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Arkansas Cannabis Facts

Updated on May 26, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Facts

Arkansas voters made history in 2016, as they made the state the first in the Deep South to allow the use of medical marijuana. One of the more interesting Arkansas marijuana facts is that the initiative succeeded despite a great deal of confusion, including a turbulent election period, multiple lawsuits concerning the legality of the initiative, and much more. However, the 53-47 percent margin showed voters were ready to make cannabis legal for those suffering from serious illnesses.

As you might expect with such a sweeping initiative, there were a lot of moving parts that needed to be accounted for before the state’s medical cannabis program could be put into effect. A system of creating identification cards for patients needed to be established, as did testing and labeling standards.

There were also matters regarding cultivation facilities and dispensaries, such as recordkeeping, security, oversight and other requirements. In addition, procedures for investigating and inspecting facilities and dispensaries also had to be established, as did registration procedures for those who would be responsible for inspections and investigations.

Marijuana Facts for Arkansas

  • In March 2020, dispensaries in Arkansas saw largest sales since the first dispensary opened the year before, according to the state Department of Finance and Administration. There are currently 22 operational dispensaries across the state.
  • There were more than 5,700 arrests for marijuana in Arkansas in 2012, with 90 percent of those for possession. During the same year, more than 90 percent of motor vehicle thefts and 91 percent of burglaries were unsolved.
  • In January 2017, the Arkansas House of Representatives voted unanimously (91-0) to delay the implementation of legalized medical marijuana for patients. The delay meant that the state would have until May — rather than March — to finalize the new medical cannabis rules.
  • The delay also meant that the deadline for those wanting to open cultivation facilities and dispensaries would move from June 1 to July 1.
  • The House also approved the removal of a requirement that doctors who certified patients to use medical cannabis would have to state that they believe the benefits of weed outweigh the risks.
  • A House Republican, Douglas House, introduced bills that would restrict the sale of candy-type medical marijuana edibles and also restrict the type of advertising dispensaries could do to publicize their products.
  • Arkansas is far from alone in having to scramble in order to determine the rules for its medical marijuana program. Several other states were in the same position after the 2016 elections and chose to delay implementation as a result.
  • According to an article that appeared on The Cannabist website, anyone wanting to grow medical marijuana in Arkansas would have to pay an annual fee of $100,000 and have either $1 million in assets or a $1 million bond. They would also have to prove they have at least $500,000 in cash liquidity.
  • The same article reported it would cost the state of Arkansas somewhere between $4 million-$6 million to oversee its medical marijuana program.

If you are interested in learning more medical marijuana facts for Arkansas or any other state, please check in with often. We regularly update our site to keep patients and doctors educated on developments across the country so they can be as well informed as possible.

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