Seeking medical marijuana in AR? Mark June 30 on your calendar

Seeking medical marijuana in AR? Mark June 30 on your calendar

LITTLE ROCK, AR (WMC) - Medical marijuana patient card applications available June 30

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The Arkansas Department of Health will start accepting applications for medical marijuana registry identification cards on June 30.

These cards will allow patients or caregivers to purchase medical marijuana at a licensed dispensary. Currently, there are no licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Arkansas. Cards will be issued to qualifying patients and caregivers approximately 30 days before medical marijuana is available for legal purchase in the state, which is likely to be early next year.

A link to the online application system will be available on ADH's website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov. Patients are strongly encouraged to use the online system, but paper forms can be requested by contacting the ADH's medical marijuana program. The application process will include a written certification from a doctor that the patient has a qualifying condition on an official ADH form. Letters from doctors will not be accepted; only a written certification on the ADH forms can be submitted for consideration. The Physician Certification Forms will be available beginning June 23.

The application process also includes a $50 fee, a copy of a valid Arkansas driver's license or other official Arkansas state-issued identification, and an application form. The $50 fee is non-refundable. The medical marijuana card will include the photo of the qualifying patient or caregiver. The application must be submitted directly to ADH by the patient or caregiver; applications through a third party are not considered legitimate and will not be accepted.

The cards must be renewed at least annually, so waiting until the product is available for legal purchase to issue the cards ensures the patient can use the card the maximum amount of time before it has to be renewed. Cards may be subject to a shorter renewal time if specified by the patient's doctor. The $50 application fee must be paid every time a card is renewed. Even though ADH is accepting applications, possession of marijuana is still illegal in the state unless purchased in licensed dispensaries by cardholders.

For questions, or to request an application, you can contact ADH's medical marijuana program at adh.medicalmarijuana@arkansas.gov.

Arkansas's health department will regulate patient card applications while the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) will regulate the applications and operations of growers, sellers and dispensaries. The DFA's guidance on Arkansas's medical marijuana amendment can be found here.

Arkansas voters passed the medical marijuana initiative in 2016. It amended the state constitution to create the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to oversee patient and dispensary licensing. Click here for the commission's website.

Chief Consumer Investigator Andy Wise is producing a special project on Arkansas's medical marijuana initiative. He's looking for Arkansans who plan to apply for either patient cards or grower/seller/dispensary licenses. If you intend to apply for a license and are interested in participating in Andy's story coverage, please email him at awise@wmctv.com.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.