Medical cannabis has been legal in Arkansas since the state's Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, passed with 53% approval in 2016. But it wasn't until May 11, 2019, when Arkansas' first dispensary opened, that qualifying patients could actually legally purchase marijuana. And though only one other dispensary has been cleared to open in the state so far, and both dispensaries are located in Hot Springs, patients who qualify now have the ability to obtain a medical marijuana card. Here's everything you need to know to become a medical marijuana patient in Arkansas.
Arkansas's Qualifying Conditions
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) lists the following conditions qualifying for medical marijuana access:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn's disease
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable pain, Defined as pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe arthritis
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Severe nausea
- Tourette's syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health
Patients suffering from medical conditions that aren't on the list may file a petition with the Department of Health to receive access to medical marijuana. Petitions are approved or denied within 120 days of submission.
Applying for Medical Marijuana in Arkansas
Patients 18 and older can apply online for a medical marijuana ID card. In addition to filling out the online application form, patients are also required to submit a copy of an Arkansas state ID, either a state-issued driver's license or state ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, an ADH physician certification form, and a $50 patient application fee. Medical marijuana ID cards are valid for one year starting from their issue date, or a specified amount of time designated by the qualifying physician.
Qualifying patients younger than 18 cannot buy medical marijuana, and require a legal guardian or parent to register as a caregiver. Designated caregivers can buy medical cannabis and administer it to the minor patient.
Appointing a Caregiver
Any patient who either wishes to have a caregiver, or as a minor is required to have a parent or guardian caregiver, must have their caregiver apply for a designated caregiver registry card. All applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old, or be a parent of a minor patient
- Have not been convicted of an excluded felony offense
- Be an Arkansas resident with a state ID or driver's license
Members of the Arkansas National Guard or the U.S. military from are prohibited from being a registered caregiver by state law. Caregivers are allowed to buy medical marijuana, and possess up to 2.5 ounces, or 70.9 grams, of cannabis for their designated patient.
Caregiver medical marijuana card applications cost $50. A caregiver may be assigned to more than one patient, but must apply for a separate registration card for each patient, and also pay the $50 fee for each application. Criminal history check fees are an additional $37. Criminal history checks are not required for parents or legal guardians of a qualifying minor.
Acquiring Your Medicine
All medical marijuana products must be purchased through medical marijuana dispensaries registered with Arkansas. Only registered patients from either in or outside the state can purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries. Neither patients nor caregivers are currently allowed to grow marijuana under state law. Patients may buy up to 2.5 ounces, or 70.9 grams, of medical marijuana every 14 days.
All dispensary locations that have been granted licenses by the state are listed on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission website. Only two of these locations, Green Springs Medical and Doctor's Orders RX, have been cleared to open for business as of May 15, 2019. Dispensary locations can be found on Weedmaps.
Rules for Patients Visiting from Other States (Reciprocity)
Patients with medical marijuana registration from other states may possess, use, and purchase marijuana in Arkansas. Visiting patients must complete a visiting patient form and provide evidence of a registry identification card from another U.S. state.