How Much Does an Arizona Cannabis Cultivation License Cost?
If you want to grow and sell marijuana in Arizona, you need to understand the cost of obtaining an Arizona cultivation license. The initial Arizona cultivation license cost ranges from $5,000 to $7,500, depending on the number of locations you intend to have as part of your commercial grow operation.
Breakdown of the Arizona Cultivation License Cost
The Arizona Department of Health Services is the government body responsible for handling the application process for marijuana establishments. As of May 2022, the Arizona cultivation license cost is:
$5,000 registration fee for a single retail location. $1,000 of this fee is refundable if your application is not approved.
$2,500 for an additional location to use as a cultivation site or to change the address of the cultivation site
After the initial registration, the annual renewal fee is $1,000.
For medical use growers, the cost of a medical marijuana card is $150 every two years or $75 for SNAP recipients. The cost of a designated caregiver card is $200, payable every two years.
Types of Commercial Cultivation Licenses in Arizona
Registering as a cannabis dispensary is not only a matter of cost. There also needs to be a Medical Establishment License available. At present, cannabis business licenses are allowed at a ratio of 1:10, that is, one marijuana establishment is allowed for every 10 pharmacies in the state.
Under the Social Equity Ownership Program, counties may approve a total of two cannabis business licenses. If there is already a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary in the county, the Department may approve one additional Marijuana Establishment License.
The Marijuana Establishment License
In order to cultivate marijuana commercially in Arizona, you need to have a Marijuana Establishment License. In other words, you must register as a dispensary. With a Marijuana Establishment License, you can:
Cultivate marijuana in an enclosed facility
Manufacture marijuana products (please note that you need to apply for an Infusion Kitchen Application to make and sell cannabis-infused edibles)
Sell marijuana to adults aged 21 and above
Licensed dispensaries must have medical oversight from an Arizona physician. Once connected to a dispensary, the medical director is not allowed to issue medical certification for marijuana to qualifying patients.
If you don't plan to cultivate marijuana at the same location as the dispensary, you can register a single off-site location as a cultivation facility and a third location to manufacture marijuana products. Please note that marijuana establishments may only have a single retail location—you cannot sell cannabis from your additional cultivation site or manufacturing facility.
Marijuana Facility Agent Licenses
Typically, a cannabis cultivation business will have employees in addition to the license holder.
In this case, you will also need to ensure that each principal officer, board member, employee, and volunteer has a marijuana facility agent license.
Principal officers and board members can apply to the Arizona Department of Health Services for agent licenses for themselves, their employees, and volunteers.
The Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensary License
Under Arizona law, nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries can cultivate marijuana in an enclosed facility and dispense medical marijuana to authorized cardholders and/or their designated caregiver. If you want to cultivate marijuana and sell it to qualified patients in addition to selling adult-use cannabis, you will need a dual license.
Any cannabis cultivation business that sells medical cannabis to medical marijuana cardholders needs to track cardholder purchases through the Arizona Allotment Checker to make sure the patient doesn't exceed 2.5 ounces of cannabis in the designated two-week period.
Who Needs a Cultivation License in Arizona?
A cultivation license is not necessarily required to grow a small amount of cannabis in Arizona. Both the medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis program rules permit a certain amount of cultivation as long as you don't sell cannabis to anyone else.
Medical Marijuana Patients
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 2010 and permits patients with a qualifying condition to obtain a physician's recommendation for cannabis and apply for a medical marijuana card through the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Qualifying patients and designated caregivers ages 21 and over can obtain their medical marijuana card in Mesa, Phoenix, or any other city in Arizona. They can then grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home if they live at least 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. Select the "request cultivation" box during the application process to find out whether your address is an eligible cultivation site.
Requirements for Homegrown Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis cultivated at home must be grown out of public view in a locked facility that is only accessible by the patient and/or their caregiver. The combined amount of usable cannabis possessed by the patient and/or their caregiver may not exceed 2.5 ounces.
Adult-Use Cannabis Consumers
The Arizona adult-use cannabis program came into effect with the Safe and Smart Arizona Act in November 2020. Under this program, adults aged 21 and above are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home, with a maximum of 12 plants if two or more adults live at the same address. The total amount of usable cannabis permitted from home grows is one ounce per adult age 21 and above.
Home-growers are permitted to give usable cannabis or cannabis plants to other eligible adults without compensation but may not sell cannabis or plants to anyone else. The cannabis must be grown in an enclosed area that is securely locked and out of public view.
For Most People, Cultivation Is Free
Previous marijuana laws permitted cannabis cultivation only for medical cannabis cardholders. However, today, any adult age 21 and above can grow cannabis at home without a license or a license fee.
If you want to cultivate marijuana commercially, the Arizona cultivation license cost is $5,000 for a single location or $7,500 for a retail location plus a separate cultivation site. If you are interested in knowing about future marijuana establishment allocations, you can submit your email address to the ADHS.