Arizona Cannabis Information Portal

Arizona  Cannabis Information Portal

Serving the community since 2008.

Marijuana Laws
Learn all about marijuana legislation in Arizona including the laws governing the cultivation, processing, distribution, sales, and use of marijuana and marijuana product
Marijuana Laws
Learn all about marijuana legislation in Arizona including the laws governing the cultivation, processing, distribution, sales, and use of marijuana and marijuana product
Marijuana Business
Arizona has specific licenses for marijuana growers, processors, transporters, dispensaries, microbusinesses, and event organizers. Know what it takes to start a marijuana business in the state
Marijuana Business
Arizona has specific licenses for marijuana growers, processors, transporters, dispensaries, microbusinesses, and event organizers. Know what it takes to start a marijuana business in the state
Medical Marijuana
After failing to legalize medical marijuana twice, in 1996 and 2002, Arizona finally permitted medical marijuana use when voters passed the revised Proposition 203 in 2010. Even then it took another two years before the first licensed sale of medical marijuana took place in the state and it was not until 2018 that medical marijuana was allowed on college campuses in Arizona.
Medical Marijuana
After failing to legalize medical marijuana twice, in 1996 and 2002, Arizona finally permitted medical marijuana use when voters passed the revised Proposition 203 in 2010. Even then it took another two years before the first licensed sale of medical marijuana took place in the state and it was not until 2018 that medical marijuana was allowed on college campuses in Arizona.
CBD
Both hemp- and marijuana-derived CBD are legal in Arizona. While the state does not have possession limits for hemp-derived CBD oil, its cannabis laws establish such limits for marijuana-derived CBD products. Find out more about state laws regulating CBD in Arizona.
CBD
Both hemp- and marijuana-derived CBD are legal in Arizona. While the state does not have possession limits for hemp-derived CBD oil, its cannabis laws establish such limits for marijuana-derived CBD products. Find out more about state laws regulating CBD in Arizona.

What is the State of Marijuana in Arizona?

Arizona has legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. The state allows recreational use for adult residents over the age of 21 and medical use for patients of any age as long as they have qualifying conditions and written certifications from approved physicians. Arizona marijuana laws permit adults to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana at any time, with cannabis concentrates accounting for no more than 5 grams. They may also grow up to six cannabis plants in their places of primary residence. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allows approved patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of marijuana within a 14-day period.

In November 2010, voters in Arizona passed the Proposition 203 ballot initiative that legalized the medical use of cannabis. The legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona led to the creation of the state's medical cannabis program and medical marijuana registry. Proposition 203 also tasked the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) with maintaining these services as well as developing and implementing the rules governing the state's medical marijuana initiatives.

To be approved to buy medical marijuana in Arizona, a patient must apply to join the online medical marijuana registry and obtain a medical marijuana registry identification card. Before applying the patient must make sure they qualify for these provisions. In addition to determining the eligibility of patients for medical marijuana, the ADHS is also responsible for approving caregivers and cannabis dispensaries.

Arizona residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana on November 3, 2020 by passing Proposition 207 via general election ballot. This ballot initiative also introduced excise tax on cannabis in the state and made provisions for expunging certain criminal records for marijuana possession. Following the passage of the initiative, the sale, cultivation, and possession of cannabis became legal in Arizona on November 30, 2020. The first recreational marijuana was sold in the state in January, 2021. The Smart and Safe Act allows each adult resident in Arizona to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. Households with two or more adults can grow up to 12 plants.

Currently, Arizona does not prevent people with felony records from applying for medical marijuana registry identification cards and obtaining medical cannabis. The state even allows felons convicted of drug trafficking and those on probation for drug-related offenses to receive medical marijuana as long as they have the appropriate certification for doctors licensed to practice in Arizona. Felons denied medical marijuana can also appeal this decision in Arizona courts.

However, while Arizona allows felons to receive medical marijuana as long as they meet all of ADHS's requirements, they are not allowed to serve as caregivers for patients who need medical cannabis. This means that the ADHS will not permit felons to obtain or grow cannabis on behalf of others. Felons also cannot work in marijuana dispensaries in Arizona.

How Has Marijuana Affected the Economy of Arizona?

The legalization of marijuana in Arizona has contributed to the state's economy through tax and licensing fees. After Arizona legalized medical marijuana in late 2010, it started charging a general sales tax on its sales. The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) collects taxes on marijuana sales in the state.

In Arizona, users of medical marijuana pay a transaction privilege tax (TPT) or sales tax as well as local county/city tax. The state's sales tax on marijuana is 5.6% while cities and counties charge between 0.25% and 4% in sales tax. In addition to TPT and local tax, Arizona charges excise tax on adult-use marijuana. Therefore, those buying recreational marijuana in the state pay an additional 16% excise tax on their cannabis purchases.

While ADOR does not publish medical marijuana tax revenues, the Arizona Dispensaries Association (ADA) estimates that medical marijuana sales brought in $46 million in state and local tax revenues in 2018. By that year, Arizona already licensed 117 medical marijuana dispensaries and these also have their own integrated farms. The state and local municipalities collect property taxes on these dispensaries and farms as well as fees for issuing and renewing their operating licenses. In total and up to 2019, ADA believes medical marijuana contributed $60 million to Arizona's economy.

As recreational marijuana was recently legalized in Arizona, annual sales and tax figures are not yet available. However, early reports indicate that recreational cannabis will contribute even more significantly to the state's economy. ADOR reports that taxes on medical and recreational marijuana sales brought in $2 million in January 2021 including about $220,000 for recreational sales tax and $520,000 for recreational excise tax. The sales of adult-use cannabis ramped up from there and is already contributing more to the state's tax revenues. ADOR's data show that recreational marijuana generated $74 million in tax revenue in the first 6 months of 2021. Annual excise tax revenue for a fully operational recreational marijuana market in Arizona is estimated to top $183 million.

What Is the Marijuana Crime Rate in Arizona?

There are 4 types of marijuana crimes in Arizona. These are:

  • Possession or use
  • Possession for sale
  • Production of marijuana
  • Transportation of marijuana

While marijunana has been fully legalized in the state, there are limitations on its use, possession, and production. Transporting marijuana out of Arizona is also a federal crime.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS) publishes annual crime figures for the state including marijuana arrests and incidences of drug-related felonies and misdemeanors. Arizona recorded higher rates of marijuana arrests before the legalization of medical marijuana in 2010. In 2008, law enforcement agencies seized 8,819 grams of marijuana in the state. The same amount was also seized in 2009. The State Arrest Data report for 2008 published by ADPS indicated that 18,689 arrests were made for marijuana possession and 1,413 arrests made for marijuana sale and production. The 2009 State Arrest Data report showed increments in marijuana possession and sale/production arrests. In 2009, Arizona recorded 1,608 arrests for marijuana sale and production and 20,378 arrests for marijuana possession.

Following the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona in 2010, arrests figures for marijuana crimes began falling. In 2011 and 2012, the state recorded 1,756 and 1,499 arrests for marijuana sale and production respectively. Marijuana possession arrests fell to 16,416 and 15,001 respectively in those years. By 2019, a year prior to the legalization of recreational marijuana, marijuana crime figures for Arizona had fallen significantly. In that year, law enforcement recorded only 544 arrests for marijuana sale and production and 11,661 arrests for possession. It is expected that marijuana arrest figures for 2021 and beyond will be much lower because Arizona legalized adult-use cannabis in late 2010.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona

Arizona requires those applying to be included in its medical marijuana registry to be 18 years or older. Patients under the age of 18 must have designated caregivers which must be their custodial parents or legal guardians. An adult patient does not need a caregiver but may designate one. Before applying for a medical marijuana card in Arizona, determine that you qualify to receive medical marijuana in the state. Qualifying conditions recognized by the ADHS are:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Alzheimer's disease

Arizona also approves medical marijuana for patients with chronic and debilitating diseases that causes, as well as treatment for medical conditions resulting in, the following:

  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Seizures, including those caused by epilepsy
  • Severe and chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including caused by multiple sclerosis

To prove that they qualify for a medical marijuana registry identification card, the applicant must visit an Arizona-licensed physician and obtain a written certification claiming they have a qualifying ailment. This written certification must be on a form provided by the ADHS and must be provided within 90 days of submitting an application for a medical marijuana identification card.

Next, complete the Arizona medical marijuana patient registry application online. Include scanned copies of the written certification obtained from a licensed physician and the completed Patient Attestation Form. For a patient under the age of 18, the ADHS requires a Custodial Parent and Legal Guardian Attestation Form. An applicant must also prove their residency by providing a valid state identification card or Arizona driver's license. When completing the online application, the applicant can designate a caregiver and request authorization to cultivate marijuana plants at home, if they so choose.

The ADHS charges a $150 fee for a medical marijuana registry identification card. This card is valid for a year and must be renewed annually for $150. An approved patient must apply for renewal at least 30 days before their current identification card expires.

The ADHS determines whether to approve a medical marijuana patient registry application or not within 10 days. After approval, the applicant receives their identification card within 5 days.

Designated caregivers also need to apply to receive medical marijuana registry identification cards in Arizona. A designated caregiver can provide care for up to 5 patients but must be approved for each one and obtain a medical marijuation registry identification card for each patient. The caregiver must also be 21 years or older and a resident of Arizona. The ADHS will conduct a criminal background check before approving a caregiver and also require a proof of residency. It also requires them to submit a Designated Caregiver Attestation Form along with their application as well as their fingerprints and a Fingerprint Attestation Form. Fees, validity, renewal fee, and conditions for medical marijuana identification cards are the same for caregivers and adult patients.

While Arizona recognizes medical marijuana registrations from other states where medical cannabis is approved, visitors from other states cannot use their medical marijuana identification cards to purchase marijuana from licensed Arizona cannabis establishments. However, the state allows visitors with registration cards to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana products.

What Is the History of Arizona Marijuana?

The first reports of marijuana prohibition in Arizona dates back to the 1920s when those caught in possession of the drug were fined or jailed. Arizona marijuana legislation history began in 1996 with Proposition 200. Also known as the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act, this initiative sought to legalize medical marijuana for patients that were seriously or terminally ill. Proposition 200 passed with 65% votes but was overturned soon after by state legislators. The legislators' repeal was itself rejected when Arizona residents voted against it in Proposition 300. However, the language of the Act caused the first attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona to fail. It used the word "prescribe" (instead of "recommend") which conflicted with the federal law banning marijuana prescriptions.

Arizona's second attempt to legalize medical marijuana was in 2002 with Proposition 203. However, the initiative failed to get enough votes and failed with 42.7% of the vote. This initiative sought to allow residents of the state to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 2 plants at home as well as decriminalize possessing up to 2 ounces of marijuana. Proposition 203 failed due to wide and active opposition from the Democrat and Republican gubernatorial candidates, Arizona law enforcement, and the relentless anti-marijuana campaign of John P. Walters, a drug czar and once Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

A modified Proposition 203 made a comeback in November 2010 and was included in the November general ballot. This initiative passed by a slim margin and got 50.13% of the vote. Its passage was remarkable because Proposition 203 was opposed by the Governor and Attorney General of Arizona as well as all of the sheriffs and prosecutors of the state's counties. In 2011 and following the legalization of medical marijuna in Arizona, the state's Governor and Attorney General contested some of its provisions in federal court seeking to nullify the legislation. However, a federal judge dismissed the case in 2012 and Arizona's Governor signed off on implementing Proposition 203. The Governor made a last-ditch attempt to blunt the reach of the legislation by signing a law that banned the possession of medical marijuana on college campuses in the state. The Arizona Supreme Court overturned this ban in May 2018 by declaring the law unconstitutional.

It took two attempts to decriminalize recreational marijuana in Arizona. The first attempt was Proposition 205 put on the ballot in November 2016. The initiative attempted to allow adults in Arizona to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use. Proposition 205 failed with 48.7% of the vote. It was opposed by the then Governor of Arizona and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The second attempt to legalize adult-use marijuana in Arizona was Proposition 207. It was championed by the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Dispensaries Association. Proposition 207 got on the ballot by way of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act and proposed the current quantity of marijuana and number of marijuana plants approved for personal possession and cultivation in the state. It also empowered the ADHS to set rules and regulations for implementing recreational marijuana use, sale, and cultivation in the state. Proposition 207 also introduced the 16% excise tax and created the Smart and Safe Arizona Fund that collects tax and licensing revenues from legalized marijuana sales.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposed Proposition 207 and sought to have it removed from the ballot for defective wording. However, its opposition was dismissed by a unanimous decision of the Arizona Supreme Court. Proposition 207 passed on November 3, 2020 with 60.03% of the vote. By January 22, 2021, Arizona was already selling recreational marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries. The rapid adoption of the law made it the fastest state in the US to start retail sales after legalizing recreational marijuana.