Your Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney request your free consultation

Posted on May 19, 2016 in Drugs

What You Need to Know About Arizona Cannabis Cards

Twenty-four states (and Washington, DC) have marijuana programs in place. All these states strictly regulate how and where cannabis can be used. For example, Alaska and Colorado permit the recreational sale of marijuana. But what if you’re traveling across the nation or relocating in Arizona? Due to different regulations at the state and federal levels, you may unknowingly commit a drug-related crime. Here’s a refresher on what you need to know regarding Arizona medical marijuana card uses and regulations in our state, which first legalized this plant for medical use in 2010.

Marijuana Use in the Grand Canyon State

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act governs cannabis consumption and possession in Arizona. Patients registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) can legally possess this drug. However, they must be issued cannabis ID cards. To receive an ID card, an Arizona-certified doctor who can legally prescribe marijuana must diagnose the patient.

This program helps patients find relief from chronic pain and other advanced conditions. Diseases and complications that qualify include:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s

Patients may also be eligible if they’re experiencing chronic pain or nausea, seizures, or muscle spasms. Once approved, a patient must pay the applicable fees to move forward with the paperwork, which they must renew annually. After these steps are complete, a patient may purchase marijuana for his or her qualified condition from a licensed (also by the ADHS) nonprofit dispensary.

Arizona’s Laws Governing Dispensaries and Caregivers

There are extensive laws for medical marijuana users, but Arizona also strictly monitors its dispensaries and caregivers. As noted, the ADHS licenses dispensaries. Moreover, an Arizona-licensed medical director must be on staff.

In addition to dispensaries, the state licenses designated caregivers to personally grow and dispense medical marijuana. Requirements for these individuals include:

  • Only growing marijuana for up to five patients
  • Being over the age of 21
  • Undergoing a fingerprint and background check
  • Having no drug felonies on their records
  • Submitting a $200 application fee

To use these specialists in lieu of a dispensary, patients simply designate a caregiver on their initial applications. The patient may also submit an application to become a designated caregiver and grow his or her own medical cannabis.

Important Restrictions for Medical Marijuana Use in Phoenix, Arizona

The initial process is intense and expensive, but there are still dozens of other laws governing marijuana use and possession. For example, Arizona imposes a limit of 2.5 ounces of marijuana bi-weekly. Those licensed to grow their own plants may have no more than 12 on their property.

These same restrictions apply to caregivers: 2.5 ounces bi-weekly and no more than 12 plants per patient. For example, a caregiver who distributes this substance for five approved individuals may have no more than 12.5 ounces and 60 plants in his or her possession. Finally, there are restrictions on where you can use marijuana. For example, it can’t be smoked it public areas – though it can be eaten.

Fight for Your Rights with a Qualified Attorney in Arizona

The laws surrounding marijuana may seem straightforward here, but remember: The federal government and health insurers still consider it illegal. Thus, it is easy for law enforcers to be confused about what you can and can’t do.

For instance, you may be prosecuted illegally for being in a vehicle with someone who legally possesses or consumes marijuana. Employers may also be a little hazy about their rights: You can’t be prohibited from working for a company because of legal medical marijuana use, unless you consume or possess the substance on the premises or on the clock. Keep in mind, however, that marijuana found in one’s system (even if that person is licensed by the ADHS) while driving may lead to a DUI.

If you have an Arizona medical marijuana card and have been illegally detained, be prepared to fight for your rights. The Phoenix defense attorneys at Craig Orent carefully review and stay current on all Arizona laws, including our budding legislation. Contact our drug crimes lawyers today for a consultation; we’ll ensure your rights are protected.