In Growing Marijuana in Arizona – AZ Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Arizonians can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program and how to apply. Even though recreational marijuana is now legal in The Grand Canyon State, residents who need marijuana for their condition still have the option to register for a medical marijuana card.
Overview of Medical Marijuana in Arizona
Arizona’s medical marijuana law allows registered patients and their caregivers to possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces and cultivate as many as up to 12 plants, provided that there are no dispensaries within 25 miles of their home. To qualify, patients must have at least one of the following conditions:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
- Severe and chronic pain;
- Severe nausea;
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
If your condition is not listed here, Arizona state law allows you to make a petition so that it can be included in the list. Petitions can be sent by mail only to P.O Box 19000, Phoenix, AZ 85005.
Even minors afflicted with any of these conditions can register for the program, as long as they do so under the permission of their parents or legal guardian. Meanwhile, a caregiver may only submit his or her application after being designated by their patient whose application has already been approved. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old, without an excluded felony offense.
Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Arizona?
Even though adult-use marijuana is already legal in Arizona, there are still a couple of reasons why a patient will still want to get a medical marijuana card. For one, it is the only way a minor can legally use marijuana. The law allows patients aged at least 18 to register into the program, while parents or legal guardians may also register their children as long as they have a qualifying condition. However, patients under 21 who need to purchase, grow, and marijuana need a caregiver to do it for them.
Cardholding patients also have a higher possession and cultivation limit. Non-cardholders are only allowed to possess and buy up to an ounce with no more than 5 grams being concentrate, and grow only up to 6 plants. In comparison, cardholders can possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces and grow up to 12 plants, only 6 of which can be mature at the same time.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona
It’s easy to apply to Arizona’s medical marijuana program since everything can be submitted online. However, it can be expensive when the physician and application fees add up. If you want to apply as a patient, minor patient, or caregiver, you should also check first if you meet all the eligibility requirements. If you are qualified and would like to apply, here are the steps you should follow:
- Make sure you have all the necessary requirements in the Arizona Department of Health Services Medical Marijuana Program Qualifying Patient Checklist. There is a separate checklist for minor patients.
- One of the requirements in the checklist is a Medical Marijuana Physician Certification form or Reviewing Physician Form for Patients Under 18. This has to be obtained from an Arizona-licensed physician qualified to issue a certification.
- Submit all the requirements by logging on the Individual Licensing Portal on the ADHS Medical Marijuana website.
- Applicants must be able to show proof of residency (valid IDs) and complete a mandatory criminal background check by ADHS. The designated caregiver must submit his or her fingerprints via mail as instructed in the ADHS Medical Marijuana Program Designated Caregiver Checklist.
- Once approved, submit the Medical Marijuana Caregiver Attestation form and all other requirements online.
If you’ve been approved, you should receive your card within 10 days. Both patient and caregiver cards are valid for one year. A caregiver can have up to five patients.
Frequently Asked Questions on Getting an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card
Residents of Arizona don’t really need a medical marijuana card to possess, purchase, and grow cannabis. However, being a registered patient or caregiver in the state’s medical marijuana program is the only way a minor can legally medicate with cannabis. An MMJ card also allows patients and caregivers to possess, purchase, and cultivate more than the recreational limit.
Patients in Arizona with at least one of the qualifying conditions below are eligible for a medical marijuana card:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cancer, Glaucoma, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s Disease, Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, or chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
Cachexia or wasting syndrome; Severe and chronic pain; Severe nausea; Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy; Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis
Patients may need to apply for a medical marijuana card in Arizona if they are a minor or would like to be a caregiver. A medical marijuana card will also serve as legal protection for patients caught in possession of an amount exceeding the recreational limit.
After you send in your application requirements for an Arizona medical marijuana card, you should be notified if you’ve been accepted within 10 days.
Registration and renewals cost $150 but some qualifying patients may only need to pay $75 if they currently participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Meanwhile, designated caregivers need to pay $200 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card, with each patient under the caregiver requiring their own card.
Patients registered in Arizona’s medical marijuana are allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants, only 6 of which can be mature at the same time. However, the recreational cultivation limit may only be exceeded if the patient lives more than 25 miles away from a dispensary.
Patients registered in Arizona’s medical marijuana program and their caregivers can possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces and cultivate up to 12 plants, only 6 of which can be mature at the same time.
If you’re a patient in Arizona who needs more marijuana than the recreational limit for your condition, it may be worth spending for a medical marijuana card since it will double the amount that you can cultivate, which will save you money in the long run. Getting a card is also the only way for a minor to legally use marijuana.
However, if your condition does not need more than the recreational limit, which is 6 plants per person, then it’s probably not worth it. One of the disadvantages of being registered in the government’s database as a medical marijuana user is that you will no longer be eligible for certain rights and commerce such as foster parenting or buying firearms in certain states.