The only legal way to get cannabis in the state of Arizona is with a medical marijuana card.
Medicinal marijuana was legalized in 2010 via Proposition 203 – the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – which worked to both decriminalize possession and use of the plant, as well as allow access for patients with qualifying conditions.
Like many states, Arizona has a process that involves recommendation, registration, and identification in order to get herbal relief. Here's how to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona.
Step 1: Get a Recommendation
In order to start the process to obtain an MMJ card, a licensed Arizona doctor – either an allopathic (MD), homeopathic [MD(H)/DO(H)], naturopathic (NMD/ND), or osteopathic (DO) – has to sign off. All patients are required to get a recommendation from a licensed physician in Arizona, and they must fill out an official medical marijuana certification form from the Arizona Department of Health Services on your behalf.
A key difference between Arizona and other states is that they don't have a list of cannabis-recommending doctors available. This isn't a major roadblock, it just means that you have to find a doctor willing to give a recommendation on your own. The easiest approach is likely to ask your current doctor, or a physician you have a relationship with, to see if they would endorse your need for a medical marijuana card. While some doctors might feel uncomfortable with medical marijuana because of federal pressures, there are many that are still willing to help.
As you get your recommendation, this is a good time to ask questions about what using medical marijuana will look like for you as a patient. Good questions to ask include inquiries about dosing, as well as consumption methods, and the benefits of each – such as eating edibles versus using topical lotions or smoking. It can't hurt to get as much information possible about the world of medical marijuana.
Like all states with medical marijuana programs, Arizona has a list of qualifying conditions. Meaning, if you have a certain illness and condition that is featured on this list, you are able to apply for your medical marijuana card.
These qualifying conditions include:
- Crohn's Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease)
Chronic diseases or debilitating diseases and conditions also qualify the patient, if they suffer from these serious side effects:
- Severe chronic pain
- Wasting syndrome (also known as cachexia)
- Muscle spasms
Step 2: Get your Ducks in a Row
There are several forms that are required to get an MMJ card in Arizona. After you have the officially signed ADHS MMJ form, you'll have to gather a few more documents.
First, you have to be a resident of the state to apply , which also means that you need a way to prove it. This can be done by showing evidence of residency, either through an Arizona ID, photo ID, passport, or a utility bill that lists out your address.
In addition to a photo ID, you will also need to have a separate, current picture framing the entire face, without any hats or other headwear distractions. Similar to a passport photo, it needs to be taken within 60 days of the application, be two inches by two inches, and have a white background.
You'll also need to have a signed Patient Attestation Form.
Last, you'll need SNAP documentation if you are an applicant with an electronic benefits card. This isn't applicable to everyone – only those that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Since the application is online-only, each of these required documents needs to be scanned and converted into PDF format. Hand submissions are not accepted, and you cannot make walk-in appointments. If using a computer is difficult, this is where help comes in handy. Many librarians can assist with computer needs if friends or family are unavailable.
To make sure you've got all the documents necessary, refer to this list.
Step 3: Submit the Application
Once you have all the required documents scanned and ready to go, along with the medical recommendation, it's time to upload them. You have to register with the Arizona Department of Health Services, filling out the medical marijuana online application .
Underage patients (under 18) and caregivers have separate forms, specific to their designation.
After submitting the application, it's possible to follow up and check on the application process. It should take about 10 working days for the medical marijuana card to be issued.
As you fill out the online application to get your MMJ card, you'll also have to submit payment. Qualifying patients are required to pay $150 for either their first-ever medical marijuana card or in order to renew a current MMJ card. Snap participants only have to pay $75 if they qualify.
Caregivers have a $200 fee for both the sign up and the renewal of their card. For every patient, caregivers need to have one card. For example, a caregiver with four patients needs four MMJ cards. They are able to legally care for up to five patients.
For later use, patients have to pay $10 to make changes or replace their medical marijuana card. Down the road, when you have less than 90 days of eligibility left on your current MMJ card and you would like to renew your medical marijuana card, you will just have to download and submit the renewal form, then pay the same $150, $75, or $200 application fee. Additionally, you will also need a new doctor's recommendation, updated photo, and a current Patient Attestation Form.
Step 4: Using Your Medical Marijuana Card
Once the online application is approved and you have your medical marijuana card, you are officially an MMJ patient. As someone who is legally able to own and consume cannabis, there are a few regulations and entitlements.
As an Arizona patient, you’re able to own two and a half ounces of usable marijuana. If you wish to grow medical marijuana, you have to disclose this on your online application form and must live at least 25 miles away from a dispensary. You are able to cultivate and grow up to twelve cannabis plants. They have to be housed in a locked and contained facility.
Know the law
Medical marijuana cannot be consumed in public, including at dispensaries. This is a violation of federal laws, which still consider cannabis illegal. When using your MMJ, do so at home or at a private residence. Private health care facilities, such as nursing homes or hospitals, are likely have their own sets of rules about cannabis and if it is acceptable to consume it on the property or not.
Remember: it’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and lighting up in the car is against the law. And since your medical marijuana card is specific to Arizona, that’s the only place it is considered valid; you cannot cross borders with your weed to a different state. The penalties are severe – patients can face both local and federal drug charges when crossing state lines.
Last: Enjoy Herbal Relief
After getting a doctor's approval, fitting the qualifying conditions list, gathering the necessary documents, submitting the online application with the fee, and consuming responsibly, you will be able to enjoy the healing benefits that cannabis can provide.
Enjoy. And when a friend asks how to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona, you'll be able to walk them through the process.