Activists across the United States have been fighting for years for the legalization of medical marijuana, and as of 2020, over 30 states have legalized cannabis for certain qualifying conditions. Some states have legalized recreational cannabis as well.
The fights for these rights have been difficult, especially in Arkansas. The passage of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), also known as Issue 6, faced significant adversity -- but this policy prevailed.
In 2012, a previous version of AMMA known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (Issue 5) was placed on the state ballot during the November election. This law would have provided medical cannabis cultivation and sales by non-profit organizations, as well as the ability for patients to grow their own plants.
The fight for this law was tough -- but unfortunately, Issue 5 did not pass by a vote of 48.6% to 51.4%. However, the slim margin gave hope for Issue 6, and proponents of the law prepared for the next statewide election.
During the 2016 election, Issue 6 was placed on the ballot to allow medical cannabis patients to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 2 weeks, establish a list of qualifying conditions, and set forth rules and regulations for dispensaries across Arkansas. Issue 6 passed by a vote of 53.2% to 46.8%.
While medical cannabis was legalized in Arkansas in 2016, the first dispensary did not open until 2019. Launching a medical marijuana program requires establishing regulations, creating application processes, and identifying physician requirements, among other administrative tasks, which contributed to this delay.
In addition, a judge in Pulaski County blocked the license applications for the first Arkansas dispensaries in 2018, stating that the process by which the state was issuing licenses was in violation of Issue 6.
However, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned this decision later that year. Now, medical cannabis patients can purchase the cannabis they need at any of the licensed dispensaries operating in the state.
After many legal battles and political dilemmas, Arkansas now operates over 30 dispensaries across the state that can provide patients with the medical marijuana they need to treat their conditions.
If you are applying for an Arkansas medical marijuana card, the process may seem confusing at first -- but it’s actually very simple. All you need to do is find a licensed physician to certify you for cannabis use, submit an application to the Arkansas Department of Health, and wait for the Department’s decision.
Upon approval, you can print your cannabis card or have it mailed to you -- and once it’s in your hand, you can purchase medical marijuana at any licensed dispensary.
If you are an Arkansas resident applying for a medical cannabis card, the Sanctuary can help. Our friendly staff will connect you with a licensed physician who can certify you for medical cannabis, helping you get the treatment you need.
Contact us today to schedule your evaluation. Our staff members are happy to answer any questions you may have.