You need to have a valid MMJ card to purchase cannabis in Arizona – at present, the state does not allow recreational use. In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we’ve mapped out the exact MMJ application process in the state. We also provide up-to-date answers to some of the state’s most frequently asked questions regarding legal cannabis use.
Read on to learn how to get a Medical Marijuana card in Arizona in our complete and easy-to-read step-by-step guide.
Understanding Marijuana Laws in Arizona
Arizona isn’t the easiest state to obtain medical cannabis in, though it is far from the hardest. On November 2, 2010, the state approved Arizona Proposition 203 (aka the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Act”). It removed all state-level criminal penalties for the use and possession of medical marijuana. Prop 203 passed by the slenderest of margins, 50.1% to 49.9% against.
It established an MMJ program, and patients with a doctor’s recommendation can now possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Prop 203 limited the number of dispensaries to 124. Also, only patients who live more than 25 miles from a dispensary are allowed to grow marijuana at home. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) oversees the registration and renewal process.
Now, let’s discover how to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona: A Step-by-Step Guide
The first criterion for obtaining an MMJ card in Arizona is residency in the state. Also, only adults aged 18+ are considered. Assuming you satisfy these requirements, here are the other steps.
Step 1) Send Your Medical Records and Meet with an Arizona Healthcare Provider
Before you visit a physician, make sure you have one of the qualifying medical conditions. We provide a thorough list below. Interestingly, almost 90% of MMJ patients in Arizona claim they have chronic pain.
Next, it is time to locate a ‘marijuana-friendly’ physician within the state. An increasing number of prospective patients visit neuropaths. You can find details of likely candidates by going online or even in your local newspaper.
You can get the doctor to complete the Arizona DHS medical marijuana certification form on your behalf. There is the option to DIY, but few people do it when they can use a trained medical professional instead. The doctor’s office takes your photo and uploads it with other documents to the DHS.
Choosing a Medical Marijuana Doctor
You can choose any allopathic (MD), osteopathic (DO), homeopathic [MD(H)/DO(H)], or naturopathic (NMD or ND) doctor who is licensed to practice in Arizona. They must also have a “physician-patient relationship” with you. It means you can’t wander in off the street and expect immediate approval. At the very least, the doctor should review your medical records. They should also have a reasonable expectation that they will provide follow-up care.
Also, unlike in other states, Arizona does not provide a list of marijuana-recommending physicians. You must consult with a recommending physician on your behalf or behalf of your caregiver. The doctor doesn’t have to be the same physician that made the initial diagnosis of the qualifying condition, however.
*Also, please note that your doctor can’t simply provide a written recommendation. Only a completed and signed copy of the state’s physician certification form will do.
What if your general practitioner is not willing to recommend medical marijuana on your behalf? In that case, you must find another doctor in the state who can help you. Make sure you send over your complete medical records and medical history to the recommending doctor’s office. Otherwise, you will not have a consultation. If you don’t have your records, request them from your current physician. By law, a doctor’s office must release a patient’s complete medical history within 30 days of their request.
You will need to provide proof of residency. You can do this with an Arizona ID, passport, or other photo ID that shows proof of residency. Examples include a utility bill or bank statement.
Step 2) Gather Documents to Complete the Online Application
You need additional documents to complete the online ADHS application once you have an official signed ADHS medical marijuana form.
These documents include:
- A photo ID: Any one of the following: A valid AZ driver’s license, an AZ identification card, an AZ registry identification card, or a U.S. passport.
*Please note if the driver’s license/identification card is dated before October 1, 1996, you need extra documentation. Examples include a birth certificate that verifies U.S. citizenship, a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, or a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship.
- A current photograph that is separate from your official photo ID: The program only accepts photos taken no more than 60 calendar days before the submission of the application. Only photos 2” x 2” in size and taken in natural color with a plain white or off-white background are permitted. You also need to show a front view of your full face. This means no hats, headgear, etc. that obscures the hair or hairline.
- A completed and signed Patient Attestation Form
- SNAP documentation: This only applies to applicants with an electronic benefits transfer card. It demonstrates current participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
*Remember, all of these documents must be accompanied by the physician recommendation form. Also, you must scan each document and upload it in PDF format for online submission. Hand-delivered applications are not accepted. If you have problems or are not tech-savvy, consult with a local office supply store like Staples, Office Depot, etc.
For a complete list of required application materials, check out the AZ Medical Marijuana Qualifying Patient checklist.
Step 3) Submit your application and wait for approval
Once your documents are ready, register with the Arizona Department of Health Services and proceed with the MMJ online application. Click on ‘Qualifying Patient New Application.’
*For patients under 18 years of age, please make sure you choose the relevant form. There is a separate application for minors. (Also, there is a designated application for caregivers that are registering on behalf of a patient).
For further information, feel free to contact the Arizona Department of Health Services:
Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS)
Medical Marijuana Program
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Compared to other states, Arizona seems to realize that we’re in the 21st century. You can easily follow up on the status of your medical card application by using their convenient online service.
Arizona Medical Cannabis Card Costs
Fortunately, Arizona offers a generous benefits program for low-income applicants looking to apply for medical marijuana. If you belong to SNAP and can provide documentation, for instance, you are potentially eligible for a reduced fee.
For all other patients looking to apply for medical marijuana in Arizona, the general costs and fees are as follows:
|COST / FEE||DESCRIPTION|
|$150 ($75 for eligible SNAP participants)||This is the initial online application fee for qualifying patients or a renewal identification card. Your card is now eligible for two years.|
|$75-200||This is for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a designated caregiver (caregivers must apply for a new card for every patient under their care, for a maximum of up to five patients)|
|$500||This is for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a dispensary agent|
|$5,000||This is for an initial dispensary registration certificate|
|$1,000||This is for a renewal dispensary registration certificate|
|$2,500||This is if you need to change the location of your dispensary or cultivation facility|
|$10||This is if you want to amend, change, or replace a registry identification card|
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Arizona
Patients of Arizona diagnosed with one of the following “severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions” are possibly eligible. An MMJ card provides possible legal protection under the Arizona Medical Marijuana law. If you want to apply for medical cannabis in Arizona, your doctor must diagnose you with one of the following:
- HIV / AIDS
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Also, any “chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition” that causes one of the following:
- Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures / Epilepsy
- Muscle spasms (including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis)
Other Important Information on the Arizona Medical Marijuana License Process
Can I only apply online for MMJ in Arizona? Or can I walk it in?
You can only submit the ADHS application online.
How long will it take to receive my identification card?
After the ADHS receives your completed application, they will issue a registry identification card (if approved) within ten working days.
What are approved AZ medical marijuana patients entitled to?
You may possess an “allowable amount of marijuana,” which is defined as 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana every two weeks. You are allowed to possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces.
Can I grow my medical marijuana in Arizona?
Yes, but you must declare your intention to cultivate on the application form. Also, you must live in an area of Arizona that is greater than 25 miles from a state-licensed dispensary. Fulfill these criteria, and you can grow a maximum of 12 plants at home.
How do I renew my Arizona medical marijuana card?
The process of renewing your AZ medical marijuana card is pretty straightforward. You can do it by downloading the official form. You can only apply for a renewal if you have less than 90 days on your current medical card. As per Arizona Administrative Code R9-17-102, the application fee for a renewal application is the same as the application fee for a new form.
Also, you must update several documents each time you renew, including:
- A new, current physician certification.
- An original, current photograph (taken no more than 60 calendar days before you submit your renewal).
- A new Patient Attestation Form signed and dated with the current date.
- Current/updated documentation of your SNAP eligibility, if applicable.
A copy of your new identification (if your name has changed since your last application).
Can I use medical marijuana anywhere in Arizona?
A qualifying patient may not consume medical marijuana at a dispensary. However, they can eat medical marijuana in foods or use infused products at other licensed locations.
State law lists places where a qualifying patient may not smoke medical marijuana, including public places. Examples include a nursing care institution, hospice, assisted living facility, or adult foster care home. You must comply with any restrictions imposed by these facilities.
Can I consume medical cannabis in my car?
No. A patient cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana. Also, a 2019 court ruling states that you are not allowed to smoke cannabis in a public parking lot.
Can I take my medical marijuana to a state outside of Arizona?
No. Medical marijuana patients may face federal and local charges of transporting marijuana if they cross state lines with the drug. This is true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical marijuana. Should you need to travel with your cannabis, contact the state’s Bureau of Health to understand the specific laws of your destination state.
How much medical marijuana should I consume?
We are not doctors or physicians. Therefore, you should always consult with a professional before using medical marijuana. Should you have any other questions, feel free to contact us through our Facebook page, or go directly to the ADHS FAQ page.