Medical Marijuana in Arizona
Arizona passed Proposition 203 in 2010, which legalized the medical use of marijuana, known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). To use the AMMA, you must first register, be approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services, and be granted a registry identification card. To qualify under the AMMA, you must meet the following conditions:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have valid government-issued identification
- Currently reside within the State of Arizona
- Provide medical records, for the previous 12 months, to an approved AMMA physician
- Have a condition which qualifies as a “debilitating medical condition,” such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
Medical Marijuana Card Process
Once you meet the above criteria, your next step in getting a medical marijuana card is to get a Physician Certification Form completed by a medical doctor. As you are scheduling the appointment with the doctor’s office, do keep in mind that you’ll pay an application fee of $150 for the card at the time of the visit. This fee is not included in the cost of the doctor’s visit. Your doctor will then submit your application for a medical marijuana card to ADHS. In most cases, ADHS mails the card to you within five working days. Your medical marijuana card, should you choose to keep it, will need to be renewed each year for an additional charge.
Out-of-State ID Card Reciprocity
Non-residents visiting Arizona can lawfully have and use marijuana within the state if they hold a valid medical marijuana registration card issued in a different state. With that said, statutory limitations prevents such non-resident out-of-state card holders from going to Arizona dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana. Another caveat is the amount of marijuana you can have in your possession; regardless of your own state’s laws under which your card was issued, you must follow Arizona’s laws for the possession and use to be lawful within the state. In Arizona, you can hold and use no more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana.
How To Obtain Medical Marijuana
There are two options for patients with medical marijuana cards to obtain medical marijuana. The first option is a dispensary. Medical marijuana cannot be dispensed from a pharmacy. So, dispensaries exist to provide medical marijuana card holders a legal and safe place to make purchases. The second option requires an approval by ADHS for cultivation. If approved, medical marijuana card holders can grow their own marijuana plants. In most cases, this is an option if you live more than 25 miles from the closest dispensary. You’ll legally be able to grow and cultivate no more than 12 plants at a time, however.
- Patient cannot reside within 25 miles of a dispensary
- Patient cannot grow more than 12 plants at any time
- Caregiver cannot grow more than 12 plants per patient they are serving
- Growing facility must be within an “enclosed, locked facility,” which includes “closets, rooms, greenhouses, or other enclosed ares equipped with locks or security devices which permit access only by a cardholder.”
- All growers need to be approved by the ADHS to be a medical marijuana cultivator.
In the state of Arizona, there is only a single license which authorizes companies to operate dispensaries is the same license which authorizes the cultivation of cannabis.
Applying For A License
Print, fill out, and review the Dispensary Approval to Operate Application Checklist from the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program website. Ensure that the appropriate parties sign and date where required.
Gather all required documents (refer to the Dispensary Approval to Operate Application Checklist) including:
- A copy of documentation issued by the local jurisdiction to the dispensary authorizing occupancy of the building as a dispensary and, if applicable, as the dispensary’s cultivation site, such as a certificate of occupancy, a special use permit, or a conditional use permit
- A sworn statement signed and dated by the individual or individuals in R9-17-301 certifying that the dispensary is in compliance with local zoning restrictions
- A site plan drawn to scale of the dispensary location showing streets, property lines, buildings, parking areas, outdoor areas if applicable, fences, security features, fire hydrants if applicable, and access to water mains
- A floor plan drawn to scale of the building where the dispensary is located showing the layout and dimensions of each room, name and function of each room, location of each hand washing sink, location of each toilet room, means of egress, location of each video camera, location of each panic button, and location of natural and artificial lighting sources
- If applicable, a site plan drawn to scale of the dispensary’s cultivation site showing streets, property lines, buildings, parking areas, outdoor areas if applicable, fences, security features, fire hydrants if applicable, and access to water mains
- If applicable, a floor plan drawn to scale of each building at the dispensary’s cultivation site showing the layout and dimensions of each room, name and function of each room, location of each hand washing sink, location of each toilet room, means of egress, location of each video camera, location of each panic button, and location of natural and artificial lighting sources
Finally, at least 60 days before the expiration of the license, send the completed application and all additional documents to:
Arizona Department of Health Services ATTN: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program P.O. Box 19000 Phoenix, AZ 85005
Storage of Cannabis and Related Product
According to the Medical Marijuana Act, Arizona marijuana cultivation must be kept in a locked, enclosed area, out of public view.
Licensed dispensaries are permitted to grow within local zoning areas in an enclosed and locked facility, out of public view.
While there is currently no standards regarding laboratory testing, there is discussion in the state legislation to change this. Using best practices when cultivating, processing, and packaging products is recommended.
Typical Startup Fees
- $500 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a dispensary agent
- $5,000 for an initial dispensary registration certificate
- $1,000 for a renewal dispensary registration certificate
- $2,500 to change the location of a dispensary or cultivation facility