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The History of Arkansas Marijuana Laws

by in Medical Marijuana April 12, 2021

Arkansas marijuana laws have undergone quite a shift in recent years. While our laws remain some of the strictest in the nation, we have to recognize the progress that has been made. Consider a brief history of Arkansas weed laws.

1923 America

The history of Arkansas marijuana laws goes back to 1923. As marijuana farming and use increased throughout the nation, so were stereotypes of marijuana users. There was no clear evidence showing the widespread negative effects of marijuana use, but the government impulsively banned it and made possessing it illegal.

The War on Drugs

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which strengthened punishments for convicted drug users. Among other things, it put into place a series of mandatory minimum sentences, which more harshly punished caught criminals – the first step backward in years.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested for having marijuana since then, and the buffed-up charges included hefty fines and up to 1-year jail term, and even longer for repeat offenders.

Into the 21st Century

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), initially known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act or simply “Issue 5,” was included in 2012’s November ballot, and the fight to pass it was hotly contested.

Unfortunately, for many patients hoping for better Arkansas marijuana laws, it failed by a narrow margin of 48.6% to 51.4%. If it had passed, it would have allowed citizens to use and even grow their own cannabis.

Despite the loss, for the first time in a long time, the legalization of weed in Arkansas felt like an inevitability–there was suddenly hope that there would one day be better Arkansas weed laws.

This motivated the supporters of legal marijuana to prepare for the next Arkansas election. In 2014, a move by the U.S. Congress made it more difficult for authorities to raid medical marijuana growers in marijuana-legal states, another important step toward better Arkansas weed laws!

2016 General Elections

Over the next two years, amendments were made to Issue 5, giving birth to the current AMMA, documented as “Issue 6.” Again, this was included on the ballot, and this time it passed with 53.2% of the total votes. But this long-overdue moment did not come without struggle.

In fact, there had been a competing bill, “Issue 7,” which contained a clause that would allow the government to criminalize medical marijuana again if certain measures weren’t met going forward. Luckily, the Arkansas Supreme Court stamped it out of the ballot beforehand.

The new Arkansas marijuana laws included certain qualifications that have to be met by cannabis patients, and they added regulations for safe dispensaries.


What followed 2016 was a series of amendments that set consumption regulations and dictated qualification criteria for physicians, which delayed the opening of dispensaries. The first dispensary didn’t open until three years later. And in that time, a total of 24 bills were passed into law concerning the use of medical marijuana in the state.

So, medical marijuana is legal in Arkansas at last. The state allows patients to access medical marijuana with a card issued to an individual, as long as they meet certain qualifying conditions. After getting your Arkansas medical marijuana card, we advise you to go through the entire list of Arkansas weed laws, so you do not end up on the wrong side of the authorities.

While Arkansas does have some of the stickiest cannabis rules and regulations, we have to appreciate that. With marijuana legal in Arkansas now, many patients will be able to find new, natural methods of addressing their wellness. The state now has more than 30 medical marijuana dispensaries that actively provide medical marijuana as a supplement for the treatment of various conditions.

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Get Certified in Arkansas with Ozark MMJ Cards

Are you a patient in Arkansas looking to try medical marijuana for your illness? You’ll need a card first, and that’s where we come in. We are dedicated to providing medical marijuana certification in a budget-friendly way.

Call us today to speak with an expert who will see you through the process of acquiring your card according to current Arkansas marijuana laws. Our customer service is personalized and very reliable, and we provide professional advice about marijuana products, so you make the right choices for your body and lifestyle.

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