A medical marijuana (MMJ) caregiver is an individual or a facility chosen by a registered patient and is authorized by the state to obtain and administer medical marijuana on their behalf. If your state has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, there is a set of rules and regulations that you should adhere to. According to Arkansas medical marijuana programs, the individual can be a medical marijuana card-holding parent, sibling, guardian, or spouse, among others. This makes it legal for registered medical patients in Arkansas to use medical marijuana acquired by their caregivers from certified dispensaries. However, not everyone is eligible.
Who Is Eligible?
If you want to be a certified Arkansas medical marijuana caregiver, you must satisfy the following conditions:
- Age – You must be 21 years of age or older. While there is no age restriction for a qualifying patient, all medical marijuana caregivers must be 21 years old.
- Profession – According to legislation passed in 2017, you are prohibited from administering or receiving medical marijuana if you are in the United States military or the Arkansas National Guard.
- Residency – To become an MMJ caregiver, you must prove that you are a resident of Arkansas. Providing your Arkansas state-issued ID or driver’s license will do the trick.
- Felony Records – You must not have any excluded felony offenses. This simply means your record must not have any felony that is less than 10 years old and is not sealed or pardoned. Prospective medical marijuana caregivers have to undergo a comprehensive criminal background check.
- Nature of Patient – You can qualify to be a medical marijuana caregiver for a disabled patient or a minor. Parents of children with chronic illnesses such as cancer and epilepsy who need CBD or THC may qualify. Essentially, you cannot be eligible to be a caregiver for patients who can take care of themselves.
Who Is Not Eligible?
- Minors or people below the age of 21 years are not eligible for the medical marijuana caregiver card.
- If you are a qualified physician, it counts as a conflict of interest.
- If you have an interest in making profits or any other economic gain from medical marijuana, you cannot be eligible for a medical marijuana caregiver card.
- If you are not a close relative or if you do not have close relations with the patient, you have to go through a background check.
- If you have not gone through the caregiver certification course by the Department of Health, you cannot get the card.
- You must not be a convicted felon.
- You should not have a habit of drug and substance abuse.
- If your patient does not have a qualifying condition that makes them candidates for medical marijuana usage, the patient must have a recommendation from a licensed physician who gives them a prescription based on their condition.
Becoming a Certified Caregiver
If you meet the requirements above, you will have to complete an application to become an Arkansas medical marijuana caregiver. The caregiver application form is available on the state’s Department of Health website. You will have to create your account, select caregiver registration, and follow the simple instructions.
Some of the information required includes your social security number and your valid state ID. You also need your patient’s certification from a doctor and a credit or debit card for making your payment.
In Arkansas, the medical marijuana caregiver registration will cost you $50. An additional $37 for a criminal background check is also required. After approval of your payment and submission, the application will be processed within 10 to 14 days. Once the application is approved, you can wait for the department to mail your MMJ caregiver card. Alternatively, you may print it out from your account dashboard. Remember to check the duration that your card is considered valid. In some instances, you will have to re-apply for your card after a specific period.
As a caregiver, you may also register as a patient. All you need is certification from a qualified physician. Find a qualified and licensed doctor in your area to write you a medical marijuana prescription. If you are not a registered patient, it is prohibited to consume marijuana in the state of Arkansas. Additionally, a caregiver can care for more than one patient provided they get separate medical marijuana caregiver cards for each patient. Each card costs $50. With this card, you can get medical marijuana from any licensed dispensary within the state on behalf of your patients.