Key Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws That Every Patient Should Know
Arizona’s medical cannabis laws were enacted in 2010 after the passing of Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), and many of these laws are still valid for medical marijuana (MMJ) patients today. In 2020, recreational marijuana was legalized with Proposition 207 for adults age 21 and above, which has created some confusion for patients.
If you're a medical marijuana patient in Arizona in 2022, it's important to know your specific rights and how they differ from recreational use.
Arizona's Medical Marijuana Program
Arizona's medical marijuana program has been regulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) since 2010. Patients of any age with a qualifying condition can obtain a medical marijuana card from the ADHS as long as they have a physician's recommendation. For regular patients, the application fee for a new or renewed card is $150. For SNAP recipients, the fee is reduced to $75.
While patients aged 18 and above can apply for an MMJ card on their own, minors must have a designated caregiver who will apply for the medical marijuana authorization on their behalf. The total cost to apply is $350 ($150 for the minor and $200 for the caregiver) or $275 for SNAP recipients.
Pediatric patients are required to have two physicians certify them for medical cannabis usage.
The process for obtaining a physician’s recommendation and registering as a patient is simple with us. You can even get your Arizona medical marijuana card online.
An Arizona board-certified physician may recommend medical marijuana to patients with a debilitating condition. The qualifying conditions in Arizona include:
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Cachexia or wasting syndrome
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Persistent Muscle Spasms
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Severe and Chronic Pain
Not everyone will qualify. For instance, you typically can’t get a medical card for anxiety in Arizona, but you may be eligible if your condition is present alongside a qualifying condition like chronic pain or PTSD. So it always helps to speak with a doctor.
Medical Marijuana Cards
Medical marijuana cards in Arizona are digital, so you don't need to print them out or wait to receive your card in the mail. To enjoy the protections and privileges of Arizona's medical cannabis laws, all you need to do is show your digital MMJ card on your smartphone.
Arizona’s Medical Cannabis Laws for Caregivers
Any adult age 21 and above may register as a caregiver in Arizona and provide medical marijuana to up to five patients under the age of 18. Caregivers may:
Purchase marijuana at dispensaries
Grow up to 12 marijuana plants for each eligible patient (see "growing marijuana plants" below)
Administer marijuana to the patients under their care
A caregiver card costs $200 and must be renewed every two years, just like medical marijuana cards for patients.
Purchase and Possession
According to Arizona’s medical cannabis laws, medical marijuana patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. All purchases are logged under the state’s track-and-trace system, so buyers cannot get around these limits by shopping at multiple dispensaries.
Arizona Allotment Checker
The Arizona Allotment Checker allows medical marijuana patients to track their cannabis purchase history online and check how much more they can buy in a given two-week allotment period. Budtenders can also use the Arizona Allotment Checker to see how many grams and ounces you are still allowed to buy.
Where You Can Possess and Use Medical Marijuana
State law in Arizona prohibits anyone—including medical marijuana patients—from consuming marijuana in public spaces, in vehicles, and where smoking tobacco is not allowed. Furthermore, it is a federal offense to possess or consume marijuana on federal lands, including national forests, parks, and monuments.
Taxation and Pricing
Medical marijuana patients in Arizona pay the local sales tax rate on cannabis, which is typically about 8% of the purchase amount (depending on the location). They do not pay the 16% excise tax that applies to recreational marijuana users.
According to Arizona law, a licensed dispensary may offer free cannabis to eligible patients but not to recreational users. Many dispensaries offer exclusive medical marijuana discounts to help patients obtain the products they need.
There is no limit on potency for medical marijuana products in Arizona, unlike recreational products in the legal cannabis market. Those are limited to 10mg THC per edible and 100mg THC per packet.
There is no law requiring dispensaries to have separate lines for medical and recreational marijuana customers. However, many dispensaries do. Separate lines can mean quicker service times for MMJ cardholders, which is an advantage at busy times.
Then there’s the question of whether gun owners can get a medical marijuana card in Arizona. Federal law prohibits cannabis users from purchasing guns. If you try to purchase a gun as a medical marijuana cardholder, you will generally be unable to complete the transaction.
Growing Marijuana Plants
Medical marijuana patients who live more than 25 miles from a dispensary are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or appoint a caregiver to grow the plants for them. In contrast, recreational users are only allowed to grow up to six plants at home and up to 12 plants if two or more adults live at the same address. In both cases, the plants must be securely locked away, hidden from view, and inaccessible to children.
Protections for Medical Marijuana Patients
Arizona’s medical cannabis laws provide several protections for medical marijuana patients:
Employers in Arizona are allowed to establish a "drug-free workplace" and sanction employees for testing positive for cannabis. However, medical marijuana patients are protected from such sanctions as long as their card is valid, they don't possess or consume cannabis at work, and they are not impaired on the job.
Exception: Federal Jobs and Safety Risks
While private employers generally cannot discriminate against a medical marijuana cardholder's cannabis use, marijuana consumption is still against federal law. For this reason, Arizona's medical employment protections do not apply to federal jobs or positions that carry a safety risk (such as pilots and bus drivers).
In Arizona, landlords cannot discriminate against medical marijuana patients. This means that you can't be denied a lease or rental contract on the basis of your use of medical cannabis.
Medical marijuana patients who test positive for THC or CBD while driving are excluded from sanctions for driving under the influence as long as they are not actually impaired. Please note that it is against the law to consume marijuana inside a vehicle.
Colleges and vocational schools in Arizona are not allowed to ban medical marijuana on-site, as decided in the supreme court ruling on State v. Maestas.
Assisted living facilities and nursing homes may not ban or limit access to and use of marijuana for qualifying patients who live at that facility.
Organ Transplants and Medical Care
Medical care and organ transplants may not be denied on the basis of medical marijuana use if the patient holds a valid medical marijuana card.
Child Custody and Visitation
Parents may not be denied child custody or visitation rights on the basis of their medical marijuana patient status. Likewise, medical marijuana patients may not have their children removed on the basis of their medical marijuana use.
Exception: Eligibility for Foster Care
While medical marijuana patients won't have their children removed, the Arizona Department of Child Services decided in 2017 that medical marijuana patients would not be eligible to become foster parents.
Out-of-State Medical Marijuana Cards
According to an Arizona Supreme Court ruling, Arizona accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards for up to 30 days provided the card is valid and accepted in its state of origin. Out-of-state MMJ patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana but must abide by recreational purchase laws. (i.e., an out-of-state user may only purchase one ounce of cannabis at a dispensary and may not make a purchase if they're under 21).
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
As you can see, Arizona’s medical cannabis laws provide many advantages and protections for cardholders. That's why it's important to know your rights and make sure you obtain a medical marijuana card if you have a qualifying condition. As long as your card is valid, you will be able to purchase and possess a greater quantity of marijuana, enjoy special discounts and sometimes free cannabis, and—in most cases—keep your job.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is there to help you receive the medicine you need and continues to regulate medical marijuana today. For more information and support in receiving medical marijuana, Arizona's medical marijuana doctors and budtenders are more than happy to help.