Arizona Medical Marijuana

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What is Medical Marijuana in Arizona?

Arizona laws define the medical use of marijuana as the cultivation, possession, acquisition, and use of marijuana to treat a registered qualifying patient's debilitating medical conditions. Hence, prospective patients must have been certified as having certain debilitating conditions before receiving medical marijuana as a form of treatment. The medical use of marijuana in Arizona became possible with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act's enactment in November 2010.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Arizona?

Yes. In 1996, Arizona voters approved medical marijuana through an initiative that permitted seriously or terminally ill individuals to possess and use marijuana. However, the state later overturned this law as it conflicted with the federal law that classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. In 2010, Arizona voters again approved a modified medical marijuana initiative with the passage of Proposition 203 or the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The Act permits patients with debilitating medical conditions to possess, use, and purchase up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana from state-licensed marijuana dispensaries.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act designated the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) as the agency responsible for drafting and implementing the state's medical marijuana program rules and regulations. The Act also outlined the criteria utilized by ADHS to determine which patients and caregivers are eligible for medical marijuana and the operational rules for registered cannabis businesses.

Who Can Get Medical Marijuana in Arizona?

Arizonans who are 18 years and older, with valid medical marijuana cards, may obtain medical marijuana in the form of cannabis flowers, extracts, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules from licensed marijuana dispensaries. Individuals with approved qualifying medical conditions and doctors' certifications may be issued medical marijuana cards. Approved medical conditions that qualify patients for medical marijuana are:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Any chronic or debilitating medical condition or disease or the treatment for one that causes cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain, such as from migraines or arthritis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, such as those associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures, including from epilepsy

Per Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, the ADHS may add more medical conditions to the current list of approved medical conditions for marijuana use.

Similarly, the Act permits an out-of-state resident who is 18 years or older, diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, and bearing their home state's medical marijuana card or its equivalent, to get marijuana.

Can You Grow Medical Marijuana in Arizona?

Yes. Medical marijuana patients or caregivers may grow marijuana in their homes for personal use if they live more than 25 miles from the nearest medical marijuana dispensary. However, they may only grow up to 12 marijuana plants in enclosed or locked facilities. Under the Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient permitted to grow marijuana in their home cannot sell or gift such marijuana to a third party.

Do You Need to See a Doctor to Get Medical Marijuana in Arizona?

Yes. A patient with a qualifying medical condition must obtain a medical certification from an Arizona licensed physician. Per state law, only a physician with a bonafide patient-physician relationship can issue a medical certification to a qualifying patient. Arizona does not maintain a database of approved physicians for its medical marijuana program. However, a physician specializing in allopathic, osteopathic, homeopathic, or naturopathic medicine may issue a medical certification to a qualifying patient.

Can a Minor Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona?

Yes. A minor must meet the following requirements to get a medical marijuana card:

  • Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
  • Obtain written certifications from two Arizona-licensed physicians
  • Obtain the consent of a parent or legal guardian who will act as their designated caregiver and oversee medical cannabis acquisition and use
  • Obtain a signed the Medical Marijuana Custodial Parent Or Legal Guardian Attestation Form

How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona

Arizona only allows qualifying patients and designated caregivers to apply for medical marijuana cards online. Before starting their applications, these individuals should review the qualifying patient's application checklist or designated caregiver application checklist for all the information and supporting documentation required to complete their applications.

A prospective patient should start by obtaining a medical certification from a state-licensed physician and gathering all required supporting documents listed on the qualifying patient's application checklist. Thereafter, they should visit the Arizona Department of Health Services Medical Marijuana page to access the Individual Licensing Portal. From the portal, they will be required to create a new user account, log onto their account profile, and upload all required supporting documents. When finalizing their application, they will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee prescribed by the ADHS.

Under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient may appoint one designated caregiver. This individual also needs to register with the state's medical marijuana program and obtain a medical marijuana card. A caregiver can only apply for a medical marijuana card for an approved patient. To apply for a caregiver medical marijuana card, visit the Individual Licensing Portal, complete all the required information on the application portal, and upload all supporting documents, including the Medical Marijuana Caregiver Attestation. Caregivers also have to pay an application fee recommended by the ADHS.

Individuals applying as designated caregivers must also submit Fingerprint Verification Forms. Each applicant must submit two sets of original fingerprints to ADHS through the U.S. Mail. The fingerprint technician must seal the envelope as described in the form and sign across the seal. The applicant will then send this envelope to:

Arizona Department of Health Services

ATTN: Marijuana Department

P.O. Box 19000

Phoenix, AZ 85005

If the ADHS approves a patient or caregiver application, it will send an email notifying the applicant and send a registry identification card to the applicant's registered address.

Does Arizona Allow Medical Marijuana Patients to Designate Caregivers?

A qualifying patient in Arizona's medical marijuana program may designate an individual as a designated caregiver. Per state law, a designated caregiver must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Consent to assist the qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana
  • Not have been convicted of a felony charge

An individual may be a designated caregiver for up to five qualified patients. However, the applications for each patient must be submitted separately, and a different card will be issued for each qualifying patient the caregiver assists. In Arizona, a designated caregiver may also be a patient in the medical marijuana program, provided the individual meets the criteria for both. The designated caregiver must not be a home health aide or a professional caregiver.

What Is the Cost of an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card?

A qualifying patient pays an application fee of $150 for a medical marijuana card. An individual participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may pay a reduced fee of $75 for new applications. On the other hand, a designated caregiver pays $200 for an initial application for a medical marijuana card.

It costs $150 to renew a qualifying patient's medical marijuana card and $200 to renew a designated caregiver's medical marijuana card. Note that the application fee for an Arizona medical marijuana card is non-refundable and can be made online via a credit card. It costs $10 for a qualifying patient or caregiver to replace or make changes to a medical marijuana card.

What Do You Need When Visiting a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Arizona?

When visiting a medical marijuana dispensary, qualifying patients and their caregivers must have valid Arizona state identification cards and valid medical marijuana cards in their possession. Marijuana dispensaries in Arizona do not sell marijuana to individuals below the age of 18 and can only sell up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana, of which not more than 12.5 grams are cannabis concentrates.

How to Renew Your Arizona Medical Marijuana Card

A medical marijuana card issued in Arizona is valid for 2 years, and a cardholder may access the renewal portal 90 days before their current medical marijuana card expires. A qualifying patient or caregiver that fails to renew their medical marijuana card before it expires must submit a new application. Arizona medical marijuana cardholders can complete their renewal applications online and follow the same steps as when applying for their cards. However, they have to submit updated copies of their documents and pay renewal fees.

Is it Possible to Overdose on Cannabis in Arizona?

Several studies have failed to establish direct evidence that anyone can overdose on marijuana. Experts have been unable to determine the exact amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a key component of marijuana, leading to an overdose. In a report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that it was impossible to overdose on marijuana. However, the report recognizes that the excess intake of marijuana may escalate the side effects of marijuana, leading to some accidental adverse effects. Overconsumption of marijuana may lead to fast heart rates, increased blood pressure, and hallucinations. Additionally, excess intake of marijuana can lead to car accidents and dangerous falls.

If I am Pregnant, Can I Use Cannabis to Relieve Nausea in Arizona?

Several women reported that they used marijuana medically to alleviate bouts of nausea and migraine while carrying babies. Arizona, however, attempts to curb the use of marijuana among pregnant and breastfeeding women by enacting the HB2061 bill in 2016. The law mandates medical marijuana dispensary centers to conspicuously display warnings addressed particularly to pregnant and breastfeeding women about the potential dangers of marijuana. This warning must inform the women that the dispensary centers may report their use of marijuana to the ADHS.

Arizona Medical Marijuana