If you’re reading this, then you probably already know that in order to buy medical marijuana in Arizona, you need to have a valid MMJ card. While the generalized process is really no more complex than getting a recommendation from an state-licensed healthcare provider, there are a few potential roadblocks that you ought to be aware of before planning to start your application.
In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we’ve mapped out the exact process you need to know if you want to apply for a medical marijuana card in Arizona. You’ll also find updated answers to some of the state’s most frequently-asked questions, as well as a host of general information on all things marijuana-related in the state of Arizona.
First Things First: Understanding Marijuana Laws in Arizona
Before we explain the practical steps on how to obtain an Arizona medical marijuana card, it’s important to understand the current situation in Arizona in regard to medical marijuana laws.
Truth be told, Arizona probably isn’t the easiest state to obtain medical cannabis – but it is far from the hardest. On November 2, 2010, the state took a giant leap and approved Arizona Proposition 203 (aka the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Act“), which removed all state-level criminal penalties for the use and possession of medical marijuana.
The Proposition also implemented a registration and renewal process governed by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which allows qualified patients to legally purchase cannabis under the recommendation of a physician that is licensed in the state.
Without further ado, here is the complete step-by-step process for how to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona, include what you need to do before visiting an approved doctor:
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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona: A Step-by-Step Guide
Depending on where exactly you live, getting your AZ MMJ card may be as simple as taking a few hours out of your day to visit one of the numerous “420 clinics” throughout the state. These can be expensive if you’re not prepared beforehand, however, so it’s definitely worth it to understand what exactly you’ll need before you even begin the application process.
As a resident of the state, the process for obtaining a medical marijuana card in Arizona is as follows:
Step 1) send your medical records and Meet with an arizona healthcare provider
The first step to applying for a medical marijuana card in Arizona is to have a physician fill out and sign an official ADHS medical marijuana certification form on your behalf. Any Allopathic (MD), Osteopathic (DO), Homeopathic [MD(H)/DO(H)], or Naturopathic (NMD or ND) doctor who is licensed to practice in Arizona – and who has a “physician-patient relationship” with you – may fill out the form. It cannot be from a doctor outside of AZ.
Also, unlike in other states, Arizona does not provide a list of marijuana-recommending physicians; you must consult with a recommending physician on your own behalf, or on the behalf of your caregiver. The recommending physician however does not have to be the same physician that made the initial diagnosis of the qualifying condition (see below for the full list of qualifying conditions).
*Also please note that your doctor can’t simply provide a written recommendation – it has to be a completed and signed copy of the state’s physician certification form (see link above).
If your general practitioner doctor is not willing to recommend medical marijuana on your behald, you will have to find another doctor in the state who is (there are many cannabis-specific clinics and doctor’s offices throughout the state).
Of course, you must send over your complete medical records and medical history to the recommending doctor’s office prior to your initial consultation. By law, a doctor’s office must release a patient’s complete medical history within 30 days of their request.
Additionally, in order to get a Medical Marijuana Card in the state of Arizona you MUST be a resident of the state. You will need to provide proof of residency, for example with an Arizona ID, passport, or other photo ID that shows proof of residency (such as a bank statement, utility bill, etc).
Step 2) complete the online application
Once you have obtained the official signed ADHS medical marijuana form from a licensed doctor, you will need to gather the additional documents that you will need in order to complete the online ADHS application.
These documents include:
- A photo ID: This can be 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, it will need to be accompanied by ONE of the following: 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: This must be taken no more than 60 calendar days before the submission of the application, and must be 2” x 2” in size and taken in natural color with a plain white or off-white background, and a front view of the individual’s full face (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 that 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, each document must be scanned and uploaded into .PDF format for online submission — hand delivered applications are not accepted. If you have problems or are not tech-savvy, it would be best to 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 the physician’s medical recommendation and all accompanying documents are ready, the next step is to register with the Arizona Department of Health Services and proceed with the medical marijuana online application.
*For patients under 18 years of age, please make sure you choose the relevant form, as 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
One of the good things about Arizona, compared to other states, is that they seem to have adopted the fact 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 pretty generous benefits program for low-income applicants in the state who are looking to apply for medical marijuana. If you belong to SNAP and can provide documentation, for instance, you may be eligible for a reduced-cost application 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 for a renewal identification card|
|$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 if 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 that have been diagnosed with one of the following “severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions” may be afforded legal protection under the Arizona Medical Marijuana law, as per Ballot Proposition 203 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. If you want to apply for medical cannabis in Arizona, you must suffer from 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” (or their treatments) that cause any one of the following conditions may be deemed a qualifying condition for medical cannabis use:
- 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
If you still have questions regarding how to get medical marijuana in Arizona, here is a list of the most frequently asked questions. (If you have any additional questions, you will likely need to get in touch dircetly with the Arizona Department of Health Services).
Can I only apply online for MMJ in Arizona? Or can I walk it in?
Submission of the ADHS application is only available online – no walk-ins are allowed.
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) to the patient within 10 working days.
What are approved AZ medical marijuana patients entitled to?
By enrolling and receiving approval for MMJ use by the state of Arizona, you may possess an “allowable amount of marijuana,” which is defined as:
- Two and a half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana, OR
- If the registry identification card states that you are authorized to cultivate marijuana, twelve marijuana plants that are contained in an enclosed, locked facility
Can I grow my own 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.
How do I renew my Arizona medical marijuana card?
The process to renew your AZ medical marijuana card is pretty straightforward, and can be done by downloading the official form. You can only apply for a renewal if you have less than 90 days on your current medical card, and per Arizona Administrative Code R9-17-102, the application fee for a renewal application is the same as the application fee for a new application (see chart above).
In addition, several documents will need to be updated each time you renew, including:
- A new, current physician certification
- A new, 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
- A copy of your new identification (if your name has changed since your last application)
[Related Article: 3 Ways to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online (in Minutes)]
Can I use medical marijuana anywhere in Arizona?
According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient may not consume medical marijuana at a dispensary, but may eat medical marijuana in foods or use infused products at other locations.
State law lists places where a qualifying patient may not smoke medical marijuana, including public places. A qualifying patient who lives in a nursing care institution, hospice, assisted living facility, or adult foster care home or who attends an adult day health care facility may also have to follow restrictions imposed by the facility.
Can I consume medical cannabis in my car?
No. A patient cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana.
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 marijuana, it would be best to contact the state’s Bureau of health to understand the specific laws of the state you are going to not risk breaking any laws.
How much medical marijuana should I consume?
We are not doctors or physicians, and 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.
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