On Thursday, April 14, the Arizona Department of Health Services will begin accepting applications for medical marijuana patient and caregiver cards. The ADHS will review and approve or deny each application within 10 business days.

So, in just a couple of weeks, some Arizonans will be able to legally possess and use pot, provided they stay within ADHS guidelines. The department won't begin accepting dispensary applications until June, so all patients issued cards before a dispensary opens within 25 miles of their home can grow their own weed, if they indicate on their applications that they want to cultivate.

Get a card, and you can buy, possess, and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks — or grow up to 12 plants. Follow the law, and cops can't arrest you, landlords can't discriminate against you, and employers can't penalize you (unless you're high on the job).

To get a card, you must:

First, receive written certification (on a form provided at the ADHS website) from a licensed Arizona physician stating you have one of the debilitating conditions listed in the program (which include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, and "severe and chronic pain").

Second, submit an application at the ADHS website, along with residence, postal and e-mail addresses, a copy of your Arizona driver's license or identification card, proof of U.S. citizenship, a photograph, your certified physician's statement, and a signed statement that you won't pass along your pot to anyone who's not allowed to have it.

If your own doctor won't write a medical marijuana certification, you can obtain certification from another physician, provided the physician is licensed to practice in Arizona and provides a written statement to ADHS confirming your debilitating condition and stating you've established a physician-patient relationship.

To cultivate your own cannabis, check the box on the application indicating it, and state that you don't live within 25 miles of a dispensary. All patient card applicants need to pay a non-refundable application fee of $150 ($75 for people who show proof of participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a.k.a. food stamps).

People seeking cards as designated caregivers for qualifying patients (which would allow them to purchase and possess medical marijuana on behalf of a patient) must submit all the same information, but also undergo a criminal records check (convicted felons aren't eligible), and submit a set of fingerprints. The application fee for caregivers is $200. Each qualifying patient may have only one caregiver.

Everything must be submitted online through the ADHS website, using electronic copies in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Once you submit your application, ADHS will approve or deny it within 10 business days. Cards are valid for one year; renewal fees are the same as initial application fees.

Once someone has a patient or caregiver card from ADHS, they may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable medical marijuana, and may purchase their pot from any licensed dispensary in the state. Such edibles as marijuana brownies and cookies will count toward the legal limit, but only the weight of the usable marijuana in the edible will be counted. Dispensaries will be linked to a central database that records all purchases, and each patient or caregiver won't be able to buy more than 2.5 ounces total every two weeks.

If a patient or caregiver transfers medical marijuana to anyone who doesn't have a valid registry card — or if they're in possession of more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana — they will be breaking the law. Patients authorized to cultivate cannabis could still buy marijuana from a dispensary but would have to stay within the legal limits of possession.

Only patients with medical marijuana cards issued by ADHS can buy weed at dispensaries in Arizona; however, patients with valid cards from other states can legally possess marijuana here. As of March, more than 10 possession cases have been dismissed in Mohave County, because all the defendants proved they could legally use medical marijuana in their home states (usually California). Sergeant Steve Carbajal of the Tempe Police Department and Sergeant Mark Clark of Scottsdale PD both told New Times that officers expect to handle possession cases by out-of-state visitors on a case-by-case basis. Carbajal says officers have received information on the reciprocity function of Arizona's medical marijuana law.

Card-carrying patients in Arizona can rest easy knowing that if they get pulled over with less than 2.5 ounces of weed in their cars, they're not going to be arrested. However, it's still illegal to drive while high, and though the presence of marijuana in someone's system isn't proof of impairment (it stays in the user's system long after ingestion), police can still use the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. This is the field test in which an officer takes a pen and asks the driver to follow it with his or her eyes. If the driver's eyes involuntarily jerk (nystagmus), cannot follow the trajectory of the pen at different angles, and have pupils of unequal size, an officer could consider this "probable cause" for impairment. However, many DUI attorneys say the HGN test is flawed, and drivers can refuse to submit.

Also still illegal: using or being under the influence of marijuana at work, and blazing up in public places (including parks, schools, bars, and clubs). Patients won't be able to consume medical marijuana at dispensaries, either.

When local dispensaries begin to open this summer or fall, patients can purchase a variety of marijuana buds, tinctures, and edibles. But ADHS won't start accepting dispensary applications until June 1, about a month after they start sending out patient and caregiver cards — which are valid immediately.

People with medical marijuana patient or caregiver cards from ADHS will be legally protected before dispensaries open, so possessing less than 2.5 ounces of pot will be perfectly legal for them, even if the source is dubious. But many patients, particularly those who aren't comfortable buying marijuana from a street dealer, may choose another option: legally growing their own.

The law says any medical marijuana card holder who does not live within 25 miles of a dispensary may cultivate up to 12 plants. And since nobody will have a dispensary within 25 miles of their home until sometime after June, every qualified patient has an opportunity to start growing now. In its online FAQ sheet for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program, ADHS states, "Since no dispensaries will be operating when the first qualifying patients obtain a registry identification card, all qualifying patients will be approved to cultivate if they request approval to cultivate."

So the first wave of registered Arizona medical marijuana patients can plant pot seeds the moment they get their cards. But they can't just plant them in the open in their backyards — plants must be grown in an enclosed, locked facility (like a closet or greenhouse). But marijuana plants can take anywhere from two to six months to mature, so by the time a patient's buds are ready to harvest, a medical marijuana dispensary may have opened within 25 miles of their grow.

But fret not — patient cards are valid one year from the date of issue, and the Arizona Department of Health Services has no enforcement mechanism in place to notify law enforcement that a patient may be out compliance. So theoretically, patients won't have to worry about their plants until they apply for renewal of their registry cards.

When that happens next year, ADHS will check its database to determine whether any dispensaries are operating within 25 miles of the cardholder and send the cardholder a list of dispensaries, along with a renewal card that states he or she is not authorized to cultivate cannabis anymore.

But for 12 months, the door's open for registered cardholders to go and grow in peace. Arizona's getting greener, after all.

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55 comments
l.s.
l.s.

Can you get a medical marijuana card in Arizona for Restless leg syndrome

Aqua Culture
Aqua Culture

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DrMoujan
DrMoujan

Pathetic to call marjuana pot and weed. It's a useful medicine like any other. Send this author back to charm school.

TXwake
TXwake

It doesn't make sense that people from other states can possess it in the state but not purchase it. How would out of staters that are visiting even obtain it except through illegal means, because they can't traffic it across state lines from their home state

Rsrdad44
Rsrdad44

I hope that my phisician approves giving me the written statement. Because I suffer from chronic pain and been going to a pain management clinic For years and most doctors don't want to even deal with helping there patients try this medical mariguana program.I have a slight seziere dis-order and really feel that this can help me,cause im feeling the side effects of my pain medicine. Like kidney pain,sexual strive is almost never there and it's affecting my everyday life.

Qwertyjoeuiop
Qwertyjoeuiop

That's not true, it says legit-out of state cards are legal only to posses in different states (which I assume use but I don't know), however the issue comes with an out of state card holder attempting to buy from a dispensary, which is illegal. Correct me if I'm wrong? It says it above on page 1, just read carefully and see if I'm wrong. Thanks

Nick Fil
Nick Fil

Ok so if I want to become a radiologist or nurse in AZ and I have my medical marijuana card and I am not at work High or smoke on my break to get high until i get home can i still be fired for it in my system? the law says i cant be discriminated but how well is this law in the medical field? : NOTE: hospitals are privately owned business not federal like police.

Njfuntimes06
Njfuntimes06

I am a convicted felony, did 10 flat in az/ federal, was released 8/28/06, off parole 10/10/09, submitted my reacords just like the normal joe, got my forms and got the card, ONLY people who want to be a care giver get the back ground check, and finger print cards, just getting the card is for anyone, you can't be discriminted again for it.

Preston
Preston

Can a Montana Medical Marijuana card holder possess, use, and grow marijuana in Arizona without getting a Arizona Medical Marijuana license?

Deealex
Deealex

Card-carrying patients in Arizona can rest easy knowing that if they get pulled over with less than 2.5 ounces of weed in their cars, they're not going to be arrested.

I HIGHLY BELIEVE THIS IS A FALSE STATEMENT! I am sure you will be arrested and have to defend yourself using the law for medical marijuana.

Moneylion2
Moneylion2

Being handicapped and living 4 hours from Phoenix, in Mohave County I am not able to find a practitioner nearer to my house, please let me know of any entities in my area who might evaluate and certify me for a med. Marijuana card. Also being on a fixed income should not obstruct me in terms of financial requirements/fees.

Michael Pickett
Michael Pickett

I thought your walls have to be TEN FOOT TALL? And your gate to your yard has to be metal?

Robert Rivera
Robert Rivera

felons are some of the most messed up people in America we also should be able to get medical marajuna so what is going to be far just for white peopple that have enough money to go to paid doctor ..Seems like people want felons to get no relief where not blowing up building and blowing brains out here where trying fucken god dam shitg hole

Amarshall545
Amarshall545

can you grow medical marijuana with children in your house hold..

Growbox
Growbox

People are using it negatively, that is why it illegal in some of the countries.

Info
Info

Get Certified for Medical Marijuana Now • $99 • Tucson or Phoenix | Board Certified Physicians | www.AZMedCard.com | (480) 525-0802 | It's the first step in getting your Arizona Medical Card

Rex Reason
Rex Reason

This law is such a joke. Like how they added the $150k in bank funds requirement in the final draft less than a month ago! Funny to see the New Times try and pass this off like it's cool and newsworthy.

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Jamamama
Jamamama

I know a doctor and her husband in Phoenix, both of whom smoke weed. Can a doctor write a prescription for her husband and then both of them get away with smoking it legally?

Tbrown
Tbrown

www.thegreenleafaz.com go here to find more info on doctors and shops to start growing your own medicine :) green leaf is a free magazine born out of the lifes of paitents that made this bill pass. RIP. To everyone who has ever had someone pass a painful disease or suffer in chronic pain, whatever ales you, theres a choice now. much luv

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Jim
Jim

I know Sargent Mark Clark of Scottsdale PD and he smokes weed. he lives near me in the Desert Ridge area north of the 101 freeway in North Phx. a stoned pot smoking cop as a neighbor is a cool thing to have.

Desert Hippie
Desert Hippie

medical peyote is best and its free just by going out into the local desert and cutting it yourself. city folks are dumb!

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What do people do who don't have computers or have a computer, but don't own a scanner? Anybody know?

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Jawn
Jawn

Plenty of people use Marijuana for medical use. as wellI as an abundance of words including pot and weed as an alternative to marijuana or canabis . So no matter what you call your medicine, it helps with the individual patients ailment or ailments just the same

Garblejargin
Garblejargin

Not legally, sorry bud. I was there last week -"green cross" , Arizona doesn't accept cards from other states:/

Justdid7
Justdid7

As a felon you can get your card, just can't be a caregiver

Rjhartless
Rjhartless

If that statement is true, then you're an asshole.

kat
kat

Rule number 1 about post smokers dont share the information with people you dont trust.

CallingYouOutJim
CallingYouOutJim

Jim,You're either smearing Mark's good name or you're an ahole for calling someone out on their personal business. Which are you....slanderer or a jerk? So uncool...

VAGO WARLORD
VAGO WARLORD

they get high on crank and break into a house and heist one from some yuppie white boy like you.

Scanner Less Life
Scanner Less Life

most just kill themselves I heard. but the smart ones turn on some Grateful Dead or Allman Brothers Band tunes and Burn some Strawberry incense sit back and groove out to the music. that seems to get them threw scanner less lives.

DESERT HIPPIE
DESERT HIPPIE

peyote is free out in the local desert. what is wrong with you people here? why pay for something that is free and plentiful in your own local desert? I been cutting peyote locally since 1976. go ahead and waste you money on over priced pot you dumb city yuppies.

Jstevelaney
Jstevelaney

Desert Hippie doesn't know what he's talking about "local desert" unless he's in south Texas which is the only place in US where Peyote grows naturally. Or you can go pick it in Mexico and dance with the drug cartels. Yes, it is referenced as Medicine by members of the Native American Church because it heals the Spirit not the physical ailments.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

There are places in Arizona where peyote does grow. It's just not widespread. In addition, I'm aware of a number of people who cultivate peyote in their yards - got to love desert landscaping!

 
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