arizona marijuana growing laws



Is weed legal in Arizona?

Yes. Cannabis is legal for anyone over the age of 21 and patients of any age with qualifying conditions. Adults can possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time and grow six plants.

Legislation history

Medical marijuana was first approved by Arizona voters in 1996 through an initiative allowing seriously or terminally ill patients to possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. This provision was overturned due to the word “prescribe” conflicting with federal law forbidding marijuana prescriptions.

Arizona tried again to legalize medical cannabis in 2002, with Proposition 203, but it only earned 42.7% of the vote. A viable solution was not approved until nearly 10 years later. Voters in 2010 passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Question, a much-revised Proposition 203, by a slim margin — 50.13% of the vote. After Proposition 203 passed, the first medical marijuana sales didn’t take place until December 2012.

Proposition 203 named the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) as the agency responsible for developing and implementing rules and regulations for the Arizona medical cannabis program. The initiative set out certain parameters used by ADHS for qualifying patients and caregivers to receive access to medical marijuana as well as operating regulations for licensed cannabis dispensaries.

The Smart and Safe Act appeared as Proposition 207 on the general election ballot in Arizona in November 2020. Arizonans voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The passage of this ballot initiative allowed adults over age 21 to possess 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of cannabis concentrates and to cultivate up to six cannabis plants at their primary residence. The ballot initiative also imposed a 16% excise tax on cannabis and allowed for the expungement of some criminal records for marijuana possession. Sales began in January 2021, marking the fastest move from voter approval to sales of any US state.

Purchasing cannabis

Adults 21 and older and patients and caregivers in the ADHS registry can purchase marijuana from a nonprofit state-licensed dispensary. Both groups may purchase cannabis flower, extracts, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules.

Adults can buy up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of cannabis with no more than 5 grams in the form of concentrates from a “marijuana establishment.” Recreational consumers pay 16% sales tax on purchases. Delivery is not available for recreational users.

Patients can purchase an amount of cannabis that would result in their possessing up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) in a 14-day period. Dispensaries use a state-provided tracking system. If patients are unable to make the purchase themselves, they may designate a caregiver or use a delivery service. Patients are subject to a 6.6% state tax, in addition to an optional tax of 2 to 3% levied by cities. Many nonprofit dispensaries offer discounts for patients in financial need.

Dispensaries are allowed one retail location for every 10 pharmacies registered in Arizona. Patients located far from their closest dispensary may opt to use a medical cannabis delivery service. These services will deliver medical cannabis directly to a registered patient’s or designated caregiver’s residence.

Finding licensed dispensaries in Arizona

Adult-use and medical marijuana card holders can find licensed dispensaries in Arizona and search by major metro areas including Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson. Some dispensaries in Arizona offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.

Consuming cannabis

It is legal for medical patients or adults to consume cannabis in private. Patients may consume edibles in public.

It is illegal for drivers and passengers to consume cannabis in any type of vehicle. Driving under the influence is also prohibited.

Any nursing care institution may adopt reasonable rules to regulate the use of medical cannabis by their residents. However, they may not unreasonably limit a registered patient’s medical cannabis use unless doing so would cause the facility to lose monetary or licensing-related benefits under federal regulations.

Possessing cannabis

While adult-use and medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, there are still legal limits to how much one may possess.

Adults 21 and older may possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or cannabis-infused products with no more than 5 grams of it in concentrate form.

Adults may also give away up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of cannabis to another adult 21.

Qualifying patients and their caregivers may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of cannabis.

Patients or caregivers may offer medical cannabis to another registered patient or designated caregiver as long as nothing of value is exchanged and possession limits are not exceeded.

Home cultivation

Adults can grow up to six plants at home. If there are two or more adults in the home, they can grow a maximum of 12 plants total. Plants must be grown out of public view.

Registered patients and designated caregivers may cultivate up to 12 plants per registered patient. These plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked container out of public view.

No landlord may refuse to lease to or otherwise penalize a person solely for their status as a medical cannabis cardholder.

Medical marijuana registry

Adults and patients younger than 18 must meet certain requirements for ADHS approval before being placed on the medical marijuana registry. For minors, the parent or legal guardian must be designated as their caregiver.

Adults are not required to designate a caregiver, but can choose to designate one as needed. A registered patient may designate a caregiver to assist with medical marijuana purchases and deliveries, as well as administration and cultivation of medical marijuana. Arizona law specifies that only a qualified patient can apply for a designated caregiver.

Qualifying Conditions

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or the treatment of such a condition that includes:
        • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
        • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
        • Severe and chronic pain
        • Severe nausea
        • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

The public may petition the ADHS to add debilitating medical conditions to this list.

Patient qualifications

Qualifying patients must be 18 or older to apply for a registry identification card. Minors seeking to apply for a medical cannabis registry identification card must meet the following requirements:

  • The qualifying patient’s physician has explained both the risks and benefits of medical cannabis use to the patient’s parent or legal guardian.
  • The patient’s parent or legal guardian must submit a written certification from two physicians.
  • The patient’s parent or legal guardian must agree to serve as the patient’s designated caregiver and control the acquisition, dosage, and use of medical cannabis.
Registry process
    1. Receive a written certification of a qualifying debilitating condition from an Arizona-licensed physician. The written certification has to be on a form provided by the ADHS and completed within 90 days of submitting an application for a registry identification card.
    2. Complete the online patient registry application .
    3. Provide a valid Arizona driver’s license or state identification card to establish residency.
    4. Designate a caregiver, if applicable.
    5. Request authorization for home cultivation, if applicable.
    6. Pay a $150 fee for a medical marijuana registry identification card. The cards expire one year after the date of issue and must be renewed for $150 annually. Patients must apply for renewals at least 30 days before the card expires .

The department will approve or deny an application or renewal within 10 days of receiving a completed application or renewal. A registry identification card is issued within five days following approval. All application or renewal records are confidential.

Caregiver qualifications

Arizona law specifies that only a qualifying patient can apply for a designated caregiver . Registered caregivers must be age 21 or older, a resident of Arizona, and meet all eligibility requirements prior to ADHS approval. A designated caregiver may provide care for up to five patients and hold a registry identification card for each patient.

Caregivers are eligible to be reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting patients with access and use of medical marijuana.

Registry process
    1. Caregivers must provide proof of residency.
    2. Caregivers must complete a mandatory criminal background check conducted by the ADHS.
    3. Once approved, designated caregivers must print, sign, and date the Medical Marijuana Caregiver Attestation form and submit a copy of the form online before receiving a registry identification card.
    4. A $150 identification card fee must also be paid to ADHS. The registry ID card will expire one year after the date it was issued. The qualifying patient must apply for renewal at least 30 days before the expiration date.

The department will approve or deny an application or renewal within 10 days of receiving a completed application or renewal. A registry identification card is issued within five days following approval. All application or renewal records are confidential.


ADHS recognizes out-of-state medical marijuana registration, offering the same legal protections for visiting patients as those offered to state residents. Out-of-state patients may not purchase from Arizona state-licensed dispensaries, but are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of usable cannabis.

Lab testing

Cannabis grown and processed in Arizona must be tested for the following :

  • Cannabinoids and potency
  • Harmful bacteria
  • Heavy metal
  • Herbicides
  • Mold
  • Mycotoxins
  • Pesticides and growth regulators
  • Residual solvents


When is weed going to be legal in Arizona?

On November 3, 2020, Arizona voters passed the Smart and Safe Act , or Proposition 207, legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older. Adults without a medical marijuana card can purchase cannabis legally.

What are the laws of possession of marijuana in Arizona?

Patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) in a 14-day period. Allowed forms include flower, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules, along with consumption accessories. Adults 21 and older can possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of cannabis concentrates and cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants at their primary residence.

What are the laws for smoking medical marijuana in Arizona?

Smoking cannabis in any public place is prohibited. Patients and adults 21 and older can smoke in private as long as it’s not a place where tobacco smoking is prohibited.

What are the laws on medical marijuana use in the workplace in Arizona?

Arizona’s medical marijuana statute does not allow employers to discriminate against a medical marijuana cardholder when hiring, firing, or penalizing based solely on their status as a cardholder unless the employer would lose federal benefits by not doing so. A positive drug test can’t be held against a patient unless they used, possessed, or were impaired by cannabis while at work or on the premises during working hours. However, being a medical marijuana patient does not allow anyone to do anything while under the influence that could be considered negligence or professional malpractice. Patients also can’t possess or use medical marijuana on any school property, including buses, or in a jail or prison. Operating a vehicle, plane, or boat while impaired is illegal.

How much marijuana is legal in Arizona?

Patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) in a 14-day period. Adults over age 21 can possess 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana with no more than 5 grams being cannabis concentrates.

What type of marijuana is legal in Arizona?

Allowed forms include flower, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules, along with consumption accessories.

What are the weed laws in Arizona for growing your own cannabis?

Registered patients and designated caregivers may cultivate 12 cannabis plants for medical use if there is no non-profit cannabis dispensary within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of their home address. Adults 21 and older may grow six plants at their primary residence. Households with two or more adults may grow up to 12 plants.

Can you go into a dispensary without a card in Arizona?

Arizona law doesn’t require a medical marijuana card to enter a dispensary but dispensaries may ask for cards at the door or require advanced orders. Patients who wish to purchase more than the 1-ounce recreational limit will need to show a card or be in the registry.

Can anyone buy CBD oil in Arizona?

This page was last updated January 22, 2021.

View the marijuana laws & regulations for Arizona.

Arizona Laws for Legally Cultivating Marijuana

You might think that because Arizona and Colorado are neighbors, that Arizona might adopt the same laws as Colorado when it comes to marijuana. However, this is not the case. Arizona has some of the strictest laws in the country. In November of 2016, there was a measure that would have legalized marijuana. It was called Proposition 205. It failed by a narrow margin, and Arizona still has some of the strongest laws known in the United States.

Rules for Possession of Marijuana

The only way that you can legally grow marijuana in the State of Arizona is if you have a medical marijuana ID card. This must be given only by a licensed MD., DO, or N.D. in Arizona. When you have a medical card, this will allow you to possess 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana (the dried flower, mixtures or preparations, such as resin or hashish, made from 2.5 ounces of dried flowers) every 2 weeks, and you will be allowed to grow up to 12 plants as long as you do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary.

Arizona marijuana is also known as cannabis. It is labeled as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This law also includes all the different forms of marijuana, including concentrates and edibles. If you are caught with any form of cannabis, you will face a felony charge under the ARS 13-3405. The charges for possession of marijuana will depend on how much you have, and what the specific charge is.

Medical Marijuana in Arizona

Proposition 203 was first defeated in 2002 but the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act eventually passed in 2010 by the voters in Arizona. If you want to use medical marijuana in Arizona, you will have to be registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services, and have a registry identification card. To qualify you must:

  • Be 18 years old.
  • Have a government-issued ID.
  • Be an Arizona state resident.
  • Medical records for the past year must be provided to the doctor.
  • Must have a debilitating medical condition like cancer, severe chronic pain, severe nausea, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, and glaucoma.

Consumption of Marijuana

The current law states that only those with a medical marijuana ID can consume marijuana. If you are allowed to smoke medical marijuana, you can only do it privately. In the state of Arizona, it is prohibited on public transportation, and in any public place. It is also illegal to use it at a dispensary. Not only could you get into trouble, but you could also get the dispensary in trouble as well, they could even lose their license to sell.

If you choose to consume marijuana in edible form, there is no law stating that you cannot do this in public. However, you cannot operate a vehicle, or do anything that might constitute negligence when consuming marijuana products.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana (THC)

Even if you get marijuana legally in the state of Arizona, ARS 28-1381 states that you cannot control a vehicle while you are under the influence of any type of drug. You will not be found guilty just because you have marijuana in your system. If you are driving recklessly or dangerously, you will be charged. A DUI for Marijuana can be a misdemeanor for the first offense. You could face a license suspension, jail time, or fines.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card

If you have one of the above ailments, and meet all of the qualifications for a medical marijuana, you will need to schedule a visit with your doctor to get a Physician Certification form. You will want to visit your doctor, and then you will have to pay a $150+ application fee. Once you have your doctor submit your application, you will get your card within five days. You must renew your card once a year.

Where to Purchase Medical Marijuana?

Once you have your card, you will be free to purchase marijuana, or grow your own. To grow your own, you will need to get approval from the ADHS. There are several state-licensed dispensaries that will be able to help you. You will need to remember that you can only possess 2.5 ounces of the dried flower, mixtures or preparations, such as resin or hashish, made from 2.5 ounces of dried flowers if you are a legal medical user. If you are caught with more, you could end up in trouble, and may even lose your medical marijuana card.

What are the Rules for Marijuana Cultivation?

You can only grow “weed” under two conditions. If you are a medical user, you can grow up to 12 plants in your home. This is only allowed if you do not have a dispensary within 25 miles of your home. The plants can only be grown in a locked facility. Somewhere like a greenhouse, closet, or room that is completely enclosed. It will have to secure with security devices and locks. The only person that can be in the room, is the licensed cardholder. You will also need ADHS to license you as a medical marijuana cultivator. In some cases, the ADHS may also allow you to be a caregiver. As a caregiver, you will be able to grow marijuana for 1-5 patients.

The Penalties for Marijuana Possession If You Are Not a Medical Recipient

If you do not have a medical card, and you are caught with marijuana in your possession, you will face some pretty stiff consequences. Here are some of the consequences that you may face:

  • 2 Pounds and Less
    If you are caught with less than 2 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony. This will have you facing a minimum sentence of 4 months with a maximum of 2 years. You will face a fine of $1,000 or more. If you are giving probation, you will also face serving 24 hours of community service.
  • 2-4 Pounds
    If you are caught with 2-4 pounds, you will be charged with a Class 5 felony. You will face a minimum of 6 months in jail, with the chance to serve up to 2.5 years. You will face a fine of over $1,000 with this, and you may have to serve in community service.
  • 4+ Pounds
    If you have more than 4 pounds of marijuana in your possession, you will face a Class 4 felony. The minimum sentence is 1 year, and you could face the maximum of almost four years. The fine for this is over $1,000, and you may have to serve community service as well.

Penalties will also increase if you are found to have been trafficking marijuana, selling marijuana (see: possession of drugs for sale ARS 13-3407), or if you have in your possession the tools to grow marijuana. Edibles, and other consumables will face the same charges as having marijuana in your possession. The punishment can be severe in many of these cases. If you have a medical card, and you are caught not following the laws, you could be charged with a crime, and face the same punishments as a non medical ID user.

What to do if Charged for Cultivation or Possession of Marijuana Illegally

If you find yourself charged with possession of marijuana, you will want to get legal representation as soon as possible. A good legal team should be able to help you get the charges reduced. In some cases, especially if it is your first offense, you can go to a drug treatment program where your charges will be dismissed upon the successful completion of the program.

Here at DM Cantor, we have helped many people charged with Arizona marijuana crimes get their drug charges reduced or dismissed altogether. We can help you to have a defense that will help protect you, and get back on good terms with the law. We offer a free consultation, so call our office today so that we can help you face your charges.

Legally grow marijuana in Arizona only if you have a Medical Marijuana ID Card says Drug Crimes Lawyer and Criminal Law Specialist David Cantor.