The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – also known as Proposition 203 – legalized the sale and use of cannabis in the state of Arizona for medical purposes.
However, to buy medical marijuana you need:
- Your medical marijuana card from the Arizona Department of Health Services
- A Medical Marijuana Physician Certification form detailing your condition.
This article will tell you everything you need to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona.
But first, an important note:
What are the marijuana laws in Arizona?
Just because cannabis is now legal for medical purposes in Arizona, it does not follow that people are just freely lighting up all over the state.
In Arizona, recreational cannabis is still illegal.
You need to prove that you need to take marijuana for a specific medical condition before you are legally allowed to have it.
There are also some vital restrictions to your use of cannabis even with your medical marijuana card and doctor’s form:
- You can only carry a certain amount on you at any time (2.5 ounces)
- You can only grow your own medical marijuana if you live 25 miles away from a dispensary
- You cannot drive while under the influence
- You cannot smoke in public – especially on the grounds of educational institutions
With that out of the way, here is how easy it is to get a medical card in Arizona:
1) Your condition needs to qualify
Arizona medical marijuana laws specify that you must have at least one of a set list of conditions in order to qualify for a medical card.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple sclerosis
- Severe nausea
- Chronic pain
Chronic pain is by far the most popular reason people get a recommendation from their doctor. It can be caused by a large number of conditions, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Back pain
- Sports injuries
If you have already been diagnosed, all you need to do is visit your doctor. They will need to write you a recommendation based on your diagnosis.
This means you will need to…
2) Make an appointment with your doctor or an official evaluator
One of the key Arizona dispensary laws is that you must have your doctor either make or approve the diagnosis of your condition.
For some people, this can represent a problem:
Not all doctors have received training in the recent advances and research in cannabis and cannabis-derived medication as a treatment.
Some physicians may be generally opposed to cannabis as a treatment on unrelated grounds.
Some patients are concerned about privacy.
If any of the above sound like they might apply to you, there is no need to worry. You can also get permission from a qualifying state-approved medical marijuana evaluator (sometimes called a Medical Marijuana Doctor, or MMJ).
- Medical Doctors
- Homoeopathic doctors
If you choose to go with either of the latter, you will need to make sure you bring proof of your diagnosis.
Some MMJs may be able to offer an onsite assessment of your condition. But it is always sensible to check ahead if you think you might need one of these.
3) Gather the necessary documents
Once you have approval from your doctor or MMJ, you need to gather together a few important pieces of identification.
Altogether, so far you should have your:
- Photo ID
- Driver’s license (or some kind of similar document)
- Your doctor’s approval form
4) Fill in your application form
The next stage is to print off a form for you yourself to sign. This form involves swearing that you will not sell or abuse your marijuana medication once you have it. You are technically allowed to give your medication to other licensed patients.
But no money can change hands at all.
Here is a quick breakdown of how to complete the form:
i) Getting the form
The form can be found on the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) website at azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana.
You cannot currently get it any other way, meaning you will need internet access in order to get it
ii) Filling in the form
Many people ask how hard it is to get a medical card in Arizona. Filling in the form is really the only part of the process which could be described as challenging. Even then, the challenge is that it is rather long and boring rather than truly hard.
Some MMJs may be able to handle this for you. Although, in this case, it is likely that they will charge you for doing so.
iii) Submitting your form
Once you have your completed form to add to your identification, driver’s license and doctor’s approval, it is time to send it all into the AZDHS.
This will cost you – $150 normally or $75 if you are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps)
5) Get your card and then your medical marijuana
Your card should arrive by post in under ten working days after you submit your application. You cannot identify what is in the envelope from outside, so there are no privacy concerns.
Once your card has arrived, you can visit any state-approved dispensary to get your medication. You can find all of the ones with a current license on the AZDHS website.
How easy is it to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona?
All in all, as long as you have a qualifying condition and your doctor is aware of the current research on medical cannabis and cannabis-derived medication, you should not have a problem.
Getting a medical marijuana card in Arizona is designed to be easy for people who need it.