Since Proposition 207 was passed and made marijuana legal for people over 21 years old, the Arizona marijuana business has changed a lot in the past year.
As of January 2020, most medical operators, if not all of them, were dual operators because the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) gave them adult-use licenses. In Arizona, this means that most licenses work with both the medical and adult-use programs.
Because the rules and laws of both programs aren’t always clear, it’s suggested that dual-licensed operators follow the tightest rules of each program when they apply.
The following discussion only includes parts of the laws and rules that apply to Arizona’s medical and adult-use programs. This document does not contain any legal advice. Please go to ADHS’s marijuana website for a complete and thorough review of the laws, rules, and guidelines. Furthermore, the sections listed in the regulation or law may not relate to the statutes or rules being referred to.
Arizona Cannabis Laws At A Glance
- Arizona’s medical and adult-use marijuana program is managed by ADHS.
- Medical use has been legal since 2010 with the first medical marijuana sales taking place in December 2012.
- Adult-use use was legalized in November of 2020, after the passing of Prop 207. Adult-use sales began in January of 2021.
- Medical dispensaries that applied for and received an adult-use Marijuana Establishment license, can sell to registered patients and adult-use users at the same location.
- Medical operators are called “Dispensaries” under the medical program, whether they are cultivating, manufacturing, or selling marijuana under a vertically integrated license. Under the adult-use program, adult-use and dual licensed operators are called “Marijuana Establishments,” whether they are cultivating, manufacturing, or selling marijuana under a vertically integrated license. For purposes of this blog post, any reference to “Dispensary” will apply to only the medical operators and any reference to “Marijuana Establishment” will apply to adult-use and dual license operators. Using marijuana in any form is prohibited when in public. What constitutes “public” is broad and can even include certain private events, that the public has access to.
- Sales tax on medical marijuana ranges from 5.6% to 7.6%, depending on the county where the sale takes place. Adult-use marijuana is taxed at a rate equal to medical marijuana plus 16%.
- A customer, under the adult-use program, can purchase no more than 1 ounce of marijuana, with not more than 5 grams being in the form of concentrate. A patient, under the medical program, can purchase no more than 2.5 ounces in a 14-calendar-day period.
Rule 1: Packaging And Labeling
Rule R9-17-317 (Medical): A Dispensary shall ensure that medical marijuana or a marijuana product provided by the Dispensary to a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver is labeled with: (1) The Dispensary’s registry identification number; (2) The amount, strain, and batch number of the medical marijuana or marijuana product; (3) The form of the medical marijuana or marijuana product; (4) As applicable, the weight of the medical marijuana or marijuana product; (5) The potency of the medical marijuana or marijuana product, based on laboratory testing results, including the number of milligrams per designated unit or percentage of: (a) Total tetrahydrocannabinol, reported according to R9-17-404.03(S)(2)(a)(b) Total cannabidiol, reported according to R9-17-404.03(S)(2)(b); and (c) Any other cannabinoid for which the Dispensary is making a claim related to the effect of the cannabinoid on the human body; (6) The following statement: “ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES’ WARNING: Marijuana use can be addictive and can impair an individual’s ability to drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy machinery. Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and can lead to an increased risk for cancer, tachycardia, hypertension, heart attack, and lung infection. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN”; (7) If not cultivated by the Dispensary, whether the medical marijuana was obtained from a qualifying patient, a designated caregiver, or another Dispensary; (8) If not infused or prepared for sale by the Dispensary, whether the marijuana product was obtained from another Dispensary; (9) For a marijuana product: (a) The ingredients in order of abundance; and (b) If the marijuana product contains ethanol, the percentage of ethanol in the marijuana product; (10) The date of manufacture, harvest, or sale;(11) The registry identification number of the qualifying patient (this obligation applies only to Dispensaries); and (12) Several requirements that apply when marijuana is cultivate and/or infused by one operator and then sold to another (R9-17-317(B)-(C)).
Law 36-2860 (adult-use): (1) Use false or misleading packaging for marijuana products; (2) Sell products that resemble humans, animals, insects, fruit, toys, or cartoons; and (3) Sell or advertise marijuana products that imitate food or drink brands marketed to children. All packaging must be child-resistant and clearly labeled with information on the contents and health warnings.
Explained: Cannabis doesn’t have to be labelled as medicine or for adult use until it is sold to a patient or customer. Because of this, Marijuana Businesses should follow the rules for packaging and labelling set out in both the medical law and the adult-use statute we’ll talk about next.
Marijuana establishments can’t:
- Do not put cannabis goods in packaging that is true or misleading.
- Offer goods that look like people, animals, bugs, food, toys, or cartoon characters.
- Advertise or sell marijuana goods that look like kid-friendly brands of food or drinks.
All packaging must be safe for kids and clearly labelled with what’s inside and any health warnings.
Rule 2: Retail Cannabis Licensing
Currently, ADHS is not taking applications for medical or adult-use licenses or permits. 26 Social Equity Licenses will be given out in early 2022 after ADHS takes and looks over the applications sent in during the first two weeks of December. You can find out how to apply for an Arizona Social Equity License here.
Rule 3: Patients And Caregivers
Rule R9-17-201 (Medical). To use medical marijuana, Arizona residents must be qualifying patients registered with ADHS and maintain a registry identification card. An individual applying for a qualifying patient registry identification card must have a diagnosis from a physician of at least one of the debilitating medical conditions. For a patient to get an Arizona medical marijuana license, the patient must: (1) be at least 18 years of age with a valid government-issued ID and an Arizona residential address; (2) have medical records for the past year to provide to the approving physician; (3) have a debilitating medical condition, including: (a) Severe nausea; (b) PTSD; (c) Cancer; (d) HIV/AIDS; (e) Glaucoma; (f) Severe and chronic pain; (g) Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease; (h) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease); (i) Cachexia or wasting syndrome; (j) Crohn’s Disease; (k) Hepatitis C; (l) Persistent Muscle Spasms; and (m) Seizures; (4) acquire a physician certification form; and (5) pay a $150 fee. A patients medical marijuana card must be renewed each year.
Rule R9-17-202 (Medical). Except for a qualifying patient who is under 18 years of age, a qualifying patient is not required to have a designated caregiver. A qualifying patient may have only one designated caregiver at any given time. With some exceptions, to apply for a registry identification card, a qualifying patient shall submit to the Department the following: (1) An application in a Department-provided format that includes: (a) The qualifying patient’s: (i) First name; middle initial, if applicable; last name; and suffix, if applicable; (ii) Date of birth; and (iii) Gender; (b) With some exceptions, the qualifying patient’s residence address and mailing address; (c) The county where the qualifying patient resides; (d) The qualifying patient’s e-mail address; (e) The identifying number on the applicable card or document in subsections (F)(2)(a) through (e) of R9-17-202; (f) The name, address, and telephone number of the physician providing the written certification for medical marijuana for the qualifying patient; (g) Whether the qualifying patient is requesting authorization for cultivating marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use because the qualifying patient believes that the qualifying patient resides at least 25 miles from the nearest operating Dispensary (it should be noted that this restriction is obsolete since individuals can now cultivate marijuana at their place of residence under the adult-use program, without the need for approval); (h) If the qualifying patient is requesting authorization for cultivating marijuana plants, whether the qualifying patient is designating the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver to cultivate marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use; (i) If the qualifying patient is homeless, an address where the qualifying patient can receive mail; (j) Whether the qualifying patient would like notification of any clinical studies needing human subjects for research on the medical use of marijuana; (k) An attestation that the information provided in the application is true and correct; and (l) The signature of the qualifying patient and date the qualifying patient signed; (2) A copy of the qualifying patient’s: (a) Arizona driver’s license issued on or after October 1, 1996; (b) Arizona identification card issued on or after October 1, 1996; (c) Arizona registry identification card; (d) Photograph page in the qualifying patient’s U.S. passport; or (e) Arizona driver’s license or identification card issued before October 1, 1996 and one of the following for the qualifying patient: (i) Birth certificate verifying U.S. citizenship; (ii) U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, or iii. U.S. Certificate of Citizenship; (3) A current photograph of the qualifying patient; (4) A statement in a Department-provided format signed by the qualifying patient pledging not to divert marijuana to any individual who or entity that is not allowed to possess marijuana pursuant to A.R.S. A physician’s written certification in a Department-provided format dated within 90 calendar days before the submission of the qualifying patient’s application.
- A patient must have a doctor’s diagnosis of at least one of the conditions mentioned above to get a medical marijuana license.
- Patients who meet the requirements and are over 18 do not need to have a helper.
- You have to pay $150 to get a medical marijuana card.
- Every year, you have to renew your medical marijuana card.
Rule 4: Possession And Purchase Limits
Rule R9-17-314 (Medical): (A) Before a Dispensary agent dispenses medical marijuana or a marijuana product to a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver, the Dispensary agent shall: (1) Verify the qualifying patient’s or the designated caregiver’s identity; (2) Offer any appropriate patient education or support materials; (3) Make available the results of testing of the medical marijuana or marijuana product required in R9-17-317.01(A), if requested by the qualifying patient or designated caregiver; (4) Enter the qualifying patient’s or designated caregiver’s registry identification number on the qualifying patient’s or designated caregiver’s registry identification card into the medical marijuana electronic verification system; (5) Verify the validity of the qualifying patient’s or designated caregiver’s registry identification card; (6) Verify that the amount of medical marijuana or marijuana product the qualifying patient or designated caregiver is requesting would not cause the qualifying patient to exceed the limit on obtaining no more than two and one-half ounces of medical marijuana during any 14 calendar-day period; and (7) Enter the following information into the medical marijuana electronic verification system for the qualifying patient or designated caregiver: (a) The amount of medical marijuana dispensed; (b) Whether the medical marijuana was dispensed to the qualifying patient or to the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver; (c) The date and time the medical marijuana was dispensed; (d) The Dispensary agent’s registry identification number; and (e) The Dispensary’s registry identification number; (B) A Dispensary shall ensure that medical marijuana or a marijuana product provided by the Dispensary to a customer, qualifying patient, or a designated caregiver is dispensed in a container made of material that will not react with or leach into the medical marijuana or marijuana product.
Rule R9-18-309 (adult-use): Before a marijuana facility agent of a marijuana establishment sells or otherwise transfers marijuana or a marijuana product to a consumer, the marijuana facility agent shall: (1) Verify the consumer’s age through one of the documents in A.R.S. § 4-241(K); (2) Make available the results of testing of the marijuana or marijuana product required in R9-18-311, if requested by the consumer; and (3) Ensure that the amount of marijuana or marijuana product to be sold or otherwise transferred to the consumer does not exceed one ounce of marijuana, with not more than five grams being in the form of a marijuana concentrate.
- Agents at the dispensary have to put the transaction into the state portal to make sure it doesn’t go over the 14-day limit of 2.5 ounces of marijuana purchases.
- People over the age of 21 can only buy up to 1 ounce of marijuana, and no more than 5 grams of that can be concentrated.
- As an adult, you can have up to 1 ounce of marijuana, and no more than 5 grams of that can be marijuana concentrate. Medical marijuana users can have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
- Patients and people who use cannabis for recreational purposes can buy flowers, extracts, concentrates, edible foods (including drinks), vape devices, and topicals, among other things.
- You are not allowed to use weed in a dispensary or marijuana establishment.
Rule 5: Patient And Personal Cultivation
The adult-use program makes it legal to grow marijuana at home. This means that the rules and standards in R9-17-203 (medical) don’t apply to AZ medical patients. Patients who need to be approved caregivers to grow marijuana should still follow the medical rules so they don’t risk their registry ID card.
Law 36-2852 (adult-use): Possessing, transporting, cultivating or processing not more than six marijuana plants for personal use at the individual’s primary residence, and possessing, processing and manufacturing by manual or mechanical means, including sieving or ice water separation but excluding chemical extraction or chemical synthesis, the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the marijuana plants were grown if all of the following apply: (a) Not more than twelve plants are produced at a single residence where two or more individuals who are at least twenty-one years of age reside at one time. (b) Cultivation takes place within a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed area on the grounds of the residence equipped with a lock or other security device that prevents access by minors. (c) Cultivation takes place in an area where the marijuana plants are not visible from public view without using binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.
People who live in Arizona and are at least 21 years old can grow up to 6 marijuana plants in their homes in a locked, enclosed space that keeps children out.
Rule 6: Dispensing Requirements; Security
Administration: Rule R9-17-310 (Medical); Rule R9-18-308 (adult-use): (A) A Dispensary shall: (1) Ensure that the Dispensary is operating and available to dispense medical marijuana and marijuana products to qualifying patients and designated caregivers: (a) At least 30 hours weekly between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; and (b) For a Dispensary with a Dispensary registration certificate issued on or after April 1, 2020, within 18 months after receiving the Dispensary registration certificate; (2) Develop, document, and implement policies and procedures regarding: (a) Job descriptions and employment contracts, including: (i) Personnel duties, authority, responsibilities, and qualifications; (ii) personnel supervision; (iii) Training in and adherence to confidentiality requirements (medical only); (iv) Periodic performance evaluations (medical only); and (v) Disciplinary actions (medical only); (b) training of marijuana facility agents, including the requirements of ARS Title 36, Chapter 28.2, and the adult-use regulations (adult-use only) (c) Business records, such as manual or computerized records of assets and liabilities, monetary transactions, journals, ledgers, and supporting documents, including agreements, checks, invoices, and vouchers; (d) Inventory control, including: (i) Tracking; (ii) Packaging; (iii) Accepting marijuana from qualifying patients and designated caregivers (medical only); (iv) Acquiring marijuana or marijuana products from other Dispensaries or Marijuana Establishments; (v) Providing marijuana or marijuana products to another Dispensaries or Marijuana Establishments; and (vi) Either: (1) Providing samples of marijuana or marijuana products to a laboratory for testing, or (2) Allowing a laboratory agent access to medical marijuana or marijuana product to collect samples.
Security: Rule R9-17-318 (medical); Rule R9-18-12 (adult-use): (A) With some regulatory exceptions, a Dispensary shall ensure that access into areas of the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment or the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment’s cultivation site where marijuana is cultivated, processed, manufactured, or stored is limited to the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment’s principal officers, board members, and authorized Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agents. (B) A Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent may transport marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, and marijuana paraphernalia between the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment and: (1) The Dispensary/Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment’s cultivation site or manufacturing site, as applicable; (2) A qualifying patient (medical), (3) Another Dispensary/ Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment, and (4) A laboratory that has a laboratory registration certificate issued by the Department; (C) Before transportation, a Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent shall: (1) Complete a trip plan that includes: (a) The name of the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent in charge of transporting the marijuana; (b) The date and start time of the trip; (c) A description of the marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia being transported; (d) Any anticipated stops during the trip, including the locations of the stop and arrival and departure time from the location; and (e) The anticipated route of transportation; and (2) Provide a copy of the trip plan to the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment; and (D) During transportation, a Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent shall: (1) Carry a copy of the trip plan with the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent for the duration of the trip; (2) Use a vehicle: (a) without any marijuana identification; (b) equipped with global positioning system or other means of racking the location of the vehicle (adult-use); (c) with operational video surveillance and recording equipment that is turned on for the duration of the trip (adult-use); (d) with a locked compartment in which any marijuana or marijuana products being transported may be stored during the trip (adult-use); (3) Have a means of communication with the Dispensary; and (4) Ensure that the marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia are not visible.
The retail shop at a dispensary or marijuana business has to be open at least 30 hours a week.
Medical marijuana can be delivered, but not marijuana for adult use. The Department may, but must, make rules by January 1, 2025, or later, by January 1, 2023. These rules will allow and control transportation by Marijuana Establishments (36-2854).
Dispensaries also have to follow specific rules that make sure they teach their patients the right things (R9-17-310, R9-17-313; R9-17-314, R9-17-315).
Dispensaries and other marijuana businesses can grow their plants or grow plants to sell to other dispensaries and marijuana businesses.
Dispensaries need to make, write down, and follow policies and standard operating procedures that cover, but aren’t limited to (the list below isn’t complete):
- Job titles and contracts for work
- Business records include lists of assets and debts, financial deals, journals, ledgers, and other paperwork that backs them up.
- Training for people who work in dispensaries and marijuana businesses
- Management and control of inventory
- Research Lab Testing for Cleanup
- How to get rid of marijuana and marijuana goods
- Medical records that meet specific criteria, such as purchases, refusals to sell, delivery choices, privacy, and retention; and
Patients should be educated and helped, and certain things should be made and given out.
Arizona Cannabis Laws FAQS
Q. Is marijuana legal in Arizona?
Adult-use marijuana is allowed for Arizona adults over 21 as of November 2020, when Proposition 207 was passed. Since 2010, it has been allowed to use medical marijuana.
Q. Who can apply for a medical marijuana patient license in Arizona?
Arizona residents over the age of 18 who have a doctor’s note can apply for a medical marijuana patient card. Non-residents and patients under 18 can also apply, but they must meet specific requirements.
Q. What’s Arizona’s tax on marijuana?
It depends on the county where the weed is bought and whether it has a sales tax of 5.6% or 7.6%. Pot for adults is charged at the same rate as medical pot plus 16%.
Q. How much marijuana can I buy in Arizona?
Under the adult-use scheme, a customer can only buy up to 1 ounce of marijuana, and no more than 5 grams of that can be concentrated. This is because of the medical program; a patient can only buy 2.5 ounces in 14 calendar days.