How Many Plants Can a Caregiver Grow in Arizona?
Since the passing of Proposition 207, certain Arizona residents are allowed to grow cannabis plants at home—including medical marijuana patients and caregivers, but it hasn't been entirely clear how many marijuana plants a caregiver can grow.
With MMJ caregivers in many states turning marijuana cultivation into a lucrative endeavor, caregivers in Arizona may naturally wonder whether this option might be available to them as well. If you're interested in becoming a caregiver for someone with an Arizona medical marijuana card, understanding AZ cultivation laws will help you to avoid getting into trouble with the law.
Growing Limits According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) was passed in 2010, permitting MMJ cardholders or their caregivers to grow up to 12 marijuana plants if they live at least 25 miles from a dispensary. Even after the passing of the Smart and Safe Act—which legalized recreational cannabis for adults 21 and above in 2020—the medical marijuana program rules still apply.
To receive permission to cultivate marijuana as a patient or caregiver, the following criteria have to be met:
Medical marijuana patients must have an Arizona qualifying condition, have a doctor's recommendation for cannabis (obtained via an in-person or MMJ telemedicine appointment), and be at least 18 years old to grow medical marijuana.
An Arizona resident must be at least 21 years old, have not been convicted of an excluded felony offense, and be requested by a qualifying patient to become a designated caregiver. He or she must apply for a caregiver card through the Arizona Department of Health Services website.
The person cultivating cannabis (and the patient) must live at least 25 miles from the nearest dispensary if growing more than 6 plants.
The patient or caregiver must request and be granted permission to cultivate marijuana when applying for an Arizona medical cannabis card.
If permission is granted:
The qualifying patient or their designated caregiver (whichever is given permission) may grow up to 12 cannabis plants for medical use.
The medical cannabis plants must be in a secure, locked facility out of public view that can only be accessed by the MMJ cardholder or their designated caregiver.
The marijuana plants can be used for medical consumption, given to a dispensary, or transferred to another eligible adult (someone who is 21 and above or who possesses a medical marijuana card) without compensation, promotion, or advertising.
Designated Caregivers with More Than One Linked Patient
Let's say that a designated caregiver has permission to grow marijuana for a linked patient. How many cannabis plants can this person grow if they have more than one qualifying patient?
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, Section 36.2801 specifically states that a caregiver may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana for each patient linked to them in the system. In addition, a caregiver may grow 12 cannabis plants for each linked patient if their card permits cultivation.
Can Designated Caregivers Charge Their Linked Patients for Medical Marijuana?
In Arizona, selling marijuana from a home grow is illegal. If you want to grow cannabis commercially, you have to apply to become a dispensary. Based on this law, growing medical marijuana and selling it to a linked patient would not be allowed.
However, the AMMA does allow designated caregivers to be reimbursed for the costs of providing care to their linked patient(s), so a caregiver could reasonably ask a patient to reimburse him or her for the actual costs of growing marijuana plants on their behalf, but not for the caregiving services or the medical marijuana itself.
How to Apply to Grow Marijuana in Arizona
To grow marijuana as a designated caregiver in Arizona, you must:
Find a qualifying patient who wants you to be their caregiver.
Complete a designated caregiver application through the AZDHS website.
Check the relevant box to request permission to cultivate.
Pay the $200 application fee.
Be approved for cultivation.
Apply for a renewal registry identification card before your caregiver card expires.
If you aren't approved for medical cultivation, you can still grow up to six plants for personal use under the Smart and Safe Act. To grow recreational marijuana at home, you must:
Be 21 years of age or above.
Keep the plants in a secure, locked facility inaccessible to minors and out of public view.
Not sell, promote, or advertise your cannabis to the public.
Please note: If two or more adults aged 21 and above live at the same residence at any given time, the maximum number of cannabis plants that can be grown is 12.
A Dozen Plants Is All She Wrote
To recap, registered caregivers in Arizona can grow up to 12 marijuana plants for a patient as long as they have been granted permission to cultivate marijuana and don't charge a fee. The plants must be secured and kept out of public view. If you are 21 years of age or above, you can grow up to six plants for personal use with a maximum of 12 plants per residence.
A dispensary license is required to sell marijuana. As long as you follow these laws and complete the required steps, you and your patient(s) should be able to enjoy high-quality, low-cost marijuana!