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Arkansas marijuana laws 

Nov. 8, 2016 Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), or Issue 6, with 53% of the vote. 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 monumental step 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 anticipates including four (but no more than eight) medical marijuana cultivation facility licenses. AMMC announced it would authorize five medical marijuana cultivation facilities. The AMMC stated they would allow twenty (but no more than forty) medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. As of January 2019, thirty-two licenses have been approved. No licenses are available at this time. 


Key Dates

Applications are not being accepted at this time. No upcoming dates have been announced.


Application Fees/Start up costs


How to open a Dispensary:


  • $7,500 medical marijuana application fee ($3,750 refundable)

  • $25,000 license fee for medical marijuana cultivating dispensaries (dispensary with cultivation area on the premises)

  • $2,500 license fee for medical marijuana dispensaries without cultivation area

  • Demonstrate proof of assets or surety bond of $200,000 and demonstrate liquid assets of $100,000


Marijuana Growing facilities:


  • $15,000 medical marijuana application fee ($7,500 refundable)

  • $100,000 annual license fee for medical marijuana cultivation

  • Demonstrate proof of assets or surety bond of $1,000,000 and demonstrate liquid assets of $500,000


Available License Types

Arkansas is not accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses at this time. 


The program anticipates including:


Qualifying Conditions

Arkansas’s Issue 6 allows the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use in the state:

  • Cancer

  • Glaucoma

  • Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome

  • 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 which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six (6) months

  • Severe nausea

  • Seizures including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy

  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

  • And any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH)


Patients suffering from medical conditions that aren’t on the list of Arkansas’ qualifying conditions may file a petition with the ADH to receive access to medical marijuana. 


Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana submitted more than 106,000 signatures on July 8, 2016. Secretary of State Mark Martin verified 72,309 of the necessary 84,859 signatures and granted the supporting campaign an additional 30 days to collect the remainder. David Couch, the primary sponsor of the initiative, turned in an additional 35,000 signatures on August 19, 2016. The Secretary of State’s office certified Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, on August 31, 2016. Issue 6, passed 53% as an initiated constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana sales.

Under this proposed amendment local jurisdictions may enact reasonable zoning regulations applicable to dispensaries or cultivation facilities. However, this section does not allow a city, incorporated town, or county to prohibit the operation of any dispensaries or cultivation facilities in the city, incorporated town, or county unless such a prohibition is approved at an election.

In the 2017 legislative session, Arkansas passed HB 1400 (now Act 740), modifying the Amendment. HB 1400 restricts the smoking of medical marijuana.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission was created under Article §19 of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 and is tasked with writing rules, and issuing licenses to medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary facilities.



Arkansas’s Issue 6 allows the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use in the state. As of October 2019, over 24,400 patients had been approved for medical marijuana cards.

In order to qualify for a registry card to legally purchase medical marijuana, a patient must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be 18 years of age or older or be a minor patient with parental consent.

  • Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition

  • Have the official written certification from a physician

  • Be an Arkansas resident 

  • State law prohibits members of Arkansas National Guard and United States Military from obtaining a registry ID card.

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Estimated market size

Arkansas medical marijuana sales, according to Marijuana Business Factbook, project $15 million to $20 million worth of sales by the end of 2019. The sales, representing 1,730 pounds of marijuana, took into consideration the small fraction of dispensary licenses in operation out of the 32 issued by the Arkansas Alcohol and Beverage Control Division..

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 offices 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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