QUALIFYING PATIENTS IN ARIZONA
To apply for a medical cannabis card in Arizona, patients must fill out the forms and submit them online; there is no paper submission option. The forms can be found here on the AZ Department of Health website, be sure to also read these instructions as the process is complicated. 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.
Your doctor can only recommend medical cannabis after they have completed a full assessment of your medical history.
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 characteristics of epilepsy;
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (note: the 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.
Becoming a Patient as a Minor:
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.
Benefits of Being a Patient:
Medical patients in Arizona get a host of benefits. 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. Patients suspected of impaired driving will have an affirmative defense for any cannabis use.
Becoming a Caregiver:
Patients may designate a caregiver to assist with acquiring, cultivating, and using medical cannabis. A designated caregiver must be at least 21 years old and cannot have been convicted of a violent felony or a drug-related felony occurring in the last 10 years or that would not have resulted in a conviction if the Medical Marijuana Act had been effective at the time. 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 designated caregiver and a person can be the designated caregiver for no more than 5 patients.
A designated caregiver with a registry ID card can possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and, if they have permission to cultivate, up to 12 marijuana plants, keeping in mind that the sum total of medicine and plants between the patient and the designated caregiver may never exceed 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis and 12 cannabis plants. For instance, if the patient has 1 ounce of usable cannabis in her possession and 2 cannabis plants, the designated caregiver may not exceed 1.5 ounces of usable cannabis and 10 cannabis plants.
Patients and designated caregivers can grow cannabis indoors in an enclosed, locked space, such as a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.
For more information from the Arizona Department of Health Services visit: Arizona Caregivers.
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.
Any adult over the age of 21 may grow cannabis at home. The space where the grow will take place must be designated ahead of time and must also be a secure enclosed space. Individuals are limited to six plants at any stage of growth, if there are multiple adults in a household, the limit becomes twelve plants.
In 2020, Prop 207 passed requiring Arizona courts to expunge records for "certain possession, consumption, transportation, and cultivation offenses" by petition. On May 30, 2023 the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that those convicted of possession with the intent to sell are also eligible for expungement. Forms and instructions for the expungement process are available online.
Medical cannabis patients can find additional resources here.
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