Yes. Arizona requires anyone or entity intending to grow marijuana commercially in the state to obtain a marijuana establishment license. Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S) Section 36-2850(18) described a marijuana establishment as any entity authorized by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to run the following facilities:
The Smart and Safe Act, otherwise known as Proposition 207, permits adults 21 years or older to cultivate up to six cannabis plants (two or more adults in the same residence can only grow a maximum of 12) at home for personal and recreational use. Similarly, under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (Proposition 203), a registered medical patient can grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home for personal medical use if they live more than 25 miles from the nearest marijuana dispensary. However, these plants must be kept away from public view, preferably in locked containers. The same applies to commercial marijuana growers as they cannot cultivate the plants just anywhere. They can only grow marijuana plants in an enclosed and adequately secured space. Such individual growers do not need to obtain cultivation licenses in Arizona.
Arizona only has one type of license that allows interested persons or entities to cultivate marijuana, and that is the marijuana establishment license. However, to become a marijuana grower in Arizona, a person needs to own a dispensary. Technically, Arizona only has a dispensary license available as far as marijuana facilities are concerned. However, the state has registration options that allow licensees to grow marijuana. This option requires interested persons to submit supplementary applications for growing marijuana.
The Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) approves and inspects cultivation sites, without which registered entities cannot begin operations. In Arizona, a marijuana cultivation site must not operate outside its approved dispensary location and must fulfill every ADHS's requirements before growing marijuana.
In Arizona, the license to grow marijuana on a commercial scale is issued to adults 21 years and older who must have been residents of the state for at least three years before the application date. Medical dispensaries that also have marijuana growing operations must hire Arizona-licensed doctors to help with the running of their cultivation sites.
To work at any state-licensed marijuana establishment in Arizona, a person must possess a valid marijuana facility agent license. Typically, a marijuana facility agent is an individual (employee, board member, principal officer, or even a volunteer) of a marijuana establishment who is 21 years or older without a conviction on an excluded felony offense.
Furthermore, Arizona marijuana law permits registered medical patients to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home for personal use. However, such patients must live more than 25 miles from the nearest marijuana dispensary. Furthermore, Proposition 207 allows adults 21 years and older to cultivate marijuana up to six plants (or a maximum of 12 in households with two or more adults) for recreational purposes.
To apply for an Arizona marijuana growing license, a person or an entity must first become a dispensary. Arizona issued marijuana businesses licenses between January 19th, 2021, and March 9th, 2021 to early applicants who applied via the Marijuana Facility License Portal. After this, they were given marijuana establishment licenses by random selection. Early applicants are persons or entities that aim to operate a marijuana establishment in a county that has less than two registered active nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries. They may also be registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries that have good standing with the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) that want to secure marijuana establishment licenses. Having a good standing means that a person or entity interested in obtaining a marijuana establishment license is not subject to a pending Notice of Intent to Revoke emanating from the ADHS.
To obtain an initial marijuana establishment license in a bid to cultivate marijuana, an applicant must electronically submit to the ADHS, during an open application period, the following:
Except as specified by state rules, before an entity with a marijuana establishment license begins operating a marijuana establishment, they must apply for and obtain approval to operate a marijuana establishment from the ADHS. An applicant that has a valid dispensary registration certificate issued by the ADHS may apply for an initial marijuana establishment license by submitting their application electronically to the ADHS during an open application period, in a Department-provided format, the following:
In a bid to get approval to run a marijuana establishment in Arizona, a principal officer or board member of the business holding a marijuana establishment license must submit the following to the ADHS within 18 months after the marijuana establishment license has been issued:
A person or entity interested in getting a marijuana establishment license in Arizona must apply via the Marijuana Facility License Portal. The ADHS provides further instructions for logging into the Marijuana Facility License Portal to apply for a marijuana establishment license. After providing the essential information and uploading all the required documents, applicants should review the application details and submit them. The overall time frame for applying for a marijuana establishment license in Arizona is 60 business days (30 days for administrative completeness and another 30 for substantive review by the ADHS). For approval to operate as a marijuana establishment, the overall application time frame is 90 working days (30 days for administrative completeness and 60 days for substantive review by the ADHS).
Arizona marijuana cultivation licenses are not always available. The ADHS accepts applications for new licenses when it decides the state needs to expand its medical marijuana program. It makes announcements calling for new applications when it needs to add new dispensaries. The most recent call for applications occurred in December 2022 as the ADHS sought to have medical dispensaries in six counties (Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz ) where none existed. Successful applicants were selected in March 2023.
A marijuana establishment license in Arizona allows the license holder to have a single off-site location to cultivate marijuana, process, and produce marijuana products. It also authorizes them to own a single retail location to sell marijuana products and a single off-site location to manufacture and package marijuana.
For a marijuana establishment license, the initial non-refundable license fee is $25,000, while the cost of renewal is $5,000. To change the physical address of a marijuana establishment's cultivation site, the licensee will pay $2,500. Also, adding a cultivation site to an existing marijuana establishment costs $2,500. Online payment is processed through the ADHS for all applications requiring a fee.
Yes. Currently, the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) does not authorize a marijuana cultivation facility unless an entity gets licensed as either a marijuana dispensary or a marijuana establishment. It implies that an entity that has the approval to grow marijuana in the state already has the state permit to operate a marijuana establishment facility or a marijuana dispensary.
In Arizona, an entity that has a marijuana establishment license can grow marijuana, process it, and sell marijuana-infused products. A marijuana establishment license is all-encompassing, provided the license holder obtains the requisite approvals from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to carry out the activities embedded in the license.