In March and April of 2020 Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a series of executive orders declaring a state of emergency in the state of Arkansas. These executive orders paved the way for safer conditions under COVID-19 and allowed the Department of Health to expand their telemedicine capabilities.
A recent update from the Arkansas Department of Health has ordered a stop to telemedicine appointments for medical marijuana certifications on March 31. Beginning April 1, physicians will be prohibited from giving written certifications to patients via telemedicine and all evaluations must take place in office.
Executive Orders 20-06 and 20-16 temporarily allowed the use of telehealth for medical marijuana certifications during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a measure to protect residents from the spread of the virus. Due to the current state of the pandemic, patient’s safety should still remain a top priority and prevent any unnecessary risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Without widespread immunization at this time, it is our belief that it would be in the best of interest of patients to allow the continued use of telemedicine services. However, we must respect the order from the Department of Health, so we will be temporarily halting operations until we can re-open our office facilities. We are hoping to do so beginning in May, and we will keep you updated as we work through this process.
The Arkansas Department of Health responded to our inquiry regarding the safety of medical marijuana applicants with a pre-prepared statement suggesting we contact them by email for an official statement.
Melissa Fultz of the Arkansas NORML chapter found it appalling that the state would risk the safety of its patients, saying “God forbid we do something for the benefit of the patients!”.
Although Arkansas legislators approved an extension for 5 executive orders, including Executive Order 20-05 regarding telehealth, at the moment there is no state sponsored legislation or proposal prepared to extend the telemedicine capabilities for Arkansas medical marijuana applicants.
At Arkansas Marijuana Card, we believe you should not have to risk your health and the health of your family in order to get access to natural relief for your conditions.
We encourage you to voice your concerns with the state, and make your opinion known. Call the Arkansas Department of Health Toll Free at 1-833-214-8619 or 501-682-4982, or email them by clicking here, to let them know that you deserve safe access to medical marijuana.