The History of Marijuana in Arkansas

Arkansas has a history with some of the harshest marijuana laws that date back to 1923 when the state banned all forms of marijuana. This prohibition was caused by a nationwide fear of the psychoactive effects of marijuana, seen from a number of Mexicans who first introduced the drug into parts of the United States. For different reasons now, Arkansas still has some of these harsh marijuana laws, despite increasing interest around the country and state to improve such laws.

Even though many favor legalization in the state, Arkansas lawmakers show little interest in changing the state’s dated marijuana laws. Possession of marijuana is still considered a misdemeanor with charges facing up to a year in jail, which becomes even more harsh if convicted twice, because offenders face a felony punishable by up to six years. In 2012, the state made thousands of marijuana arrests, 90% of which were for possession. Arkansas has certainly been focusing on victimless marijuana offenses since it first banned the drug in 1923, though the state has allowed medical marijuana since 2016. Voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, which allows ill patients to use and safely obtain medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. Now, the state legislature is implementing changes to the medical marijuana laws to improve the program.

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Before Nikki Furrer was a cannabis writer and professional, she had another dream job: owning an independent bookstore. While she says her business venture as a bookseller was ultimately untenable, it did open her eyes to how much she enjoys “matching the reader to the exact book they’re craving.” This zest for matchmaking is evident in her book 'A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis.' As the title suggests, 'A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis' is for women who are curious about cannabis. A more appropriate title, however, might have been a 'A Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis.' Though Furrer touches on applications for the plant that are specific to women—relief of menstrual pain or beauty (though her belief that cannabis is a beauty product because it makes you appear more well-rested seems relevant to both men and women—much of the information in the book is relevant to anyone who is totally inexperienced with cannabis, apprehensive about trying it and needs a run down of the basics.

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