Arkansas’ medical marijuana program is the only way residents can legally consume cannabis.
Even in states with recreational marijuana programs, it is worth it to get an MMJ card. I live in California and still recertify my medical marijuana card annually!
If you have a qualifying condition you should consider getting your Arkansas medical marijuana card. With it, you can enjoy the benefits of legal cannabis consumption and access to the best products.
Keep reading to find out exactly how you can do it!
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Program
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (Issue 5) first made it to the ballot in 2012. But it was defeated.
Then, on November 8, 2016, voters approved medical marijuana by ballot in Arkansas with the passing of Issue 6.
53% of the vote was in favor of approving Amendment 98, their medical marijuana initiative. The amendment allows seriously ill patients to use, purchase, and possess medical marijuana. They just need the approval of a licensed medical marijuana doctor.
Once you qualify for the MMJ program you can buy cannabis from regulated state dispensaries.
There are 32 dispensaries licensed to retail medical cannabis by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commision working in conjunction with Arkansas’ Alcohol Beverage Control Division. They may license more in the future.
Qualified patients can possess up to two and a half ounces of medical cannabis purchased every 14 days. This does not include the weight of any food or beverage combined with cannabis.
There is no recreational cannabis use allowed in the state. In 2019 a decriminalization bill was introduced but it has not advanced yet. There is a ballot initiative set to move forward in 2022.
AR Medical Cannabis Card Requirements
There are a few things that you need to successfully apply for your Arkansas medical marijuana card.
You need to properly fill out your application form to become a medical marijuana patient. And you need to have a written certification from a licensed medical marijuana doctor. This should be no more than 30 days old.
You will also need a photocopy of your Arkansas state driver’s license or state ID. The name and address must match what is on your application form for your medical cannabis card.
Lastly, there is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The state has a payment plan option for patients who may have trouble affording the fees. They also allow discounts for veterans and referral discounts.
You also need to be aware of program requirements like where you use medical cannabis and how.
Cannabis use is prohibited in a number of areas. Even with an MMJ card, you cannot use medical cannabis at or near a school. Nor any place where smoking is prohibited by the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006.
You will also be required to renew your MMJ card once every year via a consultation with a medical marijuana doctor.
You should renew your card at least 30 days before its expiration date. You will need to get an updated certification from your physician. Submit your application to renew along with a $50 renewal fee.
You need to be at least 18 years old to legally apply for a medical marijuana card on your own. If you are a minor you can still apply for your card if you have a parent’s consent.
Note – Your parent or another designated caregiver will need to help you submit your application.
A designated caregiver is an authorized person that can obtain, possess, transport, and administer medical marijuana to the registered patient.
This also means nurses and home health care providers can become registered caregivers for patients. They can then incorporate cannabis into their treatment plans.
In parallel, they can help patients with product choices, dosing, and administration. And help them best work medical cannabis with traditional therapies like chemotherapy.
A registered caregiver must be 21 years of age. They must also pass a background check during the application process. You cannot have a registered felony conviction.
If you are the legal guardian of a minor then you do not have to complete the criminal history check. Instead, you can simply pay the caregiver registry card application fee.
Caregivers will also need to show proof of AR residency to purchase medical marijuana.
They must apply for and receive a registry card before they can begin to assist patients with their MMJ. A registered caregiver identification card allows caregivers to possess up to two and a half ounces of MMJ on behalf of their patient.
Caregivers cannot consume or sell medical cannabis intended for their patients under any circumstances. Arkansas allows registered caregivers to hold more than one card if they have more than one patient. They can also hold their own MMJ card if they qualify.
While the state of Arkansas has a list of specific qualifying conditions approved for medical marijuana, any medical condition approved by the department of health can potentially get it added to the list too.
This is a unique and positive point of the Arkansas medical marijuana program. Many states have a stiff list of qualifying medical conditions and a strict pathway for people to become patients.
But in Arkansas, patients suffering from a condition not currently on the list can petition the department of health for consideration of the illness. There will be a hearing and the department will either approve or deny it after a 120-day period.
The most commonly prescribed conditions are:
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Ulcerative colitis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe arthritis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe nausea
- Persistent muscle spasms
Just having one of the above conditions does not automatically qualify you for medical marijuana in Arkansas. You still need to get a written certification from a qualified medical marijuana doctor and then submit your application to the state to get approved.
Note: Members of the Arkansas National Guard and the United States military are not allowed to enroll in the state’s medical marijuana program as a patient or caregiver.
How To Get Medical Marijuana Card In Arkansas
The requirements to get a medical marijuana card have already been laid out above. Here are the details on how to go through the steps to becoming a cardholder.
First, you need to meet with a licensed physician who is licensed to certify patients in Arkansas for medical cannabis.
They will determine if you are eligible to receive a medical marijuana certification. If they decide you are eligible, then they will provide you with a written recommendation letter.
You can meet with a doctor face to face, or online.
It may seem more familiar to meet with a doctor in person. But I can assure you it is super simple and much cheaper to complete your certification appointment online.
The most well-established services online have money-back guarantees so there is no financial risk involved. If you are not approved it costs nothing.
This is a much better deal than adjusting your schedule and paying for gas to get to an appointment in an office that you have to pay a high price for, even if you don’t end up with a recommendation letter.
To get your medical marijuana card in Arkansas make sure to follow these steps:
1. Certification From An AR Healthcare Provider
As I mentioned above, you will need to speak with a board-certified medical marijuana doctor licensed to practice in Arkansas.
If you use an online service to do this you will be able to meet with them anywhere with an internet connection. Most people complete the appointment from their home in just a few minutes.
The physician will ask you questions about your health conditions, health history, and lifestyle. They will determine if medical marijuana may be a treatment that would benefit you.
Once your appointment is complete if you are approved you will receive a certification letter. If you met with the physician online a digital copy will be sent to your email right away. You can use this certification letter to finish the rest of the steps to getting your MMJ card.
2. Register as a new Arkansas medical patient
Now that you have a certification letter it is time to register as a new Arkansas medical patient with the Arkansas Medical Marijuana System and apply online for your medical cannabis card.
Using this online system you can register as a new patient, or a caregiver, or update personal information.
It takes up to 14 business days for applications to process. If you have been waiting for more than 14 business days for your application to process you may want to call the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Section to make sure you completed the application correctly.
3. Complete Arkansas State MMJ Application
After you register as a new patient you will be able to complete and submit your Arkansas state application.
To do this you need to provide the filled-out application form, your certification letter, your photo ID, and a $50 application fee.
Any information you provide in your MMJ application is recorded by the Arkansas Department of health medical marijuana section and is confidential. The information is subject to federal laws that are exempt from the freedom of information act and are not subject to disclosure.
Law enforcement only has the ability to confirm the validity of an ID card issued by the Arkansas Department of Health.
4. Get Your AR Medical Card In The Mail
This is the easiest part!
Once your application is submitted and approved you can wait for your card to arrive in the mail. A physical card will be mailed to you automatically once your application is approved.
You can not get a card through email, but if you applied online you can log onto the AR MMJ system and print a copy of your card.
The Arkansas Department of Health does not issue any type of temporary card while you are waiting for yours to arrive in the mail.
How To Get An Arkansas Medical Card Online
Getting an AR medical marijuana card online is simple. Remember, you can save time and money by avoiding in-person appointments.
Walk-in appointments are usually always the most expensive option. And it can be hard for people to find a local doctor with the right availability that is qualified to recommend medical marijuana.
According to state regulations, a qualified MMJ doctor must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed in the state of AR and have a controlled substances license on file with the DEA.
The physicians that work with online services are already qualified to make recommendations in your state. They know all of the laws and requirements and have already helped hundreds of other patients.
If you get your recommendation through an online service you can get it in minutes and it is valid for 1 year.
Both of them service Arkansas and are regularly helping other patients get their MMJ cards in the state. Both of them have full money-back guarantees on the off chance that you don’t get recommended for MMJ.
Keep in mind that if you miss your appointment or change your mind after meeting with a physician then you will not receive a refund.
Leafwell is usually cheaper than Veriheal when it comes to becoming an Arkansas medical marijuana patient; usually by about 33% on average. Their online systems are HIPPAA compliant and protect all of your personal information.
The fee to get your card through Leafwell is $149 but is subject to change. While the fee for Veriheal at the time of writing is $199. However, they have a combo booking option that will save you and a friend $10 each if you sign up together.
Something that made using an online service worthwhile for me when I was getting my MMJ card is that they both have tons of resources for new patients when it comes to learning the basics of MMJ.
They will provide you with information on dispensaries near you and they have up-to-date info on specific state laws you may need to be aware of. And if you have any questions during any part of the process they have excellent customer service teams waiting to provide you answers.
Many patients use these online services because of the easy process and access to a medical marijuana doctor.
Moral of the story? You can save money and get more services by using one of these online platforms.
AR Medical Marijuana Card Benefits
There are a variety of benefits to getting your medical marijuana card in Arkansas.
Perhaps the most important and obvious benefit is the legal protection you get when buying and possessing marijuana in the state of AR. This is a super important benefit as recreational marijuana use is illegal in Arkansas.
Becoming a cardholder means you can purchase and possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis every two weeks. You have to purchase your cannabis from a listed state dispensary.
You also get limited employment protections. There are additional protections related to education, child custody, and welfare.
The protections are limited as it does not prohibit an employer from implementing a drug-free workplace policy that may include drug testing.
If you’re not a medical marijuana cardholder then you can be fined $2,500 and spend up to one year in prison for having four ounces or less. For second-time offenders possession of even just one ounce of cannabis is a class D felony. Don’t let yourself take this risk!
Another benefit enjoyed by AR medical marijuana patients is the access to licensed medical dispensaries where you can purchase a variety of third-party tested marijuana products.
No one but licensed cultivators is allowed to grow their own marijuana plants. Labs are mostly self-policing. But they should follow the International Standard for Organization standards for testing.
This means they test for things like the following:
- Moisture content
- Microbial contaminants
- Heavy metals
The only way to legally purchase cannabis products is by being an MMJ cardholder. You need to show your MMJ card to make a purchase.
Dispensaries have a variety of high-quality medical marijuana products. They range in potency, delivery methods, and prices.
You can choose from products like tinctures, creams, edibles, cannabis flower, and concentrates. Some may be high in THC content suited for chronic pain, while others may be high-CBD products for a more balanced approach.
Laws prohibit manufacturers from making products that may appeal to children. So you won’t be able to find edibles like gummies, candy, or brownies. But you can still find edible tablets.
You can speak with your doctor to see what products might work best for you. They will also be able to help you navigate what potency and type of products you should use.
Many states provide tax breaks for their MMJ patients. Unfortunately, AR isn’t one of them.
You will pay 10.5% in taxes on your medical marijuana products. Insurance does not cover the cost of medication as cannabis is not an approved treatment by the FDA.
You may get to benefit from medical marijuana reciprocity. This is only if you are traveling to another state that recognizes out-of-state medical marijuana cards. If so, you can enjoy their legal protections while visiting with your valid AR MMJ card.
Here is the list of states that have medical marijuana reciprocity:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- US Virgin Islands
- Washington, D.C.
This does not mean you can purchase medical marijuana in all of these states. You will need to follow the medical marijuana laws for the state you are traveling to, not the AR laws.
You can call the state department in charge of the medical marijuana program where you will be visiting to get specific information about their reciprocity laws.
If you are from out of state and visiting Arkansas, you may qualify for some legal protections, too. However, Arkansas does not recognize out-of-state cards.
Visiting patients need to apply using the online system to be approved. You must have a qualifying condition that is recognized by the state of Arkansas to be approved.
You must prove that you are not a resident of AR or have been in the state for less than 30 days. And you still need to possess a valid MMJ card that was issued from another state.
Visiting qualifying patients approved by AR still cannot buy medical marijuana in the state.
How long does it take to get your medical card in the mail in Arkansas?
It takes about 7-14 days to receive your medical card in the mail after your application is approved. If you applied online you can print a copy of your card out from the Arkansas medical marijuana system.
Can AR Medical Marijuana Patients Grow Weed?
No. Arkansas medical marijuana patients can’t grow any medical cannabis.
Any medical marijuana or marijuana-infused products must be purchased directly from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
Only licensed cultivators can grow medical cannabis in the state of Arkansas. You need to contact the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for information about the cultivation of cannabis.
Wrapping Up AR Medical Card
It’s risky to consume cannabis in Arkansas without a medical marijuana card.
If you have a qualifying condition you can get a medical card with ease. It allows you to purchase up to two and a half ounces of cannabis every two weeks.
You also get access to licensed dispensaries with lab-tested products. These are not available to other AR residents.
Online services like Leafwell and Veriheal make the process crazy easy. And they have a money-back guarantee, so what are you waiting for?
Get your recommendation today and enjoy Arkansas medical marijuana legally.