Arkansas Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits

by Kat Austin November 27, 2023 5 min read

Arkansas Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits - Vida Optima™

In recent years, Arkansas has experienced significant shifts in its cannabis laws, transitioning from strict prohibition to allowing medical marijuana use. Understanding the nuances of these laws can be confusing, but we're here to clear it up. 

Follow us as we explore the details of Arkansas cannabis laws, including regulations on possession, cultivation, penalties, and the intricacies of acquiring and distributing medical cannabis within the state. 

Let’s jump in:

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Arkansas?
Arkansas Cannabis Laws
How the Legal Sale of Cannabis Happens
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Timeline of Cannabis Laws in Arkansas

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for medical use in Arkansas.
  • A licensee can purhcase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in a 14 day span.  
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 
  • Recreational use of marijuana is still prohibited, but hemp-derived THC products may be a good option. 
Cannabis flower and concentrate, two options available in Arkansas' medical cannabis market

Is Cannabis Legal in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, while medical marijuana is legal, recreational use remains illegal. Federally, marijuana is classified as a banned substance, and Arkansas strictly prohibits its recreational use. The Controlled Substances Act, passed by Congress in 1970, categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and LSD, suggesting no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse.

Regulations for Medical Use in Arkansas

There are regulations in place to govern how a medical marijuana patient in Arkansas can possess and use cannabis. For instance:

  • Adult applicants must be 21 years or older to apply.
  • Minor applicants can also get a medical card, but a designated caregiver must apply on their behalf.
  • Those under 21 years old are prohibited from using herbal cannabis.
  • A licensed physician must evaluate applicants for one or more conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Arizona.
  • A medical licensee can purcchase up to 2.5 ounces over the course of a 14-day calender period
  • Can you cannabis in private and approved medical settings. Using inhalable cannabis around pregnant women or children 14 or under is not allowed. 
  • Cannabis-infused edibles sold by dispensaries must contain no more than 10mg of THC.
  • Qualifying registered patients and their designated caregivers cannot grow or cultivate medical marijuana.  

Qualifying Conditions and Regulations for Medical Cannabis in Arkansas

The following qualifying conditions may qualify a person for an Arkansas medical marijuana card (with a doctor’s recommendation):

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Crohn's disease
  • Arthritis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Peripherals neuropathy
  • Cachexia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic nausea
  • Severe muscle spasms

Restrictions for Cannabis Use in Arkansas

Arkansas has embraced both recreational and medical marijuana but under strict regulations. Here are the key restrictions:

  • Age Restrictions: Users must be at least 18 years old to access medical marijuana. Minors with serious illnesses require a caregiver, usually a parent or legal guardian, to manage their medical marijuana application.
  • Military Personnel Exclusion: Members of the American Military stationed in Arkansas and the Arkansas National Guard cannot register for the state's medical marijuana program.
  • Usage Limitations:Consumption of medical marijuana is forbidden in workplaces, on private properties against the landlord's wishes, or during school activities if it causes impairment.
  • THC Content Regulations:Any food or beverage infused with marijuana in Arkansas must contain no more than 10% THC and should be clearly labeled with their THC content.
  • Advertising Restrictions: Medical marijuana dispensaries must ensure their advertising doesn't appeal to children. Packaging of medical marijuana products must also be unattractive to minors

Arkansas Marijuana Laws

Following the passage of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment in 2016, the legislature enacted House Bill 1026, establishing the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. This commission oversees licenses for growers, processors, and dispensaries.

Federal property in Arkansas, including areas used by the U.S. military and the Arkansas National Guard, prohibits marijuana possession and use due to federal laws, even for medical purposes. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment extends this prohibition to federal government buildings in the state.

The Amendment strictly prohibits marijuana use near schools, in buildings housing children, correctional facilities, or public spaces where visibility to others is likely. It's also forbidden near pregnant women or minors.

In a recent ballot initiative on November 8, 2022, Arkansas voters rejected the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment, maintaining the state's ban on recreational marijuana with a 44% vote against it.

How Cannabis is Bought and Sold in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the 2016 Medical Marijuana Amendment governs legal cannabis sales, strictly between state-licensed entities like patients and dispensaries or growers and processors. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission regulates and issues licenses to growers, processors, and dispensaries for medical marijuana sales. 

Patients with valid ID cards from the Arkansas Department of Health can buy up to two and a half ounces of medical marijuana every 14 days from licensed dispensaries. Patients must be at least 18 years old and provide written certification from a doctor, while minors require parental consent for purchases.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Arkansas

In the realm of marijuana-related transgressions in Arkansas, the following penalties and legal considerations come into play:

Possession Penalties

    • Possessing four ounces or less: Class A misdemeanor, up to 1 year prison
  • Possession with intent to sell based on quantity:
      • More than 4 ounces: Class D felony, up to 6 years prison, $10,000 fine
      • More than 10 pounds but less than 25 pounds: 3 to 10 years prison
      • More than 25 pounds but less than 100 pounds: 5 to 20 years prison
      • More than 100 pounds but less than 500 pounds: 6 to 30 years prison

    Cultivation Penalties

    • Cultivation in private premises is a simple possession charge: Class A misdemeanor, up to 1 year prison, $2,500 fine

    Possession of Paraphernalia Penalties

    • Possession of paraphernalia (less than 4 ounces): Class A misdemeanor, up to 1 year prison
    • Possession with intent to grow: Up to 6 years prison
    • Delivery to a minor: Up to 1 year prison

    DUI Penalties

    • Driving under the influence of marijuana: 6 months driver’s license suspension

    Additional Considerations

    • Exemption for patients and caregivers: No arrest or prosecution up to 2.5 ounces
    • Enhanced sentencing near specific locations: Sentences doubled within 1,000 feet of specified areas, like schools and child care centers, with possible extension by 10 years based on sentencing guidelines.

    Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

    Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.

    Vida Optima Cloud 9 THC Gummies

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