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Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Arizona
Is marijuana legal in Arizona?Arizona currently operates as a medical marijuana state. In late 2010, Arizona's Proposition 203 was voted into law. By April 14th, 2011 the law was enacted. In May 2011 the State began accepting applications for dispensaries. Arizona voters rejected a measure in 2016 that would have created a recreational market, but not to worry, new recreational proposals are anticipated to appear on the state's 2018 ballot.
Where are dispensaries located in Arizona?Dispensaries are licensed based on the number of pharmacies in the surrounding area. For every ten pharmacies in the area, one license can be issued for a dispensary. In absence of the proper ratio of pharmacies to dispensaries, each county is guaranteed at least one dispensary. Looking for the dispensary nearest you? Check out our dispensary locator to find dispensaries in your area.
Who can be a medical patient in Arizona?Arizona medical patients must receive certification from a state registered physician - like an M.D., D.O., M.D.(H), or N.D. - and are not restricted by age. However, any patient under 18 must have a parent or guardian as their caregiver and receive certifications from two physicians. Arizona's medical marijuana industry currently accepts the ailments, symptoms, and debilitating illnesses:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn's Disease
- Hepatitis C
- HIV or AIDS
- Persistent Muscle Spasms
How can I become a medical patient in Arizona?First, Arizona residents must obtain a valid physician certification of an approved qualifying condition. Then, he or she must pay $150 to the Arizona Department of Health Services and submit the application.
After being successfully registered to the state program, you'll receive your patient identification card, allowing you access to the network of state dispensaries.
Where can I smoke?Medical marijuana, while being legal to purchase for medical patients, remains illegal to consume publicly. In order to avoid legal run-ins, smoking is best left for private property.
Edibles, however, are odorless and can be consumed legally in most public spaces in Arizona. Schools, school buses, or correctional facilities remain illegal places to consume marijuana.
How much does marijuana cost in Arizona?Arizona prices vary, but we've gone ahead and narrowed it down to some price ranges for you.
- 1 gram: $10-$15
- 1/8 oz: $30-$45
- 1/4 oz: $50-$80
- 1/2 oz: $90-$140
- 1 ounce: $225-$260
How much marijuana can I buy and possess in Arizona?Medical patients may purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana within a two week period. There is no distinction made between edibles, concentrates, and flower.
Can I grow marijuana? How many plants?Medical patients in Arizona can grow marijuana under specific conditions. In order to be able to grow your own medicine, the nearest state dispensary must be located at least 25 miles away. The state will update your patient registration to include cultivation of up to twelve plants.
The canna-nursery must be out of sight, secure, and locked.
How do I get a job in the marijuana industry of Arizona state?Arizona requires dispensaries to operate as nonprofits, therefore dispensaries are headed by a board. In order to access the application to become a dispensary agent, you'll either need to first become a dispensary member or find someone on the board. Dispensary members, as board members, have access to the state applications - for themselves and for dispensary agents. Basically, if you are not a board member, you will have to find one to apply for you.
Once you have submitted an application to become a dispensary agent, you'll be fingerprinted and put through a rigorous background check. Assuming you don't have any convictions for felony-level violent crime or drugs, your next employer could be a legal purveyor of medical marijuana!
Don't forget to check out the Leafbuyer job board to find dispensaries, cultivation centers, and product manufacturers hiring near you.
Is Drug testing for marijuana legal in Arizona?Drug testing for marijuana remains legal within Arizona, but only if the employer stands to lose money under federal regulatory obligations. However, Prop 203 does specify that qualifying patients cannot be discriminated upon hiring - including imposing conditions of employment - or termination. Employer action for a positive test for marijuana, unless the patient is impaired on the job, is seen as discriminatory and, therefore, patients are protected under Arizona law.
Is Delivery legal?When Arizona Prop 203 defined "medical use", the definition included wording that would allow the direct delivery or transfer of marijuana from a caregiver or dispensary to the qualifying patient.
How can I pay for marijuana at Arizona dispensaries?The federal illegality of marijuana continues to hinder the industry, with banking and card services being two of the casualties. Luckily, many dispensaries in Arizona have found a tolerable substitute that helps in the meantime, allowing the use of a debit card for transactions at a fee.
Since the industry is mostly cash based, dispensaries generally have an ATM on-site as well.
Arizona Marijuana Laws
Proposition 203Proposition 203, legalizing medical marijuana, was met with fierce opposition, ultimately passing after receiving around 4,000 more votes in support. Out of over 1.6 million votes cast, that's a winning margin of just 0.2%!
Contained within the sixteen pages of legislation is comprehensive framework to cover everything from possession limits to the type of doctor that can recommend treatment.
Purchasing LimitsPatients with active registrations with the Arizona Department of Health Services are able to purchase up to 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams, of marijuana every two week period for a total of five ounces per month. Equivalences between flower, edibles, or concentrated products are not defined, allowing patients access to over 140 grams of concentrate a month if necessary.
Possession LimitsA patient or their designated caregiver can, at any time, possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or marijuana products.
ReciprocityIn Arizona, reciprocity extends to possession and use but does not include access to dispensaries within the state. Reciprocity is a sort of legal arrangement likened to mutual respect. In Arizona marijuana laws, reciprocity refers to a traveling patients access to affirmative defense while visiting.
For instance, if an active patient from Colorado was caught with less than the possession limit as defined by Prop 203, rather than suffering the felony level charges, their day would continue uninterrupted. Visiting patients cannot shop at AZ dispensaries.
At-Home CultivationIf a patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest marijuana dispensary, Arizona allows medical marijuana patients to grow up to twelve plants in a locked, secure area at home. Registered caregivers may care for no more than five patients at a time and may cultivate up to twelve plants for each patient.
TravelMany states continued the heavy-handed prohibition of cannabis. As an Arizona medical patient, you are eligible to travel with your cannabis within the state boundaries as much you like. The moment you cross any state line, the possibility of legal action mounts.
PenaltiesIf you are a medical patient, use and possession of marijuana are not enforceable charges under state law. As much as those protections are helpful, unfortunately, there are still many serious legal consequences for marijuana-related activities within the state.
While many of the penalties, including fines and prison time, are already very stiff, directly providing marijuana to children and youth populations under 18 significantly compounds fines and prison sentencing.
Driving while using medical marijuanaSome illnesses, ailments, and conditions that qualify for the medical marijuana program in Arizona require constant medication, and the state of Arizona knows that. Prop 203, however, does not allow driving while under the influence of marijuana as a patient. Tantamount to a DUI, being in operational control of a vehicle while medicated is illegal and subject a misdemeanor offense and fines.
Medical marijuana patients are protected from being found under the influence of marijuana just by the presence of cannabis metabolites.
Possession above the limitArizona allows patients to grow up to twelve plants, a number of plants that can produce more than enough to exceed the state possession limits for medical patients. The single caveat: anything in excess of 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana that is grown at home, stays at home. It must be locked and secure, just as the plant nursery.
Consumption OptionsWhile cannabis use is permitted for valid medical patients, smoking is not to be done publicly. Outside of your home, options for consumption are likely to be significantly constrained by this point. A few possible options include:
- Choose edibles, an odorless substitute.
- Toke at the home of friends and family.
Recreational Advocates: See you in 2018, ArizonaAfter Prop 205 failed in Arizona by four percent (48%-52%), marijuana reform advocates immediately began drafting a new ballot initiative. In February 2017, SaferArizona, an activist group supporting legalization, submitted a ballot petition that would allow adults age 21 and over to grow up to 48 plants and possess unlimited amounts of marijuana, and it would reduce marijuana-related offenses from criminal penalties to civil fines. As long as the petition receives 150,642 valid signatures by July 2018, the proposed measure is set to be on the 2018 ballot.
Another ballot measure seeks to expand the state's medical marijuana industry. The measure would adjust the following:
- Licensure of dispensaries increases by more than 300%.
- The $150 annual application fee drops to $10.
- Physician certifications would remain valid for twenty-four months, up from twelve months.
- Out-of-state patients would be eligible to visit Arizona dispensaries under updated reciprocity.
- In-state patients living more than one mile from a dispensary would be eligible for at-home cultivation.
Arizona Marijuana Prices and Economic Data
Don't forget to check out our dispensary locator, providing dispensary hours, location details, photos, menus, and more.
Prices of Flower
- 1 gram: $10-$15
- 1/8th oz: $30-$45
- 1/4th oz: $50-$80
- 1/2 oz: $100-$140
- 1 ounce: $225-$260
- Wax 1 gram: $40-$65
- Shatter 1 gram: $40-$70
- Live Resin 1 gram: $65-$90
- Oil Cartridge 500mg: $30-$60
- Kief 1 gram: $10
Patients in the Arizona medical marijuana program are allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.
Taxes & Industry StatisticsArizona imposes state and local sales taxes on purchases made at dispensaries at a rate near 9%. By the end of 2016, over 782,000 ounces of marijuana and marijuana products had been sold to over 115,000 registered patients and caregivers across the state.
At an average price of $250 an ounce, this would bolster state tax revenues by at least $17.5 million, in addition to the active individual registration of 3,336 dispensary agents. It is important to remember that various products carry different price ranges, the actual amount of taxes collected will vary.
For further information into the deposition of state sales tax revenues, as well as general information on how the Arizona Department of Health Services administers the medical program, click here.
Number of Dispensaries in ArizonaProp 203, the measure legalizing medical use of marijuana in Arizona, lays out the framework for how the state is to proceed with issuing dispensary licenses. The language of this is two-fold:
First, every county is guaranteed at least one dispensary. Second, dispensary licenses are issued based on the number of traditional pharmacies in an area. For every ten pharmacies within a city, a single dispensary license will be issued, effectively limiting the number of dispensaries in the state to below 150.
Marijuana Activities: Things to do in Arizona
The year-round heat in southern AZ allows for hiking, biking, camping, and a variety of other outdoor activities to continue mostly uninterrupted by seasons. In the northern parts of the state, ski towns and mountain resorts attract both winter and summer tourism.
While smoking cannabis in public remains illegal for everyone in Arizona, for valid patients, edibles can be consumed without fear of penalty in public spaces (except for schools and correctional facilities). While the language of Prop 203 does not explicitly ban marijuana clubs, Arizona does not currently allow marijuana social lounges.
Outdoor ActivitiesValid patients may consume edibles and hike, backpack, ski (as long as the resort doesn't forbid it), snowshoe, horseback ride, fish, swim, barbecue, and camp - essentially any activity that the patient feels they are able to without appearing negligent.
As a result of Arizona's vast open space and medical marijuana laws, patients can participate in year-round outdoor activities while legally consuming cannabis. For those with chronic pain, or low mobility, this can create an opportunity to experience the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, and even to see the Saguaro National Park, home of the world's largest cacti, while still receiving treatment legally.
Prop 203 does not allow for an individual to drive, pilot, or operate any motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. This, unfortunately, strikes ATVs, watercraft, motorcycles, and mountain bikes from the activities available.
For those who are older or less physically active, a guided tour of a National Park, a visit to a historical museum, or even just lounging on a nice patio and appreciating the scenery can be enough. After all, with all the sun, it'd be a shame to sit inside all the time.
City ActivitiesIn addition to warm temperatures and sunshine, festivals and community events are cornerstone consistencies in Arizona. Film festivals, trade shows, rodeos, art walks, farmers markets, concerts, and comic cons are recurrent in the larger cities and are not legally required to prevent medical marijuana patients from consuming edibles. Personal health and wellness experiences such as yoga have been slowly integrating into Arizona's marijuana patient communities. The Giving Tree in Phoenix, for instance, offers yoga to patients and non-patients several times a week as an effort to strengthen the therapeutic benefits of cannabis through yoga, creating a full body experience elevated above the rest.
As the medical marijuana industry continues to thrive in Arizona, more and more cannabis-centric experiences will emerge. Currently, Arizona hosts several annual industry related expos and award ceremonies, as well as has several regularly meeting groups, such as Women Grow, who aspire to educate and inspire entrepreneurs at this stage of rapid growth in the cannabis industry.
The Errl CupThe Errl Cup is an annual expo and festival in early January, showcasing Arizona marijuana growers and dispensary products. Admission is free to all valid medical marijuana patients, including patients from out of state. While no products are for purchase, samples keep the event enlivened from start to finish. Dispensaries can have their products judged by a panel of MMJ patients, and win awards in categories like the best flower, best concentrates, and best edibles.
The 710 Degree CupThis annual event is another free admission competition and expo for valid medical marijuana patients that showcases the extraction bravado of Arizona dispensaries and patients. Again, the cup is judged by patients from across the US and has over twenty product categories for people to compare products and techniques. The annual 710 Degree Cup is on the weekend closest to the 7/10 holiday.
Did you know we have an events guide, populated with events that extend the entire industry? Click here for more details.
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