Medical Cannabis Expansion in Arkansas Again Under Review

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A ballot initiative to expand medical cannabis access in Arkansas has been resubmitted.

On February 5th, 2024, Arkansans for Patient Access submitted a revised version of proposed changes to Arkansas’s existing medical cannabis program (1). The original version of the constitutional amendment, called Arkansas Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2024, had been rejected in late January 2024 by the attorney general, who reportedly deemed some parts improperly formatted, found some definitions too vague, and found it potentially misleading (2).

“The resubmission is focused on responses to issues raised in the Attorney General’s rejection opinion,” stated Bill Paschall, the executive director for the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (1). “Legal counsel believes Arkansans for Patient Access’ latest submission should satisfy those issues."

Voters approved medical cannabis use in the state in 2016 (2). Under the current program, patients must obtain a prescription from a physician and be approved by the Department of Health to receive a card (3). The list of qualifying conditions is limited to 18 conditions such as cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Alzheimer’s disease (1,3). The proposed changes would allow more medical professionals, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, to prescribe medical cannabis, and would also expand the qualifying conditions to essentially include any condition (1).

“We're opening [medical marijuana] up to more people who don't have one of the very limiting qualifying conditions,” explained attorney David Couch, who had helped draft the original list of conditions (3). “What this really does is make the medical marijuana industry like any other medicine.”


Other changes include new cultivation regulations for patients or caregivers, allowing patient assessments through telemedicine, eliminating registration fees for a medical cannabis card, and changing the expiration of new cards from one year to three years (1).

Access would also be expanded to visitors who have a card from a different state or to citizens out of the state (3). “That really helps the industry because it creates lots more patients that are customers,” Couch added (3).

Also included is a recreational cannabis trigger law, which would immediately allow adults to possess an ounce of cannabis should it become federally legal (1).

If the latest proposal is accepted, 90,000 signatures will need to be collected by July 5th, 2024, for the proposal to be placed on the ballot (1).


  1. Field, H. Arkansas marijuana, patient group resubmits ballot proposal to increase access to medical cannabis (accessed Feb 6, 2024).
  2. Field, H. Arkansas AG rejects initial version of Cannabis Industry Ballot initiative (accessed Feb 6, 2024).
  3. Lenora, J. Proposal would expand medical cannabis access in Arkansas (accessed Feb 6, 2024).