Is marijuana legal in Arizona?
Current legality status
Cannabis is legal under state law for adults 21+.
Marijuana is legal in Arizona for recreational and medical use. Arizona voters approved Proposition 207—also known as the Smart and Safe Act—in the 2020 general election. It passed with 60% of the vote. Decriminalization went into effect on November 30, 2020, when officials certified the statewide election. Adult-use sales began in January 2021.
Marijuana legalization in Arizona
Adults 21 or older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana (with no more than five grams of it being marijuana concentrate).
Arizona law considers the possession of between one and 2.5 ounces a petty offense. Minors caught with less than one ounce could receive a $100 maximum fine and four hours of drug counseling.
Adults can possess and cultivate up to six plants at home.
Arizona medical patients pay 5.6% state sales tax, as well as city/county sales tax—typically 1-2%—on their purchases.
Adult-use customers pay those two taxes, plus an additional 16% excise tax. Total taxes typically run around 23%.
Does Arizona have an expungement process in place?
Yes. As of July 12, 2021, Arizona residents previously convicted of possessing, using, or transporting a) less than an ounce of marijuana, b) a maximum of six plants, c) or cannabis paraphernalia, can petition to have their record expunged.
Expungement is not automatic in Arizona. Eligible individuals must petition the court in the county where the arrest or conviction occured.
Looking for assistance with the expungement process? Get in touch with Reclaim Your Future, an organization that provides free legal assistance with the process.
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Arizona medical marijuana laws
In 2010, Arizona legalized medical cannabis use via Proposition 203—also known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).
Medical marijuana patients in Arizona and their designated caregivers can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.
For years, Arizona wrestled with the question of whether hashish and cannabis extracts qualified as medical marijuana. In March 2013. Rodney Jones—a registered medical marijuana patient with spinal pain—was arrested for possessing 1.4 grams of hashish and a glass jar, which the state qualified as paraphernalia.
In 2016, the Arizona Court of Appeals sentenced Jones to two and a half years in prison, arguing that hashish and cannabis extracts were not covered by the AMMA. During Jones’ trial, however, the state “withheld from the grand jury that he was a patient, that he presented his AMMA card to police, and that he advised them he acquired the extract at a dispensary,” according to court documents.
In a pivotal 2019 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court overruled the Arizona Court of Appeals and determined that hash and cannabis extracts are in fact legal under the AMMA.
“[The] AMMA defines ‘marijuana’ as ‘all parts of [the] plant,’” the justices wrote.
The high court subsequently vacated Jones’ conviction. However, he had already served prison time for the absurd charge.
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Arizona
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) manages the state’s medical marijuana program. ADHS has determined the following conditions eligible for medical marijuana:
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Any chronic or debilitating medical condition or disease or the treatment for one that causes cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain, such as from migraines or arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- HIV or AIDS
- Hepatitis C
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, such as those associated with multiple sclerosis
- Seizures, including from epilepsy
How to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona
To acquire a medical cannabis card in Arizona, you must first consult a doctor who can write you a recommendation..
Since not all doctors are comfortable talking about or recommending cannabis to their patients, it can be helpful to request a copy of your medical records before asking your primary care physician for a cannabis recommendation. If they decline to provide a recommendation, you can easily take your records to another doctor.
Then, fill out an application on the ADHS website. You will need:
- An Arizona photo ID issued after 1996
- Passport-type photo (2×2 inches)
- To pay a $150 application fee ($75 if you are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
Additionally, a doctor may charge between $150 and $300 for your appointment.
After the ADHS receives your application it can take up to two weeks to process, and then potentially up to 10 more days to receive your card in the mail.
Arizona permits minors to become medical marijuana patients, but they must designate an adult as their caregiver and acquire letters of recommendation from two different doctors.
Does Arizona accept out-of-state medical cards?
Arizona has extremely limited medical reciprocity. While the state recognizes out-of-state patients as such, they cannot actually buy marijuana in Arizona.
When does my Arizona medical card expire?
Arizona medical marijuana cards expire after two years.
Arizona marijuana homegrow laws
Adults can grow six plants at home.
Medical patients can grow up to 12 plants at home, but only if they live more than 25 miles from the nearest medical marijuana dispensary. Arizona does not make a distinction between immature and mature plants.
Arizona public consumption laws
Arizona law bars virtually all public consumption. There’s one exception: Medical marijuana patients can consume edibles in public.
Arizona cannabis DUI laws
It is unlawful for a person to drive under the influence of any drug or alcohol in all states. However, a registered medical marijuana patient shall not be considered under the influence solely for having cannabis metabolites in their system.
By operating a vehicle in Arizona, a person gives consent to a test of their blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance. A person may refuse to submit to a test, but their license may be suspended or denied for 12 months. A person also has the right to consult an attorney before submitting to a chemical test, or after being taken into custody.
The penalties for intoxicated driving on any substance in Arizona are severe, starting at a minimum of 10 days in prison and subsequent violations resulting in potentially two years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
|Marijuana DUI||Imprisonment||Max Fine|
|First Offense||10-180 days||Up to $1,800|
|Second Offense (within seven years)||90-180 days||Up to $3,500|
|Third Offense (within seven years)||4 months||Up to $150,000|
Arizona cannabis testing regulations
Arizona did not require cannabis testing until SB 1494 went into effect in 2020. Both medical marijuana and recreational cannabis must be tested for a range of heavy metals, pesticides, toxins, and more.
Common questions about marijuana legalization in Arizona
Did Arizona legalize recreational cannabis?
Arizonans legalized recreational cannabis via Proposition 207 on November 3, 2020.
Can medical patients and caregivers grow their own medicine in Arizona?
Yes, but only if they live more than 25 miles from the closest dispensary. They may only grow up to twelve plants total at a time.
How much cannabis can an adult possess in Arizona?
An adult can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis or cannabis product.
How much cannabis can a medical patient legally possess in Arizona?
A patient can possess up to 2.5 ounces at one time, with no distinction between edibles, concentrates, or flower. Additionally, medical patients may only purchase up to 2.5 ounces of medicine every 14 days.
Can you get a medical card in Arizona if you have a felony?
Yes, Arizona allows felons to obtain medical marijuana cards.
Learn more about marijuana legalization in Arizona
Here’s some additional resources, news, and references for Arizona marijuana policy.
- The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (Prop 203 2010)
- SB 1494 (2019)
- Proposition 207 (2020), Smart and Safe Arizona
- Arizona’s Department of Health Service’s Marijuana Page
- Arizona Revised Statute: Marijuana
- Arizona Administrative Code: Marijuana Regulations
- Marijuana Policy Project’s Arizona page
- Americans for Safe Access’ Arizona page
- Arizona NORML
Keep up with the latest news about legalization in Arizona
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Post last updated Nov. 4, 2020