Is Weed Legal in Arkansas – Understanding Arkansas’ Marijuana Laws

marijuana laying on table
Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Over the last decade, the debate regarding marijuana legalization has taken center stage in the United States, with several states passing varying degrees of regulation. 

If you are a patient considering medical marijuana as a potential therapeutic option, you may be wondering if weed is legal in Arkansas. We will answer this question and more in this short article.

We will differentiate between the respective laws regarding recreational and medical marijuana and tell you all you need to know about applying for a medical marijuana card in the Bear State.

Is Weed Legal in Arkansas?

Arkansas has legalized medical marijuana, which is a huge step forward in its cannabis policy reform. However, the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal. 

In 2016, Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, more commonly referred to as Issue 6, which officially legalized medical marijuana. This landmark legislation paved the way for a state-run system in which Arkansas residents with specific medical conditions could legally acquire marijuana.

Unfortunately, Arkansas has not followed in the footsteps of states where recreational marijuana is legal, such as Colorado and Washington. Possession of any amount of marijuana in Arkansas without a medical marijuana card is a criminal violation, punishable by fines or a jail sentence. The severity of these punishments is often determined by the amount of marijuana involved and whether the person has a prior record. 

Eligibility Requirements for an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card

woman looking at her medical marijuana ID card
Image courtesy of Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card Online

While progressive, the state’s approach to medical marijuana has limitations. To be eligible to apply for a medical marijuana card online in Arkansas, you must be a resident of the Bear State and have obtained a written certification from a licensed physician confirming that you have a qualifying medical condition.

The good news is that list of qualifying conditions is pretty substantial and includes: 

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Disorders causing persistent pain, seizures, or extreme nausea

Next, we’ll take a closer look at some of the current medical marijuana laws in Arkansas.

Medical Marijuana Laws in Arkansas

The distribution and sale of medical marijuana in the Bear State is highly regulated by law. To legally sell cannabis to cardholders, the state has approved a restricted number of dispensaries. These dispensaries must follow the rules and regulations designed to ensure product safety and prevent overuse. Patients can buy up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana every 14 days. 

Possession of less than four ounces of cannabis is a misdemeanor at the moment. Penalties include a one-year jail sentence and a $2,500 fine. A second offense (1-4 ounces) is a Class D felony that can result in up to six years in prison.

Possession of four or more ounces is a more serious crime and is a felony in the state. Selling up to half an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. If you sell more than half an ounce, you will face felony charges and up to six years in prison.

While there is a constant debate over expanding marijuana legislation, the general consensus remains conservative. Recreational marijuana advocates continue to face significant opposition, with opponents voicing potential societal consequences and concerns about law enforcement issues. 

Final Thoughts

Arkansas has joined the ranks of U.S. states that have approved medical marijuana. This legalization helps patients suffering from specific health conditions by allowing them access to medical marijuana. However, those expecting more-encompassing legalization in states such as California and Colorado must continue to wait. 

As long as the state maintains its existing stance, using or possessing marijuana without a valid medical marijuana card will remain a crime. Staying knowledgeable about local and state marijuana regulations is critical in this changing national climate regarding marijuana laws. 

Citizens in Arkansas who choose to use medical marijuana must do so within the confines of existing restrictions, and all residents must understand that the recreational use of weed is not legal.

Arkansas’ marijuana regulations may change further as debates continue and new proposals are introduced. It will be fascinating to see how this environment evolves and what it will mean for Arkansas citizens. 

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Brenda Coles
I'm an elementary school teacher who became a stay-at-home mother when my first child was born. I love to write about lifestyle, education, and news-related topics.