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How Many Patients Can an MMJ Caregiver Have in Arizona?

How many patients a caregiver can have in Arizona is a question that will interest people considering becoming designated caregivers for one or more qualifying patients. People may have different reasons for wanting to be a caregiver. However, all must fulfill the criteria stipulated by the state of Arizona. Apart from knowing how many patients you can look after, prospective caregivers must also be aware of and comply with several other rules and regulations.


What Is an MMJ Caregiver?


A medical marijuana caregiver is somebody who agrees to help a qualifying patient with the medical use of marijuana as well as its purchase and/or cultivation. Caregivers come in two main forms:

  1. Some caregivers choose to help an adult qualifying patient or patients with their treatment.

  2. Others are caregivers for minors under 18 years of age; the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act mandates that this be a parent or legal guardian.


How Many Patients Can a Caregiver Have in AZ?


MMJ caregivers in Arizona can have up to five patients under their care at any one time. This number does not include the caregiver, who, in some cases, may also be an MMJ patient.


Who Can Become a Caregiver?


A potential AZ caregiver must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years old

  • Consent to helping a medical marijuana patient with the administration, purchase, and/or cultivation of marijuana

  • Not have been convicted of an excluded felony offense in the last 10 years, namely a violent crime or a crime relating to a controlled substance

Additionally, a minor’s caregiver must be their parent or legal guardian. Parents or guardians of a qualifying patient under 18 years of age can check the Arizona Department of Health Services website for more information on how to become a designated caregiver for their child.


What Do Caregivers Do?


Caregivers' main tasks include purchasing MMJ, administering the products to the patient, and cultivating cannabis plants for the patient's personal use if the patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. The patient must have an up-to-date MMJ card to engage a caregiver's services. Patients with an AZ qualifying condition can apply for an Arizona medical marijuana card online with a doctor’s recommendation and must renew their MMJ card every two years.


Cultivating Marijuana Plants

While registered caregivers can purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary for their patient or patients, others cultivate marijuana. Growing cannabis on your patients' behalf is legal as long as you stay within the scope of the provisions laid out in the AMMA:

  • The qualifying patient for whom you will be responsible must have received approval to cultivate, based on their location, when they applied for their MMJ card. To be eligible to cultivate marijuana, the patient must live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary.

  • You can grow 12 plants for each patient who meets the distance requirement and has their cultivation request approved by the AZDHS. See our article on how many plants a caregiver can grow for more information about growing limits.

  • You must not charge a fee for your products or advertise them.

  • Plants must be kept out of public view in a secure, locked place. Only the person with a caregiver card can have access to the plants.

Growing cannabis for your patients is an economical way to provide them with high-quality products. It can also be more convenient than making many trips to your local dispensary if you live at a distance.


Can You Earn a Salary as a Caregiver?


Arizona's medical marijuana program doesn't permit caregivers to charge a fee for their services, so earning a medical marijuana caregiver salary is not an option an AZ. Furthermore, caregivers must not sell any of the cannabis they grow at home to a third party because these plants are for the exclusive use of their patient(s). The caveat to the "no fees" rule is that you can be reimbursed for the costs you incur while providing care.


How Do You Apply to Become a Caregiver in Arizona?


If a registered MMJ patient has asked you to be their caregiver, you can start the application process on the AZDHS Individual Licensing Portal. You must provide the patient's personal information as well as their application ID when applying for your own license. You must also provide several documents as part of your application as well as the $200 fee, payable via MasterCard or Visa.

If successful, you will be able to access your electronic registry identification card through your online AZDHS account. The doctors at Green Leaf can help you and patients you intend to care for with the application process.


Apply for Your MMJ Caregiver Card


If you believe you meet all the requirements, applying to become a designated caregiver is a fairly simple process. Though you won't receive a salary for your work, being a caregiver to people in need in your community can be a rewarding experience.

Just like patients, caregivers must renew their cards every two years. Simply log in to your profile on the Arizona Department of Health portal and supply the required documentation to renew your card and continue your great work.

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