On November 2, 2010, Arizona Proposition 203 (the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Act”) was approved and removed all state-level criminal penalties for the use and possession of medical marijuana. The proposition established an official medical marijuana program overseen by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), and patients with a doctor’s recommendation can now possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. In today’s blog, we discuss the process for obtaining a medical marijuana card in Arizona, from the physician’s consultation to the required documentation you will need.
Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card
Qualifying Medical Conditions
To be eligible for the medical marijuana program, you must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, such as the following:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures (including Epilepsy)
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms (including those characteristics of Multiple Sclerosis)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The Physician Visit
If you believe you have symptoms of the above, you can locate an Arizona physician who recommends marijuana use. Note that unlike other states, Arizona does not provide a list of marijuana-recommending physicians, so you can try to find them online or even by checking your local newspaper.
At the doctor’s consultation, if the physician determines you have a qualifying condition, they should complete the Arizona DHS medical marijuana certification form on your behalf. Be aware that your doctor can’t simply provide a written recommendation; they must complete and sign a copy of the state’s physician certification form.
Note that the physician must also have a “physician-patient relationship” with you, which means the doctor should review your medical records and have a reasonable expectation that they will follow up with you.
The ADHS application must be completed online, and you will need additional documents to complete the application process once you have an official signed ADHS medical marijuana form. The documents to include are:
- identification card (a valid Arizona driver’s license or a U.S. passport);
- a current photo taken no more than 60 days before (can be provided by the clinic);
- a completed and signed physician certification form (provided by the clinic);
- a completed and signed qualifying Patient Attestation Form;
- SNAP documentation (for applications with an electronic benefits transfer card)
Once your documents are ready, register with the Arizona Department of Health Services and proceed with the online application. Keep in mind that all of these documents must be accompanied by the physician recommendation form, and you must scan each document and upload it in PDF format for online submission.
Note that patients under the age of 18 have a special application, as well as caregivers registering on behalf of a patient.
There is a $150 initial online application fee for qualifying patients or a renewal of your card. After the ADHS receives and approves your completed application, they will issue a registry card within 10 working days that will be eligible for 2 years. To renew your medical marijuana card, you must pay the same $150 application fee and fill out the official form again. Be aware that you can only apply for renewal if you have less than 90 days on your current medical card.
Patients with an official card may possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana every 2 weeks. If you seek to cultivate marijuana, you must have declared the intention to cultivate on your application form. You must also live in an area of Arizona that is greater than 25 miles from a state-licensed dispensary for cultivation to be legal. If you meet these requirements, you can grow a maximum of 12 plants at home.
Contact Bowman, Smith & Kallen, P.L.L.C. for Legal Guidance
If you are interested in applying for a medical marijuana card in Arizona or have legal questions about the process, contact an experienced attorney for guidance. Our team at Bowman, Smith & Kallen, P.L.L.C. can address any legal concerns you might have, especially if you have been wrongfully charged with illegal possession while possessing a medical license.