In 2010, the voters in Arizona passed Proposition 203 legalizing marijuana for medical use in the state. This required the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) to form a medical marijuana program. In April of 2011, the AZDHS began accepting applications from patients for a medical marijuana card, and, in 2013, Arizona’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened for business.
As in most other states with legal medical marijuana, the Arizona medical marijuana program does not grant patients unrestricted rights to purchase and possess as much medical marijuana as they want. Rather, holders of the medical marijuana card Arizona issues have restrictions on how much marijuana and of what types they can purchase and possess at any one time.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Allotment for Patients
With an Arizona medical marijuana card, you can only purchase marijuana from a licensed Arizona dispensary and you can only purchase up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of marijuana in any one visit and within any two-week period. You also may only possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at any one time.
The medical marijuana licensed Arizona dispensaries sell comes in several different forms and potencies. Some of the forms of medical marijuana you can purchase at a dispensary include:
- Marijuana flower, or “bud,” for smoking or vaping
- Concentrates, like vaping cartridges
Your medical marijuana allotment applies to all of these forms combined. In other words, you may only purchase up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana in any form or combination of forms in any two-week period, and you can only possess up to that amount, again in any one form or combination of forms, at any one time.
How the AZDHS Calculates the Amount of Marijuana in Each Form
Depending on the form of medical marijuana you purchase and use, there may be more or less cannabis and greater or fewer other ingredients per serving or product weight. Cannabis flower is the only form of cannabis whose quantity is identical to the product weight. For any other form, the AZDHS calculates the amount of marijuana contained in relation to its cannabis flower content, as follows:
- Edibles and Topicals- The amount of cannabis flower it took to produce the butter or other concentrate contained in the product.
- Concentrate – Approximately 4 grams of cannabis flower per gram of concentrate.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Allotment for Caregivers
If you have a designated medical marijuana caregiver, that person is held to the same restrictions on quantity and types of marijuana they can purchase and possess as you, the patient. Moreover, those allotment restrictions apply to any medical marijuana purchased and in possession for your use. In other words, you and your designated caregiver cannot each go to a dispensary, whether the same one or two separate ones, and purchase more than 2.5 ounces for your use at any one time.
How Dispensaries Track Allotments
The AZDHS tracks all purchases of medical marijuana for your use. Anytime you or your designated caregiver purchases medical marijuana from any Arizona dispensary, that dispensary relays the amount purchased and the date and time of that purchase to the AZDHS Electronic Verification System (EVS) database. There, the AZDHS logs and retains that information for the last 60-day period.
When a dispensary agent looks up your Allotment History in the EVS to determine how much the dispensary can sell you, if any at all, that agent can only see how much of your allotment you have left at that time. The agent cannot, however, see all of your transactions or the forms of medical marijuana or prices you paid for it.
As a holder of a medical marijuana card Arizona issued, you also have access to this information online through your secure AZDHS account in the Individual Licensing Portal you can find here: individual-licensing.azdhs.gov/s/login/. There, you can view your Allotment History for up to the past 60 days. This can help you keep better track of your purchases and stay within your allotment.
Allotment for Cultivation
Many medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Arizona do not qualify to cultivate any medical marijuana. In fact, you can only cultivate medical marijuana in Arizona if you live at least 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. If you meet this condition, you or your caregiver may grow up to 12 marijuana plants at any one time. Furthermore, you must cultivate these plants within a locked enclosure.
You and your caregiver may not both cultivate medical marijuana and purchase it from a dispensary. In other words, if you or your caregiver cultivate your own medical marijuana, you cannot also purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary.
Other Medical Marijuana Restrictions in Arizona
In addition to your allotment, Arizona also imposes other restrictions on your purchasing, possession and usage of medical marijuana in the state.
Times of Purchase
Under Arizona state law, dispensaries can only operate between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. Local jurisdictions are allowed to establish their own tighter restrictions, but they cannot fall outside those parameters.
Locations of Use
Arizona only allows medical marijuana patients to consume medical marijuana, regardless of form, on private property. Even if on private property, however, you cannot use medical marijuana in view of the public.
Driving Under the Influence
No one may operate any motor vehicle under the influence of any intoxicating or otherwise mind-altering substance. This includes a legitimate medical marijuana cardholder under the influence of legal medical marijuana falling within the patient’s allotment.
If an officer of the law stops you for suspicious driving or any other reason, that officer may require you to submit to a blood test for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Penalties for refusing to take this blood test are similar to those for refusing to take a breathalyzer test for alcohol. This means you can lose your driver’s license just for refusing to take a blood test for marijuana, regardless of whether or not you’re actually under the influence.
Under Arizona law, patients accused of driving under the influence of medical marijuana can argue that their usage didn’t impair their driving ability, but it is a tough case to make, let alone convincingly prove.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona
AffordableCertification.com makes it easy to get your Arizona medical marijuana card. Simply sign up and, within 20 minutes, you can speak with a licensed and qualified Arizona physician for the medical marijuana evaluation and recommendation you need.