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Becoming a Patient in Arizona
Under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”), it is legal for a patient with an Arizona registry ID card to use cannabis for medical purposes. Patients who live more than 25 miles from a registered dispensary may also grow cannabis and appoint a designated caregiver for assistance, as long as they receive permission to cultivate.
Registered patients may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. A patient with permission to cultivate may also have up to 12 plants. Patients who have received permission to cultivate can only grow cannabis in an enclosed space, whether indoors or outdoors (see “Cultivation” section below).
If you think you live more than 25 miles from a registered dispensary and want to cultivate your medicine or have a caregiver do it for you, the Arizona Department of Health Services (“ADHS”) provides an interactive Cultivation Boundary Check tool online.
Patients with one or more of the following debilitating medical conditions are eligible:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
- Severe and chronic pain;
- Severe nausea;
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (note: patient must also be undergoing conventional treatment for PTSD)
In addition, the law provides a mechanism for adding other debilitating medical conditions to the above list through a petition and review process administered by ADHS.
There is a patient application fee for a registry ID card of $150, but this fee can be reduced to $75 with proof of enrollment in SNAP, or food stamps. Application forms and instructions can be found at https://medicalmarijuana.azdhs.gov/. A physician’s certification must be included with the application.
Patients must fill out the forms and submit them online; there is no paper-submission option. The application process is complicated, take some time to look over the checklist and instructions in order to ensure that you comply with all of the requirements.
In addition to the application, each patient must submit an "attestation" that they will not divert their medicine to anyone, and that the information inn their application is correct.
Following submission of the application, ADHS will have 10 days to review and approve or deny the application. Beginning August 27, 2019, upon approval, ADHS will issue a registry ID card, which will expire 2 years from the date of issuance. Applications for renewal of the registry ID card must be submitted at least 30 days prior to expiration, include a $150 application fee (or $75 for SNAP enrollees), and include an updated physician certification.
Your doctor can only recommend medical cannabis after they have completed a full assessment of your medical history. Your doctor must be a licensed physician (MD or DO) or a licensed Naturopathic or Homeopathic physician. The healthcare practitioner must hold a valid Arizona license.
Access / Caregivers
You may designate a caregiver to assist you with acquiring and using medical cannabis, as well as cultivating it if you live in a location that qualifies. Your designated caregiver must be at least 21 years old and cannot ever have been convicted of a violent felony, and cannot have a felony conviction for any drug related crimes that happened within the last 10 years, unless it was a conviction that would not have happened had the AMMA been in place sooner. Patients and designated caregivers are permitted to cultivate cannabis only if there is no dispensary within 25 miles of the patient's home, and they have been granted permission by the state.
A patient can only have one 1 designated caregiver. A designated caregiver with a registry ID card can possess up to 12 cannabis plants, if approved to cultivate, and 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana, keeping in mind that the sum total of medicine and plants between the patient and the designated caregiver may never exceed 12 cannabis plants and 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. For instance, if the patient has 1 ounce of usable cannabis in her possession, and 2 cannabis plants, the designated caregiver may not have more than 1.5 ounces of usable cannabis and 10 cannabis plants.
Patients and designated caregivers with permission from ADHS and a cultivation designation on their registry ID card can grow cannabis within the prescribed limits in an enclosed, locked facility, such as a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.
Smoking in public is prohibited. Smoking or possession of medical cannabis is prohibited at correctional facilities. No private property owner is required to allow patients to medicate while on their property.
If the patient is under 18 years of age, both the patient’s doctor and a reviewing physician must examine the patient and provide a certification, and the patient’s custodial parent or legal guardian must apply on behalf of the patient and act as their designated caregiver. The custodial parent or legal guardian is responsible for acquiring the medical cannabis and controlling the patient’s dosing and frequency of use. The Arizona Department of Health has created a checklist for minor patients.
ADHS maintains a list of the persons to whom they have issued registry ID cards and is required to verify the identity of patients to local and state law enforcement upon request. This list is confidential. Each issued registry ID card is associated with a unique registry ID number, and any dispensary record keeping must be based on the registry ID number alone and not include the names of patients or designated caregivers.
No landlord may refuse to lease to or otherwise penalize a person solely for his or her status as a medical cannabis patient or designated caregiver, unless housing the patient would cause the landlord to lose a federal benefit.
Employers may not rightfully terminate a qualified patient from her/his employment solely because of their status as a registry ID cardholder or a positive drug screen. However, employers are not expected to accommodate the medical use of cannabis in any workplace. In addition, an employer may refuse to hire or terminate an employee based on their status as a registry ID cardholder if the employer stands to lose a federal benefit by continuing to employ the patient.
Arizona's medical cannabis law does not require a governmental, private, or any other health insurance provider or health care service plan to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of cannabis.
Out of State Patients
State law allows a visiting qualifying patient with a registry identification card or its equivalent, issued by the qualifying patient's home state, to possess or use cannabis. However, a visiting patient is not authorized to obtain cannabis from a dispensary because the dispensary is required in statute to access a verification system before dispensing marijuana.