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Arizona Cannabis Laws
In 2020, Arizona became one of the states in the United States of America that legalized cannabis or marijuana use for recreational purposes. Currently, Washington, D.C., and 15 other states have removed legal prohibitions against its usage. The legalization happened on November 3, 2020, when 60% of the voters supported the approval of leisure utilization of cannabis under Proposition 207 authorizing the Smart and Safe Arizona Act.
Even though cannabis usage has been decriminalized and legalized in the state, dispensaries still need to get a license to sell it for recreational use. The laws regarding the selling of cannabis for this purpose are still being established by Arizona’s lawmakers and are eyeing to regulate them on or before April 5, 2021.
Arizona Cannabis Cultivation License
Grow cannabis legally for a small business (Micro-Cultivation) or get a (Standard Cultivation) for a large-scale operation.
Arizona Cannabis Dispensary License
Build, own and operate a physical cannabis dispensary retail store in your city.
Arizona Cannabis Delivery License
Operate a cannabis delivery service for your own dispensary or other dispensaries in your city!
Arizona Cannabis Distribution License
Buy cannabis from growers, perform quality assurance on products, & transport cannabis from one location to another.
Arizona Cannabis Manufacturing License
Refine and process cannabis to create extracts, edibles, vapes, and others. Grade potency and classify the cannabis.
Arizona Cannabis Legislative History
Arizona has been trying to find ways on how to decriminalize and even legalize the consumption of cannabis for more than two decades now. There were different legal propositions over the years before it finally approved the usage of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. In 1996, Proposition 200, or the “Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act” was approved when 65% of the voters expressed their agreement for marijuana medical prescription. There were controversies following the legislation; however, supporters such as former U.S Senator Barry Goldwater and founder of the University of Phoenix, John Sperling, led and promoted the campaign.
Shortly after the Arizona Medical Cannabis bill was passed, Proposition 203 was created. In 2002, the vote count to legalize cannabis for recreational use fell short and only got 42.7% of the votes. If approved, this proposition could have allowed patients to carry up to 2 ounces and grow 2 plants, create a system monitored by the state for medical cannabis dispersion, decriminalization of marijuana use other than for medical reasons if it is only up to 2 ounces, and suggested changes on non-violent drug offenses.
Eight years after the failed attempt to pass Proposition 203, with just a very small margin, the proposition has finally been approved with some revisions when 50.1% of the voters voted for it. This campaign authorized patients to have up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis as long as a doctor’s recommendation is available. It has also limited patients who live less than 25 miles from a dispensary to grow their own plant.
Recreational Cannabis in Arizona
The recreational use of cannabis was initiated again in November 2016 under Proposition 205; however, the campaign has failed with only 48.7% of the votes in favor of the proposition. There were different opposition campaigns to overpower the initiative and were supported by multiple politicians and private companies as well.
The latest Proposition 207 gave way to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in the state. Aside from allowing adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, the proposition also directs Arizona’s Department of Health Services to establish rules for individual sales such as imposing an excise tax on cannabis products. These taxes are set forth to be used in community colleges, police and fire departments, highway funding, justice reinvestment funding, and state attorney general for enforcement.
Who can consume and purchase cannabis?
Anyone who is over the age of 21 years old is permitted to consume, carry, and grow cannabis for personal use with some limiting conditions. It is now legal for adults to have up to 1 ounce or 28 grams of marijuana in possession. Cannabis-infused goods that have 5 grams or less concentrated marijuana form are also allowed. The state has also legalized cannabis enthusiasts to grow six plants at a time. Those who are below the lawful age of cannabis consumption may be allowed usage only for medical purposes. Qualified patients for medical marijuana usage and their caregivers may carry cannabis up to 2.5 ounces or 70 grams. Adults may also give their friends up to 1 ounce of cannabis as long as the recipient is also 21 years or older.
Where can cannabis be consumed?
Both recreational users and medical patients may utilize cannabis in private; however, only those who are consuming cannabis for medical purposes are allowed to consume edibles in public. The consumption of cannabis in any kind of vehicle is also prohibited as well as driving under the influence. Nursing homes are authorized to create their own rules and regulations to limit and control the usage of their residents if necessary.
What are the conditions to qualify for medical marijuana in Arizona?
Patients who are less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when obtaining a medical cannabis registry identification card. The parent or guardian must understand the risks and advantages of medical marijuana by consulting the patient’s physician. There should also be a written certification from two physicians as well as a commitment from the legal guardian to be the patient’s caregiver who will administer medical cannabis as instructed by the patient’s doctor.
Adult patients are not required to have a specific caregiver; however, they may freely select someone if they choose to have a caregiver who will assist in purchasing, administering, and cultivation of medical cannabis. Patients with the below conditions may qualify for medical cannabis use:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other illnesses with chronic pain or severe nausea
How much cannabis can I grow in Arizona?
Anyone who is over the age of 21 may grow their own cannabis plant at home as long as it does not exceed the allowable number of six plants. For families and households with two or more cannabis enthusiasts, a limit of 12 plants in total can be cultivated in one house and should be kept discreetly and away from public spaces such as pathways.
Patients registered for medical cannabis along with their selected caregivers may grow up to 12 plants as long as the nearest dispensary is beyond 25 miles or 45 kilometers distance from the patient’s residency address.
Applying for a retail license in Arizona
On or before April 5, 2021, the laws regulating the recreational use of cannabis will be announced and established by ADHS or the Arizona Department of Health Services. Along with this, the same government authority has started processing license applications for dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana to the public at the beginning of the year 2021.
Applications from currently existing non-profit dispensaries for medical cannabis will be prioritized by the Arizona Department of Health Services and may be granted licenses for profitable retail cannabis selling as well. At the moment, state-licensed dispensaries are only allowed to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis to qualified patients on a non-profit basis.
Who are eligible to apply for a Cannabis Retail License?
In order to be deemed eligible to have a marijuana dispensary registration certificate, an applicant must be at least 21 years old and has no known or recorded criminal record of a felony offense. Authorities have reserved around 145 licenses for early applicants that are eligible and 26 licenses for social equity applicants. It is still unclear if licensed dispensaries for recreational cannabis will have the same regulations as medical cannabis dispensaries; however, once the laws have been established by the ADHS, it is expected to have the same requirements and provisions.
Where can a cannabis dispensary be located?
One of the laws in Arizona establishes that no marijuana dispensary shall be located within 500 feet of any school regardless if it is private or public. During the business license application, the dispensary location should meet the local zoning requirements before being granted a retail certificate or license. The issuance of a license may also depend on the number of pharmacies in a certain area as ADHS commonly allows one recreational cannabis dispensary for every 10 medical dispensaries.
How much does a cannabis retail license for recreational use costs?
Applicants who were able to file their applications early this year until the 9th of March 2021 may receive their business license within 60 days of filing. At the moment, each license is valid for 2 years and can be renewed if certain conditions and requirements are met.
Enthusiasts and business owners who would like to have a license for recreational marijuana retail selling must pay the license fee of around $5000 for the initial application and $1000 for renewal. This amount has been said to be a reasonable price and should not exceed five times the amount of license fees for non-profit dispensaries.
What can I sell as a licensed cannabis dispensary?
Once a license to operate as a recreational cannabis dispensary has been granted, a retail cannabis shop may sell the following cannabis-related goods and products:
- Cannabis Flowers
- Cannabis Resin,
- Cannabis Extracts
- Cannabis-infused products
- Cannabis Oil
- Cannabis Seedlings
- Cannabis Plants limited to personal cultivation
- Different Cannabis equipment and paraphernalia
Other requirements to qualify for a dispensary license
Currently, the complete requirements and conditions for recreational cannabis dispensaries are still being established; however, it is expected to have similar regulations as the medical ones. Existing dispensaries for medical cannabis must meet the condition of 30 hours per week of availability to dispense recommended or prescribed cannabis to qualified patients and caregivers. Each dispensary should also be able to provide educational materials to its customers as well as media for evaluations regarding therapeutic or alleviatory usage of cannabis for a patient’s health condition.
Licensed dispensaries for medical cannabis may also cultivate marijuana plants to sell to qualified customers and other dispensaries as well. In addition, they may also be able to move cannabis and paraphernalia and produce or sell edibles and non-edibles cannabis goods for medical use.
Regulated cannabis packaging
In line with the previous provisions that created a way for the legalization of recreational cannabis use in the state of Arizona, certain regulations have also been made to provide safe dispensing of cannabis products in the market. Any dispensary or cannabis commercial company should not manufacture or create packaging and label with deceitful, false, or misleading information. No establishment shall also display and sell cannabis-related products that resemble or look like a human, animal, insect, and fruit forms nor have an appearance similar to toys and cartoons.
Advertising and selling marijuana products with marketing campaigns imitating children’s food or drink brands are also prohibited. Lastly, all cannabis products must be sold in child-resistant packaging with proper health, risk, or medical labels.
Are there any tests required for cannabis grown in Arizona?
All marijuana plants that are grown and processed in the state of Arizona cannot be sold or distributed to the public without undergoing some tests to check for the following:
- Harmful pesticides
- Residual solvents
- Heavy metal
Restrictions for cannabis users in the workplace
For qualified patients of medical marijuana, the good news is Arizona’s law covers that no employer should discriminate against the usage of medical cannabis during the whole process of employment as well as in the workplace. There should be no sanctions or discriminatory remarks pertaining to an employee due to his or her medical marijuana card and medical cannabis consumption. This includes having a positive drug test against cannabis unless an employee was proven to have consumed medical cannabis out of prescription and during business hours.
On the other hand, medical cannabis patients cannot also cause any negligence or malpractice while in the workplace due to the consumption of marijuana regardless if it is recommended or not. Patients should also not carry any medical cannabis within school premises, prisons, and even school buses. Anyone who is also under the influence is not allowed to drive any kind of vehicles including planes and boats and is suggested to refrain from operating heavy machinery.
Other restrictions on buying cannabis in Arizona
As per the current mandated law in Arizona, anyone who is over the age of 21 can enter a medical cannabis dispensary even without a medical marijuana card or ID; however, those may be needed when checking out and some may even require it at the door depending on the dispensaries’ management. Those who wanted to purchase more than 1 ounce or 28 grams of cannabis for recreational use will also be required to present a card at the check-out.
What is an Arizona Cannabis Cultivation License?
The Arizona Cannabis Cultivation License is issued to those who want to grow cannabis in Arizona for business. To receive this license, applicants must be residents of the state for at least three years from the date of application. If you’re interested in learning more about obtaining an Arizona Cannabis License for Cultivation, we can help!
What is an Arizona Cannabis Dispensary License?
You’ll need an Arizona Cannabis Dispensary License if you plan to build, own and operate a physical cannabis dispensary retail store in your city. If you’re interested in learning more about obtaining an Arizona Cannabis License to open a cannabis dispensary in Arizona, we can help!
What is an Arizona Cannabis Delivery License?
Operate an Arizona Cannabis Delivery service for your own dispensary or other dispensaries in your city! Here’s a comprehensive guide to owning an Arizona Cannabis Delivery License. If you’re interested in learning more about obtaining an Arizona Cannabis License to start a cannabis delivery business in Arizona, we can help!
What is an Arizona Cannabis Distribution License?
Buy cannabis from growers, perform quality assurance on products, control distribution, and transport cannabis from one location to another. Here’s all the information you’ll need if you’re interested in obtaining an Arizona Cannabis Distribution License. If you’re interested in learning more about obtaining an Arizona Cannabis License to start a cannabis cultivation grow business in Arizona, we can help!
What is an Arizona Cannabis Manufacturing License?
With an Arizona Cannabis Manufacturing License, you can refine and process cannabis to create extracts, edibles, vapes, and others. Grade potency and classify the cannabis. If you’re interested in learning more about obtaining an Arizona Cannabis License to create your own cannabis brand and manufacture cannabis in Arizona, we can help!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get a cultivation license in Arizona
In order to obtain an Arizona cultivation license, you must first own and operate a dispensary.