How To Obtain an Arizona Cannabis Distribution License [Complete Guide 2021]

Obtaining an Arizona Cannabis Distribution License

There are a lot of places in the USA that are currently fighting for the legalization of cannabis use for either medical or recreational purposes. One of the first few states that legalized marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington. Shortly thereafter, states like New Hampshire, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, California, Indiana, Kansas, and more have followed with the legalization. Some states like Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Hawaii have resulted in decriminalizing it for now.

One of the latest states to allow adults into consuming marijuana for medical or recreational use without facing any legal issues is Arizona. On November 3, 2020, Arizona announced the percentage of people who voted for recreational cannabis use which is 60% of the final votes. This paved way for the much-awaited legalization of marijuana in the state since the early 2000s. However, this is still not the happiest story for all cannabis enthusiasts in Arizona as a couple of laws haven’t been established yet when it comes to selling, getting a business license, Arizona cannabis transportation license/Arizona Cannabis Distribution License, permit to deliver, and more. Currently, the authorities are hoping to announce these rules on or before the 5th of April 2021.

What are The Limitations for Cannabis Users?

The good news for adults is that people who are at the rightful age of 21 have the go signal regarding consumption, transportation, and cultivation of the cannabis plant with some boundaries or restrictions. For personal usage, adults can carry a maximum of 1 ounce or 28 grams of cannabis. Products containing a limit of 5 grams of concentrated cannabis are also allowed to be in personal possession. If you prefer to grow cannabis plants, you will be thrilled to know that it is now legal to grow up to six plants at a time or even up to 12 plants if there are 2 or more cannabis enthusiasts in the same household. Friends may also give cannabis within their circle of up to 1 ounce as well as long as it is not considered selling.

The prohibitions for medical utilization are quite different from recreational. Patients do not need to be 21 years old in order to consume cannabis for medical purposes as long as it is recommended or prescribed by a health professional. Patients who are qualified to consume prescribed cannabis, as well as their caregivers, may possess no more than 70 grams or 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

At the moment, cannabis may only be consumed within a private setting unless the consumption is due to a doctor’s prescription then utilizing cannabis publicly is allowed. People inside any type of vehicle are also not allowed any form of consumption. Anyone caught driving under the influence of cannabis may also face sanctions. Establishments such as nursing homes are allowed to have their own restrictions within the facility in order to control the usage of cannabis by their residents.

What are the limitations for cannabis businesses or dispensaries?

A lot of dispensaries in Arizona have started selling cannabis for recreational use in addition to medical cannabis since the beginning of the year 2021. Any adult who is over the age of 21 can walk in through the dispensaries’ doors and purchase cannabis without any question of the purpose. The same age is also the minimum to be granted a business license to own a dispensary. That means anyone who is under the age of 21 cannot request a cannabis dispensary registration certificate even with good criminal records which is another requirement for the business applicant, owner, or board member. At the moment, there are 145 licenses ready to be given to qualified or eligible early applicants and 26 will go to social equity applicants.

A dispensary should also be located at least 500 feet away from any private or public schools. No license to operate should be given to any dispensary that cannot provide adequate proof about this zoning requirement prior to application. The fee for applying for a business license is $5000 for the first application and $1000 every time the business has to renew.

The regulations for dispensaries for recreational cannabis usage have not been finalized yet by the Arizona Department of Health Services; however, it may have the same requirements and standards as medical cannabis dispensaries. One of the directives in order for a medical cannabis dispensary to have a license is for it to be able to dispense prescribed marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers for a minimum of 30 hours a week schedule. Reading materials such as magazines, books, pamphlets, brochures, video clips, and more educational tools shall also be present in the dispensary for its customers’ usage.

Dispensaries who will receive a license can also grow their own cannabis plants for the purpose of selling them to qualified customers and other licensed dispensaries as well. Transportation of cannabis plants, flowers, goods, and paraphernalia should also be available and should be handled properly by the dispensary.

What are the limitations for moving cannabis?

Even though Arizona has legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state, there are still some limitations with regards to where to order and how to order cannabis. At the moment, the delivery of cannabis for recreational use is prohibited in contrast to some cases of prescribed medical cannabis wherein it can be ordered from a dispensary and delivered to the qualified patient’s home in some instances. Currently, the rules and requirements for a cannabis transportation license in Arizona is still being thoroughly reviewed. According to Arizona cannabis law, the state may only announce regulations for recreational cannabis delivery by the beginning of 2023 and must grant permissions by January 2025.

It may be a long wait for cannabis recreational users before witnessing a marijuana delivery happen. However, this wait time can be a blessing in disguise to business-minded people as there is more time to plan on how to execute a successful Arizona licensed cannabis transportation business.

Cannabis Delivery Services Industry in the United States

Due to the multiple states legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use, one industry that is definitely benefiting from this change is the cannabis transportation business. As the cannabis industry grows, and with the ongoing pandemic that is of Covid-19, cannabis delivery services grow with it too.

There are different rules and regulations for each state that is allowing deliveries of cannabis for either medical or recreational use. So far, the Arizona Cannabis Transportation License and Arizona Cannabis Distribution License for recreational marijuana delivery has not been rolled out and granted yet to any dispensary or business. Having a license to transport cannabis in Arizona would mean that the dispensary or business owner would have a higher value for cannabis consumers since deliveries may provide better customer service, convenience, and safety during these difficult times. It will then result in higher revenue and more satisfied, happy, and returning customers.

Though it may seem like the permission for an Arizona cannabis transportation license will take time, it could be approved any time soon. Over the years, the United States has seen different states create their own way of allowing unconventional businesses and industries such as cannabis delivery services. This trend started in Oregon when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission or OLCC legalized cannabis delivery back in 2016. California has followed shortly and even made history by legalizing cannabis delivery services to all regions regardless of whether there is a local restriction with marijuana-related businesses or not.

This breakthrough with the traditional laws especially regarding cannabis and cannabis delivery is being adopted by many other states such as Michigan, Colorado, Illinois, and Nevada. Colorado in particular has legalization in place this 2021 for recreational cannabis delivery. It has just recently passed the removal of restrictions for deliveries of medical cannabis last January 2021as well.

Although Arizona is fairly new in the legalization of cannabis for recreational use and cannabis transportation license will not be permitted until early 2025, it does not mean that it is too early to plan for successful cannabis delivery in Arizona. After all, a great successful business lies in proper planning, marketing, and execution.

What are the steps to start a Cannabis Transportation Business?

One of the most common dreams of cannabis enthusiasts is to have their own plantation or dispensary to pass the knowledge of cannabis benefits to other people, and at the same time make money with it. However, sometimes, having a dream is not enough. Owning and putting up a dispensary may cost thousands of dollars on capital investment. Though dispensing cannabis is a lucrative business, not having the adequate amount of capital may put you into a roadblock.


The good news is, there is another cannabis-related business you can venture into without spending as much as when you need to put up a cannabis dispensary. Having a cannabis transportation business may provide you flexibility when it comes to your initial investment. Whether or not you are planning to have a stand-alone cannabis delivery service or want to have it as an additional service to your existing operating dispensary, here are some of the checklists to consider.


  1. If you do not have any background regarding the financial aspects of running a business, it is recommended to take a crash course on different financial models that you can use so you may easily create and draw a target in mind regarding your capitals, sales, expenses, revenues, and profits. Regardless of whether you will hire an accountant in the future or you will do it yourself, having some knowledge about it is a great advantage.


  1. Have a concrete cannabis delivery business plan. This may include operations, logistics, customer service, and many others. With a clear and solid understanding of how your delivery business will run in the future, it will be easy for you to check if everything is running well or if there is a bit that needs to be changed in order for your cannabis delivery business to be successful.


  1. Once the Arizona Cannabis Transportation License requirements have been announced, it’s time to plan on how to get that license fast. Make sure to prepare all necessary documents before applying to avoid getting license rejections. Know the legislation by heart and make sure your business is eligible and can follow the standards or regulations.


  1. Now that you have the go signal to deliver cannabis to your clients, you always have to be prepared with your inventory as this will dictate the level of service you will provide your customers. No one would be happy for an order cancellation just because the product has been overlooked and is out of stock. Study the demand in the area which your cannabis delivery service covers and make sure to stock up.


  1. The most important part of a delivery business is the vehicle. If you are starting a cannabis delivery service in Arizona, do not settle with a cheap vehicle. Ideally, your delivery vehicle should be running in perfect condition. It must be properly secured to carry cannabis products during transportation, armed with an alarm system, and has temperature control capabilities if transporting cannabis products that are temperature sensitive. These things will help you either make or break it with every customer.


  1. Build a network of clients. Do your research regarding your targeted market, plan promotions that may work with who your market is, and make sure to plan on how you will sell your newly established service-based business. As a starter, there may be tough competition with the other known businesses out there. However, by having a reliable, fast, efficient, good customer service and great overall delivery experience, your customers will surely double in no time. As the Arizona Cannabis Transportation License is still on hold, planning ahead of time can give you a head start against other aspiring cannabis delivery services in the state.


Whether you already have an existing cannabis dispensary business in Arizona or not, opening a cannabis transportation service can come with challenges. However, if you are really committed to growing your brand and expanding your business, then you should start planning your business now. Now that adult-use cannabis in Arizona is legal, the market is expected to grow even more, and an Arizona cannabis transportation service is an added convenience for all customers

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Frequently Asked Questions