Chitral Hays -- not his real name -- is Jackalope Ranch's resident expert on medical marijuana in Arizona. Each week in Perfectly Blunt, Hays delivers news, reviews, and must-know info.
So you know that pot is legal in Arizona. Well, not exactly legal, but voters did approve Prop. 203 three years ago, a statewide measure that allows qualified patients to get a card that allows for the legal purchase of pot from some sources. And now you want to know how to get your hands on one of those cards.
You've come to the right place.
In this first installment of Perfectly Blunt, we'll tell you how to get your Arizona Medical Marijuana Program ID. The procedure is relatively simple and, including the state fee of $75 to $150, will cost you an average of $300.
1. Find Out If You Qualify In Arizona, you may only qualify for a medical marijuana card if you have one of the following conditions: HIV/AIDS; hepatitis C; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; glaucoma; multiple sclerosis; seizures; epilepsy; severe nausea; ALS; Crohn's disease; or Alzheimer's disease. If you already know you have one or more of these conditions, you only need to get a recommendation. If you have symptoms of these conditions, you will need to be diagnosed first and then receive a recommendation.
2. Find A Medical Marijuana Evaluator Even if you qualify, you still need a doctor's recommendation. You can visit your primary caregiver or bypass him if you feel he would refuse to refer you or are too private to ask. If you prefer, you can go to a medical marijuana evaluator, which can be an M.D., a naturopath, or a homeopathic doctor. MMJ doctors can be found online or in the classifieds.
Whatever type of doctor you visit, if they agree medical cannabis will help your condition, they will give you a permission slip. Usually, this visit costs about $150. If you shop around, you can sometimes get a better deal. This visit is not covered by insurance because it is considered alternative medicine.
3. Submit Your Application First, you should review the state's guidelines at azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana. You'll need to be able to upload an ID photo, a scan of your driver's license or the equivalent, and your physician's sign-off. You'll also need to print, sign, and upload a form promising that you won't abuse or sell your medication. The form is also on the AZDHS website.
It's a little tedious, but it's not difficult. Some MMJ evaluators will submit this for you, but they might charge you an additional fee. After you've compiled everything, submit it to the state via the aforementioned website. It will cost you $150, but if you qualify in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a.k.a. food stamps) program, you can pay $75.
Currently, Arizona's Medical Marijuana Program is only available online. That means you'll need computer access and you cannot do it in person.
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A few weeks after submitting your application, you should receive an envelope in the mail with your card. Be sure to review the rules that are attached with it. Here's the rundown: You'll need to renew your card every year. You can carry up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana. You can grow your own marijuana if you live farther than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. You cannot drive under the influence of marijuana, and you need to be extra careful that you don't get a DUI even if you're sober. You cannot smoke in public. Keep your medication away from children.
4. How To Get Marijuana To get your medicine, you'll need to go to a state-licensed dispensary. There's a list of operating dispensaries on the AZDHS website. Patients can give marijuana to other patients, however, there cannot be any monetary exchange. Places like compassion clubs and delivery services exist within this a gray area of the law; they accept donations, but do not charge for purchases. It may be best to avoid these places and go to the state-licensed dispensaries, but that's your discretion. We'll explore more about compassion clubs, dispensaries, and other places to get marijuana legally in a future article.
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