Does Arizona Have Medical Cannabis?
Whether you’re new to the state of Arizona or new to medical cannabis, it’s smart of you to check out the legality of a medicine you’re considering consuming. After all, in an ideal world, you should be able to openly discuss with your doctor any and all medications you are consuming in order to mitigate any potential negative drug interactions.
So does Arizona have medical cannabis? What about adult-use cannabis? How do you get your hands on it and what do you need to know about the relevant laws?
Medical cannabis has been legal in Arizona since 2010, when voters supported Proposition 203, which established the Arizona Medical Marijuana Statute Act (AMMA). The Act entrusts the regulation of medical marijuana to the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS).
Proposition 203 allows a qualifying patient with a debilitating medical condition to obtain a certain amount of marijuana from a not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensary, possess the marijuana, and use it to treat or alleviate the debilitating medical condition or the symptoms associated with the condition.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) is required to establish and enforce a regulatory system for medical marijuana distribution, including a system for approving, renewing, and revoking the registration of qualifying patients, designated caregivers, and nonprofit dispensaries, and dispensary agents. The regulatory system’s costs should be covered by application and renewal fees, civil penalties, and private donations obtained as a result of this proposal.
Patients must have valid, unexpired medical marijuana cards before they may use marijuana for medical purposes rather than recreationally.
Recreational marijuana was also legalized in Arizona in 2020 when voters approved Proposition 207, also known as the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act.”
Under Arizona’s new recreational use regulations, it is still unlawful for anybody under the age of 21 to possess or consume marijuana. Distributing marijuana to a juvenile is likewise prohibited, just as giving alcohol to someone under the age of 21 is.
Recreational users can also legally possess 1 ounce (about 28.35 grams) of marijuana. Five grams from that 1 ounce can be marijuana concentrate, which is resin taken from the marijuana plant, such as THC concentrate in the form of wax or oil for use in a vape pen.
This new law does not restrict your employer’s responsibility to keep your workplace drug- and alcohol-free. An employer, just like with alcohol, might forbid you from consuming marijuana at work. This also makes no changes to Arizona’s DUI statutes. However, the prosecution must prove that you were driving impaired for having THC in your system to be convicted of a DUI. The use of marijuana in “a public place or open area” is prohibited under Arizona’s recreational marijuana law, so be cautious where you consume marijuana. It’s not a good idea to do it in public, near a school, or while driving.
Arizona has different laws and procedures concerning recreational and medical marijuana, such as age and quantity limits, as well as the method of purchase, sale, possession, and use.
Who can Obtain a Medical Cannabis Card in Arizona?
Residents can at any age, including as a minor, become an Arizona medical cannabis patient. To validate the patient’s age and Arizona residency, they must include a valid Arizona state driver’s license or ID card with their application. Patients under the age of 18 must have a caregiver appointed by their custodial parent or legal guardian. A caregiver is not required for adult patients.
Adult patients and patients under the age of 18 have different qualification requirements. Kindly refer to these checklists to see other documents needed when applying as a qualifying patient:
Qualifying Health Conditions
Patients must be diagnosed with at least one of the following qualifying conditions to be eligible to receive a medical marijuana card:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
- Severe and chronic pain;
- Severe nausea;
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
Arizona residents can request that further conditions be added to the list of debilitating medical disorders under state legislation.
How to Obtain a Medical Cannabis Card in Arizona?
A qualifying patient who has been diagnosed with one of the debilitating medical conditions listed above must obtain written certification from an Arizona-licensed physician (medical doctor, osteopath, naturopath, or homeopath). The written certification must be created within 90 days prior to filing an application for a registration identity card, on a form provided by AZDHS. After receiving the physician’s written certification, the qualifying patient can apply for a registry identification card online.
If the qualified patient is under the age of 18, a reviewing certification form from a different physician is necessary in addition to the Physician Certification Form above. The reviewing physician must examine the qualifying patient’s medical records and provide a recommendation for medical marijuana.
Caregivers help patients control their acquisition, dosage, and use of medical cannabis.
A caregiver must be selected by the qualified patient that they will be serving. If the patient is under the age of 18, the caregiver must be at least a parent or legal guardian of the patient. Caregivers must be 18 or older and should have a valid Arizona driver’s license or state identification card to establish residency.
After the patient has completed their online application and has been accepted by AZDHS, the caregiver must also apply through the AZDHS online system. Before attempting to complete the online application, the caregiver should carefully review the application checklist provided by AZDHS.
An initial or renewal AZ MMJ card costs $150 for qualifying patients who do not qualify for a discount. An initial or renewal AZ MMJ card is $75 for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants. A new or renewed AZ MMJ Caregiver card costs $200, and updating or amending an existing AZ MMJ card costs $10.
After completing the application procedure, AZDHS will email a patient their medicinal marijuana card within 10 days. In Arizona, all medical marijuana cards are digital. It can be stored on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device and presented to any licensed dispensary or law enforcement official in Arizona to prove that the patient is registered.
Buying Medical Cannabis
A medical marijuana cardholder may purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of medicinal cannabis every two weeks with an AZ MMJ card, with no more than 12 1/2 grams in the form of cannabis concentrate. The possession of more than this amount of marijuana at any given time is a petty crime in Arizona, regardless of whether you have a medicinal marijuana license or not.
Patients who use medical marijuana pay just state and local taxes and are not subject to any excise taxes. This amounts to around 8% in taxes for medical marijuana purchases at current tax rates.
Cultivating Medical Cannabis
Under current Arizona legislation, a medical cannabis cardholder can only produce their own cannabis if they meet the two following conditions:
- if they live more than 25 miles from a dispensary (medicinal marijuana patients can grow up to 12 crops on their own).
- crops must be grown in an “enclosed, closed building,” which is described as a cabinet, a room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area fitted with locks or safety mechanisms that can only be accessed by a cardholder.
In both instances, the AZ MMJ holder must also be identified as a medicinal marijuana grower by the AZDHS.
Medical marijuana can also be grown by AZDHS-designated caregivers. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old, must agree to assist up to five patients with medical marijuana, and must have no prior drug felonies.
Do Other States’ Medical Cannabis Cards Work in Arizona?
A visiting qualifying patient who has a medical marijuana card or its equivalent issued by his/her home state is allowed to possess and use marijuana under the state law of Arizona. However, the visiting patient is not permitted to purchase marijuana from a dispensary, since dispensaries are required by law to apply a verification mechanism before dispensing marijuana.
What Are the Laws on Using Medical Cannabis in Arizona?
In Arizona, it is illegal to use any sort or form of marijuana in a public location, even if you have a valid medical marijuana card. Patients can only smoke medical marijuana in a private setting. Patients cannot smoke medical marijuana in a school, business, or other location where smoking tobacco is prohibited.
Medical marijuana patients in Arizona have significant legal rights against discrimination by employers. Arizona companies are allowed to maintain a “drug-free workplace” and impose rules in support of that objective, such as mandatory drug testing, but are not allowed to apply those laws unequally to all employees. Under Arizona state law, no school, landlord, or employer can be penalized or denied benefits for enrolling, leasing, or hiring a registered qualified patient or a registered designated caregiver.
The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that only impaired drivers can be charged with driving under the influence of medical marijuana. Non-psychoactive cannabis components like CBD, as well as inactive cannabis metabolites, don’t establish impairment, and therefore cannot be used as grounds for detention or vehicle search of an individual.
Arizona state law also dictates that just because a person applies for or obtains a registered Medical Cannabis card, it does not mean that law enforcement has probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search that person or their property. However, this does not preclude a person or their property from being searched. A search may be carried out if law enforcement has probable cause.
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