Updated on May 26, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Medical marijuana penalties in Arkansas are very strict for those who do not follow the law. Unfortunately, the law is new, and a great many details need to be worked out.
Patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. Inhaling herbal cannabis is not permitted by adults in the presence of a pregnant woman or a child age 14 or under. Dispensaries may not provide cannabis-infused food or drink products with more than 10mg of THC. They may not provide cannabis-infused edible products that are “modeled after non-cannabis products primarily consumed by and marketed to children.”
In addition, during the 2017 legislative session, a state representative introduced a measure that would, in effect, delay the implementation of the program indefinitely.
That measure failed, but the program was not expected to begin until July 2017 at the earliest. Also, counties in the state can choose to opt out of the program, or “stay dry” in terms of allowing people to legally possess medical cannabis if they so chose. Ballot initiatives would have to take place, and at least 15 percent of registered voters in the state would have to sign a petition.
Even when the program goes into effect, there will be no home marijuana cultivation allowed in the state. Instead, medicinal weed will only be allowed through state-licensed cultivators as well as up to 40 dispensaries. The amount of cannabis that a medical patient will be legally able to possess had not yet been determined as of this writing. Patients will need a recommendation from a physician to qualify for the program. Qualifying conditions will include severe nausea and arthritis, ulcerative colitis, seizures, glaucoma and many others.
It may be difficult to find enough licensed cultivators, however. To operate a cultivation facility in the state, it will not only cost a $15,000 application fee, but also a $100,000 annual fee. In addition, applicants must have $1 million in assets and be able to prove they have $500,000 in liquidity. If they are unable to show both, then they must have a $1 million bond.
For non-medical users, the penalties for pot possession are extremely strict. Someone convicted of possessing less than four ounces of weed could face as long as a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500 — and that’s only for a first offense.
A second or subsequent conviction is considered a felony that is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000. The same penalties are in effect for people convicted of possessing between four ounces and 10 pounds of pot.
A conviction for delivering as little as 14 grams of pot or less carries the same penalties for possessing four ounces or less. The penalty for delivering between 14 grams and four ounces carries the same felony punishment as a second offense of possessing four ounces or less — up to six years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Even possessing paraphernalia with the intent to use carries a stiff penalty — up to a year in jail plus a fine of up to $2,500. If someone is convicted of having paraphernalia for the growing, storing or processing of weed, that penalty is up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Arkansas marijuana laws are a bit in flux, so be sure you are up-to-date on what’s happening. You’ll find the details at MarijuanaDoctors.com.