arizona medical marijuana statute



Is weed legal in Arizona?

Yes. Cannabis is legal for anyone over the age of 21 and patients of any age with qualifying conditions. Adults can possess up to an ounce at a time and grow six plants. That said, only qualified patients can purchase cannabis at dispensaries for the time being. Adults won’t be able to purchase cannabis for recreational purposes until at least March 2021.

Legislation history

Medical marijuana was first approved by Arizona voters in 1996 through an initiative allowing seriously or terminally ill patients to possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. This provision was overturned due to the word “prescribe” conflicting with federal law forbidding marijuana prescriptions.

Arizona tried again to legalize medical cannabis in 2002, with Proposition 203, but it only earned 42.7% of the vote. A viable solution was not approved until nearly 10 years later. Voters in 2010 passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Question, a much-revised Proposition 203, by a slim margin — 50.13% of the vote. After Proposition 203 passed, the first medical marijuana sales didn’t take place until December 2012.

Proposition 203 named the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) as the agency responsible for developing and implementing rules and regulations for the Arizona medical cannabis program. The initiative set out certain parameters used by the ADHS for qualifying patients and caregivers to receive access to medical marijuana as well as operating regulations for licensed cannabis dispensaries.

The Smart and Safe Act appeared as Proposition 207 on the general election ballot in Arizona in November 2020. Arizonans voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older. The passage of this ballot initiative allowed adults over age 21 to possess 1 ounce of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of cannabis concentrates and to cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants at their primary residence. The ballot initiative also imposed a 16% excise tax on cannabis and allowed for expungement of some criminal records for marijuana possession.

Purchasing cannabis

Only patients and caregivers in the ADHS registry with identification cards can purchase medical marijuana from a nonprofit state-licensed dispensary. If patients are unable to make the purchase themselves, they may designate a caregiver to purchase the medical marijuana on their behalf. There are also many delivery services available throughout the state.

Patients can purchase an amount of cannabis that would result in their possessing up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) in a 14-day period. Licensed dispensaries utilize a state-operated cannabis tracking system to monitor the purchasing activity of qualified patients and designated caregivers. Registered patients may consume medical cannabis as flower, extracts, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules. In addition to cannabis, they may also purchase consumption accessories.

Consumers are subject to a 6.6% state tax, in addition to an optional tax of 2 to 3% levied by cities. While there are no cost-offset medical marijuana programs, many nonprofit dispensaries offer discounts for patients in financial need.

Dispensaries are allowed one retail location for every 10 pharmacies registered in Arizona. Patients located far from their closest dispensary may opt to use a medical cannabis delivery service. These services will deliver medical cannabis directly to a registered patient’s or designated caregiver’s residence.

Private insurers and government medical assistance programs are not required to provide coverage for medical cannabis use.

Finding licensed dispensaries in Arizona

Medical marijuana card holders can find licensed dispensaries in Arizona and search by major metro areas including Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson. Many dispensaries in Arizona offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.

Consuming cannabis

Cannabis consumption must take place in a private space.

Registered qualifying patients can consume medical cannabis flower, edibles, extracts, topicals, salves, or capsules.

The smoking of cannabis in any public place is prohibited. The only form of public consumption allowed for patients is cannabis-infused edibles. Consumption of cannabis in a parked car in any public space or in the view of the public is also prohibited.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and consumption in a vehicle is not allowed, neither while driving nor while riding as a passenger.

Any nursing care institution may adopt reasonable rules to regulate the use of medical cannabis by their residents. However, they may not unreasonably limit a registered qualifying patient’s medical cannabis use unless doing so would cause the facility to lose monetary or licensing-related benefits under federal regulations.

Possessing cannabis

Patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) in a 14-day period. Allowed forms include flower, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules, along with consumption accessories. Licensed dispensaries utilize a state-operated cannabis tracking system to monitor the purchasing activity of qualified patients and designated caregivers.

Patients or caregivers may offer medical cannabis to another registered patient or designated caregiver as long as nothing of value is exchanged and possession limits are not exceeded.

Possession of cannabis without a medical marijuana ID card could result in a minimum $750 fine and possible jail time .

View the marijuana laws & regulations for Arizona.