30 Facts About Arizona’s New Medical Marijuana Law

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator November 15, 2010

    The votes are counted and Arizona’s Prop 203 – the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – has passed by a margin of 4,341 votes (841,346 YES, 837,005 NO). We’re receiving many calls and emails from people interested in the details of the new law. Here are the highlights of the measure:

    1. The allowable amount of marijuana for patients and caregivers is 2.5 ounces.
    2. IF a patient or caregiver is allowed to cultivate, the limit is 12 plants that must be grown in an “enclosed, locked facility”, defined as “closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area”.
    3. Qualifying conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures (like epilespy), and severe and persistent spasms (like multiple sclerosis).
    4. Caregivers must be 21 years old and pass criminal background check for certain felonies.
    5. Caregivers can serve no more than five patients, must keep a card for each one
    6. Caregivers may receive reimbursement for actual expenses – not labor – from their own patients only.
    7. Patients’ and Caregivers’ medical marijuana cards last for one year and will contain their photo, name, address, birthdate, and indication whether medical marijuana is allowed to be cultivated at home.
    8. If the state has not issued a card within 45 days, a copy of the application shall have the same force as the card.
    9. Patients and caregivers may share marijuana with other patients for free, as long as they don’t knowingly cause the patient to exceed 2.5 ounces.
    10. Non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed.
    11. A patient who lives within 25 miles of a dispensary may not cultivate their own medical marijuana.
    12. Patients and caregivers may not possess medical marijuana on a school bus, school, or correctional facility.
    13. Patients may not smoke marijuana on public transportation or in any public place.
    14. Patients may not drive under the influence of marijuana; however, marijuana metabolites shall not be proof of impairment.
    15. Fees for non-profit dispensaries shall not be greater than $5,000 or $1,000 for a renewal license.
    16. Dispensaries must cultivate their own medical marijuana, which they can do onsite or at one separate physical address
    17. Patients and Caregivers may give marijuana to dispensaries, but not for any compensation.
    18. Neither the dispensary nor the cultivation address may be within 500 feet of a school.
    19. There can be no more than one dispensary for every ten pharmacies, except that there can be at least one dispensary in every county.
    20. The cards or recommendations for visiting patients from other medical marijuana states will be recognized in Arizona, but they may not shop at the dispensaries.
    21. Patients in assisted care facilities can be limited to non-smoking methods of use and only in certain areas; however, such facilities are not required to enact these limitations.
    22. Dispensaries must have a single secure entrance, a strong security system, and no medicating is allowed on the premises.
    23. Dispensaries must track patients’ acquisitions to ensure they receive no more than 2.5 ounces from any dispensaries within a fourteen day period.
    24. There shall be a secure, web-based confirmation system accessible by law enforcement and dispensaries, that reveals patients’ and caregivers’ names but not addresses and how much marijuana the patient received from all dispensaries in the past sixty days.
    25. Non-patients cannot be punished for being the vicinity of lawful medical marijuana use by patients or providing paraphernalia to patients.
    26. Schools and landlords cannot discriminate against medical marijuana patients and caregivers, unless they are subject to federal penalty.
    27. Employers cannot discriminate against patients and caregivers and a positive test for marijuana metabolites is not cause for disciplining or terminating a patient.
    28. Medical facilities and treatments, including organ transplants, cannot be denied to patients for their medical marijuana use.
    29. Parental rights of patients cannot be denied solely for their medical marijuana use.

    The full text of the measure can be found at http://stash.norml.org/azmedmj

    275 responses to “30 Facts About Arizona’s New Medical Marijuana Law”

    1. Matt Buompensiero says:

      The really good: Employment protection.

      The really bad: Fingerprints? 🙁

    2. Anonymous says:

      Well it’s progress at least.

    3. laura hoss says:

      thank-you for all your efforts to keep us updated,and informed i’ve applied for my card in Rhode Island and hope it goes through,i wish every state would adopt this and then maybe,thigs will change in government.thanks!!!!!!

    4. Thank you NORML for the update! Friends in Wisconsin, remember to locate your local chapter and get active today.

    5. k3 says:

      Is there one of these for michigans?

      [Russ responds: No, but you can find our summary of all state medical marijuana programs at http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3391#Michigan (just put your state name at the end)]

    6. Phill says:

      Thanks for clarification on the law

    7. T. Sex says:

      As I understand it, Arizona has a zero-tolerance “Drugged Driving” policy for drug metabolites found in someones system. Considering what Prop. 203 states, does this mean that the current DUID law will be altered/lifted all-together?

    8. T. Sex says:

      In case what I’m asking isn’t clear: Could a person charged with DUID for cannabis quote Prop. 203 (Point 15 on this list) as a defense, even if they are not prescribed medical cannabis?

      [Russ responds: It is an interesting point. The new AZ law does have an affirmative defense, so that if you are a patient and you have less than the 2.5 oz limit, but you don’t have a card, you can argue in court that your marijuana use was medical. Whether that defense would help in a zero-tolerance DUID charge is another story, but I suppose you might argue that you’re a patient and the metabolites in your blood are not over 2.5 oz of actual marijuana and the AZ law does exempt patients from the zero tolerance. I would probably just get my card and not drive within two hours of medicating and not risk an unfriendly court.]

      • Lurch says:

        I just wanted to clarify something here. If you smoke it probably 2 hrs before drive. But if you consume it orally I think you may have more then 2 hrs to wait?

        [Editor’s note: The smoking/vaping of cannabis will likely cause, in most users, about a two hour window where the prudent person will not operate an auto. When cannabis products are ingested, the window for ‘impairment’ is considerably longer, possibly up to 4-6 hours after consumption.]

    9. i am interested in possibly cultivate for my own use. however, it does not look like i will be eligable for this, as i live in the phoenix city limits. the way i read it is anyone closer than 25 miles is not allowed to do so. why?

      am i reading this right?

      [Russ responds: You are. Why? Well, back in 2009 I asked the head of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project why they needed this ’25-mile halo’ rule, wondering if it was a political compromise needed to bring votes on board or quiet possible opponents.

      Nope, the reason was to “to give a market to the dispensaries in the community so they’d be viable”. Listen for yourself: http://stash.norml.org/mpps-andrew-myers-discusses-medical-marijuana-in-arizona]

    10. thanks for all your help up to now. i very much appreciate this!

      where & how do i make application for the MM card? my dr. said & recommended that i smoke. it does relive pain & helps me a great deal of the time!

      i am going back to see my dr. dec 1st & i would like him to sign any application forms then. will this be possible? HOW? thanks again for all of your help!

      [Russ responds: It will still be 120 days before any rules are created for the program.]