Medical Marijuana in Arkansas - Past and Present
History of Medical Marijuana in Arkansas
Arkansas medical marijuana patients can recall the year 2016 when state lawmakers made consuming cannabis legal for patients with qualifying medical conditions. Only four years later, Little Rock, alone, went from zero dispensaries to close to six within 30 miles of the city. A deluge had begun.
After a four-year run, 2020 was a blockbuster year, not only in sales, but also in the number of patient registrations and marijuana card prescriptions that were received and awarded. The number of dispensaries has grown exponentially, even in the face of an economic downturn.
As the Covid-19 pandemic made its way through the United States, businesses and doctors offices were forced to close, requiring employees to work from home. For the time being, until the result, medical marijuana applicants can get approved for medical marijuana right from their home.
At Arkansas Marijuana Card, patients are offered a telemedicine option which allows them to meet with a certified doctor via video-conferencing where they can discuss their medical history and medical marijuana card qualifications and treatment. This service may end once the pandemic is under control, so schedule an appointment now and get your card today!
Arkansas Medical Marijuana - What To Watch For In 2021
2021 is on point to be another good year for Arkansas medical marijuana patients. Great strides continue to be made here as advocates educate the public on the benefits of cannabis treatments as people become more comfortable with the idea of marijuana as a holistic, medical alternative to things such as chronic pain and PTSD.
Financially speaking, this year is expected to top previous revenue records. To put it in a more “green” perspective, Arkansas’ medical marijuana sales topped $200 million as of last December. Based on current data, 2021 aims to meet or exceed that figure. Not bad for a fledgling program.
In all the good news there comes some challenges. Arkansas is also breaking in the new year with an ongoing litigation that will have a direct impact on patients’ medical cannabis supply chain.
Last week, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Committee declared the dispensary application process had officially expired, leaving two out of 40 dispensary slots unawarded, a few have been left open due to application deadline issues.
Due to deadlines, dispensaries already in the application process prior to the expiration date have been considered no longer eligible unless they start over unless they redo the application and begin the process all over again.
The final decision to uphold the deadline was based on current interpretations of the ordinance surrounding the application process, exemptions and extensions.
Counter-arguments have been presented to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission on Tuesday in support of a February 13, 2021 extension date on behalf of the two remaining dispensary applications.
Lawmakers will continue to unpack the language behind the bill in order to determine what exemptions or loop-holes, if any, could be applied to satisfy the failures of meeting the deadline.
The irony of it all is that the state of Arkansas allows for 40 dispensaries to be awarded licenses. According to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy , there are still applicants yet to be selected.
The demand for medical marijuana is up and voices are arguing that certain districts are feeling overlooked when it comes to having a dispensary. Many patients feel they have to travel too far to get their medication and want to see an increase in the amount of permits allowed.
In the meantime, some medical marijuana patients are voicing concerns of community favoritism and police crack-downs as possible reasons they are not seeing dispensaries in higher demand areas.
Critics of the current cap on processing permits also claim the supply is lower in some health service areas than others, especially minority and lower income communities where demand is high, and they are asking for more equal distribution to fulfill patient orders in those areas.
Program leaders also cite that those who medicate for certain conditions such as PTSD, pharmaceutical dependencies or chronic pain often make up a large majority of the patients living in those communities. Even in neighborhoods that do have dispensaries, the demand often still outweighs the supply as one is not enough.
Patients will have to wait while lawmakers attempt to settle the litigation score and fulfill the open spots as quickly as possible. At this point, the outcome of the intimations is something patients should continue to monitor.
Out-Of-State Medical Marijuana Patients Are Welcome
Also part of the Arkansas medical marijuana program in 2021 is the MMJ card for visitors. One very generous medical marijuana law that offers temporary medical marijuana cards to qualified patients visiting from other states.
Visitors (out-of-state patients) holding cards may purchase medical marijuana and will be legally protected while in the state of Arkansas. The program mimics reciprocity but differs in that it honors visitors as patients and is not just concerned which state card they possess.
The Arkansas Department of Health writes:
“A visiting qualifying patient may obtain marijuana from a dispensary with completion of a visiting patient form and producing evidence of his or her registry identification card or its equivalent that is issued under the laws of another state, district, territory, commonwealth, or insular possession of the United States.”
Schedule A Medical Marijuana Appointment Now
The Benefits Of Having a Medical Marijuana Card
All patient-related records managed by the Arkansas Department Health Medical Marijuana Section are kept strictly confidential, so no patient need be afraid to register. Due to freedom from the Freedom of Information Act, patient information may not be made subject to disclosure. Law enforcement will have the ability to confirm only the validity of an ID card.
Here are just a few benefits of having an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card:
Under the current amendment, patients holding an UNEXPIRED medical marijuana card are protected as long as they can prove their ID and confirm their current status as a bona fide card-holder in the state of Arkansas.
Please Note: When your card expires, the legal protection offered by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act is expired!
Marijuana Tax Exemptions
In many states with both medical and recreational dispensaries, sales tax is lower for medical cannabis. The result is lower prices for all medical cannabis products. For example, in Washington, there is a 37% sales tax on recreational marijuana.
Enough can be said about this one. Especially if you are a medical marijuana patient who vapes their THC product. The black market is full of fake, knock-off THC cartridges that are making people sick. Dispensaries are often the first line of defense against toxic products. This is medicine you're taking, after all. Why would you want it to make you sicker?
Variety of THC Products to Choose From
There is nothing worse than waiting on someone for your medication. With an Arkansas medical marijuana card, you’ll no longer have to. The choice is now yours on when to get cannabis and where, what strain you choose, and how much you need. Very refreshing.
Consistency in Your Meds
This sort of goes along with the previous benefit. Along with having choices in your meds, you have consistency in those choices. Everyone has a ride or die and it’s nice when it’s always available. Plus, you know what you’re getting every time.
Where else would you find discounts for buying cannabis? Nowhere. This is another great perk for having a medical marijuana card. Local co-op dispensaries show a great deal of patron love for their patients. New member discounts and weekly specials can always be found.
How To Qualify For A Medical Marijuana Card in Arkansas
To round things out, here is a list of current conditions that qualify you for a medical marijuana card in Arkansas:
● Positive status for HIV/AIDS
● Hepatitis C
● Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
● Tourette’s syndrome
● Crohn’s disease
● Ulcerative colitis
● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
● Severe arthritis
● Alzheimer’s disease
● A chronic medical condition that producing one or more of the following:
○ Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
○ Intractable pain, or pain unresponsive to ordinary
treatment or surgical methods for more than six (6)
○ Peripheral neuropathy
○ Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
○ Severe nausea
○ Severe muscle spasms, including those often
associated with multiple sclerosis (MS)
Do you think you might qualify for a medical marijuana card in Arkansas? Would you like to schedule an evaluation for PTSD? Need an answer for that chronic pain? We are here to help!
Call Us Now at 844.249.8714
The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association
The Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy