About Marijuana Laws and Legalization in Arizona
As of February 2024, Arizona now allows telemedicine. Residents of the state can now consult with a certified medical cannabis doctor entirely online.
Arizona has come a long way since legalizing medicinal cannabis in the Grand Canyon State in 2010 after Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, passed. Almost a decade later, the state began streamlining the application process electronically after passing SB1494 in 2019, making marijuana identification registry cards available online, as well as seeking out dispensaries.
The email card that replaces the old school hard card, which can still be printed and laminated for use, makes checking in at dispensaries quick and easy, with patients simply showing it on their phone screen. However, this is just one facet of how seriously the state of Arizona takes its medical cannabis program, growing leaps and bounds since it started.
AZ Marijuana reports that the southwestern state sells up to 190,000 lbs. of medical marijuana annually. “In May 2020, cannabis sales in Arizona’s medical marijuana dispensaries reached $93 million, growing seven percent from April,” reports the cannabis news source. “There are currently over 245,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Arizona and patient cards are valid for 2 years.”
Recreational cannabis was legalized through the passage of Proposition 207 on November 3, 2020 with sales beginning January 2021.
Medical Marijuana Registration Process and Cost
Once a Veriheal provided physician diagnoses a patient with a qualifying condition and fills out the physician certification form, applying for an Arizona medical cannabis license is a simple process, beginning with filling out the ADHS Individual Licensing Portal. You will need to provide a valid driver’s license or Arizona state ID to prove you’re a resident.
The cost to register and receive a medical license in the state is $150 for the initial card and $150 for renewal every two years. However, the state offers a discount for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program patients, only charging $75 for the license. Minor patients must pay $350 for an application, which includes a caregiver, and a caregiver application is an additional $200 for adult patients.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) will approve or deny your application within 10 days of receiving your complete application.
Caregiver Qualifications and Registration
Becoming an Arizona Designated Caregiver is as simple as filling out an application online. The state of Arizona demands that caregivers, who have never been convicted of a felony, be a designated assistant who is at least 21 years old. Before becoming someone’s caregiver, the caregiver’s qualified patient must already be certified as a licensee by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).
ADHS provides a Designated Caregiver Checklist online and requires that the applicant provide proof of residence in Arizona. Review the checklist to be sure you have all of the required supporting documentation. For example, you will need the patient’s application ID number and additional information. The prospective caregiver must also fill out the Medical Marijuana Caregiver Attestation Form provided online by ADHS.
The state suggests that before completing the online form caregivers should check off all boxes in the application checklist, as well as submit fingerprints to ADHS. ADHS also requires that caregivers complete a compulsory criminal background check. Custodial parents or legal guardians are required for patients under the age of 18-years-old. A caregiver can assist up to five patients at a time under one license. Lastly, the ADHS requires a $150 identification card fee. The card expires every year, and a renewal application must be submitted at least 30 days before expiration. Fees for the application are non-refundable; you will be alerted via email if your application is accepted or if you need to resubmit.
Possession and Cultivation of Medical Marijuana in Arizona
The amount of cannabis for medical use that both a patient and caregiver are allowed to possess is 2.5 ounces every two weeks. Arizona law makes it very clear what the guidelines surrounding cultivation entail, noting “If the designated caregiver’s registry identification card provides that the designated caregiver is authorized to cultivate marijuana, twelve marijuana plants contained in an enclosed, locked facility, except that the plants are not required to be in an enclosed, locked facility if the plants are being transported because the designated caregiver is moving.” As of July 2020, Arizona made new cannabis cultivation leases available, to encourage further growth and distribution of cannabis.
Under the current Arizona law, you can only grow your own cannabis under two circumstances: first, patients with medical marijuana can grow up to 12 crops on their own if they do not have a dispensary within 25 miles of their homes. Secondly, crops must be cultivated in an “enclosed, closed building,” which is defined by law as a “cabinet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed area fitted with locks or safety systems that only allow access by a cardholder.” By law, you will also need ADHS to designate you as a medical marijuana grower.
For one to five medical marijuana patients, ADHS-designated caregivers can also grow medical marijuana. You need to be 21 years of age or older to be a caregiver, agree to help up to five patients with medical marijuana, and have no prior drug felonies.
As of November 2020 Arizona marijuana laws have been updated to allow cultivation of up to 6 plants at an individual’s primary residence and 12 plants at a residence where two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old reside at one time.. Recreational marijuana users would also have to comply with the same limitations as medical marijuana growers, growing only in an enclosed, locked facility.