Is Weed Legal in Arkansas? AR Cannabis Laws (2023 Update)

Illustration of Arkansas's hot springs
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: February 8, 2023

Marijuana remains illegal for adult use in Arkansas, though patients with eligible conditions can legally purchase and consume medical marijuana.

In 2020, the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative failed to gain enough signatures to make it to the general election ballot.

The measure received more than double the number of signatures required to appear in the 2022 election, making it possible to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the next term.

You can’t grow marijuana for personal use, even if you’re a patient. Growing is treated in the same way as possession, and the penalty depends on the number of flowers you’re caught with.

You can legally buy hemp-derived delta 8 THC products in Arkansas because the state regulations align with federal law.

CBD oil from hemp is also legal in Arkansas. You can buy it locally and online.

In this article, we explore the marijuana laws in Arkansas and perspectives for the future, explain what delta 8 is, and highlight the best online vendors of hemp-derived cannabinoids.

Is Marijuana Legal in Arkansas?

Arkansas is aligned with federal law when it comes to marijuana. While the state has had a medical marijuana program running since 2016, recreational use remains illegal and is severely punished.

Related: Where is Marijuana Legal?

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Arkansas?

Marijuana in Arkansas is illegal for recreational use, with penalties reaching up to $6,000 in fines and six years in jail.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Arkansas?

On November 8, 2016, voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), or Issue 6, with 53% of the voters in favor of the new law.

The new bill allows seriously ill patients to purchase and consume medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval and creates a network of licensed cultivation facilities and dispensaries.

That being said, the home cultivation of medical marijuana is illegal in Arkansas.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Arkansas

First-time possession of up to 110 grams (four ounces) is punished with a fine of up to $2,500 on top of one year in prison and a mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension.

If you already have two existing convictions, getting caught with more than one ounce (28 grams) is a Class D felony punishable by six years in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000.

Is Marijuana Decriminalized in Arkansas?

No. To date, no county or city in Arkansas has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Arkansas?

Legalization initiatives have been blocked by the state court for quite some time, but this year, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that people will be able to vote on cannabis legalization on this year’s November ballot.

Delta 8 THC: A Better and Legal Alternative to Marijuana in Arkansas

Marijuana is heavily restricted in Arkansas, so it may take some time before residents and tourists become able to legally purchase weed for recreational use.

Marijuana is also federally illegal, so you can’t buy it from one state and have it delivered to your doors.

But, thanks to the recent technological advancements in extraction methods, there’s a new cannabinoid on the market. It’s twice less potent than delta 9 from marijuana, and what’s even better — you can buy it legally in Arkansas.

Does delta 8 THC ring a bell?

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC

Delta 8 and delta 9 are different versions of the THC molecule.

On the surface, they have a similar chemical structure, but there’s a subtle difference in the arrangement of their atomic bonds.

For delta 8 THC, the atomic bond is at the 8th carbon chain, while for delta 9 THC, the bond appears at the 9th chain.

This minor difference makes delta 8 THC about half as strong as delta 9.

Cons of Delta 9 THC from Marijuana

Before we bring delta 8 THC into the spotlight, let’s focus on why some people choose to abstain from regular marijuana.

Aside from legal reasons, some people are just sensitive to the psychedelic nature of delta 9 THC. In low and medium doses, this cannabinoid delivers a set of euphoric and relaxing sensations that are desired when it comes to easing different symptoms of physical and mental ailments.

Most people can enjoy the delta 9 THC high without any unpleasant reactions.

However, those sensitive users can struggle with anxiety and paranoia from marijuana because their cannabinoid receptors in the brain easily get overstimulated.

If you breach the safe dose of delta 9 THC for your tolerance, you may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of discomfort
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Short-term memory problems

The high from delta 8 THC is much smoother. Here’s what it feels like in comparison with delta 9.

The Effects and Benefits of Delta 8 THC

Image of THC and delta 8 buds on a palm

Delta 8 and delta 9 are different versions of the THC molecule.

On the surface, they have a similar chemical structure, but there’s a subtle difference in the arrangement of their atomic bonds.

For delta 8 THC, the atomic bond is at the 8th carbon chain, while for delta 9 THC, the bond appears at the 9th chain.

This minor difference makes delta 8 THC about half as strong as delta 9. The psychoactive buzz is smoother and more clear-headed. It also carries a lower incidence of anxiety. In fact, this side effect is extremely rare among delta 8 users.

People use delta 8 THC for the following benefits:

  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Neuroprotection

While delta 9 THC can be extracted only from marijuana, delta 8 can be produced from hemp by converting CBD with specialized catalysts.

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Arkansas?

Yes, delta-8 THC products are legal to purchase in Arkansas in 2023. The state law aligns with the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp-derived products as long as they contain 0.3% delta-9 THC or less.

The new law coincided with the breakthroughs in extraction methods that allowed manufacturers to extract usable amounts of delta-8 THC from hemp. The end product has less than 0.3%, making it federally legal.

That’s because the Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived isomers of THC, including delta-8.

Pros of Buying Delta 8 THC Online

Delta 8 THC is a new and booming market, with no regulations surrounding the quality standards of production and safety. This, in turn, gives room for fly-by-night companies that offer untested delta 8 THC products from shady sources.

Of course, there are plenty of great manufacturers out there, but you need to do your due diligence before trusting a local vendor with your money.

You can easily verify the quality of any delta 8 product by:

  • Looking into lab reports
  • Reading the company’s “About Us” section
  • Combing through customer reviews
  • Reaching to other users on forums and social media

However, it’s difficult to run this check locally. That’s why we recommend finding a trustworthy online store if you’re looking for good prices for high-quality delta 8 products.

Here’s why buying online is better than shopping for delta 8 around the neighborhood.

Best Delta 8 THC Online Vendors

Not all delta 8 THC products are made equal. There’s a shockingly large number of low-quality extracts that are contaminated with pesticides, bleaches, solvents, and other chemicals.

Some of them also significantly exceed the legally approved limit for delta 9 THC.

If you don’t have time to run your own market research, here are our two favorite delta 8 THC online brands that make premium-grade products at reasonable prices.

They test their products for pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and microbial impurities.

Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Get 15% off all Area 52 products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Area 52 is a Nevada-based manufacturer that specializes in premium cannabinoid extracts. Recently, the brand has shifted its focus to delta 8 products based on distillates, which they source from organic hemp farms in Colorado and Kentucky.

These products are made without the use of harsh acids or dangerous solvents. The conversion process from CBD is performed by skilled lab workers to ensure the purity and safety of the final products. Area 52 is one of the best delta 8 THC brands out there

You can choose between traditional delta 8 THC formats, such as gummies, tinctures, and vape carts. The entire collection comes with high concentrations of delta 8 THC, delivering pronounced psychoactive effects spiced up with natural terpenes that contribute to the whole-plant synergy in cannabis.

Finest Labs

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs is the go-to choice for beginners and occasional delta 8 users who take lower doses in their routine. The brand offers a similar product range to Area 52 — tinctures, vapes, and gummies — but in lower concentrations.

This, in turn, translates into a lower cost per product, making Finest Labs a decent pick for those shopping on a lower budget.

And if you want to create your own cannabinoid blends, Finest Labs offers a broad range of botanical terpenes (both single terpenes and mixes).


Who Can Use Medical Marijuana in Arkansas?

You can qualify for the state medical marijuana program if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Persistent nausea
  • HIV+ status / AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Persistent Muscle Spasms
  • Severe Arthritis
  • Epilepsy/Seizures
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Intractable Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Wasting Syndrome

All medical marijuana products must be purchased from medical marijuana dispensaries registered with the state. You’ll need to show your medical marijuana ID card to make a purchase. Caregivers can buy medical marijuana for their designated patient, provided they show a legitimate caregiver registry card.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Arkansas?

No, growing marijuana in Arkansas is illegal for both recreational and medical use. If you’re caught growing marijuana at home, law enforcement will treat that as possession and punish you accordingly. The more marijuana plants you grow, the heavier the punishment.

Can You Buy Weed Online in Arkansas?

No, you can’t legally buy marijuana online in Arkansas. As mentioned at the beginning, recreational use remains illegal.

Though certain profiles are advertising on social media to offer weed for delivery in Arkansas, it’s better not to risk your freedom for the sake of getting an easy smoke.

Not to mention that marijuana bought on the black market isn’t tested for pesticides and heavy metals. Over 90% of seized illegal marijuana farms in California are contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides exceeding safe thresholds for human consumption.

Can You Smoke Marijuana in Public?

No, you can’t smoke marijuana in public, even as a registered medical marijuana patient in Arkansas. Marijuana consumption is restricted to private properties.

Traveling with Marijuana in Arkansas

It’s illegal to travel with marijuana in Arkansas because state law prohibits marijuana. You can travel with weed if you’re a medical marijuana patient, but even then, you should make sure to carry a valid medical marijuana ID card along with proof of purchase.

Is CBD Oil from Hemp Legal in Arkansas?

Hemp was legalized in 2018 by the federal government under the amended Farm Bill. The new law removed the plant from the list of controlled drugs and made it an agricultural commodity once again.

Related: Is CBD Legal in Arkansas?

Today, hemp farmers can grow it for any purpose, including food, paper, clothing, biofuel, construction materials, and health supplements like CBD oil.

The only requirement is that such products must contain no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.

Arkansas is home to many stores that offer hemp-derived CBD products, but since the market is unregulated (a similar scenario to delta 8), the best CBD brands and deals on high-quality products are found online.

Key Takeaways on Marijuana Legal Status in Arkansas

Arkansas has a well-developed medical marijuana program, but weed remains illegal for recreational users.

This may change with the next election, but until then, you have no legal way of buying marijuana in Arkansas.

If you want to enjoy a legal buzz, delta 8 THC is a decent alternative to regular cannabis products. It’s less potent than delta 9, comes with a lower risk of anxiety and paranoia, and what’s best — it’s legal at the federal level.

The best deals on high-quality delta 8 products are found online. For a quick recommendation, check out the products from Area 52 and Finest Labs. Both companies make premium-grade extracts at reasonable prices and offer unparalleled transparency.

Do you think marijuana will become legal soon in Arkansas? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.