How to Get a Cannabis License in Arkansas

Arkansas has a regulated medical marijuana program, established by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment passed in 2016. This initiative has significantly impacted the state, not only by providing patients with qualifying medical conditions access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes but also by contributing to the state’s economy through job creation and sales tax revenue.

Dispensary Header Image
A guy harvesting cannabis

Understanding the licensing process is crucial for entities looking to enter the Arkansas cannabis industry.

Cannabis License Regulations in Arkansas

Since the legalization of medical marijuana, Arkansas has developed a framework for the issuance of cannabis business licenses. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission oversee this framework, focusing on dispensaries, cultivation facilities, processors, and transporters.

The evolving landscape of medical marijuana in Arkansas offers opportunities and challenges for businesses and patients alike, emphasizing the importance of legal compliance and the benefits of medical cannabis to qualifying patients​​​​​​​​​​.

Types of Cannabis Licenses in Arkansas

A valid Arkansas driver’s license proving that you’re an Arkansas resident is necessary when applying for a cannabis business license. Aspiring entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with the operational requirements of a medical marijuana dispensary.

Your cannabis business should prioritize the well-being of medical marijuana patients by providing quality products and services. Arkansas offers four main types of medical marijuana business licenses:


Cultivators are responsible for growing cannabis. They can sell usable marijuana to state-licensed dispensaries. The state permits a limited number of cultivation licenses, making the application process competitive.


Dispensaries provide medical marijuana to qualifying patients and caregivers. Arkansas has designated “8 dispensary zones” across the state, with a cap on the number of dispensaries.


Processors convert raw cannabis into various forms for consumption. They can supply their products to dispensaries or cultivation facilities.


Transporters handle the logistics, ensuring safe and legal delivery of cannabis products between facilities.

How to Get a Cannabis License in Arkansas?

Obtaining a cannabis license in Arkansas involves several steps, including preparing a detailed business plan, understanding the state’s specific requirements for each license type, and submitting a comprehensive application. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission provides guidance and regulations for applicants, which include application fees and adherence to operational rules.

Application Fees

  • Dispensary License: $7,500
  • Cultivation License: $15,000
  • Processing License: $5,000
  • Transportation License: $5,000

These fees highlight the financial investment required to enter the cannabis industry in Arkansas.

Remaining Compliant with Arkansas Regulations

Compliance is key in the regulated cannabis industry. Licensees must adhere to operational rules, including those specific to cultivators, dispensaries, and processors, to maintain their licenses.

For Medical Marijuana Consumers:

To kickstart your journey towards obtaining an Arkansas medical marijuana card, ensure you meet all eligibility criteria outlined by the state. Note that if you’re a member of the Arkansas National Guard or the United States Military, you are ineligible to apply for a marijuana card in Arkansas.

It’s better to apply for a medical marijuana card online if you’re interested in medical marijuana products. While you’re at it, seek guidance from a reputable medical marijuana doctor to understand how cannabis products work.

Consultation with an Arkansas-licensed physician or qualified medical marijuana doctors is essential for understanding the medical aspects of cannabis use, and the kind of treatment approved by the Department of Health for your qualifying medical condition.

Risk and Compliance Factors

Operating within the legal boundaries of the Arkansas medical marijuana program requires constant attention to regulatory updates and compliance with state laws. The risks include potential legal repercussions for non-compliance and the importance of understanding the restrictions, such as the prohibition of home cultivation by patients.

Final Thoughts

Arkansas’s medical marijuana program reflects a carefully regulated approach, balancing patient access with stringent oversight of cannabis businesses. Prospective licensees must navigate a complex application process, emphasizing compliance and operational excellence.

Legal References and Citations

For authoritative information, refer to the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission’s official websites. They provide detailed regulations, application procedures, and updates on the state’s medical marijuana program.

Additional Resources

FAQ Section

What are the types of cannabis licenses available in Arkansas?

Cultivation, Dispensary, Processing, and Transportation.

How do I apply for a cannabis license in Arkansas?

Applications must be submitted to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission following the specific requirements outlined for each license type.

Can patients grow their own cannabis in Arkansas?

No, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment does not allow home cultivation by patients.