Growing Marijuana in Arizona – AZ Cannabis State Laws (2021)

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On November 3, 2020, voters of the Grand Canyon State approved Proposition 207 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Arizonians voted heavily in favor of the measure which will be made official once results have been finalized after November 30.

This is a big win for marijuana reform. Not only does the Smart and Safe Act allow recreational dispensaries to operate, it also gives all adult residents the right to cultivate as many as 6 plants for themselves and up to 12 plants per household.

The first state-licensed sales began just last January 22, 2021. It is expected that the state will earn around $300 million in the first year of sales of adult-use weed. This new revenue stream will bring in some much-needed funds to replenish Arizona’s coffers which have taken an impact from the COVID pandemic.

This article was reviewed and updated for 2021.

Overview of Cannabis Growing Laws in Arizona

Under Arizona marijuana laws Proposition 207 and Proposition 203:

  • Arizonians of legal age may grow as many as 6 marijuana plants for themselves at home.
  • Patients registered in Arizona’s medical marijuana program and their designated caregivers may likewise cultivate the same number of plants at home, provided that they don’t live within 25 miles of a dispensary.
  • A household may have as many as 12 marijuana plants regardless if there are more than two adults living there.

This is actually a reasonable amount considering that it will be for medical use. An experienced grower can grow and harvest as much as 15 oz per plant. This means a patient can potentially get around 90 oz per year. In addition to this, patients are allowed to buy and carry 2.5 oz of medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries around Arizona.   

This was last updated in June 2020. We will be updating this guide with new developments that may come out.

Punishments for Violating Arizona’s Home Grow Laws

Arizona is now a state where medical and recreational marijuana are both legal. However, hefty punishments still face those :

  • Cultivation of less than 2 lbs of marijuana is a Class 5 felony. This is punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years in prison. There is also a minimum fine of $1000 or a fine to exhaust the proceeds of the drug offense. Offenders who get probation will face a mandatory sentence of 240 hours of community service.
  • Meanwhile, 2-4 pounds is a Class 4 felony punishable by a 1 to 3.75 years prison sentence. The minimum fine is $1000 or a fine to exhaust the proceeds of the drug offense.
  • More than 4 pounds gets a Class 3 felony punishable by 2 to 8.75 years imprisonment.  The minimum fine is $1000, or a fine to exhaust the proceeds of the drug offense.

This guide was last updated in November 2020. We will be updating this guide with new developments that may come out.

History of marijuana in Arizona

Arizona has always been conservative when it comes to weed. It was not until 1996 that the state considered medical marijuana but its first attempt was met with failure. In that year, even though 65% of Arizona voters had approved a drug policy reform initiative that contained a provision allowing physicians to prescribe cannabis (Proposition 200), the medical use provision was repealed just a few months later. The change was then rejected by voters in a 1998 veto referendum (Proposition 300) but the provision was still rendered ineffective since its language clashed significantly with federal law.

Proposition 203

Marijuana advocates in the state tried once again in 2002 with Proposition 203, a medical cannabis initiative that also sought to decriminalize adult use. However, this also failed with 42.7% of the vote. 

Finally, in 2010, Arizona gave the green light for medical marijuana, although somewhat hesitantly. While Arizonians did vote in favor of Proposition 203, it was by a slim margin. While the initiative allowed patients with a doctor’s recommendation to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for the treatment of certain qualifying conditions, it also limited the number of dispensaries to 124. Additionally, it also restricted home cultivation to patients who resided more than 25 miles from a dispensary. 

Even after its approval, Prop 203 still met significant resistance from the incumbent governor and attorney general, as well as the state’s sheriffs, county prosecutors, and other state politicians.

This kind of pushback would set the tone for the subsequent attempts to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. In 2016, an initiative that would have allowed adults to carry up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants for recreational use lost with a vote of only 48.7%. It would also have established a system for the commercial distribution and taxation of marijuana and the excess tax revenues from this would have gone to funding public schools and substance abuse programs.

Prop 207

Proposition 207 or the Smart and Safe Act was approved by Arizona’s voters in November 2020. Under the Act, residents 21 years and older may possess up to an ounce and up to 5 grams of concentrate. In addition to this, those who have been convicted of certain weed-related offenses will now have the chance to petition for the expungement of their record after July 12, 2021.

The rules governing retail marijuana sales are scheduled to be set by the state’s Department of Health Services after June 1, 2021. Recreational marijuana products will also be subject to an additional 16% excise tax in addition to state and local taxes.

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Growing Medical Marijuana in Arizona

As mentioned earlier, patients under Arizona’s medical marijuana program can jointly grow with their designated caregivers up to 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed and locked space away from public view. This is if there are no dispensaries within 25 miles of the patient’s home. 

Although the 12 plant growing limit may seem generous, it can be discouraging once you see the fees associated with registering in the program. 

Applying as a patient

Adult patients, as well as minors, can apply in the program as long as they have an illness included in the ADHS’s list of debilitating medical conditions. Adults who wish to apply can do so at the ADHS’s individual licensing portal. Here’s a list of information and documents that applicants will need to provide:

  • A current photo of the patient
  • A scanned copy of any of the following: Arizona driver’s license or state ID (issued on or after October 1, 1996), registry ID, or US passport AND one of the following:
  • Birth certificate verifying U.S. citizenship, U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship.
  • Signed and dated Medical Marijuana Patient Attestation.
  • Physician-completed Medical Marijuana Physician Certification Form.
  • SNAP documentation (if applicable)

Those who wish to apply as a caregiver will need to provide the same documents, in addition to signed and dated Medical Marijuana Caregiver Attestation. They will also need to submit their fingerprints with a Fingerprint Verification Form via US mail.

Minors will have to register in the program together with their parents or legal guardian. Here are the documents needed when registering a minor patient

Fees

To give you a heads up, here are the fees you’ll need to pay if you want to grow medical marijuana in Arizona: 

  • $150 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card. Those who are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programatient may be eligible to pay $75 for initial and renewal cards.
  • $200 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a designated caregiver. A caregiver has to apply for a new card for every patient that he has.
  • $10 to amend, change, or replace a registry identification card.

Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of Arizona

How does Arizona’s marijuana laws compare with home growing laws in other US states? Check out our post on Marijuana Growing Laws in the United States.

FAQs about growing marijuana in Arizona

Is it legal to grow marijuana in Arizona for recreational purposes?

Yes, it is now legal to grow recreational cannabis at home in Arizona.

Is it legal to grow marijuana in Arizona for medical purposes?

Yes, patients and caregivers of legal age registered Arizona’s medical marijuana program are allowed to grow their own cannabis plants at home, provided that the patient is not within 25 miles of a dispensary.

How much marijuana can I grow in Arizona for recreational purposes?

Arizona residents aged 21 and older are allowed to grow up to 6 marijuana plants for themselves at home. However, a household may grow only up to 12 plants in total.

How much marijuana can I grow in Arizona for medical purposes?

HB 2537 allows patients and their caregivers to jointly grow 6 mature plants and 6 immature ones.

Where can I grow marijuana in Arizona?

On the patient’s or caregiver’s property, in an enclosed, locked space where the plants can be kept away from public view.

How old do I need to be to grow marijuana in Arizona?

Patients need to be at least 18 years old while caregivers and recreational growers, at least 21.

Conclusion

While it was a long time coming, Arizona has now officially joined the ranks of its weed-loving neighbors California, Nevada and Colorado. The addition of Arizona to the West’s thriving marijuana industry can only mean good things, especially during this pandemic when weed money continues to provide states with much-needed revenue. It is also pleasantly surprising to see Arizonians get a generous recreational cultivation limit which will benefit medical users as well since it will mean that they may no longer need register under the state’s medical marijuana program where they have to pay to be able to cultivate.

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