How to Become a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Arizona
You may be wondering how to become a medical marijuana caregiver if a loved one or someone close to you requires medical cannabis to treat a qualifying condition. Luckily, becoming an MMJ caregiver in Arizona is a fairly straightforward process.
Candidates who fulfill the conditions to become a caregiver must apply through the Arizona Department of Health Services website. Then, they will need to renew their card every two years to maintain their caregiver status.
What Does a Caregiver Do?
An MMJ caregiver is someone who assists one or more medical marijuana cardholders with the purchase (or cultivation) and administration of cannabis products. The following are a few key points about caregivers in AZ:
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act gives medical marijuana patients the right to designate a caregiver to help them purchase and take medical marijuana.
The Act also allows the caregiver to cultivate marijuana plants at home for the patient's personal use if they live more than 25 miles from a dispensary.
When a patient is under 18 years of age, the Act mandates that the patient's parent or legal guardian must serve as their caregiver.
Requirements to Become a Caregiver in AZ
The Arizona medical cannabis program is managed by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Before applying to be a caregiver, you must first be selected to be the patient's caregiver and meet the eligibility criteria. These are:
Be 21 years of age or older
Consent to help the patient purchase and take medical cannabis
Consent to a criminal history background check that reveals no history of violent crime or crimes related to controlled substances in the last 10 years
Tip: As a caregiver, it’s important to keep up to date with Arizona medical cannabis laws to ensure you always stay in line with regulations.
Only adults 18 and above can apply for an MMJ card in Arizona. For minor patients—patients under 18—a parent or guardian must register for a caregiver's card to be able to purchase medical marijuana for the underage patient. Parents or guardians don't need any medical experience to obtain a caregiver ID card.
Application Process for Arizona Caregivers
The procedure to become a caregiver in Arizona will depend if you apply to become the caregiver of a new patient or an existing patient. In both cases, Green Leaf is happy to help both the patient and caregiver with the application process.
Caregivers of a New Patient
To be listed on the medical marijuana caregiver registry, follow these steps:
Provide the patient's application identification number, full name, and date of birth when applying.
Refer to the checklist provided by the AZDHS to ensure you submit everything needed for your application.
Provide the following with your application:
A recent photograph
Your Arizona driver's license, Arizona ID card, or US passport
Your completed and signed Medical Marijuana Caregiver Attestation form
Receipt of the $200 application fee. The payment must be made via MasterCard or Visa.
Caregivers of Existing Patients
If a patient wishes to change or add a designated caregiver, they must apply through the Arizona Department of Health Services website. The patient must have a current, valid MMJ ID card to do this. Existing patients who need to renew their medical marijuana card (up to 90 days before their current card expires) can make any desired changes then.
Caregiver Card Renewal
Renewing your designated caregiver card costs $200 and is completed via the AZDHS licensing portal. Please note:
The patient(s) under your care must still have a valid MMJ card. Otherwise, your caregiver status becomes void.
You will need to provide a new photograph, Caregiver Attestation form, and fingerprints to the AZDHS.
You may need to provide an updated ID if your name or address has changed.
How Do I Find a Caregiver in Arizona?
Many patients choose a family member or close friend to be their caregiver. However, this may not work for everyone. Getting a referral from another MMJ patient can sometimes be a good solution, as one caregiver can take care of up to five patients.
Be aware that finding a caregiver is the patient’s responsibility as there is no official list of approved caregivers. Also, there is currently no provision for remote care.
How Much Marijuana Can a Caregiver Purchase and Possess in Arizona?
Arizona caregivers must have their medical marijuana caregiver ID card with them to purchase marijuana on a patient's behalf. With their card, they can buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks for each patient under their care.
If found within the allowable limits for their registered patients by law enforcement authorities, caregivers will be exempt from arrest or prosecution. Always carry your card while traveling with marijuana.
How Many Marijuana Plants Can a Caregiver Cultivate in Arizona?
There are a few regulations surrounding the cultivation of cannabis plants that caregivers should know about. Keep the following in mind when growing plants at home:
Caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana at home for their patients as long as their patients don't live within 25 miles of a registered marijuana dispensary.
Patients must designate their caregiver as a marijuana grower when applying for or renewing their MMJ identification card.
AZ caregivers can grow up to 12 plants at home per patient. A caregiver with the maximum number of five patients can therefore have up to 60 plants at home.
Caregivers must grow plants in an enclosed and secured facility. This could be a greenhouse, closet, or room that's secured with locks. Only the cardholder can have access to the space designated for growing marijuana plants. If you grow your plants outside, the space must be surrounded by robust 10-foot walls made of metal, stone, or concrete to prevent the public from seeing the marijuana plants.
Can I Earn Money From Being a Caregiver in Arizona?
You may be wondering what the medical marijuana caregiver salary is, or if you can make money from being a caregiver. The simple answer to this is that in Arizona you can't charge a fee for your services or sell marijuana to your patients. However, you are entitled to recuperate any costs incurred in the process of providing caregiver services.
Joining the Caregiver Registry Has Never Been Easier
As a caregiver, you can provide an invaluable service to family, friends, or anybody else with an AZ qualifying condition. A caregiver is an essential part of the process for patients who are unable to access or administer MMJ themselves.
Completing the adult patient caregiver registration is a straightforward process that allows you to start assisting patients quickly. Remember to familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations and keep your card up-to-date after the initial registration to continue serving those under your care.