Arizona is part of the growing list of states that have legalized medical marijuana. If you live in the state and you’re interested in getting a medical marijuana card, this complete guide will provide all the information you need about the laws, when they went into effect, how to get a card, and where you can find dispensaries.
Medical Marijuana in Arizona
Arizona medical marijuana is legal because of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The AMMA lets state-licensed doctors recommend medical marijuana to Arizona residents who have at least one qualifying condition. When you get this recommendation, you can apply for a medical marijuana card. Once you have the card, you’re legally allowed to purchase, possess, and use marijuana. An Arizona medical marijuana card allows you to possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at one time. Additionally, you can purchase up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks from state-licensed dispensaries.
Arizona Medical Marijuana
In order to qualify for an Arizona medical marijuana card, you must have a doctor’s diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition. These conditions are generally labeled as severe, debilitating, or life-threatening. They include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- HIV or AIDS
Additionally, if you have a debilitating or chronic medical condition or disease that causes any one of the following conditions, you might qualify for a medical marijuana card:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Severe nausea
- Severe or chronic pain
State law allows Arizona residents the right to petition the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) every January and July to add additional debilitating medical conditions to the list. It’s important to check for changes since updates can occur.
When Did Medical Marijuana in Arizona Pass?
On November 2, 2010, Arizona voters approved Arizona Proposition 203, also known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. This law removed all state-level criminal penalties for the possession and use of medical marijuana. The AMMA was actually the fourth time a medical marijuana initiative was on the ballot in the state. In 1996 and 1998, Arizona voters passed two separate medical marijuana initiatives. However, due to ineffective wording and a technical error, state legislators repealed these previous initiatives. Additionally, one proposition in 2002 failed to pass.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws
In 2010, Arizona voters passed the AMMA, which legalized medical marijuana in the state. However, in 2016, voters rejected Proposition 205, which attempted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. As a result, in Arizona, marijuana is only legal for medicinal purposes and not for recreational use.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona
Although Arizona only has a few steps to follow to get a medical marijuana card, the state also has some important requirements you must adhere to. In this section, you’ll learn the important steps you need to follow to get your medical marijuana card.
Consult a Doctor
In order to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona, you must have a state-licensed doctor fill out and sign the official ADHS medical marijuana form. It’s important to note that doctors from outside the state can’t complete this form on your behalf. Additionally, Arizona doesn’t provide a list of marijuana-recommending physicians. You’ll need to meet with a recommending physician on your own. The following types of doctors can write certifications for medical marijuana:
- Allopathic (MD)
- Homeopathic [MD(H) or DO(H)]
- Naturopathic (NMD or ND)
- Osteopathic (DO)
You can start with your family doctor. However, not all doctors feel comfortable working with medical marijuana patients. If your family doctor is unreceptive, you can switch to a physician with more experience and comfort with medical marijuana.
It’s not necessary for the recommending physician who completes the ADHS medical marijuana form to be the same physician who made the initial diagnosis. If the second physician can confirm the diagnosis — usually by reviewing your medical records and the written evidence of your condition — he or she can authorize the certification.
The majority of physicians charge a processing fee for filling out the medical marijuana application form. Although these fees vary by physician, they typically range between $150 and $300. Some physicians also offer discounts for military veterans and homebound patients who can’t make it to the office.
Along with the form, you must also be able to prove you’re a resident of Arizona. Acceptable forms of proof of residency include:
- Arizona driver’s license
- Bank statement
- Utility bill
Complete the Online Application
Once you have your signed ADHS medical marijuana form, you need to complete the rest of the application online. You’ll have to gather the following documents to finish your application.
Photo Identification: Your photo identification can include one of the following: a valid Arizona driver’s license, Arizona registry identification card, Arizona identification card, or United States passport. Also, keep in mind that if your identification card was issued before October 1, 1996, you’ll also need an additional form of identification. This can include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Certificate of Citizenship, or U.S. Certificate of Naturalization.
Current Photograph: Along with your photo identification, you must also include a current photograph. This color photograph should be taken no more than 60 calendar days before you submit your application. It must also be 2 inches by 2 inches in size, have a white or off-white background, and show a full view of your face.
Patient Attestation Form: You need to complete and sign the patient attestation form.
SNAP Documentation: If you’ll be using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to help cover the cost of the medical marijuana card, you must have your SNAP documentation available.
It’s important to remember that the state can’t accept hand-delivered or mailed applications. You must scan all of these documents into PDF form and submit them online.
Pay the Application Fee
The final step for getting your Arizona medical marijuana card is to pay for it. The ADHS has a standard application fee of $150. If you’re a participant in SNAP, the discounted fee is $75. In order to use your SNAP benefits, your snap card must have your first and last name on it. If it doesn’t, you can contact the state Department of Economic Security for a copy of your approval letter.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Card
Once the ADHS receives all of your paperwork, it will begin processing your application. This process can take anywhere from three days to two weeks. Fortunately, you can easily follow the status of your application online. Once the ADHS has approved your application, it will mail your Arizona medical marijuana card. Your card should arrive within three to 10 business days.
It’s important to remember that your medical marijuana card will expire one year after it was issued. Although you can only begin the renewal process when you have less than 90 days on your current card, you’ll want to start the process at least 30 days before the expiration date to make sure you have enough time to complete all the paperwork again. Each time you renew your card, you’ll need to update the following documents:
- Physician certification form
- Current photograph taken no more than 60 days before you submit your renewal form
- Patient attestation form
- Photo identification if you changed your name since your last application
- Current SNAP eligibility documents
If your medical marijuana card is ever lost or stolen, you must notify the ADHS. You can then apply at the ADHS website for a replacement card. It costs $10 to issue a replacement card.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
When the ADHS approves your medical marijuana application, it will send you a list of all operating dispensaries along with your approval email. You’re not assigned to a certain dispensary and can purchase medical marijuana at any dispensary in the state.
Arizona currently has 130 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries around the state. Be aware that Arizona law says patients can’t consume medical marijuana at the dispensary. If you live in a part of the state that’s 25 miles or greater from a state-licensed dispensary, your medical marijuana card allows you to grow and cultivate your own marijuana plants. After you declare your intention to grow your own marijuana plants, you’re legally allowed to have up to 12 plants in an enclosed and locked facility. This can include a:
- Other enclosed area
Although patients with medical marijuana cards from other states are legally allowed to possess and use medical marijuana while they’re in Arizona, they won’t be able to buy it from a dispensary. This is because all Arizona dispensaries have to verify that patients are registered in the ADHS system before they’re allowed to sell medical marijuana. Since 2010, Arizona has allowed patients with certain qualifying conditions to apply for a medical marijuana card. Thanks to this helpful guide, you now know the history of medical marijuana in the state, how to apply for a card, and how you can purchase medical marijuana after you receive your card.