Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona. The state has been a big green spot on the marijuana legalization map since 2010, making it the fifteenth state in the US to legalize cannabis. But there are some serious stipulations to that legality.
Here are five facts you really need to know about the medical marijuana laws in Arizona:
1. You Need an ID Card and a Form from Your Doctor
Your medical marijuana card is your basic form of identification when it comes to being allowed to use and be in possession of medical marijuana. To get one, you’ll need to fill out the right paperwork and show proper ID to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
In addition to this, you will need to have your doctor complete a Medical Marijuana Physician Certification form. This form explains why your doctor is prescribing the medication for you.
2. Recreational Marijuana Is Still Illegal
Proposition 203 legalized the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes in the State of Arizona. The proposition is also known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
The Act was designed primarily to permit seriously ill patients who find relief in marijuana to take it if their doctor approves.
This means that using cannabis for recreational purposes is still illegal.
If you’re caught in possession of marijuana and you don’t have your marijuana medical card on you, you’re laying yourself open to being charged with a felony. The seriousness of that charge will likely be down to how much of it you have on you at the time.
This makes it absolutely vital that you carry your medical card with you at all times.
3. You Can Only Be in Possession of a Certain Amount
Even if you have your card and your Physician Certification Form on you, you can only be in possession of a certain amount of “usable” marijuana.
At the time of writing, this amount is 2.5 ounces.
4. You’re Allowed to Grow It Yourself (under certain conditions)
Although most people who take marijuana for medical purposes buy it from a licensed dispensary, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act also permits people to grow the plant themselves.
That’s so long as:
- You have the correct documentation as a medical marijuana patient.
- You are growing the plants in a secure, enclosed facility.
- You are not growing more than twelve plants.
- There is no licensed dispensary within 25 miles of you.
However, the plants can be challenging to grow – especially if you’re not really into your botany or horticulture.
5. You Can’t Drive While Under the Influence
One of the many positive effects of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is that it keeps lots of sensible restrictions on where and when you can use the plant for medical purposes.
For instance, driving while under the influence of marijuana is still a felony. Even if you’ve used marijuana recently and the metabolites (the end-products of taking marijuana into your body and metabolizing it) are still in your system, you can be charged.
If you have your medical marijuana card on you however, you can still legally have the metabolites in your system and be in control of a vehicle.
6. You Can’t Use or Possess It in an Educational Institution
Introduced by a later exception to Proposition 203 called House Bill 2349, Arizona law now states that you can’t use or possess medical marijuana in a high or junior high school, college, university or any other educational institution.
– On the surface, this seems to be just another sensible thing to do. Most people would probably automatically think that young children shouldn’t possess marijuana. However, there’s also another important part of this ruling:
– This is drawn from the fact that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has not approved the medical use of marijuana. There’s also the fact that no state or school can receive federal aid if they have legalized a drug which is not approved by the FDA. This means that by banning medical marijuana from schools, the state of Arizona ensures it continues to receive federal grants and loans.
– Children and the parents of children with symptoms which medical marijuana might be able to address have argued that this is unfair.
It’s important to note that people under the age of 18 can still apply for and receive a medical marijuana card in Arizona. They just can’t legally use it on school grounds.
So Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Arizona?
Any map of marijuana legalization will show that yes, medical marijuana is legal in Arizona.
But if you’re taking marijuana for medical purposes, you still need to be aware of how much you’re allowed to carry, where you’re allowed to carry it and that you always have your proper documentation on you.
Otherwise, you risk falling afoul of the sensible precautions against misuse which the state still has in place.