This series (Rights & Responsibilities) focuses on informing patients in their respective states about the most important facts. In the state of Arizona, every state citizen approved for the medical marijuana patient program is afforded a set of rights and responsibilities. Qualifying patients should remain informed about their rights and responsibilities to make sure they are getting the most out of their medicine and operating within the law.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA)

In the state of Arizona, the citizen initiative (Proposition 203) was passed November 2010. This initiative called on the Arizona Department of Health Services to create a medical marijuana program within 120 days of the official election results. Qualifying patients began applying for identification cards April 14th of 2011.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

The AMMA established a list of medical conditions that qualify a patient for the medical marijuana program. Here is the list of qualifying conditions:

  • Cancer
  • PTSD
  • Glaucoma
  • Human Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Chron’s Disease
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • A Chronic or Debilitating Disease or medical condition of the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes one of the following:
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Severe and chronic pain
    • Severe nausea
    • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
    • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

If your medical condition is not listed, you can petition to have it added to the list of qualifying conditions.

Rights

Medical marijuana patients in Arizona are allowed a certain number of rights that permit the purchase, possession, and donation of medicinal marijuana.

Cultivation

In Arizona, a qualifying patient must be approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) to have the right to cultivate marijuana. A patient applying for cultivation rights must live at least 25 miles from the nearest medical marijuana dispensary and must cultivate the cannabis in “an enclosed, locked facility”. Examples of enclosed, locked facilities can include a closet, room, and greenhouse.

Possession & Use

Arizona medical marijuana patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana, or 12 marijuana plants. The AMMA requires that medical marijuana patients use their medicine on private property. This means that cannabis use while on public grounds/property or while operating a vehicle/aircraft/motorboat is strictly forbidden.

Additionally, medical marijuana patients are afforded these protections from discrimination:

  • A school or landlord CAN NOT refuse to enroll or lease to a qualifying patient unless failing to do so would cause the school or landlord to lose benefits under federal law
  • An employer CAN NOT discriminate against a qualifying patient in hiring, terminating, or imposing employment conditions unless failing to do so would cause the employer to lose benefits under federal law
  • An employer CAN NOT penalize a qualifying patient 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.

The AMMA DOES NOT authorize a patient to:

  • Undertake any task under the influence of marijuana that constitutes negligence or professional malpractice.
  • Ingest cannabis in the workplace.
  • Require a private property owner to allow use of marijuana on that property.
  • Undertake any task under the influence of marijuana that constitutes negligence or professional malpractice.

Patient Identification Card

A medical marijuana patient must be in possession of their patient identification card in order to be afforded the rights and protections established under the AMMA.  The patient identification card allows qualifying patients can obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries, caregivers, or another qualifying patient.

Qualifying patients must include a Physician’s Certification Letter with the renewal of their patient card. According to the AMMA, a physician’s written letter of certification must be dated within 90 calendar days of an application.

Any changes to your patient card details (i.e. name, address) can be made by contacting the AZDHS medical marijuana program support team. Lost, misplaced, or stolen cards cards can also be replaced by emailing: m2programsupport@azdhs.gov

Request the Addition of a Medical Condition to the List

The AZDHS accepts written requests to add a medical condition to the list of debilitating medical conditions in January and July of each calendar year. If one wants to request for a condition to be added to the list they must address these points within their request:

  • 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 treatment to provide therapy or comfort for the condition.
  • A summary of the evidence that marijuana will provide therapy or comfort for the medical condition
  • 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.

Taxes

There is no additional or special tax on medical marijuana at this time. 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.

 

Leave a Reply