensaries will be able to apply for and receive a license to sell marijuana to licensed medical cardholders.
Where Can I Consume Marijuana In Arkansas?▼▲
Under the amendment legalizing medical marijuana in the state, marijuana cannot be possessed or consumed in any public place. Some examples of public places where marijuana can’t be consumed include, but are not limited to:
- Community or recreation centers
- In any correctional facility
- On any form of public transportation, including school buses, taxi cabs, and other public transit
- On the property of a drug and alcohol treatment center
Penalties for public use include a six-month suspension of driving privileges, a misdemeanor, fines up to $2,500, and up to 12 months in jail.
At this time, medical marijuana may only be used in private residences. Landlords are permitted under the act to prohibit cannabis smoking by any of their tenants, but it is not required.
How Do I Get a Job in the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Industry?▼▲
The application process has not yet been determined, but the proposed regulations indicate that individuals seeking to work in newly legal medical marijuana industry of Arkansas will have to be at least 21 years of age and have no felony and drug-related crimes in their personal history. The background check is paid for by the applicant, as is the $50 application fee, which must be renewed annually.
How Much Marijuana Can I Buy and Possess in Arkansas?▼▲
Under the proposed rules, medical marijuana cardholders in Arkansas will be able to purchase as much as 2.5 ounces every two weeks, for a total of five ounces per month.
Can I Grow Marijuana? How Many Plants?▼▲
Arkansas marijuana laws do not currently allow cardholders or caregivers to grow marijuana at home legally. Only licensed dispensaries or cultivation facilities may grow marijuana.
Is Drug Testing for Marijuana Legal in Arkansas?▼▲
A cardholder cannot be discriminated upon hire or at any point during employment for simply being registered as a medical marijuana cardholder. The employer does, however, continues to have authority when it comes to on-the-job use or intoxication and can use drug testing as a method of evaluating intoxication.
Is Marijuana Delivery Legal in Arkansas?▼▲
Under the proposed rules for the program, dispensaries will be able to deliver to cardholders or their caregiver between the hours of 9:00 am and 7:00 pm.
How Do I Pay for Marijuana in Arkansas Dispensaries?▼▲
As we've seen in other states with medical marijuana programs, insurance companies and banks are not required to participate in the medical marijuana industry. Insurance providers don’t cover the cost of marijuana, and banks are hesitant to get involved with marijuana businesses. As a persistent reminder of the illegal status cannabis continues to hold federally, it is expected Arkansas dispensaries will do most sales in cash.
Marijuana is Legal▼▲
Arkansas voters passed Issue 6, or the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, in November of 2016, four years after the narrow defeat of a similar measure. Finding 53% support, the measure tasks the state to design, implement, and oversee the medical marijuana program. This includes issuing licenses, promulgating regulations and program rules, enforcement, and compliance efforts.
As soon as it was signed into law, several deadlines, including when the regulations should be completed, when applications should be made available, and when licenses or registrations will be issued, were proposed. As of January 2019, laws and regulations are still being finalized. The Medical Marijuana Commission issued 5 medical marijuana cultivation licenses in 2018, and recently named 32 companies they intend to license to sell marijuana. Arkansas has approved almost 7,000 medical marijuana cards but they haven’t started distributing the cards as of January 2019.
Purchase and Possession Limits▼▲
Once dispensaries are open, medical marijuana cardholders will be allowed to purchase as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14-day period. Any person caught in possession of marijuana who is not a medical cardholders is subject to Arkansas drug penalties - which are considerably severe. For possession of four ounces or less, misdemeanor criminal charges, fines up to $2,500, and as much as twelve months imprisonment await those caught. Additionally, any person caught possessing marijuana illegally can have their driver's license suspended for up to six months.
Driving While Intoxicated▼▲
The Arkansas medical marijuana amendment does not allow cardholders to drive or otherwise operate any type of motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, including aircraft, boat, or any vehicle not powered by muscles. Included in the penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana are fines up to $1,000, four-month driver's license suspension, and up to one year in jail for the first offense.
Driving While in Possession of Marijuana▼▲
Arkansas allows cardholders and their designated caregiver to transport marijuana as long as (a) the products remain in Arkansas (b) the marijuana or marijuana-infused products are kept out of reach, out of sight, and in a sealed and labeled container.
Growing Marijuana at Home▼▲
Under the Arkansas medical marijuana program, medical cardholders can’t grow their own marijuana at home. Marijuana can only be grown by licensed cultivation facilities or dispensary locations. Penalties for ignoring these laws are generally classified in two ways: intent to deliver or simple possession. Simple possession would be applied if it seemed reasonable the plant(s) was for personal use. Simple possession of four ounces or less carries lesser criminal charges than intent to deliver possession.
Simple possession is a misdemeanor, $2,500 fine, and up to one year in jail whereas for intent to deliver (when it reasonably appears the marijuana is being sold), an individual caught with up to four ounces (roughly equivalent to a mature, medium size plant) would be susceptible to felony charges, up to six years in prison, and fines as high as $10,000.