Cannabis in Arkansas

Cannabis in Arkansas concerns the drug cannabis in Arkansas, United States, where it had been illegal for all purposes since 1923,[1][2] and possession of small amounts is a misdemeanor crime. A 2012 attempt to legalize medical cannabis failed with a vote of 51.44% to 48.56%.[3] Medical marijuana was legalized in 2016.[4]


Marijuana was criminalized in Arkansas in 1923; New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington also banned cannabis in that year.[5]

Legal penalties

The possession of under four ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor under state law, carrying a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year's imprisonment. For those with two existing convictions for possession, a third offense or above is treated as a Class D felony, and carries a punishment of a maximum of six years' imprisonment and a maximum $6,000 fine.[6]

Cities with "lowest law enforcement priority" legislation

In the northwestern cities of Fayetteville and Eureka Springs, citizens voted to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.[7]

Failed 2012 legalization of medical cannabis

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act was put up for referendum in the November 2012 elections. The act would have allowed for non-profit organisations to grow and sell medical marijuana and additionally permitted patients who live over five miles from a legal dispensary to cultivate a small number of plants on their own property.[7] It was voted down with only 48.6%[6] of voters in favor, but activists reportedly plan to continue working to pass legislation. Were the act to have passed, it would have been the first of its kind in the South.[8]

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (2016)

On November 8, 2016, the state legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Issue 6 by 53%.[9]


  1. "The Origins of California's 1913 Cannabis Law". Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  2. Why is Marijuana Illegal?
  3. Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiatives Aim at 2014
  4. "Arkansas Election Results 2016". The New York Times. 2016-11-08. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  5. Charles H. Whitebread (1974). The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States. Lindesmith Center. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-891385-06-3.
  6. 1 2 "Arkansas". Marijuana Policy Project. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  7. 1 2 Gwynne, Kristin (2012-08-24). "Arkansas Sends Medical Marijuana Law to the Ballot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  8. Sherer, Stef (2012-11-07). "Medical Marijuana Advocates Take Fight to DC". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  9. "Arkansas Election Results 2016". The New York Times. 2016-11-08. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
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