Medical marijuana cards are issued to persons who meet specific requirements that permit their participation in the state's medical marijuana program. In 2010, Arizona enacted the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), a law that legalized the medical use of marijuana. This made Arizona become the fourteenth state to enact medical marijuana law. One of AMMA's recommendations is that the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) will receive prospective users' applications and issue medical marijuana cards to successful applicants. Once issued, it recognizes the holder's right to own and use cannabis in the state.
Statistics from the ADHS revealed that the state had issued a total of just over 203,000 registration cards as of April 2019. This figure comprises over 197,000 qualifying patients, close to 800 caregivers, and over 5,800 dispensary agents. A breakdown of the qualifying patients by age group observed that Arizonans within the 18-30 years age group were the most active users of medical marijuana. Maricopa County also emerged as the county with the most active users, while the state sold a total of over 209,000 ounces of weed in April 2019 alone.
Individuals seeking to obtain medical marijuana cards in Arizona must satisfy these conditions:
Minors in Arizona can only obtain a medical marijuana card if their parents or legal guardians register as their caregivers to ensure strict compliance with the recommended use of medical marijuana.
Individuals seeing to obtain medical marijuana cards in Arizona must have been certified by physicians to be living with any of these conditions:
Individuals whose medical conditions are not listed are permitted to submit written applications to the ADHS by January and July of each calendar year. These written requests for the addition of medical conditions entitled to be treated by medical marijuana must include:
Individuals seeking to receive medical marijuana cards in Arizona can only file applications with the ADHS online. Previously, the ADHS made necessary application forms available online. Applicants had to download, print, and complete the forms and submit, alongside supporting documents and payments, to the ADHS. However, the whole application process has been made virtual, with applicants completing the application process online.
By law, designated caregivers can only file applications to obtain Medical Marijuana Identification Cards (MMIC) in Arizona after their qualifying patients' applications are approved. They will need some of the patients' information during their application process. An individual can be a qualifying patient and serve as a primary caregiver for another person provided such individual meets the requirements for both positions. Prospective primary caregivers must meet these requirements:
Section 7, Chapter 36-2801 of the Arizona Statutes describes the excluded felony offenses as any of these:
A violent crime as defined in Subsection B, Section 13-901.03 of the Arizona Statutes. This crime must also be classified as a felony in the jurisdiction the individual was convicted.
Violation of state or federal controlled substance law that was classified as a felony in the jurisdiction the individual was convicted. However, this does not include:
An offense whose sentence was completed ten or more years earlier
An offense that would not lead to an arrest, prosecution, or other penalties under Section 36-2811, except the crime was committed before December 14, 2010, or prosecuted by another authority and not the State of Arizona.
Individuals who meet these requirements are to log on to the ADHS Individual Licensing Portal and submit these information:
As part of the application process, prospective designated caregivers must also submit two sets of their fingerprints, alongside completed Fingerprint Verification Forms, to the ADHS at:
Arizona Department of Health Services
ATTN: Marijuana Department
P.O. Box 19000
Phoenix, AZ 85005
The fingerprints collected will be used to conduct rigorous criminal background checks, usually through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s criminal history records. The ADHS permits prospective designated caregivers to challenge the accuracy of these background checks. Applicants can find further instructions on how to submit their fingerprints to the ADHS online. In addition, the ADHS makes the Medical Marijuana Licensing Management System (MMLMS) available to serve as comprehensive guides on completing the application process.
Individuals who are to be primary caregivers may not necessarily be professional caregivers. Additionally, individuals cannot be caregivers to more than five qualifying patients. For each additional qualifying patient, they must receive separate MMICs. Designated caregivers are also permitted to grow marijuana plants themselves if their qualifying patient resides more than 25 miles away from the nearest dispensary. The prospective designated caregiver must declare this decision to cultivate marijuana during the application process. In addition, Arizona laws place a limit on the amount of marijuana a caregiver can cultivate. They can only grow twelve plants of marijuana in an enclosed and locked facility. Prospective caregivers can access the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the ADHS website for more information.
Usually, it takes between four to six weeks for the ADHS to process applications seeking to become primary caregivers. Once approved, Arizona statutes mandate that identification cards must be issued to successful applicants within five days of the application's approval.
The process of obtaining Arizona medical marijuana cards online differs for adult qualifying patients and Under-18 applicants. One significant difference is that minor qualifying patients must designate their parents or legal guardians as their caregivers.
Before beginning the online application process, adult applicants must first download and print the Medical Marijuana Physician Certification. Applicants must take this form to their physicians to complete all the sections. Any section left blank renders the application invalid. Applicants should also note that only the ADHS certification form is permitted. Also, only an Arizona-licensed physician is allowed to complete this form. Applicants whose personal physicians have a personal bias against medical marijuana and will not certify their documents can have other licensed physicians complete the forms. The physicians must confirm that the applicants have any of the debilitating conditions required and believe administering medical marijuana will alleviate their condition. The physicians must also state that they established a physician-patient relationship during the tests. The next step is for the applicant to download, print, complete, and sign the Patient Attestation Form. Applicants must also have required supporting documents and recent digital photographs before proceeding with their applications.
To begin the application process, applicants must log on to the ADHS Individual Licensing Portal and use their email addresses to create new accounts. Subsequently, they should select the Medical Marijuana and then the New Patient Application options to begin the application process. Some of the information that adult applicants seeking to obtain the Arizona medical marijuana card must submit include:
In Arizona, adult applicants are not compelled to have primary caregivers. The caregiver's information can be left blank if applicants do not desire to have any primary caregiver. After completing the application, take note of the application number and submission date. It is necessary to track the application's status. All uncompleted applications must be concluded within 14 days of creating new accounts on the Portal. Prospective qualifying patients usually receive a response within ten working days after the submission of their applications. If approved, applicants will receive emails notifying them of their application's approval, and they can notify their designated caregivers to begin their application. Qualified patients are to use the Add/Replace Caregiver Form to add or replace their primary caregivers. If unsuccessful, applicants will be required to provide more information or notified of errors made during the application. Unsuccessful applicants also receive instructions on how to correct those errors and reapply.
Minors seeking to obtain the Arizona MMJ must submit applications jointly completed with their parents or legal guardians. Their information will be provided and submitted together as a single application. Before completing the application, intending qualifying patients must be examined by Arizona-licensed physicians. These physicians must then complete the Medical Marijuana Physician Certification. Prospective patients must ensure their physicians complete every section of the certification. In addition, the prospective qualifying patients and their caregivers must download and print the Medical Marijuana Reviewing Physician Certification for Patients Under 18 Form for another physician to complete. Subsequently, the parents or legal guardians of the prospective under-18 patient must also complete the Medical Marijuana Custodial Parent and Legal Guardian Attestation. These completed and signed forms are to be uploaded, alongside supporting documents, during the application process.
The application process is on the ADHS Individual Licensing Portal. New applicants must create new accounts with their email addresses, select Medical Marijuana, and subsequently, New Patient Application. On this page, prospective under-18 qualifying patients and their legal guardians are required to submit these information:
When all the requested information, supporting documents, and necessary forms have been submitted and uploaded, applicants will receive notifications about their applications' status within 10 working days. The ADHS will contact applicants if more information is required. Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified about errors made and ways of correcting them before they can reapply.
Arizona charges different fees covering various services along the medical marijuana supply chain. The fees charged are:
Adult applicants seeking to obtain the Arizona medical marijuana card must possess these documents:
Applicants whose driver's license or identification were issued before October 1, 1996 must combine either their driver's license or their identification with any of:
Minor patients and their caregivers filing applications to obtain the Arizona medical marijuana cards must submit these supporting documents:
Caregivers whose drivers' licenses or identification were issued before October 1, 1996 must submit these documents alongside any of their license or identification:
Yes, records submitted to the ADHS for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program are kept confidential and are not subjected to the Arizona Open Records Law. Additionally, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enactment in 1996 placed an extra layer of protection on all medical records. HIPAA states that only the patient and authorized personal representative have access to a patient's medical records. Patients whose medical records have been illegally accessed can lodge complaints online with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a section of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
These information are on any typical Arizona medical marijuana card:
No one can track you down with the ADHS registry. This confidentiality is assured because the registry's records are confidential and are not under the purview of the Arizona Open Records Law. Law enforcement agencies also need search warrants before they can access the registry's records.