Arizona is notorious for having some of the most punitive marijuana laws in the nation. The state voted for the second time against legalizing recreational weed in 2015, and if you're caught with cannabis, you'll likely face a felony; or a Class 1 misdemeanor, if you're lucky. However, Arizona medical marijuana is still an industry in full swing. You may be wondering how the state regulates a substance it's so at odds with, so here are answers to some common questions you may have.
Where Can I Use and Possess Medical Cannabis?
As long as you have a card, you can use your medical cannabis in private, and only in private. You can't smoke it in public areas or on public transportation—only in enclosed areas under reasonable assumption that it won't bother anyone else.
The possession limit for Arizona medical marijuana is 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana, but you're not allowed to take it on school buses, to any schools, or to correctional facilities. It's also worth mentioning that Arizona is the only state where medical marijuana is legal but still prohibited on college campuses.
Home cultivation is allowed, but only if you live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. In that case, you can have up to 12 plants growing. However, they must be in an enclosed area which is lockable.
How Do I Qualify for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card?
As in every other state, you must have a chronic or terminal condition in order for a marijuana doctor to recommend you to the medical cannabis program. Examples of qualifying conditions include:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Lou Gehrig's disease
- HIV or AIDS
However, Arizona also considers chronic pain and nausea to be qualifying conditions, making their qualifications much more accessible to most people. In fact, "Severe and chronic pain," including migraines and back pain, is the number-one condition for which people seek cards. Nearly 85% of cardholders in November 2015 cited chronic pain as their debilitating condition.
How Do I Apply for a Card?
To apply for an Arizona medical marijuana card, you'll need to get a physician certification form filled out by your doctor. You also need to gather as much evidence and documentation of your diagnosis as possible, including proof that you have a legitimate physician-patient relationship. Then you'll go through the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). They have an application that you can fill out online, once you gather these materials in PDF form:
- Electronic copy of Arizona photo ID
- Current digital photo
- Scan of your completed and signed physician certification form
- Scan of your completed and signed patient attestation
If you qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and include scans of your documentation, you may qualify for a reduced application fee. The regular fee is $150 for an initial application as well as the required yearly renewal. The SNAP participant fee is slashed to $75 for both initials and renewals. Once your application is received, checked, and processed, ADHS will mail out your card, and you'll receive it within 10 business days.
Where Can I Get Medical Marijuana?
Arizona has its fair share of medical dispensaries, but one of our favorites is Nature's Medicines. This Phoenix dispensary regularly serves up over 50 strains of premium flower, as well as over 80 different concentrates at bottom-shelf prices. You'll get complete transparency in their deli-style facility, where flower is always stored in nice big jars. Currently, Nature's Medicines is the only dispensary in the state that lab-tests every single batch of flower and concentrate—so you know your medicine is safe and potent. Check them out once you get your card!