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Arkansas marijuana laws 

Summary of Marijuana Laws 

As of November 2016, state law allows qualifying patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. It also establishes licenses for state cultivation facilities and dispensaries.  The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) within the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division oversees the state’s new medical marijuana program.

 

The AMMC accepted applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities in August and September 2017. Despite some legal delays, five groups that were initially awarded medical marijuana cultivation licenses in March 2018 were reaffirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in July. The AMMC initially stated that they would allow at least twenty medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, with the ability to approve up to 40 licenses. As of February 2020, thirty-two licenses have been approved. No further dispensary licenses are available at this time, but the Arkansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for Industrial Hemp Research Program through May 1, 2020. Grower and Processor licenses will be updated for FY2020 at a later time.

 

As of February 2020, there are three ballot initiative campaign efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis.

 

Initiatives in Arkansas need 90,000 valid voter signatures by July 3, 2020 to qualify for the ballot. As of January 2020, the Arkansans for Cannabis Reform group reported it had 10,000 raw signatures and $10,000 in the bank. The campaign needs roughly 120,000 raw signatures to have a cushion for ones that could be invalidated due to human error. It is getting token support from the Marijuana Policy Project, but no staffing, resources, or funding. Arkansas True Grass, meanwhile, said in February that it was also at about 10,000 signatures.

 

History

On Nov. 8, 2016, 53% of Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), or Issue 6. The law allows qualifying patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. It also establishes licenses for state cultivation facilities and dispensaries.  This authorized the creation of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) within the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to run the state’s new medical marijuana program.

 

The AMMC accepted applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities in August and September 2017. Despite some legal delays, five groups that were initially awarded medical marijuana cultivation licenses in March 2018 were reaffirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in July. The program anticipated including four medical marijuana cultivation facility licenses, but could approve up to 8 licenses. The AMMC announced it would authorize five medical marijuana cultivation facilities. The AMMC stated that they would allow at least twenty medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, with the ability to approve up to 40 licenses. In January 2019, thirty-two licenses were approved; as of February 2020, no further licenses have been issued. No licenses are available at this time. 

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In January 2019, the Arkansas State Plant Board issued four industrial hemp cultivation licenses and three processor licenses.

 

As of February 2020, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform is gathering signatures for a pair of initiatives, the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment to allow the use of recreational marijuana and the Arkansas Marijuana Expungement Amendment, which would allow people convicted of marijuana offenses petition courts for relief, including release from prison and expungement of convictions.

 

Arkansas resident William Barger filed paperwork for the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative, which would similarly legalize adult-use cannabis, but with costlier implementation requirements, allowing for unlimited cultivation and retail outlets and larger personal possession and cultivation limits. Barger has formed a group, Arkansas True Grass, to lead the campaign.

 

Initiatives in Arkansas this year need 90,000 valid voter signatures by July 3, 2020 to qualify for the ballot, but that will be an uphill battle. As of February 2020, the Arkansans for Cannabis Reform group reported it had only 10,000 raw signatures and $10,000 in the bank. The campaign needs roughly 120,000 raw signatures to have a cushion for ones that could be invalidated due to human error. It is getting token support from the Marijuana Policy Project, but not staffing or funding. Arkansas True Grass, meanwhile, said in February 2020 that it was also at about 10,000 signatures.

 

There is no recent formal polling of support for legalization so far.

Key Dates (nested under history)

  • May 2020: applications due for Industrial Hemp Research Program 

  • January 2020: signature gathering begins for three ballot measure petitions to legalize adult-use cannabis.

  • January 2019: AMMC approves licenses for 32 applicants; Arkansas State Plant Board issues licenses for industrial hemp cultivation and processing.

  • March 2018: Arkansas Supreme Court upholds five cultivation facility licenses.

  • August 2017: AMMC began accepting license applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities.

  • November 2016: Arkansas voters pass AMMA to legalize medical marijuana.

Arkansas Programs

 

                   Recreational/Adult Use                    Medical                  CBD/Medical                 CBD/Recreational

                             Not Legal                                  Legal                         Legal                                  Legal

Hemp Cultivation

Industrial Hemp Research Program applications open through May 1, 2020. Grower and Processor applications for FY2020 will be released at a later time. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has licensed 80 hemp farmers to grow on more than 1,898 acres in 42 counties. It has issued 18 processor licenses to extract CBD from the plants.

Application Status

 

Application Fees/Start up Costs

  • Industrial Hemp licensing: $50 application fee; $200 annual licensing fee; additional service fees expected at a later date.

 

Available License Types

 

Previous License Types

  • As of February 2020, thirty-two dispensary licenses have been approved.

  • The Arkansas Supreme Court issued five cultivation licenses after a legal battle in March 2018.

  • As of February 2020, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture has licensed 80 hemp farmers to grow on more than 1,898 acres in 42 counties. It has issued 18 processor licenses to extract CBD from the plants.

 

Medical Qualifying Conditions 

  • Cancer

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Hepatitis C

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Tourette’s syndrome

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Severe arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Intractable pain 

  • Severe nausea

  • Seizures 

  • Muscle spasms, including those caused by MS

 

Arkansas Market

According to MJ BizDaily, Arkansas saw $21.4 million in sales during the first six months of operation of its medical marijuana program in 2019, despite only 11 of 32 of licensed dispensaries being open for business. In the most recent data as of November 2019, the state had 29,957 registered patients and an average of $3.3 million in monthly sales.

Estimated market size

With a current population of 3 million, Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics are projecting $98 million in legal marijuana sales in Arkansas by 2024.

how to start a marijuana business arkansas

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Arkansas, please Contact us or call our office to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities.

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