Maricopa County Cannabis Overview

  1. Arizona Cannabis
  2. Maricopa County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Maricopa County?

Yes. In accordance with Proposition 207, the cultivation of cannabis is legal in Maricopa County. Under Proposition 207, adults can grow their own cannabis at home. However, an individual may not grow more than 6 cannabis plants. However, up to 12 cannabis plants are allowed in households with multiple adults. Proposition 207 requires that home cultivation occurs in an enclosed, secure environment that cannot be accessed by minors. All cannabis cultivation conducted in residential units must be hidden from public view.

Under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, Maricopa residents living more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensaries may cultivate up to 12 medical cannabis plants for personal medical use. Per a Maricopa County medical marijuana ordinance, no offsite cultivation facility may be located within 1,500 feet of a school, church, preschool, public park, or adult-oriented facility.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Maricopa County?

Yes. Maricopa County permits the establishment and operation of cannabis manufacturing facilities per the Smart and Safe Act (Proposition 207).

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Maricopa County?

Maricopa County adheres to the provisions of Proposition 207, which permits licensed marijuana establishments to sell recreational cannabis in the county. Persons aged 21 or over can purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries in Maricopa County. Recreational cannabis users may buy up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower at a time or 5 grams of marijuana extract or concentrate. According to the Smart and Safe Act, Maricopa county permits a dual licensee to operate a single retail location where medical marijuana may be dispensed to qualified patients, and recreational marijuana may be sold to adults aged 21 and over. A dual licensee holds both an Arizona Marijuana Establishment License and a Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificate.

Per Section R9-18-308 of the Arizona Adult-Use Marijuana Program Rules, a marijuana retail establishment must be in operation for a minimum of 30 hours per week between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Maricopa County?

Under Proposition 207, it is currently illegal for delivery services to provide recreational cannabis to consumers. Pursuant to Section 36-2854 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, the Arizona Department of Health Services is expected to adopt rules on or after January 1, 2023, but no later than January 1, 2025, to permit recreational marijuana deliveries. The adopted rules will:

  • Require that delivery, and the marijuana and marijuana products provided, originate from a marijuana establishment's authorized retail location and only after a consumer places an order with the marijuana establishment
  • Prohibit delivery to any property leased or owned by the federal government, the state government, one of Arizona's political subdivisions, or the Arizona board of regents
  • Limit the quantity of marijuana and marijuana products, depending on their retail price, that may be transported in a delivery vehicle during a single trip from a marijuana establishment's authorized retail location
  • Prohibit delivery vehicles from transporting extra or unallocated marijuana or marijuana products
  • Require that deliveries be made only by authorized agents in unmarked cars equipped with global positioning systems or equivalent location monitoring systems, as well as video surveillance and recording equipment, and equipped with secured compartments for the storage of marijuana and marijuana products
  • Require inspections and the use of delivery logs by marijuana delivery establishments
  • Include any additional precautions required to ensure that delivery is safe and controlled

Note that medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted to deliver medical marijuana products to qualified patients in Maricopa County and the rest of Arizona.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Maricopa County

The medical marijuana (MMJ) card is an identification card that qualifies the individual named on the card to legally obtain and use medicinal marijuana within stipulated limits. Arizona medical marijuana cards are issued to qualified patients or caregivers under the state’s medical marijuana program. Arizona recognizes two types of qualified patients for medical marijuana: adult patients and patients under the age of 18. For patients aged under 18 in Maricopa County, Arizona requires that their legal guardians or custodial parents be designated as caregivers. Note that to be eligible for medical marijuana, the individual must suffer from one or more of the debilitating medical conditions recognized by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). These conditions include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Cancer
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Any chronic or debilitating condition or the treatment of a chronic disease or debilitating condition that causes:
    • Severe nausea
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Severe and chronic pain
    • Seizures
    • Persistent or severe muscle spasms

In order to complete an application, the following will be required:

  • A current photograph of the applicant taken no more than 60 calendar days prior to the submission of the application
  • A copy of the applicant's:
    • State-issued driver's license issued on or after October 1, 1996; or
    • State-issued identification card issued on or after October 1, 1996; or
    • State registry identification card; or
    • Photograph page in the applicant's U.S. passport; or
    • State-issued driver's license or identification card issued before October 1, 1996, and one of the following:
      • Birth certificate verifying U.S. citizenship
      • U.S Certificate of Citizenship
      • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization
  • Signed and dated Medical Marijuana Patient Attestation
  • Physician-completed Medical Marijuana Physician Certification Form
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) documentation if applicable.
  • A current and valid Visa or MasterCard card for payment. A debit card, credit card, or pre-paid card may be used to make payment. The application fee is $150 for an MMJ card or $75 for applicants on SNAP

Note that for a patient under the age of 18, two physician certifications and a completed Custodial Parent and Legal Guardian Attestation form are required, while a caregiver applicant must submit fingerprints to the ADHS via U.S. Mail. Fingerprinting instructions and the required verification form are available on the ADHS website. The ADHS mailing address is:

Arizona Department of Health Services

ATTN: Medical Marijuana Program

P.O. Box 19000

Phoenix, AZ 85005

Note that MMJ card applications may be completed online via the ADHS Individual Licensing Portal.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Maricopa County?

The Maricopa County economy has received a boost since medical and recreational cannabis sales went into effect. Although Arizona charges no excise tax on medical marijuana, cannabis consumers must pay a 5.6% sales tax on every purchase of marijuana for recreational use. In addition, there is an excise tax of 16% on every purchase of marijuana for recreational use. Maricopa County has a county-wide sales tax of 0.7% applicable to recreational marijuana purchases. Some local governments and cities may also collect additional local sales taxes reaching 4%.

According to a report by the Arizona JBLC (Joint Legislative Budget Committee), cannabis taxes accruing to the state in March 2022 exceeded that of tobacco and liquor combined. Per the JBLC report published in April 2022, Arizona collected $11.9 million in dedicated marijuana excise taxes in March 2022 and $94.3 million in the fiscal year to date. The report also revealed that the state collected over $149 million in marijuana tax revenue so far in the fiscal year. Note that Arizona also receives tax revenue from Transaction Privilege Taxes (TPT). According to an Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR) report, the state made over $1.4 billion in cannabis sales during the first year of cannabis adult-use implementation. The $1.4 billion figure includes total sales for medical and recreational cannabis. For more information on the revenue generated from marijuana tax collection in Arizona, visit the marijuana tax collection page of the Arizona Department of Revenue website.

In Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCD) received over $17 million as proceeds from the 16% excise tax levied on cannabis sales. The MCCCD received $4.5 million in the first allocation of excise tax revenues in July 2021, followed by a $12.6 million disbursement in December 2021, for a total of $17.1 million for the year 2021. According to projections, the county would initially receive $16 million annually to be distributed to the Maricopa Community Colleges, with the amount gradually increasing.

The MCCCD has set aside $7.6 million to benefit trade and technical training instructional divisions referred to as skills centers. These skills centers provide 35 career-specific training programs in the fields of beauty and wellness, healthcare, and trades and technology.

Note that the imposed 16% excise tax pursuant to the Smart and Safe Act allows for the reimbursement of actual reasonable costs incurred by certain state agencies in the state. This distribution includes a 33% share among community college districts in the state.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Maricopa County

With recreational cannabis sales only beginning in Maricopa County in 2021, the FBI crime data portal does not yet have information on DUI arrests and marijuana-related crime rates in recent years. However, using information obtained from the FBI crime data explorer, it is evident that certain crime rates have dropped since medical marijuana sales began at the end of 2012.

In the years preceding the legalization of medical cannabis, Maricopa County recorded 1,153 DUI arrests, 479 arrests for marijuana possession, and 26 arrests for marijuana sales in 2006. In 2008, the record was 1,406 DUI arrests, 669 arrests for marijuana possession, and 4 arrests for marijuana sales. Maricopa County recorded 1,272 DUI arrests, 514 arrests for marijuana possession, and 10 arrests for marijuana sales in 2010. Although medical cannabis sales began in December 2012, Maricopa County recorded 955 DUI arrests, 401 arrests for marijuana possession, and 48 arrests for marijuana sales in that year.

In the years after medical cannabis sales started, Maricopa County recorded 1,132 DUI arrests, 967 arrests for marijuana possession, and 36 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2015, the records were 804 DUI arrests, 822 arrests for marijuana possession, and 24 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2017, Maricopa County arrest rates for marijuana-related offenses were 596 for DUI, 420 for marijuana possession, and 4 for marijuana sales. In 2018, there were 416 DUI arrests, 157 marijuana possession arrests, and 5 marijuana sales arrests.

Although the arrest rates for marijuana possession and marijuana sales in Maricopa County have not declined since the legalization of medical cannabis, the DUI arrest rate has decreased.

Maricopa County Cannabis Overview