Updated on November 19, 2021. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Arizona provides residents with an opportunity to petition the Arizona Department of Health Services annually to add new qualifying health conditions. There is a limited period in the month of July that allows patients and practitioners to suggest new rare diseases or diagnosed symptoms that should be added to the list.
That is just one of the unique aspects of the Arizona medical marijuana program. The state reported over 307,000 patients who were successfully registered and authorized for medical cannabis as of April 1, 2021. Both recreational (adult-use) and medical cannabis are legalized now in the state of Arizona.
An appointment is required with a physician or practitioner to get your Arizona medical marijuana certification form. This is approval from a medical professional after evaluating your current symptoms, diagnosis, and medical history. It is an important check to make sure that medical cannabis may help your condition and poses no obvious dangers to your health.
But before you schedule your medical card health evaluation, you must make sure that you have at least one of the qualifying health conditions, which are:
Suppose you received your diagnosis for your qualifying health condition several years ago. In that case, it is a good idea to get your primary care physician (PCP) to update your health records. Some MMJ doctors will not accept a diagnosis that is older than one year.
Like other states that have legalized both adult-use and medical cannabis, all categories of cannabis products are available. Both types of dispensaries (recreational and medical) carry the following cannabis products:
Arizona experienced a problem with dispensary licensing. It had provided licenses to companies that had not followed through with opening a retail location. The state had to threaten to take away inactive business licenses.
To fix the problem, state regulators had a licensed lottery. The total number of dispensary licenses issued went from 130 to 143 in 2021. Currently, there are 125 retail cannabis locations you can buy cannabis from in Arizona.
Patients who are aged eighteen (18) and up can apply to become registered patients in the Arizona medical cannabis program. Young adults 18+ do not require parental or guardian consent to apply for a medical card.
Consumers that do not have a medical card must be aged twenty-one (21) years or older. Minors that are under the age of eighteen (18) years may still qualify for therapeutic access to cannabis. They must have a designated caregiver to assist with their doctor-supervised treatment plan.
Yes. Patients who are approved and receive their medical marijuana certification form from the practitioner must complete the application online. And there are a few things you will need to upload, including a Medical Marijuana Patient Attestation Form. This must be signed by the patient.
There is a convenient checklist provided for patients. Simply download it, and cross off the items and steps needed to complete your Arizona medical card application. Most patients receive their medical card within twenty-five days. The permanent medical card arrives by mail.
If you are a parent or legal guardian of a child with one or more qualifying health conditions, you can apply on behalf of the minor. First, the minor must be approved and have a medical card. Then, a caregiver may apply and become designated with the state registry.
A caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. To qualify as a caregiver in Arizona, the adult must not have had a felony offense for a controlled substance for the past ten years. Caregiver applicants that have also been convicted of a prior violent crime are not eligible.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) makes it easy for guardians and parents to apply as a caregiver. There is a checklist available on the ADHS website with all the steps required and information about qualifying as a caregiver.
Please note that fingerprinting is required for the caregiver application in Arizona. This is not done online and must be completed and mailed to the ADHS through U.S. postal service.
Arizona requires that patients submit a new photo every year when they renew their AZ medical card. The photo must not be older than sixty (60) days before the renewal is submitted. During the renewal process, patients with an Arizona medical card can update their name and address. They may also choose to add a caregiver if applicable.
Consult with the Medical Marijuana Licensing Management System (MMLMS) Individual Portal and Applications guide for step-by-step instruction on renewing your Arizona medical card. Notifications on the status of your new card or renewal are available through the Arizona patient portal.
If you lose your Arizona medical card or it is stolen, you can log into your patient profile on the Individual Licensing Portal. From there, you can navigate to report your card missing and request a new one. Once you complete this step, your old card will not be valid. And dispensaries will not process any cannabis purchases using an invalidated card.
Consumers can purchase marijuana at recreational dispensaries. And patients with an Arizona medical card can buy cannabis products at a medical dispensary or an adult-use retail location.
The Arizona medical marijuana program officially launched and began accepting patient applications on March 28, 2011.
Arizona has navigated a lawsuit-happy Governor to face shortages of medical cannabis for patients. The state reached over $1 billion in cannabis sales in 2020. Here are some of the highlights of Arizona’s journey to legalize cannabis.
July, 2002—The first attempt to get medical marijuana passed in Arizona failed with Proposition 203. Only 43% of voters supported the measure. One of the most notable opponents to the legalization of medical cannabis was John. P. Walters. At the time, Walters was a candidate for Governorship, and he served under both President Bush and President Regan. Walters was a strong supporter of the ‘war on drugs’ policies.
Source Web 2021: hudson.org
November, 2010—During the November 2, 2010 election, Arizona voters accepted the medical marijuana initiative. Proposition 203 received 50.13% voter support. The Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) completed the dispensary and patient registry laws and regulations on March 28, 2011.
Source Web 2021: ballotpedia.org
May, 2011—Then Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer filed a federal lawsuit against the legalization of cannabis in her state. The lawsuit asked for a declaratory judgment to see whether the new medical marijuana program was directly conflicted with federal law.
The lawsuit was rejected in 2012 because of majority voter support for Proposition 203. The court would not undo the will of Arizona voters. The ACLU was also part of the defense, representing the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.
Source Web 2021: aclu.org
Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS)
Medical Marijuana Program
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 364-1793
Website: Arizona Medical Marijuana Program
In Arizona, qualified patients or their registered designated caregivers may obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period from a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary. If the patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary, the patient or caregiver may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked facility.