Arkansas Medical Marijuana FAQ
Q: Why would I want medical marijuana?
A: It helps with pain relief, treating nausea, and even mental health support, in the case of CBD products.
Q: What do I need to qualify for a medical marijuana card?
A: You need written proof from your doctor that you are suffering from one of a list of conditions medical marijuana can legally be used to treat, then pay a small fee.
Q: When can I start buying?
A: Growers expect the first batch of medical marijuana to be available by April.
Q: Are there any restrictions?
A: Smoking on any school property, in a motor vehicle, or a residence used to provide childcare service is illegal. You also cannot smoke knowingly around anyone under 18.
Q: How long can I buy marijuana?
A: Cards will expire after a year, at which point you need to get proof from your doctor again and restart the process.
In 2016, Arkansas made a major step towards medical marijuana legalization, officially making medical marijuana legal. Fast forward to 2019, and we are finally starting to see this measure in practice. In January, a cultivation company planted the first batch designed for medical use, and now, they and other growers expect medical marijuana to be available for purchase by April. Licenses have also been given to the first set of medical dispensaries.
The benefits of medical marijuana have been extolled for a variety of conditions, including:
- Pain relief
- Treating glaucoma
- Managing nausea
- Mental health support (for CBD products)
In addition, there may even be more applications as science takes a closer look at marijuana. However, note that medical marijuana being legal is far different than full legalization as we see in states like Colorado. This means that interested users need to understand the law concerning marijuana use in order to properly get what they are looking for.
Arkansas’ Medical Marijuana Law Status
For many Arkansas residents, medical marijuana legalization may raise more questions than answers. You can’t walk into a store and pick up some weed, but it is possible to use it for your medical needs. Basically, people with certain conditions and approval from their doctor can apply for a medical marijuana card, which then allows them to purchase a certain amount of marijuana from a licensed dispensary to use for medical purposes.
A list of the available medical dispensaries in Arkansas can be found here. Note that this means that a person with a medical marijuana card cannot legally grow their own weed at home. In addition, you will not have legal access to weed unless you go through the registration process.
Arkansas also restricts where you can smoke your medical marijuana. Smoking on any school property, in a motor vehicle, or a residence used to provide childcare service is against the law. In addition, you cannot smoke knowingly in the presence of anyone under 18. State law prohibits members of the U.S. military and the Arkansas National Guard from obtaining medical marijuana cards.
With this in mind, what exactly are the conditions that can allow you to apply for medical marijuana use? We mentioned earlier that the most popular use for medical marijuana is pain relief from chronic conditions. This means there’s a surprisingly wide net of conditions that can be covered. 2016’s initial Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment made provisions for these conditions and others:
- HIV/AIDS (positive status)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Intractable pain (the law defines this as pain that has not responded to ordinary treatment, medication, or surgery for over six months)
In late January, a bill that proposed removing glaucoma but adding over 30 other conditions to this list failed to pass.
Where and How Can I Get Medical Marijuana in Arkansas?
Let’s say you are an Arkansas resident, fall into one of these categories, and are ready to use medical marijuana to help with your condition. How exactly do you go about getting your marijuana?
Ultimately, it all starts with your doctor. If you have one of these medical conditions and are interested in using medical marijuana to treat the problem, you need to talk to your doctor and get them to fill out a form formally stating that you have one of the qualifying conditions.
After which, you are ready to file your application for a medical marijuana ID card. This will include the application form, your doctor’s qualifying condition form, as well as a copy of your driver’s license or state ID. This last requirement is necessary to prove you’re an Arkansas resident. Combine these with a $50 fee, and you just have to wait for your card. For those who have already applied for their cards, you should get them approximately 30 days before dispensaries officially open. If you need help finding one, look out for our weed map for locations and guidance.
Note that in Arkansas, getting a medical marijuana ID does not mean approval to buy weed forever for your treatment. Each card is only valid for a year. Once your card expires, you will need to go through the process again to renew, including paying the $50 fee.
The medical legalization process could be a potential gateway for full legalization in Arkansas and other states in the near future. In the meantime, taking the effort to understand the process of getting your card is key to making sure that you are compliant with the law, while also getting the benefits you need for your medical condition.