A qualifying patient, who has been diagnosed with one of the debilitating medical conditions will need to get a written certification from a physician (medical doctor, osteopath, naturopath, or homeopath licensed to practice in Arizona) with whom he/she has a physician-patient relationship with. The written certification has to be on a form provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) within 90 days before submitting an application for a registry identification card. After obtaining the written certification from the physician, the qualifying patient can apply online for a registry identification card, after April 14, 2011.
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For a qualifying patient who is currently on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), the cost of a registry identification card is reduced from $150 to $75.
If qualifying patients wish to apply for the reduced fee card, they must submit with their application a copy of an eligibility notice or electronic benefits transfer card that shows they are participating in the SNAP program with their application for a registry identification card.
In January and July of each calendar year, the Department will accept written requests to add a medical condition to the list of the debilitating medical conditions. The requirements for completing a request to add a medical condition include:
The name of the medical condition or the treatment of the medical condition the individual is requesting be added;
A description of the symptoms and how they make it hard to do daily living activities. The availability of conventional medical treatments to provide therapy or comfort for the condition;
A summary of the evidence that marijuana will provide therapy or comfort for the medical condition; and
Articles, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, reporting research on the effects of marijuana on the medical condition or the treatment of the medical condition supporting why the medical condition or the treatment of the medical condition should be added.
Allopathic (MD), Osteopathic (DO), Homeopathic [MD(H) or DO(H)], and Naturopathic [NMD or ND] physicians who have a physician-patient relationship with the patient may write certifications for medical marijuana. The physician must hold a valid Arizona license.
A qualifying patient is required to submit a written certification, filled out, signed, and dated by the recommending physician, on a form provided by the Department. On the form, the physician needs to specify the patient’s debilitating medical condition and state that the patient is likely to receive therapy or comfort from marijuana for the debilitating medical condition or its symptoms.
The written certification given to a qualifying patient does not have to come from the physician diagnosing the qualifying patient’s debilitating condition or from the qualifying patient primary care provider. The written certification can be obtained from a different physician whom the qualifying patient has consulted about the qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. The physician providing the written certification must state that the physician has made or confirmed the qualifying patient’s debilitating condition and believes the qualifying patient is likely to receive therapy or comfort for the qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition. In addition, the physician is required to state that the physician has undertaken specific activities that are part of establishing a physician-patient relationship.
The registry identification card will expire one year after the issued date. The qualifying patient must apply for renewal at least 30 days before the expiration date. If a patient’s card must be replaced, the replacement card will have the same expiration date as the card it is replacing.
Just as the credit cardholder must notify the issuer of the credit card if it is lost or stolen, a qualifying patient, designated caregiver, or dispensary agent whose registry identification card is lost or stolen must notify the Department. The cardholder can apply at the Department’s website for a replacement card. The cost of a replacement card is $10.
According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient may not consume medical marijuana at a dispensary but may eat medical marijuana in foods or use infused products at other locations. State law lists places where a qualifying patient may not smoke medical marijuana, including public places. A qualifying patient who lives in a nursing care institution, hospice, assisted living facility, or adult foster care home or who attends an adult day health care facility may also have to follow restrictions imposed by the facility.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act states that an employer will not be able to penalize a qualifying patient with a registry identification card for a positive drug test for marijuana, unless the patient used, possessed, or was impaired by marijuana on the employment premises or during hours of employment. If you are unsure how the Act applies to you, consult an attorney licensed to practice law in Arizona.
According to state law, a qualifying patient or the qualifying patient’s caregiver may be allowed to grow marijuana only if a dispensary is not operating within twenty-five (25) miles of the qualifying patient’s home.
You can grow marijuana outside if you are authorized to cultivate marijuana and you comply with the law, growing the marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility: a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.
A qualifying patient or his or her designated caregiver can only be authorized to grow marijuana if the qualifying patient lives more than 25 miles from an operating dispensary. If a qualifying patient wishes to cultivate or have a caregiver cultivate, he or she should first check his/her address on the ADHS Medical Marijuana website. If the qualifying patient’s residential address is outside of 25 mile s of the nearest operating dispensary, the qualifying patient may select to request to cultivate on the qualifying patient application. If there is no dispensary within a 25 mile radius of the qualifying patient’s home, the Department will issue the qualifying patient or the related designated caregiver a registry identification card indicating authorization to grow marijuana.
If there is a dispensary within a 25 mile radius of the qualifying patient’s residential address, the card will be issued with the “Not Authorized to Cultivate” status. Additionally, when the application is approved, the Department will email the qualifying patient a list of all dispensaries. The registration identification card issued to the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver would also indicate that the designated caregiver is not authorized to grow marijuana.
Authorization to cultivate marijuana does not prevent a qualifying patient from purchasing medical marijuana from a dispensary. The qualifying patient authorized to grow who purchases medical marijuana from a dispensary is still required to abide by the limit of marijuana the qualifying patient is allowed to have in his/her possession.
As long as a dispensary is not operating within 25 miles of a qualifying patient’s home when the qualifying patient applies for a registry identification card, a patient or the designated caregiver may be authorized to cultivate.
Nothing will happen until a qualifying patient applies for renewal or makes certain changes to the registry identification card. When that happens, the Department will check to see if the qualifying patient’s address is within a 25 mile radius of the nearest dispensary. If the residence is within 25 miles of a dispensary, the qualifying patient will be issued a “Not Authorized to Cultivate” card, and the Department will email the qualifying patient a list of all dispensaries. The registry identification card issued to the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver would also indicate that the designated caregiver is not authorized to grow marijuana. If there is no dispensary within a 25 mile radius of the qualifying patient’s home, the Department may issue the qualifying patient or the designated caregiver a registry identification card indicating the authorization to grow marijuana if requested by the qualifying patient.
Unlike other medical marijuana programs, a qualifying patient in Arizona is not assigned to a particular dispensary and may purchase medical marijuana at any dispensary. This will allow the qualifying patient to shop for a dispensary offering the best price, most convenient hours of operation, strains of marijuana meeting the qualifying patient’s needs, other services the qualifying patient may want, or other factors important to the qualifying patient.
There is nothing in the statutes or rules that prevent a dispensary from delivering medical marijuana to a qualifying patient. However, the dispensary still has to comply with requirements for verification and recordkeeping specified in state law and rules. The dispensary also has to comply with restrictions imposed by cities or counties in local ordinances that may prevent the dispensary from delivering medical marijuana to qualifying patients.
A dispensary will owe state, county, and any applicable local retail transaction privilege tax (Arizona’s version of sales tax) on receipts from its sales of medical marijuana and any other products it may sell to consumers. As with any retail business, the dispensary is allowed to pass the amount of the tax on to its customers. Note that there is no additional or special tax on medical marijuana at this time.
The rules require labels containing specific information about where the marijuana came from, amount and strain, date of manufacture, a list of chemical additives, and other information to be attached to all products sold by dispensaries, including marijuana or products containing marijuana. The label on an edible product containing marijuana must also state the total weight of the product.
ADHS will not test the marijuana, but the program requires that all marijuana dispensed has proper labeling with information about where the marijuana came from, the amount and strain, the date of manufacture, a list of chemical additives, and other information to be attached to all products sold by dispensaries, including marijuana or products containing marijuana. ADHS will also periodically inspect the dispensaries or cultivation sites to ensure the safe and proper handling of the marijuana.
Yes, Arizona residents who have a written certification from Arizona physicians can obtain qualifying patient registry identification cards. State law requires background checks for prior “excluded felony offenses” designated caregivers and dispensary agents.
State law allows a visiting qualifying patient with a registry identification card or its equivalent, issued by the qualifying patient’s home state, to possess or use marijuana. However, a visiting patient is not authorized to obtain marijuana from a dispensary because the dispensary is required in statute to access a verification system before dispensing marijuana.
A qualifying patient must show Arizona residency by providing the Department with a copy of the qualifying patient’s Arizona driver’s license, Arizona identification card, Arizona registry identification card, or photograph page in the qualifying patient’s passport. The qualifying patient must also obtain a written certification from an Arizona physician. If a qualifying patient can comply with these requirements, the qualifying patient may obtain an Arizona registry identification card, regardless of whether the qualifying patient also has a medical marijuana card from another state.
The designated caregiver can be anyone over 21-years-old who does not have an excluded felony offense and agrees to assist the qualifying patient with the medical use of marijuana. A designated caregiver does not have to be a home health aide or other professional caregiver.
A qualifying patient may designate only one person at a time to assist with the use of medical marijuana. This designation does not affect the ability of the qualifying patient to use other caregivers with the administration of other medications, activities of daily living, home health care, or other tasks.
$150 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a qualifying patient. Some qualifying patients may be eligible to pay $75 for initial and renewal cards if they currently participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
$200 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a designated caregiver. A caregiver must apply for a new card for every patient under their care (up to five patients).
$500 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a dispensary agent.
$5,000 for an initial dispensary registration certificate.
$1,000 for a renewal dispensary registration certificate.
$2,500 to change the location of a dispensary or cultivation facility.
$10 to amend, change, or replace a registry identification card.
The Department cannot provide you with a list of physicians who are providing Medical Marijuana certificates to qualifying patients. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, A.R.S. § 36-2810 (A.), states that information received and records kept by the Department for the purposes of administering the Act, including information submitted by qualifying patients regarding their physicians, are confidential.
If the qualifying patient makes a change to his or her card including change of address, change of cultivation request, or adding, replacing, or removing a designated caregiver, the qualifying patient’s address will be checked to determine if the address is within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.
Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) considers a dispensary to be operational after ADHS has has issued an Approval to Operate Certificate and the dispensary is open and dispensing medical marijuana. After a dispensary is operating, a qualifying patient’s address will be checked to determine if the address is within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.
The qualifying patient can access the change card feature from the ADHS Medical Marijuana Program website. The qualifying patient will need to enter the card number and first and last name. Qualifying patients can change the name, gender, address, cultivation status, and add, replace, or remove a caregiver from this feature. [Please note that there are specific restrictions that may apply with making these changes and your cultivation status. Please see the “Cultivation Boundary Check” for more information.] The cardholder will also need to upload an electronic copy of the cardholder’s identification and pay a $10 fee.
The qualifying patient can access the lost/stolen card application feature from the ADHS Medical Marijuana Program website. The qualifying patient will need to enter the card number, first and last name, and date of birth. If the card number is not known, the qualifying patient can contact the program at M2programsupport@azdhs.gov for assistance. The cardholder will also need to upload an electronic copy of the cardholder’s identification and pay a $10 fee. Once the replacement card is issued, the old card will become void and unusable.