Arkansas is one of the 33 states with a medical cannabis program in place. They also passed a Bill that made hemp farming legal. And 2020 marked the second year that licensed farmers grew hemp.
As wonderful as this is, there are still some restrictions as it relates to CBD hemp flower. In short, it’s not legal for licensees in the state to sell it, yet it’s legal for consumers to buy it. We’ll cover this topic in detail throughout this article.
Arkansas Hemp Laws
Although it’s been illegal to grow industrial hemp in Arkansas and in the United States since 1937, the “cash” crop is slowly making a comeback. For instance, in March 2017, House Bill 1778, known as the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act, became law. This law made it legal to grow the plant in a research capacity, which complied with the 2014 Farm Bill. The goal of this pilot (research) program was to access the agricultural potential of the hemp plant.
It took some time for the first growing licenses to get issued, so the first hemp seeds didn’t get planted until 2019. But, for the 2019 growing season, there were 125 licensed farmers who grew hemp on more than 1,800 acres.
Licenses required for growing hemp
To legally grow industrial hemp in Arkansas, you must have a license to do so. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADOA) is responsible for issuing licenses to those applicants who qualify under the rules and regulations of the state’s Hemp Plan.
There are a few types of available licenses to apply for. These include growers, processors/handlers, and marketing licenses. All interested parties must submit an application and a small fee to the ADOA. Also, he or she must pass a criminal background check and provide an aerial map of the growing, processing, and storage area.
Then once the applicant gets approved, they’re given a license and can legally put hemp seeds in the ground. But, there are a few rules the licensee must follow during the plant’s life cycle. One of the most important rules relates to THC testing.
Before every harvest, the farmer must contact the ADOA and have them come out to the fields and test a sample of the matured hemp buds. To comply with federal and state regulations, the Delta-9 THC concentration must be less than or equal to 0.3%.
Another important rule for a license holder to abide by has to do with pesticide use. All growers and processors must refer to and follow Arkansas’s approved pesticides list. There are more regulations which the Department outlined in its Industrial Hemp Plan.
Is CBD hemp flower legal in Arkansas?
Great question. This isn’t only on your mind, it’s on the minds of many people in the state and around the country. Why? Because every state has its own interpretation of the 2018 Farm Bill. So, let us rewind for a bit. The Agricultural Improvement Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill of 2018 laid out some monumental changes regarding cannabis.
Long ago, back in the 1970s, cannabis got classified as an illegal Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Due to a lack of oversight, industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive and non-addictive plant, was grouped under the umbrella term “cannabis”.
Fortunately, this Bill removed industrial hemp from a Schedule 1 drug, and it became legal to grow and consume in the United States. Before this time, the 2014 Farm Bill, allowed institutions of higher learning, such as Universities, to grow hemp for research purposes. But, they couldn’t sell the crops to make CBD products. Instead, all the crops had to get destroyed at the end of the research period.
So, the updated 2018 Bill knocked down those barriers and opened the gateway for legal cultivation and consumption at the federal level.
Given the new law, any part of the hemp plant that contained less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by dry weight was given the green light. People could now grow, cultivate, buy, and consume hemp-derived CBD products.
However, certain states, like Arkansas, had their own ideas about which parts of the hemp plant they made legal to sell. And one of the items on the “do not sell list” is CBD hemp flower. To quote the ADOA, “it is against program rules and the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act to sell or market ‘non-publicly marketable hemp products,’ otherwise known as ‘in-program materials,’ to the general public.”
This “in program materials” list includes hemp by-products like hemp flower, leaves, whole stalks, whole seeds, and a few others.
So, it appears that Arkansas doesn’t want hemp flower sold inside their state lines. One major reason for this has to do with the similarities of CBD nugs and marijuana buds. Although medical marijuana is legal in Arkansas, there’s no quick and easy way to discern the difference between the two.
That means, if you buy CBD flower online, any police officer or other service member sees you smoking it, they may assume it's marijuana. If you don’t have a medical cannabis card and you can’t prove it’s hemp flower, then there could be some problems.
This law not only limits the ways residents can gain access to smokable hemp flower but it also limits those with a hemp license. Because they’re not able to sell CBD flower or hemp pre-rolls to consumers — thus limiting their revenue opportunities.
But, to clear up any confusion about the legal standing of CBD hemp flower in Arkansas, we can reassure you that it’s legal. However, you won’t find it for sale in local stores, but you can find premium hemp flower for sale online.
How to find high-quality hemp flower online?
After learning that you can legally buy and smoke CBD flower the next step is to learn how to buy CBD flower you can trust. By that we mean, a brand you can trust, hemp that was grown organically, properly cured nugs with potent effects, and amazing fragrances, and tastes.
Sounds amazing, right? We’ll help show you the ropes so that you’re empowered to make a great selection when you buy hemp flower for yourself.
Read over the third-party lab testing report
To get factual information about a CBD hemp strain that you want to buy, you’ll have to read over the Certificate of Analysis (COA). This report comes from the third-party lab that tests the hemp flower.
The main test they perform is a cannabinoid profile, where they find out the percentage of each cannabinoid in the hemp strain. Besides the cannabinoids CBD and THC, there are other important cannabinoids like CBG, CBDV, CBN, CBC, THCA, and a few others.
As a consumer, there are a few things to take note of. First, look at the COA and locate Delta-9 THC on the report. Is the percentage equal to or less than 0.3%? If yes, that’s a good thing because the product complies with federal and state laws.
Next, find out what the percentage of CBD is. The concentration of cannabidiol can start at 12% and get up to 19% or 20%. If you’re new to smoking hemp flower, you might want to choose a strain with a low to medium level of CBD.
Finally, while looking at the cannabinoid profile, it’s more advantageous to pick a strain that has other cannabinoids. The larger the diversity in the cannabinoids, the more enhanced the “entourage effect” will be. This effect is ideal because it creates a synergistic relationship between all of hemp’s compounds to give you greater benefits.
Learn about the source of hemp flower
Part of the process to find great CBD buds at an online hemp flower dispensary requires you to find out where and how the hemp strain grew. Let’s talk about the ‘where’ first.
You’ve read how the ADOA oversees and regulates the hemp farming process in Arkansas. Well, other states with Hemp Plans in place provide similar oversight which leads to better quality hemp crops.
So, finding a hemp bud grown in the United States can translate to higher quality options. Our organic CBD nugs come from Oregon farms. And they’re organic because no chemical sprays are ever used.
The other point we mentioned earlier, was the ‘how.’ It helps to knowhow the hemp flower was grown before you buy it. Like our strains, hemp flower can grow under sustainable and organic conditions. This leads to a safer product to smoke and consume, plus the taste and smell will be better as well.
Arkansas may have some areas to work on, such as lifting the selling ban on certain hemp-derived CBD products, like flower. However, it does allow hemp farming, processing, and marketing, so the forward momentum is positive.
Plus, the state has a medical marijuana program, so both cannabis plants are getting acknowledged for their therapeutic potential, and acceptance of the plants continues to grow.
And although you won’t yet find smokable hemp flower in stores near you, there are many CBD companies that sell premium hemp flower buds online. As long as these CBD buds have less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, they’re legal.