Arkansas passed its Amendment 98 to the Arkansas Constitution in 2016, allowing medical use of marijuana beginning in May 2019. It is the 33rd state to enact a medical marijuana program. Arkansas voters have already reformed their Medical Marijuana Bill to allow for the sale of "edibles," which would provide an alternative to individuals rather than smoking marijuana for medical purposes. Arkansas allows individuals with qualifying medical conditions to obtain marijuana for medical purposes if they are prescribed marijuana by a physician and obtain a medical marijuana patient card. The qualifying conditions include:
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Tourette's syndrome
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe arthritis
- Alzheimer's disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Intractable pain which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months
- Severe nausea
- Seizures including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- and any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health
As of May 16, 2019, there have been 12,090 medical marijuana cards issued. Although Arkansas has legalized the use of medical marijuana, its use is not permitted everywhere. Important prohibitions on the use of medical marijuana in the state include, but are not limited to: school buses, the grounds of any preschool, primary or secondary school, correctional facilities, and in motor vehicles. Moreover, in order to be protected under the Arkansas law, marijuana must be purchased and labeled from an Arkansas dispensary.
In February 2019, the Arkansas Department of Health issued a Public Health Advisory on Human Use of Products Derived from Cannabis, Including Marijuana and Hemp, which advises Arkansas citizens to be aware of the potential risks involved in using cannabis, including marijuana and hemp. Some of these risks include:
- Addictive nature of marijuana, especially in youth.
- Potency of marijuana and unknown long term effects of use.
- Adverse health outcomes associated with including impaired judgment, development of psychoses, mood and anxiety disorders, addiction and substance abuse disorders.
- Increased risk of falls, motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic decline and impairment in employment.
- Adverse effects during pregnancy on unborn children, including low birth weight.
- Lack of regulation of products that claim to contain cannabidiol (CBD).
- Availability of safe and effective FDA-approved medications derived from cannabis which are available to patients under the care of a health care provider.
If you or a family member are facing drug-related charges, contact former prosecutor, Steve Karimi. Speak with a member of our legal team by filling out an online case evaluation form or calling (206) 621-8777 today.