Arizona Weed Laws Every Cannabis User Should Know
Arizona weed laws include two separate acts that pertain to recreational and medical marijuana, respectively. Purchasing, consuming, and growing cannabis is legal in Arizona for people over 21 years old and MMJ patients of any age. Knowing the details of the pertinent laws is vital to make sure you stay safely within the prescribed limits.
Patients with certain debilitating medical conditions can apply for a medical marijuana card to increase the amount of cannabis they can legally purchase and possess. Though recreational and medical cannabis are legal in Arizona, residents of the Grand Canyon State must remember that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and cannot be consumed on federal lands or transported across state lines.
Arizona’s Recreational and Medical Laws Differ
Medical cannabis laws in Arizona came into effect after the passing of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (Prop 203) in 2010. In 2020, Arizona voters passed Prop 207, the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, later renamed the Smart and Safe Act. This act legalized the possession, use, and sale of adult-use marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia to adults 21 years of age and above.
The later recreational act runs parallel to the earlier one rather than replacing it. This means that eligible medical patients 21 and above can legally purchase cannabis under recreational laws. It’s important to note, however, that there are still several benefits of having a medical marijuana card:
Cardholders have higher consumption, possession, and cultivation limits.
Having a medical marijuana card exempts you from the 16% excise tax placed on recreational sales.
A medical card enables patients who are 18 or above (but under 21) to purchase marijuana from dispensaries.
If you are a recreational marijuana user, the legal limits are lower for you than for medical users. Those interested in applying for a medical card should check the list of AZ qualifying conditions and take the appropriate steps to apply for a card and enjoy the benefits. Please note that patients who are approved will need to renew their AZ MMJ card every two years.
Overview of Arizona Weed Laws
The following are some of the key points of Arizona’s recreational and medical cannabis laws:
The age limit for medical and recreational users of cannabis is different:
Age Limit for Adult-Use Marijuana
People aged 21 and older can purchase adult-use marijuana from licensed marijuana establishments (dispensaries). You will need to take a government-issued photo ID with you as proof of your age. Please note that there are a few medical-only dispensaries in Arizona that don’t serve recreational customers.
Age Limit for Medical Marijuana
There is no age limit for the medical use of marijuana, but you need to be at least 18 to enter and purchase from a dispensary. Qualifying patients under 18 years of age must have a parent or legal guardian apply for a medical card on their behalf. They must also have a designated caregiver who must first register with the Arizona Department of Health Services and can then purchase or cultivate marijuana for the patient and administer the patient’s medical marijuana products to him or her.
Purchase and Possession Limits
Purchase and possession limits in Arizona differ depending on whether you're a recreational user or medical patient:
Recreational Marijuana Purchase and Possession Limits
Recreational customers can buy and possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of cannabis.
The one-ounce limit includes up to five grams of concentrates (tinctures, vape carts, wax, dab, sugar, and other concentrates).
Edibles have a limit of 10 mg per piece and 100 mg of THC per packet.
Medical Marijuana Purchase and Possession Limits
MMJ patients in Arizona can:
Purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks
Take advantage of the higher AZ medical marijuana concentrate limit
Buy products (including edibles) with higher concentrations of THC
Out-of-state visitors to Arizona are allowed to purchase marijuana in recreational dispensaries as long as they're 21 or above. Out-of-state MMJ patients don’t have any special purchase rights. However, they can possess cannabis products up to the medical limit as long as they are carrying their out-of-state medical card (or documentation that is equivalent to a medical card in their state of origin) and have an AZ qualifying condition.
There are certain places where you can and cannot consume marijuana in Arizona:
You cannot vape or smoke marijuana in public spaces, around minors, or in a designated school zone.
You cannot possess or consume marijuana products on federal lands. This includes federal buildings, federal monuments, and national parks.
You cannot consume marijuana in a vehicle. This applies to passengers as well as drivers.
Adults and MMJ cardholders can consume marijuana on private property, except for hotel rooms (and similar) where smoking is not allowed.
Laws differ when it comes to how many marijuana plants medical and recreational cannabis users can grow at home.
Cultivation for Recreational Marijuana Use
It is legal to grow up to six plants per adult (aged 21 and above) for personal use, with a limit of 12 plants per household where two or more adults reside at the same time. It is illegal to sell marijuana you grow at home. However, you can give up to one ounce of marijuana to another adult or an MMJ patient without compensation.
Cultivation Laws for Medical Marijuana Use
If you want to cultivate marijuana plants for personal medical use and have an MMJ card, you or your caregiver are allowed to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home under Arizona law. However, this is contingent on living further than 25 miles from the closest medical marijuana dispensary.
Important note: Whether for recreational or medical use, marijuana plants grown at home must be kept somewhere that is out of sight, securely locked, and not accessible by children.
Additional MMJ Laws in Arizona
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) permits the use of marijuana for certain debilitating medical conditions. The Act establishes laws for both patients and caregivers.
Being a cardholder in Arizona allows you certain benefits that recreational users don't enjoy. MMJ cardholders in Arizona can:
Shop at medical marijuana dispensaries
Forgo the 16% excise tax
Receive medical cannabis products via home delivery (recreational delivery is expected to be implemented at a later date)
Benefit from some employment and housing protections
MMJ Laws for Caregivers
Adults over the age of 21 can register to be a caregiver in Arizona. Being a caregiver gives you the right to provide medical marijuana to up to five patients. As a caregiver, you may:
Purchase medical marijuana at licensed dispensaries
Cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants for each eligible patient in your care, subject to the geographical distance requirement
Administer marijuana to any patients you are responsible for
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Whether you are a recreational or medical marijuana user, there are penalties for passing the legal marijuana possession, sale, and cultivation limits or breaking any other details of these acts. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the current laws and stay up to date with any changes that take effect.
Arizona’s weed laws offer a wide range of benefits for both recreational and medical users. Thanks to the laws outlined above, adults can purchase quality cannabis and marijuana products for health reasons as well as leisure.
If you’re thinking about purchasing cannabis products in Arizona, remember to take a government-issued photo ID and an AZ medical card if eligible, stay within the legal limits, and consume the products in an appropriate place.
If you’re a resident of the state and have a qualifying condition, reach out to a medical marijuana doctor, apply for a card, and enjoy the lower taxes and higher purchase limits to which medical users in AZ are entitled.