What is Arkansas’s stance on marijuana?

| Nov 16, 2020 | Drug Crimes

Whether you face drug charges or merely want to know your rights, it is important to understand Arkansas’s laws as they pertain to marijuana. This is especially the case considering marijuana laws continually evolve as new research, interest in its medicinal properties and other factors affect voters’ and lawmakers’ opinions on the matter. 

To date, Arkansas has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. Though, as FindLaw points out, it is one of 25 states that allows for medicinal use of the drug, the use is only legal for certain conditions. Moreover, if an officer of the law catches you in possession of marijuana without a legitimate prescription, you face criminal charges. 

Qualifying medical conditions for medicinal use

As of 2016, an amendment to the state constitution legalized marijuana for medical use for qualifying conditions. Among the 17 qualifying conditions are the following: 

  • Cancer 
  • Crohn’s disease 
  • Tourette’s syndrome 
  • Glaucoma 
  • PTSD 
  • Severe arthritis 
  • Hepatitis C 
  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • HIV/AIDS 
  • Ulcerative colitis 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 

In establishing qualifying conditions, state lawmakers hope to better help dispensaries regulate the sale of marijuana. 

Possession, sale and delivery without a prescription

If you possess even a small amount of marijuana without a prescription, or if the substance is non-prescription, the state may charge you with a crime. The penalty depends largely on how much marijuana you had on your person at the time of arrest and your intentions for the substance. 

For instance, for a first offense in which the law catches you with 4 oz. or less, you face a Class A misdemeanor charge. A conviction carries a fine of up to $2,500 and a maximum one-year jail sentence. A similar subsequent offense is a Class D felony. Possession charges can escalate to a Class A felony, which can result in a jail sentence of between six and 30 years and a fine of up to $15,000.