6 Arizona Cannabis Laws You Need to Know
Arizona cannabis laws are rapidly changing. As of Proposition 207's passing in November 2020, recreational cannabis is legal for adults over 21.
In this post, we’ll cover the new regulations as well as the basics of Arizona’s current cannabis laws.
You can read the full Arizona cannabis laws and regulations here.
Arizona cannabis laws at a glance
All dispensaries must operate on a not-for-profit basis.
Medical use has been legal since 2010 with the first medical marijuana sales taking place in December 2012.
Recreational use allowed after Prop 207 was passed in November 2020, with sales beginning in January 2021.
Medical marijuana dispensaries that also have a recreational marijuana dispensary license can sell to patients and recreational users in the same location.
Smoking marijuana in Arizona is prohibited on all forms of public transportation and all public places. While users must smoke privately, they can consume edibles in public as long as they aren’t driving under the influence.
There is a 6.6% sales tax on medical marijuana as well as the potential for a 2-3% city tax, which depends on the location. Recreational marijuana has a 16% excise tax.
The purchase limit for recreational users is 1 ounce or 5 grams of concentrate. The purchase limit for medical marijuana patients is 2.5 ounces in a 2 week period.
Arizona state law doesn't list a mandatory tracking system.
Arizona’s marijuana program is managed by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).
Law #1: Packaging and labeling
Law: R9-17-317 A dispensary shall ensure that medical marijuana or a marijuana product provided by the dispensary to a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver is labeled with: 1. The dispensary’s registry identification number; 2. The amount, strain, and batch number of the medical marijuana or marijuana product; 3. The form of the medical marijuana or marijuana product; 4. As applicable, the weight of the medical marijuana or marijuana product; 5. In compliance with Table 3.1, the potency of the medical marijuana or marijuana product, based on laboratory testing results, including the number of milligrams per designated unit or percentage of: a. Total tetrahydrocannabinol, reported according to R9-17-404.03(S)(2)(a); b. Total cannabidiol, reported according to R9-17-404.03(S)(2)(b); and c. Any other cannabinoid for which the dispensary is making a claim related to the effect of the cannabinoid on the human body; 6. The following statement: “ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES’ WARNING: Marijuana use can be addictive and can impair an individual’s ability to drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy machinery. Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and can lead to an increased risk for cancer, tachycardia, hypertension, heart attack, and lung infection. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN”; 7. If not cultivated by the dispensary, whether the medical marijuana was obtained from a qualifying patient, a designated caregiver, or another dispensary; 8. If not infused or prepared for sale by the dispensary, whether the marijuana product was obtained from another dispensary; 9. For a marijuana product: a. The ingredients in order of abundance; and b. If the marijuana product contains ethanol, the percentage of ethanol in the marijuana product; 10. The date of manufacture, harvest, or sale; and 11. The registry identification number of the qualifying patient.
Explained: Marijuana establishments can’t:
Use false or misleading packaging for cannabis products
Sell products that resemble humans, animals, insects, fruit, toys, or cartoons
Sell or advertise marijuana products that imitate food or drink brands marketed to children
All packaging must be child-resistant and clearly labeled with information on the contents and health warnings.
Law #2: Retail cannabis licensing
Law: R9-17-303, R9-17-324. 1. If the Department determines that the Department may issue additional dispensary registration certificates, the Department shall post, on the Department’s website, the information that the Department is accepting dispensary registration certificate applications, including the deadline for accepting dispensary registration certificate applications. a. The Department shall post the information in subsection (A)(1) at least 30 calendar days before the date the Department begins accepting applications. b. The deadline for submission of dispensary registration certificate applications is 10 working days after the date the Department begins accepting applications. c. Sixty working days after the date the Department begins accepting applications, the Department shall determine if the Department received more dispensary registration certificate applications that are complete and in compliance with A.R.S. Title 36, Chapter 28.1 and this Chapter to participate in the allocation process than the Department is allowed to issue. i. If the Department received more dispensary registration certificate applications than the Department is allowed to issue, the Department shall allocate any available dispensary registration certificates according to the priorities established in subsection (B). ii. If the Department is allowed to issue a dispensary registration certificate for each dispensary registration certificate application the Department received, the Department shall allocate the dispensary registration certificates to those applicants.
A. If a dispensary is a dual licensee, the dispensary shall: 1. Provide marijuana and marijuana products, according to A.A.C. R9-18-309, to consumers, as defined in A.R.S. § 36-2850, at the same location as the dispensary dispenses medical marijuana and marijuana products to qualifying patients and designated caregivers; Unofficial version of the Rules in 9 A.A.C. 17, effective May 3, 2021 Page 86 2. Notify the Department within five calendar days after beginning to operate on a for-profit basis, as allowed by A.R.S. § 36-2858(D)(2), and, if applicable, provide to the Department the documents required in R9-17-304(C)(2) for the new organizational or corporate structure; and 3. Comply with the requirements in A.R.S. § 36-2858(D)(3).
The ADHS was to make recreational marijuana regulations by April 5, 2021. They began accepting applications for cannabis recreational store licenses in January 2021.
Applications submitted by existing nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries are accepted first, along with potential marijuana businesses in counties that currently lack non-profit licensed dispensaries. The existing nonprofit dispensaries are eligible to hold non-profit licenses for medical marijuana and for-profit licenses for recreational marijuana.
- To apply for a marijuana business license, you must:
Be 21 years of age
Pass a criminal record check for an excluded felony offense
The ADHS can only issue 2 recreational dispensary licenses per county with no medical marijuana dispensaries and just 1 for counties that have one medical marijuana dispensary.
One entity can apply for up to 5 dispensary registration certificates, and the locations must each be in a different Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA).
Law #3: Patients and caregivers
Law: R9-17-201. An individual applying for a qualifying patient registry identification card shall have a diagnosis from a physician of at least one of the debilitating medical conditions.
R9-17-202. A. Except for a qualifying patient who is under 18 years of age, a qualifying patient is not required to have a designated caregiver. B. A qualifying patient may have only one designated caregiver at any given time.
F. Except as provided in subsection (G), to apply for a registry identification card, a qualifying patient shall submit to the Department the following: 1. An application in a Department-provided format that includes: a. The qualifying patient’s: i. First name; middle initial, if applicable; last name; and suffix, if applicable; ii. Date of birth; and iii. Gender; b. Except as provided in subsection (F)(1)(i), the qualifying patient’s residence address and mailing address; c. The county where the qualifying patient resides; d. The qualifying patient’s e-mail address; e. The identifying number on the applicable card or document in subsection (F)(2)(a) through (e); f. The name, address, and telephone number of the physician providing the written certification for medical marijuana for the qualifying patient; g. Whether the qualifying patient is requesting authorization for cultivating marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use because the qualifying patient believes that the qualifying patient resides at least 25 miles from the nearest operating dispensary; h. If the qualifying patient is requesting authorization for cultivating marijuana plants, whether the qualifying patient is designating the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver to cultivate marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use; i. If the qualifying patient is homeless, an address where the qualifying patient can receive mail; j. Whether the qualifying patient would like notification of any clinical studies needing human subjects for research on the medical use of marijuana; k. An attestation that the information provided in the application is true and correct; and l. The signature of the qualifying patient and date the qualifying patient signed; 2. A copy of the qualifying patient’s: a. Arizona driver’s license issued on or after October 1, 1996; b. Arizona identification card issued on or after October 1, 1996; c. Arizona registry identification card; d. Photograph page in the qualifying patient’s U.S. passport; or e. Arizona driver’s license or identification card issued before October 1, 1996 and one of the following for the qualifying patient: i. Birth certificate verifying U.S. citizenship, ii. U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, or iii. U.S. Certificate of Citizenship; 3. A current photograph of the qualifying patient; 4. A statement in a Department-provided format signed by the qualifying patient pledging not to divert marijuana to any individual who or entity that is not allowed to possess marijuana pursuant to A.R.S. A physician’s written certification in a Department-provided format dated within 90 calendar days before the submission of the qualifying patient’s application
Explained: To use medical marijuana, Arizona residents must be qualifying patients registered with the ADHS with a registry identification card.
Below are the qualifying criteria for a patient to get a Arizona medical marijuana license:
Must be at least 18 years of age with a valid government-issued ID and an Arizona residential address
Must have medical records for the past year to provide to the approving physician
- Must have a debilitating medical condition, including:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Severe and chronic pain
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Cachexia or wasting syndrome
Persistent Muscle Spasms
Patients who meet the qualifying criteria for a medical marijuana license have to acquire a physician certification form and pay a $150 fee. The card has to be renewed annually.
Law #4: Possession and purchase limits
Law: R9-17-314 A. Before a dispensary agent dispenses medical marijuana or a marijuana product to a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver, the dispensary agent shall: 1. Verify the qualifying patient’s or the designated caregiver’s identity, 2. Offer any appropriate patient education or support materials, 3. Make available the results of testing of the medical marijuana or marijuana product required in R9-17-317.01(A), if requested by the qualifying patient or designated caregiver; 4. Enter the qualifying patient’s or designated caregiver’s registry identification number on the qualifying patient’s or designated caregiver’s registry identification card into the medical marijuana electronic verification system, 5. Verify the validity of the qualifying patient’s or designated caregiver’s registry identification card, 6. Verify that the amount of medical marijuana or marijuana product the qualifying patient or designated caregiver is requesting would not cause the qualifying patient to exceed the limit on obtaining no more than two and one-half ounces of medical marijuana during any 14-calendar-day period, and 7. Enter the following information into the medical marijuana electronic verification system for the qualifying patient or designated caregiver: a. The amount of medical marijuana dispensed, b. Whether the medical marijuana was dispensed to the qualifying patient or to the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver, c. The date and time the medical marijuana was dispensed, d. The dispensary agent’s registry identification number, and e. The dispensary’s registry identification number. B. A dispensary shall ensure that medical marijuana or a marijuana product provided by the dispensary to a Unofficial version of the Rules in 9 A.A.C. 17, effective May 3, 2021 qualifying patient or a designated caregiver is dispensed in a container made of material that will not react with or leach into the medical marijuana or marijuana product.
- Dispensary agents must enter the transaction in the state portal to confirm it doesn’t exceed the purchase limit of 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14 day period.
The purchase limit for recreational users is 1 ounce or 5 grams of concentrate.
The purchase limit for medical marijuana patients is 2.5 ounces in a 2 week period.
Cannabis consumers may purchase flower, extracts, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules.
Residents over 21 can possess 1 ounce of usable marijuana or 5 grams of concentrate.
Medical marijuana patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces at a time, regardless of whether the cannabis is located at home or on their person.
Patients cannot medicate at the dispensary.
Law 5: Patient Cultivation
Law: Section 36-2852 Possessing, transporting, cultivating or processing not more than six marijuana plants for personal use at the individual's primary residence, and possessing, processing and manufacturing by manual or mechanical means, including sieving or ice water separation but excluding chemical extraction or chemical synthesis, the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the marijuana plants were grown if all of the following apply: (a) Not more than twelve plants are produced at a single residence where two or more individuals who are at least twenty-one years of age reside at one time. (b) Cultivation takes place within a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed area on the grounds of the residence equipped with a lock or other security device that prevents access by minors. (c) Cultivation takes place in an area where the marijuana plants are not visible from public view without using binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.
Medical cannabis patients can grow up to 12 marijuana plants at their homes in an enclosed and locked facility, as long as there isn’t a dispensary within 25 miles of their residence and the ADHS designates them as a medical marijuana cultivator.
Recreational users can grow 6 plants, so long as they’re grown out of public view also in an enclosed and locked facility.
Law 6: Dispensary requirements
Law: R9-17-310 A. A dispensary shall:
1. Ensure that the dispensary is operating and available to dispense medical marijuana and marijuana products to qualifying patients and designated caregivers: a. At least 30 hours weekly between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; and b. For a dispensary with a dispensary registration certificate issued on or after April 1, 2020, within 18 months after receiving the dispensary registration certificate; 2. Develop, document, and implement policies and procedures regarding: a. Job descriptions and employment contracts, including: i. Personnel duties, authority, responsibilities, and qualifications; ii. Personnel supervision; iii. Training in and adherence to confidentiality requirements; iv. Periodic performance evaluations; and v. Disciplinary actions; b. Business records, such as manual or computerized records of assets and liabilities, monetary transactions, journals, ledgers, and supporting documents, including agreements, checks, invoices, and vouchers; c. Inventory control, including: i. Tracking; ii. Packaging; iii. Accepting marijuana from qualifying patients and designated caregivers; iv. Acquiring marijuana or marijuana products from other dispensaries;
v. Providing marijuana or marijuana products to another dispensary; and vi. Either: (1) Providing samples of marijuana or marijuana products to a laboratory for testing, or (2) Allowing a laboratory agent access to medical marijuana or marijuana product to collect samples;
R9-17-318 A. Except as provided in R9-17-310(A)(7) or R9-17-324(C), a dispensary shall ensure that access into areas of the dispensary or the dispensary’s cultivation site where marijuana is cultivated, processed, manufactured, or stored is limited to the dispensary’s principal officers, board members, and authorized dispensary agents. B. A dispensary agent may transport marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, and marijuana paraphernalia between the dispensary and: 1. The dispensary’s cultivation site, 2. A qualifying patient, 3. Another dispensary, and 4. A laboratory that has a laboratory registration certificate issued by the Department. C. Before transportation, a dispensary agent shall: 1. Complete a trip plan that includes: a. The name of the dispensary agent in charge of transporting the marijuana;
b. The date and start time of the trip; c. A description of the marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia being transported; d. Any anticipated stops during the trip, including the locations of the stop and arrival and departure time from the location; and e. The anticipated route of transportation; and 2. Provide a copy of the trip plan in subsection (C)(1) to the dispensary. D. During transportation, a dispensary agent shall:
1. Carry a copy of the trip plan in subsection (C)(1) with the dispensary agent for the duration of the trip; 2. Use a vehicle without any medical marijuana identification; 3. Have a means of communication with the dispensary; and 4. Ensure that the marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia are not visible.
Dispensaries are allowed one retail location for every 10 pharmacies registered in Arizona.
Required to be open at least 30 hours/week
Delivery is available to medical marijuana users, not recreational users.
- Adult-use cannabis dispensaries and retailers have to adhere to these requirements in order to conduct sales:
Must be available to qualifying patients and designated caregivers
Must provide educational content for qualifying patients and caregivers, along with materials on therapeutic or palliative use of marijuana
Dispensaries can cultivate for their own inventory or to sell to other dispensaries
Dispensaries must create/utilize Standard Operating Procedures for the following:
Job descriptions and employment contracts
Business records, such as records of assets and liabilities, monetary transactions, journals, ledgers, and supporting documents
Inventory control and management
Arizona cannabis laws FAQs
Is marijuana legal in Arizona?
As of proposition 207's passing in November 2020, recreational cannabis is legal for adults over 21 Arizona.
Medical marijuana has been legal since 2010.
Who can apply for a medical marijuana patient license in Arizona?
Arizona residents over the age of 18 with a physician’s recommendation can apply for a medical marijuana patient license and there are exceptions for non-residents and patients under 18.
What are the requirements for operating a dispensary in Arizona?
Dispensaries are allowed one retail location for every 10 pharmacies registered in Arizona. They are also required to be open at least 30 hours/week.
What is the tax on cannabis in Arizona?
There is a 6.6% sales tax on medical marijuana as well as potential for a 2-3% city tax, which depends on the location. Recreational marijuana has a 16% excise tax.
How much weed can I buy in Arizona?
The purchase limit for recreational users is 1 ounce or 5 grams of concentrate. The purchase limit for medical marijuana patients is 2.5 ounces over a 2 week period.
Does Flowhub work in Arizona?
Yes! Flowhub dispensary POS is a compliant solution for Arizona medical and recreational dispensaries. Learn more about Flowhub point of sale, inventory management solutions, and mobile tools, including check-in app, audit tool, and data analytics app.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice.