6 Arizona Cannabis Laws You Need to Know

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With the passage of Proposition 207, which legalized adult-use marijuana for individuals at least 21 years of age, the Arizona marijuana industry has seen rapid change over the past year.

As of January 2020, most, if not all, medical operators became dual operators after being issued adult-use licenses from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). As such most licensees in Arizona operate under both the medical and adult-use programs.

Due to some ambiguity in the laws and regulations of both programs, it is suggested that, where the programs differ, dual-licensed operators should comply with the strictest requirements of each program.

THE BELOW DISCUSSION INCLUDES PORTIONS, AND NOT COMPLETE EXERPTS, OF THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO ARIZONA’S MEDICAL AND ADULT-USE PROGRAMS. NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. FOR A COMPLETE AND THOROUGH REVIEW OF THE LAWS, REGULATIONS, AND GUIDANCE, PLEASE VISIT ADHS' MARIJUANA WEBSITE. ADDITIONALLY, THE SUBSECTIONS LISTED WITHIN THE REGULATION OR LAW MAY NOT CORRELATE TO THE REFERENCED STATUTES OR REGULATIONS EXACTLY.

Arizona cannabis laws at a glance

  • Arizona’s medical and adult-use marijuana program is managed by ADHS.
  • Medical use has been legal since 2010 with the first medical marijuana sales taking place in December 2012.
  • Adult-use use was legalized in November of 2020, after the passing of Prop 207. Adult-use sales began in January of 2021.
  • Medical dispensaries that applied for and received an adult-use Marijuana Establishment license, can sell to registered patients and adult-use users at the same location.
  • Medical operators are called “Dispensaries” under the medical program, whether they are cultivating, manufacturing, or selling marijuana under a vertically integrated license. Under the adult-use program, adult-use and dual licensed operators are called “Marijuana Establishments,” whether they are cultivating, manufacturing, or selling marijuana under a vertically integrated license. For purposes of this blog post, any reference to “Dispensary” will apply to only the medical operators and any reference to “Marijuana Establishment” will apply to adult-use and dual license operators. Using marijuana in any form is prohibited when in public. What constitutes “public” is broad and can even include certain private events, that the public has access to.
  • Sales tax on medical marijuana ranges from 5.6% to 7.6%, depending on the county where the sale takes place. Adult-use marijuana is taxed at a rate equal to medical marijuana plus 16%.
  • A customer, under the adult-use program, can purchase no more than 1 ounce of marijuana, with not more than 5 grams being in the form of concentrate. A patient, under the medical program, can purchase no more than 2.5 ounces in a 14-calendar-day period.

Rule 1: Packaging and labeling

Rule R9-17-317 (Medical): 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) 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;(11) The registry identification number of the qualifying patient (this obligation applies only to Dispensaries); and (12) Several requirements that apply when marijuana is cultivate and/or infused by one operator and then sold to another (R9-17-317(B)-(C)).

Law 36-2860 (adult-use): (1) Use false or misleading packaging for marijuana products; (2) Sell products that resemble humans, animals, insects, fruit, toys, or cartoons; and (3) 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.

Explained: Marijuana does not need to be designated as medical or adult-use until it is sold to a customer or patient. As such, Marijuana Establishments should adhere to the packaging and labeling
requirements set forth in both the medical regulation and adult-use statute discussed below.

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.

    Rule 2: Retail cannabis licensing

    ADHS is not currently accepting applications for medical or adult-use licenses/certificates. 26 Social Equity Licenses will be issued in early 2022, after ADHS accepts and reviews applications submitted during the first two weeks of December. Information on applying for a Social Equity License in Arizona can be found here.

    Rule 3: Patients and caregivers

    Rule R9-17-201 (Medical). To use medical marijuana, Arizona residents must be qualifying patients registered with ADHS and maintain a registry identification card. An individual applying for a qualifying patient registry identification card must have a diagnosis from a physician of at least one of the debilitating medical conditions. For a patient to get an Arizona medical marijuana license, the patient must: (1) be at least 18 years of age with a valid government-issued ID and an Arizona residential address; (2) have medical records for the past year to provide to the approving physician; (3) have a debilitating medical condition, including: (a) Severe nausea; (b) PTSD; (c) Cancer; (d) HIV/AIDS; (e) Glaucoma; (f) Severe and chronic pain; (g) Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease; (h) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease); (i) Cachexia or wasting syndrome; (j) Crohn’s Disease; (k) Hepatitis C; (l) Persistent Muscle Spasms; and (m) Seizures; (4) acquire a physician certification form; and (5) pay a $150 fee. A patients medical marijuana card must be renewed each year.

    Rule R9-17-202 (Medical). Except for a qualifying patient who is under 18 years of age, a qualifying patient is not required to have a designated caregiver. A qualifying patient may have only one designated caregiver at any given time. With some exceptions, 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) With some exceptions, 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 subsections (F)(2)(a) through (e) of R9-17-202; (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 (it should be noted that this restriction is obsolete since individuals can now cultivate marijuana at their place of residence under the adult-use program, without the need for approval); (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 qualify for a medical marijuana license, a patient must have a diagnosis from a physician for at least one debilitating medical condition listed above.
    • Qualifying patients over 18 are not required to have a caregiver.
    • There is a $150 fee to obtain a medical marijuana license.
    • A medical marijuana license must be renewed each year.

    Rule 4: Possession and purchase limits

    Rule R9-17-314 (Medical): (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 customer, 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.

    Rule R9-18-309 (adult-use): Before a marijuana facility agent of a marijuana establishment sells or otherwise transfers marijuana or a marijuana product to a consumer, the marijuana facility agent shall: (1) Verify the consumer's age through one of the documents in A.R.S. § 4-241(K); (2) Make available the results of testing of the marijuana or marijuana product required in R9-18-311, if requested by the consumer; and (3) Ensure that the amount of marijuana or marijuana product to be sold or otherwise transferred to the consumer does not exceed one ounce of marijuana, with not more than five grams being in the form of a marijuana concentrate.

    Explained:

    • 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.
    • Adult-use customers can purchase no more than 1 ounce of marijuana, with not more than 5 grams being in the form of concentrate.
    • Medical marijuana patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and adult-use customer may possess up to 1 ounce (of which not more than five grams may be in the form of marijuana concentrate.
    • Patients and adult-use consumers may purchase, among other categories: flower, extracts, concentrates, edible food products (including beverages), vape cartridges, and topicals.
    • Consumption of cannabis is prohibited on Dispensary or Marijuana Establishment premises.

      Rule 5: Patient and personal cultivation

      With home cultivation being legalized under the adult-use program, the requirements and restrictions set forth in R9-17-203 (medical), are largely irrelevant to AZ medical patients. However, patients that require designated caregivers to cultivate marijuana should still ensure that they comply with the medical regulations to ensure that they do not risk their registry identification card.

      Law 36-2852 (adult-use): 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.

      Explained:

      • Residents of Arizona, that are at least 21 years of age, can grow up to 6 marijuana plants at their homes in an enclosed and locked facility, that prevents access by minors.

      Rule 6: Dispensing requirements; Security

      Administration: Rule R9-17-310 (Medical); Rule R9-18-308 (adult-use): (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 (medical only); (iv) Periodic performance evaluations (medical only); and (v) Disciplinary actions (medical only); (b) training of marijuana facility agents, including the requirements of ARS Title 36, Chapter 28.2, and the adult-use regulations (adult-use only) (c) 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; (d) Inventory control, including: (i) Tracking; (ii) Packaging; (iii) Accepting marijuana from qualifying patients and designated caregivers (medical only); (iv) Acquiring marijuana or marijuana products from other Dispensaries or Marijuana Establishments; (v) Providing marijuana or marijuana products to another Dispensaries or Marijuana Establishments; 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.

      Security: Rule R9-17-318 (medical); Rule R9-18-12 (adult-use): (A) With some regulatory exceptions, a Dispensary shall ensure that access into areas of the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment or the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment’s cultivation site where marijuana is cultivated, processed, manufactured, or stored is limited to the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment’s principal officers, board members, and authorized Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agents. (B) A Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent may transport marijuana, marijuana plants, marijuana products, and marijuana paraphernalia between the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment and: (1) The Dispensary/Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment’s cultivation site or manufacturing site, as applicable; (2) A qualifying patient (medical), (3) Another Dispensary/ Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment, and (4) A laboratory that has a laboratory registration certificate issued by the Department; (C) Before transportation, a Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent shall: (1) Complete a trip plan that includes: (a) The name of the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment 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 to the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment; and (D) During transportation, a Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent shall: (1) Carry a copy of the trip plan with the Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agent for the duration of the trip; (2) Use a vehicle: (a) without any marijuana identification; (b) equipped with global positioning system or other means of racking the location of the vehicle (adult-use); (c) with operational video surveillance and recording equipment that is turned on for the duration of the trip (adult-use); (d) with a locked compartment in which any marijuana or marijuana products being transported may be stored during the trip (adult-use); (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.

      Explained:

      • Dispensaries and Marijuana Establishments are required to have their retail store open at least 30 hours/week.
      • Delivery is available for medical marijuana sales but not adult-use. On or after January 1, 2023, the Department may, but no later than January 1, 2025 must adopt rules to permit and regulate delivery by Marijuana Establishments (36-2854).
      • Dispensaries must also comply with certain requirements that ensure the Dispensary is educating its patients appropriately (R9-17-310, R9-17-313; R9-17-314, R9-17-315).
      • Dispensaries/Marijuana Establishments may cultivate for their own inventory or to sell to other Dispensaries/Marijuana Establishments.
      • Dispensaries must develop, document, and implement policies and standard operating procedures including, without limitation, for (the following is a non-exhaustive list):
        • Job descriptions and employment contracts
        • Business records, such as records of assets and liabilities, monetary transactions, journals, ledgers, and supporting documents
        • Training of Dispensary/Marijuana Establishment agents
        • Inventory control and management
        • Laboratory Testing
        • Remediation
        • Disposal of marijuana and marijuana products
        • Qualifying patient records, including purchases, denials of sale, any delivery options, confidentiality, and retention (medical); and
        • Patient education and support, including the development and distribution of specified materials (medical).

      Arizona cannabis laws FAQs

      Is marijuana legal in Arizona?

      As of proposition 207's passing in November 2020, adult-use marijuana 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 or Marijuana Establishment in Arizona?

      Anyone who applies for and received a medical or adult-use license/certificate/registration from ADHS. ADHS is not currently accepting applications for medical or adult-use facilities at this time. 26 Social Equity Licenses will be issued in early 2022, after ADHS review applications
      submitted during the first two weeks of December 2021. The requirements for the Social Equity Program can be found here.

      What is the tax on cannabis in Arizona?

      Sales tax on medical marijuana ranges from 5.6% to 7.6%, depending on the county where the purchase takes place. Adult-use marijuana is taxed at a rate equal to medical marijuana plus 16%.

      How much weed can I buy in Arizona?

      A customer, under the adult-use program, can purchase no more than 1 ounce of marijuana, with not more than 5 grams being in the form of concentrate. A patient, under the medical program, can purchase no more than 2.5 ounces in a 14-calendar-day 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: The material contained on this website and any attached or referenced pages has been compiled by Flowhub for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. This post is current as of 6/10/2021. Cannabis regulations are rapidly changing, and legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.

      Taylor

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