Medical marijuana can treat many medical conditions. Many states have enacted laws allowing the use of medical marijuana for qualifying conditions, and Arizona residents now have access to medical marijuana, too.
If you or a loved one thinks that medical marijuana could offer better relief from a condition than treatments that aren’t working, you need to first determine whether your condition qualifies under state law for an Arizona medical marijuana card.
Arizona law clearly requires an Arizona MMJ card for the purchase, possession and use of any medical marijuana products in the state. There are several steps for securing a card, and it’s important to understand this process so you know what to expect.
Which Medical Conditions Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card?
At the time of this writing, Arizona only approves a short list of medical conditions for medical marijuana treatment. This list includes, but is not limited to:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Seizure disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
There is strong scientific evidence showing that medical marijuana not only effectively treats many of the symptoms of these conditions, but also treats them in a less harmful way than many traditional methods. In some cases, it can even result in fewer negative side effects.
If you or a loved one suffers from one of these conditions, it’s important to remember that medical marijuana products may not work for everyone. If you have undergone other treatments for your condition and have not found sufficient relief, then medical marijuana could be an effective alternative.
How to Get Your Arizona MMJ Card
The first step you must complete to qualify for medical marijuana in Arizona is to see a doctor. You may not be able to visit your primary care physician, as Arizona only allows certain physicians to prescribe medical marijuana.
You may need to look for a doctor in Arizona such as a naturopath, osteopath or homeopath to see if he or she believes your medical condition qualifies for a medical marijuana card. After reviewing your medical records and past treatments, the doctor may decide that you could benefit from medical marijuana treatment.
If the doctor determines that your condition qualifies for a medical marijuana card, he or she will provide you with a Physician Certification form. This is a vital piece of paperwork for applying for an Arizona medical marijuana card, so don’t lose it.
Required Steps for Your Medical Marijuana Card
After you obtain your Physician Certification form, you will need to submit it to the Arizona Department of Health Services with your Qualifying Patient Application. You can complete this application online using an Arizona Department of Health Services portal, but there a few other things you will need to provide with your application:
- All applicants must be at least 18 years old with a valid, state-issued Arizona driver’s license or photo ID.
- They must also submit a current digital picture and complete the digital Qualifying Patient Attestation.
- After paying the first fee of about $150, an approved applicant will receive his or her Arizona MMJ card in the mail after about one week.
The annual fee for holding an active Arizona medical marijuana card is $150, or $75 for SNAP and food stamp recipients.
Other Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws
Once you qualify for medical marijuana and obtain your card, you may wonder where to buy medical marijuana products. It’s crucial to only purchase medical marijuana from state-approved dispensaries. These establishments meet rigorous quality control standards and only offer the best medical marijuana products available in the state. It is illegal to purchase marijuana on the street, and there are still harsh penalties for doing so in Arizona.
Sharing Medical Marijuana
Although purchasing marijuana from private individuals remains illegal under Arizona law, the state’s medical marijuana laws do allow patients to share medical marijuana products with other patients. For example, if you suffer from Crohn’s disease and a relative is undergoing cancer treatment but runs out of medical marijuana before he or she can obtain more, you may legally share your own medical marijuana products with him or her.
This stipulation may cause some confusion. For instance, if you purchase $50 worth of medical marijuana products and share it with a relative who also has a medical marijuana card, he or she may offer a few dollars for your trouble. Is this a violation of state law? Technically, yes, but the likelihood of facing legal action for doing so is very slim. Arizona law allows medical marijuana cardholders to “donate” their medical marijuana to other valid cardholders.
Any type of monetary transaction would typically only become a problem if it became a regular routine or the individual with a medical marijuana card sold his or her products to non-qualifying patients. If you want to share or donate your medical marijuana products to someone else with an Arizona medical marijuana card, it’s best to simply “trade donations” instead of bringing money into the situation, just to be safe.
Many medical marijuana patients in Arizona have medical conditions that make traveling difficult, and they may live too far from the nearest state-approved dispensary to obtain their medication when they need it.
Arizona law allows cardholders with qualifying conditions to cultivate their own marijuana plants at home, but only if they live more than 25 miles away from the nearest state-approved dispensary. Patients with authorization to cultivate their own medical marijuana may keep up to 12 plants at once.
Arizona state laws are quite flexible when it comes to medical marijuana, so most potential cardholders shouldn’t have much trouble with the application process as long as they gather the necessary documentation in advance.