Arkansas has not even decriminalized recreational marijuana and has some of the harshest penalties for getting caught with any amount. Carrying any amount less than 4 ounces is a Class A Misdemeanor with a $2,500 fine and a year of jail time. Carrying more than 4 ounces is a felony that leads to a minimum of 3 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines.
Despite all of these massive penalties, medical marijuana was legalized in 2016 after a series of failed ballots. Three years later in 2019, medical marijuana sales finally began in the state. This legislation allowed for anywhere between 20-40 state-licensed medical retailers and only 4-8 growers.
As of now, there are no recreational dispensaries as recreational marijuana is still highly illegal across the state of Arkansas. That being said, in 2019 Arkansas opened 20 medical dispensaries for anyone with a valid Arkansas medical card. The medical marijuana program in Arkansas has been steadily growing since its first store opened in 2019. To enter one of these state-licensed dispensaries a patient must ensure they bring their state-issued ID as well as their state-issued medical marijuana card.
Delivery of medical marijuana is permitted within the state of Arkansas. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many dispensaries began offering delivery to mitigate the spread of the virus. The delivery service is quite well established as it has been operational since August of 2019.
It’s important to note that the 32 medical marijuana dispensaries across Arkansas close slightly earlier than those in other states. There is not exactly a law preventing dispensaries to stay open late, but many have elected to close around 6:00 pm. There aren’t any dispensaries that say open later than 8:00 pm and some close as early as 4:00 pm. Since the store hours vary so much, make sure to confirm the closing time on your favorite dispensary website.
Purchasing restrictions for medical marijuana patients is pretty lenient in Arkansas and is based on a two-week period. Every 14 days, a patient is allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or its equivalent in oils, edibles or the like. Patients can also assign caregivers to purchase marijuana on their behalf if they are not able or not wanting to go to a dispensary themselves.
As more and more research is being done on the medicinal uses of marijuana, the number of products has skyrocketed. Arkansas will offer nearly every marijuana product one can imagine, ranging from actual bud to oils, creams, edibles and ointments. The variety of marijuana products is seemingly endless so check out your favorite dispensary to see what they offer!
Recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state of Arkansas. Therefore, nobody without a valid medical card is able to purchase any cannabis product. Because of this, there have been no tax policies implemented and the police will crack down hard if they find anyone consuming marijuana who is not permitted to.
Unfortunately, Arkansas hits their customers hard with taxes. Each medical patient must pay the common 6.5% state tax and then on top of that a 4% “privilege” tax from the grower to the dispensary and again from the dispensary to the customer. This is making it extremely hard for low-income users to afford their medicine. This makes the price of a gram rise to $15 wherein most states a gram of medical marijuana goes for around $10. There is hope for these taxes to diminish as more cultivators begin operation.
Medical marijuana patients and caregivers alike are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or its equivalent in oils, edibles, creams or other types of marijuana products. Medical patients are not to exceed this limit, or they risk getting their medical card permanently revoked with possible fines. If an adult without an MMJ card is caught possessing any amount of marijuana under 4 ounces, they could be sentenced to jail with a Class A misdemeanor on their record and a $2,500 fine.
Arkansas law does not permit the discrimination of medical marijuana users, meaning tenants cannot refuse the consumption of medical marijuana products. In other words, both hotels and Airbnbs cannot restrict patients from using medical marijuana, but they can say no to smoking. Essentially, an owner can refuse the actual combustion of marijuana, but patients can still then ingest marijuana via edibles. Arkansas also only allows the consumption of marijuana within a private residence meaning there is no public place where marijuana is allowed.
Areas in Arkansas that DO allow the use of marijuana:
Areas in Arkansas that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:
Marijuana of any kind is still illegal under federal law. Therefore, any federally owned land is completely off-limits. If you are caught with any marijuana on federal grounds you will be prosecuted by the feds. Despite federal legalization efforts for marijuana, none have passed and for the time being, never attempt to bring your stash to federal territories such as national parks or memorials.
While Arkansas has some of the strictest rules on recreational cannabis, medical marijuana was legalized in 2016. Medical dispensaries became operational three years later in 2019. As of now, there are 32 licensed medical dispensaries across the state of Arkansas. Medical marijuana is more expensive in Arkansas as they have limited cultivators and higher taxes for medical marijuana than most other states. Despite the higher-priced products, the marijuana program has grown considerably since 2019.
The application to obtain a medical marijuana card in Arkansas is fairly straightforward with four steps:
1. Obtain a physician’s certification that you are diagnosed with one of the approved medical conditions in the state.
2. Next, complete and submit the medical marijuana application to the Arkansas Department of Health.
3. Provide proof of Arkansas residency through your state-issued ID.
4. Submit the application fee ($50)
Arkansas allows for temporary medical marijuana cards to be issued to MMJ cardholders outside of the state. In order to apply, people outside of the state must have with them a valid government-issued ID and their MMJ card. These non-refundable temporary medical cards last for 30 days and cost $50.
State-licensed medical marijuana patients and caregivers are legally allowed to transport marijuana in their cars within the state boundaries of Arkansas. However, any marijuana product within the vehicle must be sealed and out of reach of the driver, including the glovebox. It is always best practice to store any marijuana in the car in the trunk or behind the backseat of the vehicle.
In any state, it is highly illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana as it is a big risk to you and other drivers on the road. As for Arkansas, driving while high is penalized under the same scrutiny as driving while drunk. Therefore, you should always be smart and responsible when consuming marijuana and never be afraid to take advantage of public transportation or ride-sharing apps.
As mentioned above, marijuana is illegal on a federal level and driving across state lines puts you into federal jurisdiction. While many states are working on legalizing driving across state boundaries, there has been no avail. Therefore, just like every other state, driving across Arkansas state borders is illegal and will lead to federal penalties if caught.
Arkansas does not allow for caregivers or patients to grow marijuana on their own. Marijuana must be purchased through state-licensed medical dispensaries only. Getting caught with growing marijuana is a serious crime in Arkansas regardless of if you are a patient or not. Therefore, avoid all the massive fines and possible jail time from growing and just purchase your marijuana products through local dispensaries.