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Arkansas Medical Marijuana

In November of 2016, almost 53% of voters gave their approval to the Medical Marijuana Amendment of the state of Arkansas. Since then, there have been almost 24 laws that changed or affected the amendment in some way, but none of them have posed significant restrictions on the availability of the drug in the state.

2024 Update! Go to the end of this article for the current legal position for the use of and possession of Cannabis in Arkansas at the start of 2024.

These laws did however change the way the drug can be used as well as the eligible age people who can use it which includes a ban on smoking marijuana for anyone under the age of 21. There have been many laws that were passed that required the cultivation premises as well as the packaging processes in dispensaries of the drug to be childproof.

There was also a law that limited the mixing of food and drinks with marijuana to contain no more than 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which happens to be the most potent chemical present in marijuana responsible for the majority of the drug’s psychological effects.

Other than that, a law also prohibits the inhalation of marijuana in the presence of a pregnant woman or of a child under 14 years of age.

use of marijuana in the state of Arkansas

From a commercial perspective as well, there have been restrictions. A bill was passed completely banning any kind of advertising, promotions, marketing and packaging of the drug that would appeal to children in some way, including attractive artwork, product design and even building signage.

This way, the use of marijuana in the state of Arkansas is being closely monitored by the state government so as not to let anyone misuse or take advantage of the rule.

Coming to the actual marijuana law, the amendment legalizes the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of certain approved medical conditions. As per the rule, up to 17 qualifying conditions have been identified and it also allows for the setting up of and regulation of marijuana dispensaries as well as cultivation facilities.
The 17 qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • PTSD
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Severe cases of arthritis
  • ALS
  • Ulcerative Colitis

As the rules goes with all states, you need to be certified by a government approved physician to be suffering any of these conditions. You need to apply with the proof of your condition to get your medical card. Once you get your medical card, you will be eligible to purchase marijuana and marijuana products from the various established state dispensaries and get relief from your condition.

Even though medical marijuana has been legalized in the state, the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is strictly prohibited. Hence, smoking marijuana for relaxation or to achieve focus will not be allowed.

Violation and penalty

Arkansas is a state in the U.S that has some of the strictest rules for marijuana in the country. Only qualifying patients are allowed to possess the drug, that too with a valid medical card proving their registration. Anyone else caught in the possession of the drug will have to suffer some dire consequences.

For example, a simple case of possession where a person is caught having even less than 4 ounces of marijuana without a medical card will be charged as a misdemeanor with up to one year of jail time and $2500 worth of fine.

Similarly, possessing anywhere between 1 and 4 ounces along with previous convictions in the matter of drugs will come under felony and can lead to 6 years in jail, plus a fine of $10,000.

Arkansas marijuana laws are quite strict

Possessing more than 4 ounces, whether it is 10 pounds or 25 pounds, 100 pounds or even 500 pounds, they all come under the charge of a felony and will be penalized with varying periods of jail time and fines, each increasing with the amount of marijuana possession.

Possession of more than 500 pounds of marijuana is considered as trafficking and is a very serious offense. Convicts coming under the case of trafficking will be punished with a jail term of 10 to 40 years.

As far as distribution or sale is concerned, it is considered illegal to deliver marijuana to another person whether it is in exchange for some kind of compensation or not.  Such acts if caught are charged as a misdemeanor if the amount of marijuana is less than 14 grams, felony if it is more than 14 grams, up to 500 pounds. Each of these cases will have a corresponding period of jail time and fine depending on the amount of marijuana.

FINAL VERDICT

Other than these, the cultivation and manufacture of marijuana products is also considered as an offense if the person is not a part of the state-approved cultivators, manufacturers or dispensaries.

Clearly, the Arkansas marijuana laws are quite strict with severe punishments that can effectively ruin your life if you violate any of the laws.

Update: 2024

Penalties for Personal Possession and Use

You can go to the NORML website for restrictions and penalties applying to trafficking, sales or non-personal use. The following information concerns personal use and possession:

Possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Possession of between 1 ounce and less than 4 ounces by an offender who has had 4 or more previous drug convictions is a Class D Felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Possession of between 4 ounces and less than 10 pounds is a Class D Felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The message here is that the state of Arkansas still maintains a fairly severe approach to the legality of possessing any amount of marijuana or cannabis. Even a small quantity is illegal and can land you with a short jail term and a fine, so be careful.

Cultivation

NORML states on their website: 

"Cultivation in Arkansas is punished as either simple possession or as possession with intent to deliver, depending on the amount of marijuana being produced and other factors that may lead to the conclusion that the marijuana was being grown for reasons other than strict personal use. See the “Simple Possession” and “Possession with Intent to Deliver” sections for further penalty details."

In short, you cannot legally grow your own plants for yourself, and having a few plants for personal use will be treated the same a "simple possession" or having an amount of marijuana on you, which attracts jail time and a fine in Arkansas.

Concentrates, Hashish and Hashish Oil

Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana, so concentrates are not legal and will be treated by weight to determine the infringement and punishment, according to "simple possession".

Paraphernalia

Possession with purpose to use paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Possession of paraphernalia with purpose to grow marijuana is a Class D Felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

New Conclusion, 2024

It is not all doom and gloom in Arkansas, but it is not great either.

For those wanting to use marijuana recreationally it is still bad news, but "this state has passed a low THC law allowing for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC in instances where a physician has recommended such treatment to a patient with a state-qualifying condition." You can also use marijuana medically, if approved.

Now this means that according to the letter of the law, you can't rush out and order your favorite CBD bathbomb, pain relief cream or CBD oil for your vape unless your doctor has authorized the use and the purpose is approved by the state.

Complicated, we agree, but if you need CBD for pain relief, it is possible to legally buy and use it in Arkansas.

That brings us to authorized medical use of marijuana. "This state has medical marijuana laws enacted." Bearing in mind that Arkansas retains a strict approach to the availability of cannabis products, especially those with high THC, you might find that some conditions are approved by the state for the use of marijuana. You must have a medical card for this purpose and have been given a recommendation by your MD to use marijuana.

If you think you need marijuana or a cannabis product for a condition, check with your doctor and ask about the conditions that the state has approved for prescribed cannabis product use and if he/she agrees that its use will help you, whichn will give you a green light to obtain a Medical Marijuana ID card to legally order.

As always, stay well informed, check the rules of your state and county area, talk to your doctor and be careful.

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