As a cannabis fan, there’s nothing better than that first, glorious puff—unless you’re not sure it’s legal and you’re worried about getting caught! So if you’re chillin in Arkansas hoping to up the ante on your own personal the Natural State, you may be wondering if marijuana and the Delta-9 THC that makes it awesome is legal.
Short answers here:
- Recreational cannabis for adult use is still illegal in Arkansas (although as of 02-2023 another bill has been filed in favor of recreational marijuana)
- Medical marijuana is legal for approved users
- Arkansas follows the federal law set forth in the 2018 Farm Bill, which defines hemp plants based on their low levels of Delta-9 THC, and makes hemp-derived products legal, along with the cannabinoids taken from hemp.
So really, whether your D9 is legal depends on where that Delta 9 came from. Sounds weird, but it’ll soon make sense. Okay, let’s get into it!
What is Delta-9 THC?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as Delta-9 THC or simply THC, is a naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. THC is the primary psychoactive component in the cannabis plant and is responsible for the “high” that people experience when consuming cannabis.
When THC is ingested, it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates a wide range of physiological and cognitive processes such as appetite, mood, pain, and memory. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system, leading to a range of effects including euphoria, altered perception, and increased appetite.
THC is used for both medical and recreational purposes. In medical applications, THC is used to alleviate symptoms of conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, and anxiety. In recreational use, THC is used for its psychoactive effects, often consumed by smoking or ingesting cannabis products like Delta-9 THC gummies.
What is the Legality of Delta 9 in Arkansas?
Delta-9 THC is not legal per se in Arkansas, except for patients with qualifying medical conditions who have obtained a medical marijuana card from the state. Arkansas has legalized medical marijuana, but only in certain forms, and Delta-9 THC is not one of the approved forms.
Furthermore, the recreational use of Delta-9 THC is illegal in Arkansas, and possession of it can result in criminal charges. However, the 2018 Farm Bill carved out what is essentially an accidental exception.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, usually called the 2018 Farm Bill, was a comprehensive piece of federal legislation that primarily addressed agriculture and nutrition programs in the United States. However, it also included several provisions related to hemp and cannabidiol (CBD). Here are some of the key provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill related to hemp and CBD:
- Legalized hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives, including CBD, from the list of controlled substances under federal law. Hemp is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) on a dry weight basis.
- Allowed for interstate commerce. The new law allowed for the transport of hemp and hemp-derived products across state lines.
- Established a hemp research program. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized hemp cultivation and research programs in states that have legalized industrial hemp.
- Provided for crop insurance. The law made hemp growers eligible for federal crop insurance programs.
- Clarified the legality of CBD. The law clarified that hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products are legal, as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill was a significant milestone in the legalization of hemp and CBD in the United States, and it opened up new opportunities for farmers, researchers, and businesses interested in hemp cultivation and production.
After the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives from the list of controlled substances under federal law, Arkansas lawmakers responded in 2019 by passing legislation that aligned with the federal law: the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act.
This law allowed for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp and its derivatives, including CBD. The law requires growers to obtain a license from the Arkansas Plant Board and comply with regulations set by the state. The law also established a hemp research program to study the cultivation, processing, and marketing of industrial hemp in Arkansas.
Practically speaking, if you’re pulled over by law enforcement for example and you are in a place where marijuana is illegal but hemp-derived products are not, you should still be careful. For example, most officers aren’t necessarily going to know the difference between one kind of vape cart or another.
What About Medical Marijuana?
Arkansas lawmakers passed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment in 2016, legalizing medical marijuana for patients with qualifying medical conditions. The law established a system for regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, and processing facilities in the state.
As of August 2022, the Arkansas medical marijuana program through the Department of Health has issued almost 90,000 cards to patients with medical conditions.
What About Other Cannabinoids Like Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is a form of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Technically, Delta-8 THC is an isomer of THC, which is why it shares some of the same psychoactive qualities. It comes in vape cartridges and tinctures, edibles like gummies and drinks, and in other products.
At this time, around 18 states take on Delta 8 specifically with regulations or laws, but most state laws don’t address Delta-8 THC specifically and instead focus on marijuana, cannabis, CBD, and just Delta 9.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also made moves at the federal level in a proposed rule, Interim Final Rule (IFR), indirectly classifying both Delta-8 THC as well as hemp-derived Delta-9 THC as Schedule I controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. If the rule becomes final, all previously legalized hemp-derived products may become federally illegal like marijuana products.
24 states have now banned or restricted Delta-8 THC products, or are reviewing their legal status:
These states are considering regulatory clarifications or legislative bans:
Alabama, Illinois, Oregon, and Oklahoma.
In the majority of other states, the state law essentially aligns with the Farm Bill and federal law:
Wyoming, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Maine, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana, Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, California
There are other THC isomers such as Delta-10 THC and THC-O.
Final Thoughts on Delta-9 THC in Arkansas
So, is Delta 9 legal, really? For now, the answer is a complicated maybe—it depends on where it came from and what your status is. As of right now, according to the state and federal government it is legal to buy Delta 9 hemp products under Arkansas law and also medical marijuana—if you’re a registered patient.
Disclaimer: Remember, check your local and state laws and regulations before you place any kind of order, including before you buy Delta-9 products. Although many consumers use cannabis and THC products for health concerns, be aware that these products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may interact with traditional medications.
Written by Diet Smoke Staff Writers
The staff writers for Diet Smoke have been researching and writing about premium hemp-derived THC and CBD products for more than 3 years. The team has a keen understanding of the topic, remain current on all FDA and industry news, and use their expertise to generate engaging and informative content to help educate consumers on Diet Smoke’s products. Each article is fact-checked and includes sources to scientific data to ensure readers receive the most up-to-date and accurate information possible.
Reviewed By Colby Wohlleb
Colby Wohlleb, editor of Diet Smoke, reviews and approves all content before releasing it for posting on the Diet Smoke website. As a tireless advocate for the benefits of premium hemp-derived THC and CBD products, Colby ensures that all content is accurate, engaging, and informative. He also works directly with a trusted source to ensure the purity of the products we sell and performs rigorous lab testing to ensure that Diet Smoke’s products (like our delicious Delta-9 THC gummies) are of the highest quality and safety standards.