FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The amount of approved medical marijuana cards in Arkansas has surpassed 500, officials say.
The Arkansas Department of Health said it has approved 534 medical marijuana applications for patients seeking the drug as of Friday. They also had 539 applications still pending.
A number of physicians across The Natural State are still hesitant to fill out the paperwork that’s required for a patient to even apply for a medical marijuana card.
Doctors must fill out a form certifying their patient has one of the approved conditions to be eligible for a medial marijuana card. That form must then be submitted when the patient applies for the medical marijuana program with the Arkansas Department of Health.
The problem patients are running into continues to be a lack of doctors who will fill out the paperwork. Dr. Tammy Post of Better Living RX said doctors taking federal insurance can’t sign off on the recommendations. Medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
And although 534 may sound like a lot of approved applicants thus far, that’s up from 66 approved applicants in July. And the state expects 30,000 applications year round. The Arkansas Department of Health has been accepting applications since June.
A new online tool shows which doctors in Arkansas will fill out medical marijuana paperwork, but as of Tuesday it only contains 13 doctors across the entire state. The Association of American Medical Colleges said Arkansas had a total of 5,877 physicians in 2015.