December 03, 2020 7 min read

A map showing Arkansas surrounded by other southern states where CBD laws are inconsistent.

Those interested in CBD for focus, sleep, and various other conditions have probably noticed that CBD regulations haven’t quite kept up with demand. Every state is responsible for creating their own industrial hemp laws, and these laws aren’t always so easy to decipher.

So, is CBD legal in Arkansas, or does the state restrict CBD alongside other cannabis products?

At first glance, Arkansas’ CBD laws seem to mostly align with federal laws, but with a few important differences.

Generally speaking, CBD may be easy to find in the state, but some products may be illegal for Arkansas hemp farmers to sell to the public. Plus, low regulations could put CBD consumers at risk.

Here are the details:

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Arkansas?
Can you grow CBD in Arkansas?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in Arkansas?
Does Arkansas have a CBD possession limit?
Can doctors prescribe CBD in Arkansas?
Where to buy CBD in Arkansas?
Is CBD legal for minors in Arkansas?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?
Resources

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.

Key Takeaways

  • Arkansas’ CBD laws mostly line up with federal regulations, and are even less restrictive in some ways. Hemp farmers in Arkansas can only sell hemp that is properly processed and meets certain requirements.
  • The state also has no minimum age requirements, but it may not be easy to access CBD in stores for consumers who are under 21.
  • Doctors in Arkansas may recommend CBD, but you don’t need a prescription to access it.
  • There are no restrictions placed on CBD use in the state. The state does require hemp growers to hold a license.
  • Thanks to loose regulations, CBD may be accessible at a variety of locations in Arkansas. These relaxed regulations spark concerns about the quality of the products available. Certain practices, like buying CBD online and properly vetting your CBD brand, may reduce the risks of buying low-quality formulas.

Legal Concerns About CBD

It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.

But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:

Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.

This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.

That’s not all—

The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.

That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.

Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.

Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.

Multiple CBD oil products designed to be taken by mouth, which are generally accessible in Arkansas

What are the CBD laws in Arkansas?

In 2017, Arkansas passed the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act, a new plan to legalize and expand the growth and production of industrial hemp within the state. Similar plans were enacted in many nearby states around the same time, like Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Since 2018, the Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) has managed industrial hemp operations in the state.

According to the ASPB, the state of Arkansas defines industrial hemp the same way that it’s defined by federal law, as any cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC.

The state has very liberal regulations on what they consider “publicly marketable hemp products.” These rules state that any CBD product that is to be legally sold in Arkansas must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be derived from industrial hemp, as defined by state legislation.
  • Be approved by the FDA (To date, only one CBD-based medication, called Epidiolex, has FDA-approval)
  • Not include any living plant materials, seeds, or more than the legally allowable amount (0.3%) of THC.

Although these rules seem to imply that nearly any hemp product with less than 0.3% THC is legal, they impose one caveat—living hemp materials cannot be sold. That means that growers cannot sell unprocessed hemp flower directly to consumers. Smokable products, like hemp flower, are also banned by other states, like Tennessee or Idaho.

Any product that contains more than 0.3% THC is considered a cannabis product by the state of Arkansas. In the state, cannabis products are illegal for recreational use and are only approved on a limited basis as part of the state’s budding medical marijuana program.

Generally speaking, there are no consumer-centric laws that prohibit the purchase of CBD, so long as it meets the outlined requirements. The state also requires that anyone who wishes to grow hemp, whether for commercial or personal use, be licensed by the state.

In 2019, Arkansas further aligned with federal hemp laws when Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed HB 1518 into law. This bill removed all forms of hemp-derived CBD from the Arkansas Controlled Substances list, including CBD products that are not yet FDA approved.

In short, CBD is legal in Arkansas, and there are sparse regulations and licensing requirements for growing and manufacturing. Similarly to nearby state Alabama, there are virtually no standards in place to ensure consumer quality, so you should tread carefully when purchasing CBD in the state.

Can you grow CBD in Arkansas?

Arkansas permits hemp farming, but requires that anyone who wishes to grow hemp be licensed by the state. Arkansas began allowing farmers to grow hemp in 2019 as part of the 2014 Hemp Research Pilot Program approved by the federal government. During only the first year, Arkansas approved 125 different farms for the program across 51 different counties.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in Arkansas?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate is legal in many places since it contains no THC, but many consumers are worried that the trace amounts of THC found in full spectrum CBD products may cause trouble in states where cannabis is illegal. Luckily, Arkansas has no laws restricting full spectrum CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less.

Does Arkansas have a CBD possession limit?

To date, there are no possession limits for CBD products that meet legal guidelines. CBD products that contain over 0.3% THC may be classified as cannabis products, which are illegal in Arkansas outside of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Can doctors prescribe CBD in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, you do not need a prescription to access CBD products. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states like Arkansas where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.

Where to buy CBD in Arkansas?

A variety of CBD product types that can be bought online and found in stores in Arkansas.

Arkansas actually has less restrictive regulations regarding CBD than the federal government. You can find CBD products all over the state, including in gas stations, wellness stores, and regular grocery stores.

However, this lack of regulation can be risky.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.

Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.

Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.

For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.

Can you buy CBD at 18 in Arkansas?

The legal age to buy CBD is unclear, even when looking at federal regulations. In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it gained its popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.

In Arkansas, there are no statewide regulations regarding the legal age to buy CBD. Instead, these laws may vary by jurisdiction and are more heavily impacted by the seller. Since the legal age for tobacco products has been raised to 21, many smoke shops may require users to be 21.

Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to Arkansas.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal in Arkansas, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Resources

  1. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “Arkansas State Legislature HB1778” https://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/Bills/Detail?ddBienniumSession=2017%2F2017R&measureno=HB1778
  3. “Signed by the Governor: Arkansas Decriminalizes CBD Despite Ongoing Federal Prohibition” https://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2019/03/signed-by-the-governor-arkansas-decriminalizes-cbd-despite-ongoing-federal-prohibition/
  4. “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy” https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms

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