While Arizona has recreational cannabis on the ballot this year, it currently remains illegal except to those with a medicinal marijuana license.
Throughout this article, we’re going to give you everything you need to know about cannabis laws and regulations in Arizona.
Recreational Cannabis in Arizona
Any recreational use of cannabis is completely prohibited in Arizona. If you’re caught with cannabis on you, you can face felony charges (more on this below).
There are a couple of organizations within the state trying to make recreational cannabis legalized. We’ll keep you updated as events continue to play out.
Medical Marijuana in Arizona
In 2010, Proposition 203 was passed which legalized medical use of marijuana under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). This allows residents with a qualifying government-issued ID from the Arizona Department of Health Services to legally consume cannabis.
Here are the criteria to qualify for an Arizona medical marijuana card:
- Must be 18 years old
- Hold a valid government-issued ID
- Hold residency at an Arizona address
- Have medical records from the past year and provide them to a physician
In order to gain a medical marijuana card in Arizona, you must struggle with at least one of the following conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe/chronic pain
- Severe nausea
In order to obtain a medical marijuana card, you must schedule an appointment with a doctor. S/he’ll give you a Physician Certification form which you must fill out and, from there, be approved.
Besides the doctor’s visit, you will be fined $150 for an application fee. It’s important to note that you must also renew your car every year.
Keep in mind, if you’re visiting Arizona out-of-state, you are legally allowed to have up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis on you. However, you cannot bring this cannabis in from another state nor can you purchase cannabis from an Arizona dispensary.
If you hold an Arizona medical marijuana card, you’re allowed up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks along with 12 cannabis plants.
However, if you don’t have a medical marijuana card and you’re caught with cannabis, you face a felony charge. While these charges differ – usually depending on the amount you’re in possession of – most people receive a Class 6 felony for personal possession.
Unless you have a medical marijuana card, it’s illegal to purchase cannabis.
However, those with a card are allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces from a state-run dispensary.
It’s only legal to consume marijuana in Arizona if you hold a medical marijuana card. With that, there are some regulations you must keep in mind.
For instance, you can only consume cannabis in a private location (i.e. your home). It is illegal to consume cannabis in any public place (including public transportation). Not to mention, it’s illegal to consume cannabis at a medical marijuana dispensary under state law.
With these laws, it’s actually legal to consume edible cannabis in public (i.e. a pot brownie). So, as long as you’re not operating a vehicle or machinery, edible consumption is legal.
Driving Under the Influence
Whether you have a medical marijuana card or not, driving while intoxicated on cannabis is illegal. This includes if any cannabis metabolite remains in the body. However, if you are a medical marijuana patient, you won’t be guilty of a DUI if marijuana metabolites are found in your system.
If you are caught, your first offense is a misdemeanor which comes with fines, a license suspension, probation, and potential jail time. Any offense afterwards is treated as a felony.
You are only allowed to cultivate cannabis in Arizona if you hold a medical marijuana card. Even with a medical card, there are a few regulations you must adhere to.
For one, you’re only allowed to grow up to 12 plants. And you’re only allowed to do so if there is no dispensary within 25 miles of your home.
These plants must be grown in an “enclosed, locked facility.” Under law, this includes a “closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.”
You may also grow cannabis if you are a ADHS-designated caregiver. However, you can only grow if you dispense medical marijuana for one to five patients. In order to become a caregiver, you must be 21 years or older, agree to assist at least five medical marijuana patients, and hold no previous drug felonies.