CBD In Arkansas

2020 Complete Guide

Is CBD in Arkansas Legal?
AR CBD 2020

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Did you know that Arkansas legalized medical marijuana before it legalized hemp? Oddly, although medical marijuana growers can only sell marijuana and THC-infused goods directly to dispensaries, hemp growers in the state are not allowed to sell hemp and CBD directly to store. As a result, the vast majority of the CBD products in Arkansas are imported from other states that grow hemp. Crazy right? In this post, we’ll go over Arkansas hemp and CBD laws and including those related to growing, selling, and buying hemp and CBD in the state.

Arkansas CBD 2020

Set the Wayback Machine for 1923. That’s the year that Arkansas banned the cultivation of cannabis — including hemp. At that time there was no legal difference between marijuana and hemp as there is today. So when “Reefer Madness” began to sweep the country, one of the most valuable crops of the day — hemp — got caught up in the madness and vanished from the state of Arkansas. 

It’s taken darn near 100 years to straighten this mess out. But slowly and surely hemp is taking its rightful place as a staple crop for American farmers while medical marijuana is being made available to patients in need of its healing properties.

The difference between hemp and marijuana

The effective difference between hemp and marijuana is that while marijuana gets you high when smoked or cooked, hemp does not. 

The legal difference is that in order to qualify as hemp, a crop must contain less than 0.3 percent THC (aka tetrahydrocannabinol) — the cannabinoid compound in marijuana that causes the high.  There are no legal limits on the percentage of nonintoxicating CBD (aka cannabidiol).

Another legal difference is that only approved medical marijuana patients can legally purchase cannabis, and must buy their medicine from a licensed Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary. Patients can only be approved for an Arkansas medical marijuana card if they suffer from one of a shortlist of qualifying medical conditions (list below).

Hemp and CBD products, on the other hand, are pretty much legal for everyone in Arkansas. That not only includes CBD oil derived from hemp but also includes products infused with CBD oil and purified CBD as well as smokable hemp flower. 

Before we continue, let’s look at the brief history of Arkansas hemp and marijuana law reforms that have been taking place in recent years.

A brief history of hemp and CBD laws in Arkansas

As we mentioned earlier, after being outlawed in Arkansas for nearly 100 years, hemp and CBD are now legal in the state. Interestingly, however, marijuana was legalized (for medical use) before hemp was legalized in Arkansas. 

The first attempt to legalize marijuana failed. Back during the elections of 2012, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (aka Issue 5) made its way onto the statewide ballot. Under the proposal, non-profit organizations would have been permitted to grow and sell medical marijuana. The measure was defeated by a close vote of 48.6% to 51.4%.

It would be another four years before Arkansas medical marijuana advocates would be victorious. During the 2016 elections, Arkansas voters approved Issue 6 by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent. 

The program now allows patients suffering from 12 qualifying medical conditions to possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana. The bill also allows for the establishment of potentially up to 40 cannabis dispensaries in the state as well as up to 8 growers. The measure does not permit patients to grow their own marijuana. 

Hemp was legalized in 2017 by the Arkansas General Assembly via House Bill 1778 making Arkansas the 37th state to embrace hemp farming. Although the law (Act 981) was drafted in early 2017, adoption of the proposed rules was sidelined for months. 

Although the Arkansas Plant Board had initially approved rules and regulations in March 2017, Gov. Asa Hutchinson never actually signed off on the rules and hence they became law without his signature in mid-May.

The Arkansas Agriculture Department has so far licensed 124 hemp farmers to grow more than 3,547 acres of hemp. However, only 1,765 acres were actually planted and only about 588 acres were sent to market during the 2019 hemp harvest. 

It took until 2019 for Arkansas’ medical marijuana program to kick off. By May 2019, Arkansas had licensed 32 medical marijuana dispensaries and 5 growers. 

A marijuana decriminalization bill was also proposed in 2019. However, the measure did not come up for a vote before the 2019 legislative session came to an end. 

Today, cannabis policy reform advocates are working hard to legalize marijuana for all adults over age 21 and expunge criminal records of those arrested for marijuana possession. If the measure is passed, Arkansas will become the first southern state to legalize marijuana.

With the backstory and out of the way, let’s go into some details and answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding Arkansas hemp and CBD laws.

Arkansas Hemp and CBD Laws FAQ | 2020

Is hemp CBD oil legal in Arkansas?

Arkansas law is clear when it comes to CBD oil. That’s because it makes no mention at all of any penalties for possession of CBD oil.  

That being said, it’s important to point out that CBD oil can also be made from Marijuana. However, CBD oil made from marijuana can only be purchased by card-carrying Arkansas medical marijuana patients.

If you are not a medical marijuana patient and you get caught with cannabis oil made from marijuana you could face some steep penalties. The possession of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor under Arkansas law. A conviction comes with a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in prison. That’s just for the first offense. Upon your third offense, you’re looking at a potential Class D felony which comes with up to $6,000 fine and up to six years in prison. And get caught with anything over 4 ounces of marijuana and you’re now looking at a Class D Felony which comes with a fine of up $10,000 and up to 6 years in prison.

Can doctors in Arkansas legally prescribe hemp CBD oil?

Arkansas doctors are not permitted to prescribe CBD oil to their patients. However, they are permitted to recommend the use of CBD oil if they feel that it can relieve their patient’s symptoms. 

There is however one prescription drug that contains purified CBD called Epidiolex that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved for the treatment of certain cases of intractable childhood epilepsy. 

And, of course, state-certified doctors can also approve patients suffering from a list of qualifying medical conditions for an Arkansas medical marijuana card.

What medical conditions are being treated with hemp CBD in Arkansas?

Hemp-derived CBD oil is being used today to treat a wide variety of medical conditions from acne to traumatic brain injury. 

Here’s a list of some of the many medical conditions being treated with CBD in Arkansas.

Can I legally buy hemp CBD online in Arkansas?

Absolutely. The full gamut of CBD products mentioned above can be purchased online and shipped right to your doorstep. However, there are a lot of disreputable CBD brands out there. Make sure you do your homework and buy from a reputable source.

What hemp CBD products are legal in Arkansas

Current Arkansas CBD laws don’t specifically prohibit any form of CBD oil or other CBD products. An array of CBD products can be purchased not only at local shops, but also online. 

Some of the wide variety of CBD products available in Arkansas include the following:

Where can I legally buy hemp CBD products in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, if you’ve been approved for access to medical marijuana, you have the option of buying cannabis oils made from marijuana that contains THC, or CBD oil produced from hemp. Cannabis oil produced from marijuana, must be purchased at a state licensed dispensary.

Medical Cannabis Dispensaries In Arkansas

If you’re looking for hemp CBD oil or other CBD-infused products your options are much wider. In the major cities in Arkansas such as Little Rock, Jonesboro, Fort Smith, and Conway, CBD specialty shops are abundant. You can also find CBD products at smoke shops, vape shops, spas, health boutiques, and even convenience stores. Also, some of the national retail chains such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are now, or will soon be selling CBD in Arkansas.

Can I legally grow hemp in Arkansas?

A license from the Arkansas State Plant Board is required in order to legally grow hemp in the state. In addition to filling out an application and paying a $250 fee, growers and processors seeking a license are required to undergo a criminal background check. 

There are a number of other requirements as well. We’ve provided links at the end of this article where you can find all the details on how to get a hemp license in Arkansas. 

One thing you need to be aware of, however, is Arkansas hemp laws still need some ironing out before they can truly be considered favorable to farmers. In fact Arkansas’ hemp program is actually considered to be a pilot program under which hemp can technically only be grown for research purposes and sold only to licensed processors. As a result, retailers are buying their hemp from out of state and many of their CBD products along with it. 

This state of affairs where retailers can purchase hemp from out of state but not from Arkansas farmers isn’t expected to stand for very long. Lawmakers are working on updated legislation that will iron out the wrinkles in the Arkansas hemp laws. However the new laws will probably not be ready in time for the 2020 legislative session and may have to wait until 2021.

Can I legally sell hemp CBD oil in Texas?

As we mentioned earlier, there are actually no laws on the book in Arkansas preventing the sale of hemp and CBD products. 

That being said, at this stage of the game, with cannabis-related laws changing so quickly, if you’re doing more than just selling CBD oil at flea markets you might want to talk to a lawyer who is familiar with Arkansas hemp and CBD laws before you jump in with both feet.

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