How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Arkansas 2021

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In Growing Marijuana in Arkansas – AK Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Arkansas residents can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Recreational marijuana is still strictly prohibited in The Natural State which is why residents who need to legally use cannabis for their condition should register for a medical marijuana card.

Overview of Medical Marijuana in Arkansas

In November 2016, Arkansas voters approved Amendment 98 which legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state. You can read up on the law here: Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016.

Arkansas’ medical marijuana law allows registered patients and their caregivers to possess up to 2.5 ounces and purchase the same amount every 14 days. However, home cultivation is still not allowed and patients may only purchase marijuana grown in the state from licensed dispensaries. To qualify, a patient must have at least one of the following conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic or debilitating disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Intractable pain
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures
  • Severe arthritis
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

In addition to these, the Arkansas Department of Health may also approve additional qualifying conditions that require medical cannabis. You may also petition for your condition to be added to the list by following the instructions on the ARDH’s website and sending it by US mail.

Even minors afflicted with any of these conditions can register for the program, as long as they do so with the help of their parents or legal guardians. Patients who are disabled or under 18 may also have a designated caregiver who may assist in buying and dispensing, but not cultivating marijuana. A caregiver must be a resident of Arkansas at least 21 years old who has not been convicted of an excluded felony offense. However, the parents of minors with a qualifying condition are not required to undergo a criminal background check. Members of the Arkansas National Guard and United States Military are not allowed to register for an ID card.

Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Arkansas?

Since adult-use marijuana is still illegal in Arkansas, patients who want to legally obtain cannabis medication in the state will have to register for a medical marijuana card. The program is also the only way a minor can legally use marijuana. While the law states that only patients aged at least 18 may possess and buy cannabis, parents or legal guardians may also register their children as long as they have a qualifying condition. However, minor patients have to have a primary caregiver, typically their parent or legal guardian, who will be responsible for purchasing and dispensing marijuana medication. 

How to get a medical marijuana card in Arkansas

It’s easy to apply to the Arkansas medical marijuana program since everything can be submitted online. However, it is not free and even caregivers have to pay to be a card holder. If you want to apply as a patient, minor patient, or caregiver, you should also check first if you meet all the eligibility requirements. If you are qualified and would like to apply, here are the steps you should follow:

For patients

  1. Have a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed in the state of Arkansas fill out your Physician Written Certification Form. The medical provider must have a controlled substances license on file with the DEA, in good standing to practice medicine in the state, and have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with you.
  2. Make sure you can provide all the necessary requirements as indicated in the form. 
  3. Submit the completed form and all the requirements by logging on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Patient Registry System on the Arkansas Department of Health website.

For caregivers

  1. Applicants must be able to provide proof of residency (AR Driver’s license or State ID) and complete a mandatory Criminal History Check. Parents of minors with qualifying conditions do not need to go through a background check
  2. Once approved, submit the completed Caregiver Application form and all other requirements online.

You can also submit your requirements and completed application form via US mail to this address: 

Arkansas Department of Health
Medical Marijuana Section

4815 West Markham Slot 50
Little Rock, AR 72205

If you’ve been approved, you should receive your card within 10 to 14 days. Both patient and caregiver cards are valid for one year. Registration and renewals cost $50 for resident patients and visiting patients while designated caregivers need to pay $87 which already includes the criminal background check cost of $50. Caregivers may have more than one patient but each patient will need a separate registration costing $50.

Frequently Asked Questions on Getting an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card

Why do I need to medical marijuana card?

A medical marijuana card is the only way patients can legally use marijuana in the state of Arkansas.

Who is eligible for medical marijuana card?

Patients in Arkansas with at least one of the qualifying conditions below are eligible for a medical marijuana card:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Alzheimer’s disease
Cachexia or wasting syndrome
Cancer
Chronic or debilitating disease
Crohn’s disease
Fibromyalgia
Glaucoma
Hepatitis C
HIV/AIDS
Intractable pain
Multiple sclerosis
Peripheral neuropathy
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Seizures
Severe arthritis
Severe nausea
Severe and persistent muscle spasms
Tourette’s syndrome
Ulcerative colitis

Why would I want a medical marijuana card?

Patients need to apply for a medical marijuana card in Arkansas to legally use cannabis for their conditions. It is also the only way to use marijuana if you are a minor or would like to be a caregiver.

How long does the process take?

After you send in your application requirements for an Arkansas medical marijuana card, you should get your card in the mail anytime within 10 to 14 days.

How much does it cost to obtain a medical marijuana card?

Applications for a medical marijuana card in Alaska cost $50 for resident and visiting patients while caregivers, $87 which includes the cost of the criminal background check.

How many plants can I grow with medical marijuana card?

Home cultivation of medical marijuana is not yet allowed in Arkansas.

How much marijuana can I keep with medical marijuana card?

Patients registered in Arkansas medical marijuana program and their caregivers can possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 14 days.

Conclusion

If you’re a patient in Arkansas who needs marijuana for your condition, it is definitely worth spending for a medical marijuana card. Registering into the state medical cannabis program is the only legal way for patients, as well as minors, to legally use marijuana. Compared to other states, the registration process in Arkansas has fewer requirements, is straightforward and inexpensive. 

As a patient with a qualifying condition, another good reason why you should get a medical marijuana card in Arkansas is to avoid heavy penalties associated with illegal cannabis. Possession of less than 4 oz in the state is already a misdemeanor that not only gets a fine of $2,500 but also a year or less of prison time.  

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