Marijuana possession, sale, and distribution is regulated by both state and federal law. In Arkansas, marijuana is regulated as a "Schedule VI" controlled substance. (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-64-215.)
It's against the law to drive while under the influence of marijuana in Arkansas. To learn more, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Arkansas.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Possession of a relatively small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor, but possessing marijuana in larger quantities is a felony. Also, penalties are increased for repeated offenses.
Possession of less than four ounces of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, possession of between one and four ounces will rise to the level of a class D felony, punishable by a sentence of up to six years and a fine of $10,000, if the offender has two previous convictions for possession.
Convictions for possession of four ounces or more are treated the same as convictions for marijuana sale. See "Marijuana Cultivation, Sale, and Trafficking," below, for penalties. (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-64-436, 5-4-401, 5-4-201.)
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia includes anything used in the growing, sale, or use of marijuana—for example, growing kits, scales, testing equipment, separation sifters, or pipes. Possession of drug paraphernalia for personal use is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Possession of drug paraphernalia with the purpose of growing, processing, or storing marijuana for sale is a class D felony, punishable by a sentence of up to six years and a fine of $10,000. (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-64-443, 5-4-401, 5-4-201.) All drug paraphernalia is subject to forfeiture—the government will confiscate it. (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-64-505.)
Marijuana Cultivation, Sale, and Trafficking
Arkansas criminalizes the cultivation, sale, and trafficking of marijuana. Penalties for sale of marijuana are the same as those for possession with intent to sell. Additional penalties apply for repeated offenses.
If you are convicted for cultivation or sale of marijuana (or possession of four ounces or more), the penalties vary depending on the amount involved, as follows:
- Fourteen grams or less is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Between 14 grams and four ounces is a class D felony, punishable by a sentence of up to six years and a fine of $10,000.
- Between four ounces and 25 pounds is a class C felony, punishable by a sentence of three to 10 years and a fine of $10,000.
- Between 25 pounds and 100 pounds is a class B felony, punishable by a sentence of five to 20 years and a fine of $15,000.
- One hundred pounds or more is a class A felony, punishable by a sentence of six to 30 years and a fine of $15,000. (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-64-436 and following, 5-4-401, 5-4-201.)
Possession of 500 pounds or more of marijuana is considered trafficking in a controlled substance, which is a class Y felony punishable by 10 years to life in prison. (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-64-440, 5-4-401.)
Additional penalties—such as additional time in prison, additional fines, or both—will be imposed for second and subsequent convictions. (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-64-408.)
Does Arkansas Allow Medical Marijuana Use?
No, but the issue is currently in flux. Certain groups that support the use of medical marijuana are collecting signatures to place a medical marijuana initiative on the November 2012 ballot.
Does Arkansas Impose a Stamp Tax on Marijuana?
A stamp tax is a tax imposed on certain types of transactions (such as the transfer of property). The purchaser must buy a stamp and attach it to either the item sold or an instrument documenting the transaction (like a deed). Some states impose a stamp tax on marijuana. Those who fail to pay the tax and are found guilty of marijuana possession face not only criminal penalties but also become liable for back taxes. Arkansas does not impose a tax on marijuana.
Local Legal Help
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, you face the possibility of jail time and fines. You will need to consult with an experienced Arkansas criminal defense attorney to learn how strong the prosecution’s case appears to be, whether you have viable defenses to the charge, whether you can negotiate a dismissal or plea bargain, or how you might fare if you plead not guilty as charged and go to trial.