Arkansas’ Drug Laws 2023: What Does the Future Hold for Psychedelics?

The decriminalization of entheogenic plants isn’t even on the ballot for this notoriously conservative state. 

By Phil Dubley Fact-Checked By Tripsitter Legal Team · Last Updated: December 07, 2023
Last Updated: December 07, 2023

In Arkansas, it is illegal to possess, cultivate, manufacture, and sell psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms, LSD, and ketamine.

While penalties vary depending on the amount found and criminal history, they can range from 3 years in prison with fines to life in prison.

Here’s everything you need to know about the legality of psychedelics in Arkansas.

Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in Arkansas?

Arkansas psychedelic laws strictly prohibit the sale, possession, and cultivation of magic mushrooms. According to Article II of the Schedule of Controlled Substances (2019), both psilocybin and psilocin are substances that qualify as Schedule I drug.

The two criteria for this schedule are

  1. High potential for abuse
  2. No accepted medical use

US federal law prohibits any mushroom containing psilocybin. They can only be considered legal under strict conditions set by the DEA, which allow use for scientific purposes.

Magic mushroom spores are not criminalized because they do not contain psilocybin until they’re germinated. You can buy spores online legally, but as soon as they’re germinated, you’re breaking the law.

Related: Where are magic mushrooms legal?

Do Magic Mushrooms Grow Wild in Arkansas

Yes, you can find many different species of psychedelic mushrooms growing wild in Arkansas. They’re especially common in wooded forests and ranchlands.

In Arkansas, you can find the infamous Psilocybe cubensis, the most common species of magic mushroom used today.

You can also find Psilocybe cyanescens in areas with rotting wood, such as forests, gardens, and trails.

Psilocybe Mexicana is a dung mushroom used by the Aztecs, who called it the “flesh of the gods” because of its potency. This species is rarer, but there have been reported findings in Arkansas.

What Are the Medicinal Uses of Shrooms?

Magic mushrooms have been heavily researched in recent years, leading to discoveries of several therapeutic properties.

Among these, psilocybin has been found helpful for the management of:

Magic mushrooms and other psychedelics can also be useful to activate new thinking pathways. This is why some people are using micro and macro doses of shrooms to promote problem-solving abilities and harvest creativity.

Is LSD Legal in Arkansas?

No. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) use is illegal in Arkansas.

The Controlled Substances Act specifies LSD as a Schedule I drug. This means possession carries penalties of 3 to 20 years in prison, according to the amount found and one’s past criminal history.

Production is even more punishable, as it can qualify as a class “A” or “Y” felony, reaching a maximum of life imprisonment in the latter case.

In addition, all possession cases are accompanied by a fine of up to $15,000.

Is MDMA Legal in Arkansas?

No. MDMA (ecstasy) is illegal in Arkansas.

This compound is ruled by the same laws mentioned above, so its possession can be punishable by $15,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

The sale and processing of MDMA or related compounds are more heavily penalized, as they can lead to a life sentence.

Some countries and states have begun to push for the legalization of the medical use of MDMA due to its therapeutic properties for treating depression and anxiety, among other conditions. Such is the case of Chicago, Detroit, and the state of South Carolina.

Related: What is psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy?

Is Ketamine Legal in Arkansas?

No. The use of ketamine is illegal in the state of Arkansas.

While many states have begun debating the legalization of ketamine for medicinal use, it still falls under Schedule III in Arkansas.

This means it carries a penalty of 3 to 10 years in prison plus a maximum $10,000 fine. Its potential medical uses are sought for the treatment of persistent depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What’s the Difference Between Legalization & Decriminalization?

Despite progress in drug laws, many people are still unaware of the difference between legalization and decriminalization.

Legalizing a drug entails repealing the penalties for possession and cultivation while regulating the sale to the public.

Decriminalization of a substance merely reduces the penalties for personal use. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get fined for possession.

Key Takeaways: What’s the Future of Psychedelics in Arkansas?

Generally speaking, the United States is moving towards a future where substances such as MDMA, LSD, and ketamine are legalized for medicinal use. In addition, in states such as California, Connecticut, and Texas, some psychedelics have already been decriminalized for research purposes.

Another critical case is Oregon, which in 2020 became the first state to decriminalize the personal use of many drugs, including cocaine and heroin.

Arkansas, being a primarily conservative state, is not on the cutting edge of such developments. However, we can expect more promising results if federal laws begin to be revised.