Sponsored by

Arizona's medical marijuana rules released

Department of Health Services issues final medical pot regulations

Thanks to

The Arizona Department of Health Services released its rules for the distribution and use of medical marijuana Monday. The regulations control who can legally use, possess, sell and grow the drug.

The state health department developed the rules after voters narrowly approved Proposition 203 in November's election.

Those who wish to become legal medical marijuana users can apply for registry cards beginning April 14.

Applications for dispensaries will be taken June 1-30. The department will allocate dispensary certificates in August.

There will be 120-126 dispensaries licensed, the department said. The total is 10 percent of the number of pharmacy permits issed in the state.

Qualifying patients must pay $150 for a medical marijuana card. Cards cost $75 for those on food stamps.

Initial dispensary registrations will cost $5,000.

Marijuana patients

Patients wishing to legally use marijuana must apply for a registry card online.

Sponsorships available
Support TucsonSentinel.com & let thousands of daily readers know
your business cares about creating a HEALTHIER, MORE INFORMED Tucson

Cards are available to those diagnosed with one of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn's disease
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
    • 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

A patient's condition must be certified in writing by a doctor. Allopathic, osteophatic, homeophathic and naturopathic physicians with an Arizona license are eligible to certify a patient's condition.

A qualifying patient may possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of usable marijuana or 12 marijuana plants.

ADHS goals

Last week, the state's director of the Department of Health Services, Will Humble, laid out ten goals the department wanted to meet in formulating the medical marijuana rules:

We believe the final rule package accomplishes most of our objectives which include:

  1. ensuring convenient access for folks with debilitating medical conditions identified in the Initiative;
  2. ensuring access to the medication in rural Arizona;
  3. clear expectations regarding criteria for medical marijuana certifications;
  4. a way to ensure physicians write certifications for medical use;
  5. a fair, effective, and orderly way to award dispensary licenses this year and in future years;
  6. clear medical, administrative, inventory, and security expectations for dispensary operation;
  7. reasonable compliance and enforcement provisions;
  8. a clear method for adding debilitating medical conditions over time;
  9. efficient administrative oversight designed to minimize cost; and
  10. reasonable fees that will cover the costs of implementing the program.

ADHS examined medical marijuana laws in other states and reviewed more than 3,000 public comments, Humble said.

The rules on dispensaries are designed to encourage marijuana suppliers to locate in rural areas, to ensure reliable access across the state, Humble said.

Humble opposed the passage of Arizona's medical marijuana measure, but said he believes the agency developed "a responsible set of regulations that will ensure the near-term and future success of the program."

Medical marijuana FAQ

Here's the low-down on who can get high, and where, from ADHS:

General

Why do I need to have a medical marijuana registry identification card?

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act says that anyone who follows the requirements can't be penalized for the medical use of marijuana.

Like what you're reading? Support high-quality local journalism and help underwrite independent news without the spin.

The Act prohibits certain discriminatory practices, including:

A school or landlord can't 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't 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; and

An employer can't 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.

What is still prohibited under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act?

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (Act) does not:

Authorize a person to undertake any task under the influence of marijuana that constitutes negligence or professional malpractice.

Authorize possessing or using medical marijuana on a school bus, on the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or high school, or in a correctional facility.

Authorize smoking marijuana on public transportation or in a public place.

Authorize operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana. A registered qualifying patient will not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of marijuana in the person's system that appears in a concentration insufficient to cause impairment.

Require a government medical assistance program or private health insurer to reimburse for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana.

Require an owner of private property to allow the use of marijuana on that property.

Require an employer to allow the ingestion of marijuana in the workplace.

Prevent a nursing care or other residential or inpatient healthcare facility from adopting reasonable restrictions on the provision, storage and use of marijuana by residents or patients.

Will there be people growing medical marijuana in my neighborhood?

A qualifying patient or the qualifying patient's designated caregiver may cultivate medical marijuana if the qualifying patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. A dispensary may cultivate marijuana at the dispensary or at a cultivation site, but the location of the dispensary and the cultivation site needs to be in compliance with local zoning restrictions. Anyone who grows medical marijuana must do so in an enclosed area.

Costs

How much will it cost to apply for a registry identification card or a dispensary registration certificate?

The fees are listed in rules and include:

$150 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a qualifying patient. Some qualifying patients may be eligible to pay $75 for initial and renewal cards if they currently participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

$200 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a designated caregiver.

$500 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a dispensary agent.

$5,000 for an initial dispensary registration certificate.

$1,000 for a renewal dispensary registration certificate.

$2,500 to change the location of a dispensary or cultivation facility.

$10 to amend, change, or replace a registry identification card.

Cultivation

Who can cultivate marijuana?

A qualifying patient or the qualifying patient's designated caregiver may be approved by the Department to cultivate medical marijuana if the qualifying patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary.

A dispensary may cultivate marijuana at the dispensary or at a cultivation site. The location of the dispensary and the cultivation site needs to be in compliance with local zoning restrictions.

Anyone who cultivates medical marijuana must do so in an enclosed, locked area.

Does a qualifying patient or designated caregiver authorized to grow have to follow the same requirements as a dispensary to cultivate marijuana?

No, the only requirements that qualifying patients or designated caregivers who are authorized to cultivate marijuana must follow are the number of plants grown in an enclosed, locked facility specified in state law.

Will the Department be inspecting the homes of qualifying patients or designated caregivers authorized to grow marijuana?

The Department has no authority to inspect the homes of qualifying patients or designated caregivers authorized to grow marijuana.

Can a qualifying patient or designated caregiver authorized to grow medical marijuana use the same enclosed, locked facility used by another qualifying patient or designated caregiver also authorized to grow medical marijuana? Would these facilities be subject to inspection?

Sites used by qualifying patients or designated caregivers to grow marijuana are not subject to inspection by the Department. However, state law limits the number of plants that may be grown and includes the requirement that cultivation be done in "an enclosed, locked facility."

Can cultivation be done in a greenhouse?

Cultivation must be done in "an enclosed, locked facility." A greenhouse is included in the definition of "enclosed, locked facility". However, to meet the definition of "enclosed, locked facility," the greenhouse must be equipped with "locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder" or surrounded by "solid 10-foot walls constructed of metal, concrete, or stone that prevent any viewing of the marijuana plants, with a one-inch thick metal gate".

Can I set up a cultivation facility without being a dispensary?

The statute ties cultivation to dispensaries by definition and requires a dispensary to provide the address of an additional cultivation location, if any, when applying for a registration. The Department does not have authority to issue a separate certificate to an entity that is only a cultivation facility.

Dispensaries

How will the dispensaries work?

A medical marijuana dispensary registered with ADHS must be operated on a not-forprofit basis, but will be able to receive payment for expenses incurred in its operation.

The Department can issue no more than one nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary registration certificate for every ten pharmacy permits issued by the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy under current law.

A dispensary can cultivate marijuana only in an enclosed, locked facility.

A dispensary can acquire marijuana from other registered nonprofit dispensaries or from a registered qualifying patient or designated caregiver if the patient or caregiver is not compensated for the marijuana.

State law and rules specify various security, record-keeping, and verification requirements a registered dispensary will have to follow relating to the operation of the dispensary. When can I apply for a dispensary license?

ADHS will accept applications for dispensaries between June 1st and June 30th, 2011.

Who can open a dispensary?

Only an individual who is at least 21 years of age and has been a resident of Arizona for at least three consecutive years before the date of application may be a principal officer or board member on an application for a dispensary registration certificate. In addition, each principal officer and board member must also pass a criminal records check for an excluded felony offense. There are other conditions that may affect the ability to obtain a dispensary registration certificate.

When will you award the dispensary certificates?

ADHS anticipates the allocation process for initial dispensary certificates to be completed in August 2011.

On what basis will dispensary registration certificates be awarded?

The Department will issue dispensary registration certificates using an evaluation process. If only one complete application is received for a dispensary in a particular CHAA, that applicant will be awarded a dispensary registration certificate. If more than one complete application is received for a dispensary in a particular CHAA, the Department will use the evaluation process to allocate the dispensary registry certificate.

Once I apply for a dispensary certificate, can I change the address in my application before I begin operating?

Yes, as long as the new address complies with local zoning and you pay the fee.

Is my $5,000 application fee refundable?If a dispensary registration certificate application is complete and the applicant is not allocated a dispensary registration certificate, the applicant will be refunded $1,000 of the $5,000 application fee. The application fee is not refundable in other circumstances, including an applicant withdrawing the application.

What if my application is incomplete because I forgot to fill out or submit something, is it refundable then?

If an application for a dispensary registration certificate is incomplete, an applicant will be sent a Notice of Deficiency and will have 10 days to submit the missing items. The application is considered withdrawn if the application remains incomplete after 10 days and the fee is not refundable.

Can I withdraw my application and get my $5,000 back?

The fee is not refundable if an application is withdrawn.

Do I need a certificate of occupancy from my city in order to apply?

No, applicants do not need to submit a certificate of occupancy in the initial application. However, if awarded a certificate, a copy of the certificate or other documentation issued by the local jurisdiction will be necessary when requesting approval to operate the dispensary.

When do I need to get a special use permit?

As part of the application requesting approval to operate the dispensary, a dispensary must submit a copy of the certificate or other documentation issued by the local jurisdiction authorizing the dispensary to occupy and use the building as a dispensary. Therefore, if required by the local jurisdiction, a special use permit must be obtained before a dispensary submits an application for approval to operate.

How many dispensary registration certificates will one entity be able to obtain?

A person may be an applicant, principal officer, or board member on only one dispensary registration certificate application for a location in a single CHAA and on no more than five dispensary registration certificate applications for locations in different CHAAs.

How many dispensaries will be allowed to open in AZ?

The number of dispensaries is based on the number of pharmacies in the State. As of March 2011, the Department anticipates issuing between 120 and 126 dispensary registry certificates.

How will dispensaries be distributed throughout the state?

For the initial issuance of dispensary registration certificates, the Department plans to allocate certificates on the basis of Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs).

What is a CHAA and why is the Department using them to allocate dispensaries?

CHAA stands for Community Health Analysis Area, a geographic area based on population established by the Department for use by public health programs. By requiring dispensaries to apply for a dispensary registration certificate based on a CHAA, the Department is trying to spread dispensaries out across the State, based on population.

In the dispensary application, I have to confirm whether:

I've been a resident of Arizona for 3 years,

whether I am delinquent on federal, state and local taxes, child support, or student loans etc.,

whether I've ever been bankrupt,

whether Everyone with a 20% financial interest in the dispensary is an applicant or board member,

and whether I have access to $150K in startup capital.

Are these requirements?

All principal officers, board members and dispensary applicants must have lived in Arizona for the preceding three years before application. According to rules, a delinquency on federal, state, or local taxes, child support, or student loans, an unpaid judgment due to a governmental agency, or a past bankruptcy does not disqualify an applicant from being allocated a dispensary registration certificate. However, ADHS may use those factors as criteria in the selection of who will be allocated a dispensary registration certificate if there is more than one qualified applicant for a given CHAA. If it isn't all required, is there a priority for the information?

ADHS will evaluate competing applications with the criteria by the order listed in the rules.

Can a dispensary operate in one CHAA and have its cultivation site in another CHAA?

Yes, a dispensary can operate in one CHAA and have its cultivation site in another CHAA. However, the dispensary must operate in the CHAA for which the dispensary registration certificate was issued.

Can a dispensary change the location of the dispensary?

Within the first three years after receiving a dispensary registry certificate, a dispensary may move; the new location must also be within the CHAA for which the dispensary registration certificate was issued. After the first three years, a dispensary may move to a location in another CHAA.

In either case, a dispensary must comply with A.A.C. R9-17-307 to change the dispensary's location. The fee for a change of location is $2500.

Is a dispensary in a rural area of Arizona required to remain in the CHAA for which the dispensary registration certificate was issued?

A dispensary in a rural CHAA must remain in the CHAA for which the dispensary registration certificate was issued for the first three years. After the first three years, a dispensary in a rural CHAA may move to a location in another CHAA but it must prove the new site complies with local zoning requirements.If I'm awarded a dispensary certificate, can I start operating right away?

Dispensaries that have a dispensary registration certificate must apply for approval to at least 60 days before the expiration of the dispensary registration certificate and receive approval to operate before the dispensary registration certificate expires.

What happens if I obtain a dispensary registration certificate and am not able to complete construction and begin operations before my dispensary registration certificate expires?

A person with a dispensary registration certificate who applies for approval to operate the dispensary to the Department less than 60 days before the expiration date of the dispensary registration certificate, or does not apply before the expiration of the certificate, may be permanently disqualified from applying again.

Is a dispensary registration certificate transferable?

A dispensary cannot transfer or assign the dispensary registration certificate.

How will dispensary licenses be awarded in future years?

Beginning in May, 2012, ADHS will evaluate the number of operating dispensaries and the number allowed by statute. The department will follow specific rules if there are available dispensary licenses. How should a dispensary obtain its original stock?

According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a dispensary can acquire marijuana from other registered nonprofit dispensaries or from a registered qualifying patient or designated caregiver if the patient or caregiver is not compensated for the marijuana.

Can I get my inventory from the street?

The law limits where a dispensary can acquire marijuana to other registered nonprofit dispensaries or from a registered qualifying patient or designated caregiver if the patient or caregiver is not compensated for the marijuana.

Is there a limit to how much medical marijuana a dispensary can have or grow?

Neither the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act nor the Department's rules limit the amount of medical marijuana a dispensary may have or grow. However, a dispensary may want to consult with an attorney about Federal marijuana-related laws and regulations.

If I don't want to have a cultivation site as part of my dispensary, can I buy medical marijuana from another dispensary?

Yes, a dispensary must follow certain rules acquiring medical marijuana from another dispensary.

What methods will a dispensary have to use to prevent unauthorized distribution of marijuana?

As part of the application for a dispensary registration certificate, a dispensary must provide to the Department policies and procedures that describe security measures and the inventory control features the dispensary will employ. Required security featuresinclude electronic monitoring, restricted access, and intrusion protection. Before dispensing marijuana to an individual, a designated agent at a dispensary is required to verify that individual has a valid registry identification card.

How will medical marijuana be transported from where it is grown to the dispensary or from the dispensary to qualifying patients who cannot drive?

A dispensary transporting medical marijuana to other dispensaries or to qualifying patients must follow certain rules, including a vehicle with no medical marijuana identification and no visible marijuana or paraphernalia. Before transporting the marijuana, a dispensary agent must complete a trip plan, a description of what is being transported, and the anticipated route. While transporting marijuana, the dispensary agent must carry a copy of the trip plan and have a means of communicating with the dispensary. After completing the trip, the dispensary agent is required to enter the end time of the trip and any changes to the trip plan. If medical marijuana is delivered to a qualifying patient, the dispensary agent also has to comply with requirements for verification and recordkeeping.

What services must a dispensary provide? What services may a dispensary provide?

A dispensary is required to be open and available to dispense marijuana to qualifying patients and designated caregivers at least 30 hours per week. The dispensary is also required to provide educational materials for qualifying patients or designated caregivers and to have materials available for the assessment of the therapeutic or palliative use of marijuana for the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition.

In addition, a dispensary may cultivate marijuana for the dispensary's inventory or to sell to other dispensaries; transport medical marijuana and related paraphernalia; prepare, sell, or dispense marijuana-infused edible food products; prepare, sell, or dispense marijuanainfused non-edible products; sell or provide marijuana paraphernalia or other supplies related to the administration of marijuana to qualifying patients and designated caregivers; deliver medical marijuana to qualifying patients; or provide other patient support and related services to qualifying patients.

Can a dispensary sell candy and brownies that have marijuana in them?

Dispensaries must follow several rules to sell edible food products infused with marijuana.

How can a dispensary obtain edible food products containing marijuana?

A dispensary may obtain edible food products containing marijuana in two ways: it can obtain them from another dispensary or obtain a food establishment permit, issued pursuant to state rules and the ordinances and requirements of the local health department where the dispensary is located, and prepare the edible food products itself.

Will the Department be inspecting dispensaries?

The Department will conduct a compliance inspection of a dispensary and, if applicable, the dispensary's cultivation site before issuing an approval to operate and periodically thereafter to ensure compliance with state law and Department rules. The Department may also conduct an inspection of a dispensary or the dispensary's cultivation site in response to a complaint made to the Department.

Who is a dispensary agent and what do they do?

A principal officer, board member, employee, or volunteer of a dispensary is a dispensary agent. A dispensary agent is anyone who is responsible for performing tasks in or on behalf of the dispensary.

Why does a dispensary agent need to be fingerprinted?

According to state law, people can't be dispensary agents if they've been convicted of an excluded felony. Anyone applying to be a dispensary agent must submit a full set of fingerprints to the Department as part of an application. The fingerprints may be used by the Department to conduct a criminal records check on the applicant.

If I already have a fingerprint clearance card from another job, why do I need to submit another fingerprint card to be a dispensary agent?

An applicant needs to submit a fingerprint card to ADHS to allow us to check for specific excluded felonies for this law. The list of offenses that would prevent a fingerprint clearance card from being issued to a teacher, child care worker, or other individuals required to obtain these is not the same as the list of "excluded felony offenses" for which dispensary agents are checked. Therefore, all designated caregivers are required to submit fingerprints in a Department-provided format as part of the applications for registry identification cards unless their fingerprints were submitted within the previous six months as part of another application to the medical marijuana program.

Will there be medical oversight at a dispensary?

Yes, a dispensary has to employ or contract with an Arizona physician to be the medical director for the dispensary. A medical director may not provide a written certification for medical marijuana to a qualifying patient.

Can someone who is a physician become a medical director if he/she holds an Arizona medical license but also has a medical license and works in another state?

The requirements for a medical director include that the medical director must be an Arizona-licensed physician who is on-site or able to be contacted.

What will a dispensary's medical director do?

The duties of a dispensary's medical director include developing information and training for dispensary agents and customers. A medical director is not permitted by the rules to provide written certifications for medical marijuana.

What security will a dispensary have to provide?

A dispensary is required to comply with the specific security requirements. These include having security equipment to deter unauthorized entrance to limited access areas, exterior lighting, and video surveillance cameras. A dispensary must also have policies and procedures in place for the use of the security equipment to prevent unauthorized access to medical marijuana at the dispensary.

Physicians

What are my obligations to my patient?

The law and rules specify requirements for issuing written certifications for patients for the medical use of marijuana. A physician is required to:

Have made or confirmed a diagnosis of a debilitating medical condition, as defined in A.R.S. § 36-2801,for the qualifying patient;

Have established a medical record for the qualifying patient and am maintaining the qualifying patient's medical record as required in A.R.S. § 12-2297;

Have conducted an in-person physical examination of the qualifying patient within the last 90 calendar days appropriate to the qualifying patient's presenting symptoms and the debilitating medical condition the physician diagnosed or confirmed;

Have reviewed the qualifying patient's medical records, including medical records from other treating physicians from the previous 12 months, the qualifying patient's responses to conventional medications and medical therapies, and the qualifying patient's profile on the Arizona Board of Pharmacy Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program database;

Have explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana to the qualifying patient, or if applicable, the qualifying patient's custodial parent or legal guardian;

If the physician has referred the qualifying patient to a dispensary, have disclosed to the qualifying patient, or if applicable, the qualifying patient's custodial parent or legal guardian, any personal or professional relationship I have with the dispensary; and

Attest that, in the physician's professional opinion, the qualifying patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition.

In addition, for a patient who is under the age of 18, another physician must:

Have conducted an comprehensive review of the qualifying patient's medical records from other physicians treating the qualifying patient;

If the physician has referred the qualifying patient to a dispensary, have disclosed to the qualifying patient, or if applicable, the qualifying patient's custodial parent or legal guardian, any personal or professional relationship I have with the dispensary; and

Attest that, in the physician's professional opinion, the qualifying patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition.

I've heard that the ADHS will be looking for unprofessional conduct if physicians write certifications for recreational use or for doing an incomplete evaluation. What do you plan to do?

ADHS will periodically review the demographics of qualifying patients. If ADHS determines that a physician providing written certifications may be engaging in unprofessional conduct, ADHS will provide information to the physician's licensing board.If I sign up as a medical director for a dispensary what are my obligations and what is prohibited? What will a dispensary's medical director do?

The duties of a dispensary's medical director include providing guidance to staff and clients of the dispensary. A medical director is not permitted by the rules to provide written certifications for medical marijuana.

Qualifying Patients

When can I apply for a qualifying patient card?

Qualifying patients can begin applying for registry identification cards on April 14, 2011 on the website.

Do I need to apply for my qualified patient card on-line? Can I walk it in?

No, ADHS will only accept applications submitted online.

How can I apply for a registry identification card to possess and use medical marijuana?

A qualifying patient, who has been diagnosed with one of the debilitating medical conditions will need to get a written certification from a physician (medical doctor, osteopath, naturopath, or homeopath licensed to practice in Arizona) with whom he/she has a physician-patient relationship. The written certification has to be on a form provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services (Department) within 90 days before submitting an application for a registry identification card. After obtaining the written certification from the physician, the qualifying patient can apply online for a registry identification card, after April 14, 2011.

Your website requires that I submit electronic copies of everything in a PDF format. I don't know how to do that. How should I proceed?

PDF is the Adobe Portable Document Format used to store documents and pictures digitally. Some computers and software can save documents in PDF format. If you are unable or unsure whether you can save documents in PDF format, some businesses offer the service of converting or saving your documents and will provide them on a CD or memory card. Consult your local telephone or internet listing directory.

I can't afford the cost of a qualifying patient card. Is there a way to pay less?

For a qualifying patient who is currently on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), the cost of a registry identification card is reduced from $150 to $75.

What medical conditions will qualify a patient for medical marijuana?

Cancer

Glaucoma

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Hepatitis C

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Crohn's disease

Agitation of Alzheimer's diseaseA chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:

o Cachexia or wasting syndrome;

o Severe and chronic pain;

o Severe nausea;

o Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; o Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

What if my medical condition is not listed?

State law allows a person to request the addition of other conditions to the list of debilitating medical conditions.

How can I request the addition of a medical condition to the list?

In January and July of each calendar year, the Department will accept written requests to add a medical condition to the list of the debilitating medical conditions. The requirements for completing a request to add a medical condition include:

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 treatments to provide therapy or comfort for the condition;

A summary of the evidence that marijuana will provide therapy or comfort for the medical condition; and

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 supporting why the medical condition or the treatment of the medical condition should be added.

Who can write a medical marijuana certification for a patient?

Allopathic (MD), Osteopathic (DO), Homeopathic [MD(H) or DO(H)], and Naturopathic [MD(N) or NMD] physicians who have a physician-patient relationship with the patient may write certifications for medical marijuana. The physician must hold a valid Arizona license.

Does the Department provide a list of physicians who will write a medical marijuana certification?

No, the Department does not provide referrals to or recommendations for any physician.

Does the certification from my doctor need to be on a specific form?

Yes, the ADHS certification form must be filled out completely and signed and initialed by the physician providing the written certification.

What if my doctor gave me a form that isn't in the ADHS format, can I submit that?

No, ADHS will only accept the physician's certification on the ADHS form.What documentation do I need from the recommending physician to provide with my application?

A qualifying patient is required to submit a written certification, filled out, signed, and dated by the recommending physician, on a form provided by the Department. On the form, the physician needs to specify the patient's debilitating medical condition and state that the patient is likely to receive therapy or comfort from marijuana for the debilitating medical condition or its symptoms.

Is a licensed physician required to write medical marijuana certifications to a patient who has a chronic or debilitating condition?

No, nothing in the statute requires a physician to write medical marijuana certifications for a patient.

What if my doctor can't or won't write a certification for medical marijuana?

The written certification given to a qualifying patient does not have to come from the physician diagnosing the qualifying patient's debilitating condition or from the qualifying patient primary care provider. The written certification can be obtained from a different physician whom the qualifying patient has consulted about the qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana. The physician providing the written certification must state that the physician has made or confirmed the qualifying patient's debilitating condition and believes the qualifying patient is likely to receive therapy or comfort for the qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition. In addition, the physician is required to state that the physician has undertaken specific activities that are part of establishing a physician-patient relationship.

What happens if I lose my registry identification card or it is stolen?

Just as the credit cardholder must notify the issuer of the credit card if it is lost or stolen, a qualifying patient, designated caregiver, or dispensary agent whose registry identification card is lost or stolen must notify the Department. The cardholder can apply at the Department's website for a replacement card. The cost of a replacement card is $10.

How much marijuana can a qualifying patient possess?

A qualifying patient may possess up to 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana or 12 marijuana plants. Where will a qualifying patient be able to smoke or consume medical marijuana?

According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient may not consume medical marijuana at a dispensary but may eat medical marijuana in foods or use infused products at other locations. State law lists places where a qualifying patient may not smoke medical marijuana, including public places. A qualifying patient who lives in a nursing care institution, hospice, assisted living facility, or adult foster care home or who attends an adult day health care facility may also have to follow restrictions imposed by the facility.

Can a qualifying patient drive while smoking marijuana?

No, a qualifying patient cannot drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

My workplace routinely tests for drugs including marijuana. If I'm a qualified patient, what kinds of protection do I have?

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act states that an employer will not be able to penalize a qualifying patient with a registry identification card 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. If you are unsure how the Act applies to you, consult an attorney licensed to practice law in Arizona.

Can I grow my own marijuana?

According to state law, a qualifying patient or the qualifying patient's caregiver may be allowed to grow marijuana only if a dispensary is not operating within twenty-five (25) miles of the qualifying patient's home. 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.

Can I grow marijuana outside?

You can grow marijuana outside if you are authorized to cultivate marijuana and you comply with the law, growing the marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility: a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder. "Enclosed area" is defined in rule as an outdoor space surrounded by solid 10-foot walls constructed of metal, concrete, or stone that prevent any viewing of the marijuana plants, with a one-inch-thick metal gate.

How will I know if I am authorized to grow marijuana?

A qualifying patient who is willing and able to cultivate marijuana for his/her use or wants to have a designated caregiver grow marijuana for the qualifying patient's use should indicate a desire to cultivate marijuana on the application. The Department will check to see if the qualifying patient's address is within a 25 mile radius of the nearest operating dispensary. If there is no dispensary within a 25 mile radius of the qualifying patient's home, the Department will issue the qualifying patient or the designated caregiver a registry identification card indicating authorization to grow marijuana.

If there is a dispensary within a 25 mile radius, the Department will send the qualifying patient a list of all dispensaries along with a registry identification card indicating that the qualifying patient is not authorized to grow marijuana. The registration identification card issued to the qualifying patient's designated caregiver would also indicate that the designated caregiver is not authorized to grow marijuana.

If I am authorized to grow marijuana, can I also buy it at a dispensary?

Authorization to cultivate marijuana does not prevent a qualifying patient from purchasing medical marijuana from a dispensary. The qualifying patient authorized to grow who purchases medical marijuana from a dispensary is still required to abide by the limit of marijuana the qualifying patient is allowed to have in his/her possession.

How much marijuana can I buy?

A qualifying patient or designated caregiver registered with ADHS will be able to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period from a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary. Where can I legally buy marijuana if I am a qualifying patient?

Qualifying patients can obtain medical marijuana from a dispensary, the qualifying patient's designated caregiver, another qualifying patient, or, if authorized to cultivate, from home cultivation.

Does the Department provide a list of dispensaries? Will the Department provide a list of dispensaries after the dispensaries have been chosen?

When a qualifying patient obtains or renews a registry identification card, the Department will provide a list of all operating dispensaries to the qualifying patient. Until a dispensary opens in my area, will I be able to grow marijuana?

As long as a dispensary is not operating within 25 miles of a qualifying patient's home when he or she receives a registry identification card, that card or the registry identification card of the designated caregiver may indicate that marijuana may be grown for the qualifying patient's medical use. If I am authorized to grow marijuana and a new dispensary opens within 25 miles of my home, what happens?

When a qualifying patient applies for renewal of the registry identification card, the Department will check to see if the qualifying patient's address is within a 25 mile radius of the nearest dispensary. If so, the Department will send the qualifying patient a list of all dispensaries along with a registry identification card indicating that the qualifying patient is not authorized to grow marijuana. The registry identification card issued to the qualifying patient's designated caregiver would also indicate that the designated caregiver is not authorized to grow marijuana. If there is no dispensary within a 25 mile radius of the qualifying patient's home, the Department will issue the qualifying patient or the designated caregiver a registry identification card indicating the authorization to grow marijuana.

When I get a registry identification card, can I go to any dispensary or am I assigned to the nearest dispensary?

Unlike other medical marijuana programs, a qualifying patient in Arizona is not assigned to a particular dispensary and may purchase medical marijuana at any dispensary. This will allow the qualifying patient to shop for a dispensary offering the best price, most convenient hours of operation, strains of marijuana meeting the qualifying patient's needs, other services the qualifying patient may want, or other factors important to the qualifying patient.

If I don't want to designate a caregiver and I am unable to go to a dispensary to buy medical marijuana, can a dispensary deliver the medical marijuana to me?

There is nothing in the statutes or rules that prevent a dispensary from delivering medical marijuana to a qualifying patient. However, the dispensary still has to comply with requirements for verification and recordkeeping specified in state law and rules. The dispensary also has to comply with restrictions imposed by cities or counties in local ordinances that may prevent the dispensary from delivering medical marijuana to qualifying patients.

Will I have to pay tax on medical marijuana?

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. Note that there is no additional or special tax on medical marijuana at this time.

How will I know if I'm getting medical marijuana?

The rules require labels containing specific information about where the marijuana came from, amount and strain, date of manufacture, a list of chemical additives, and other information to be attached to all products sold by dispensaries, including marijuana or products containing marijuana. The label on an edible product containing marijuana must also state the total weight of the product.

If I have a past conviction for possession or use of marijuana, can I still get a qualifying patient registry identification card?

Yes, Arizona residents who have a written certification from Arizona physicians can obtain qualifying patient registry identification cards. State law requires background checks for prior "excluded felony offenses" designated caregivers and dispensary agents.

If I am visiting Arizona from another state from which I have obtained a medical marijuana card, can I legally possess marijuana? May I buy marijuana from a dispensary?

State law allows a visiting qualifying patient with a registry identification card or its equivalent, issued by the qualifying patient's home state, to possess or use marijuana. However, a visiting patient is not authorized to obtain marijuana from a dispensary because the dispensary is required in statute to access a verification system before dispensing marijuana.

Can I hold a medical marijuana card for more than one state?

A qualifying patient must show Arizona residency by providing the Department with a copy of the qualifying patient's Arizona driver's license, Arizona identification card, Arizona registry identification card, or photograph page in the qualifying patient's passport. The qualifying patient must also obtain a written certification from an Arizona physician. If a qualifying patient can comply with these requirements, the qualifying patient may obtain an Arizona registry identification card, regardless of whether the qualifying patient also has a medical marijuana card from another state.

Do I have to have a caregiver?

No, a qualifying patient does not need to designate a caregiver; however, a patient may want help with the medical use of marijuana.

Who can be my designated caregiver?

The designated caregiver can be anyone over 21-years-old who does not have an excluded felony offense and agrees to assist the qualifying patient with the medical use of marijuana. A designated caregiver does not have to be a home health aide or other professional caregiver.

How many caregivers may I have?

A qualifying patient may designate only one person at a time to assist with the use of medical marijuana. This designation does not affect the ability of the qualifying patient to use other caregivers with the administration of other medications, activities of daily living, home health care, or other tasks.

Designated Caregivers

Can I apply to be a designated caregiver?

No, state law specifies that only a qualifying patient can submit an application designating an individual as the qualifying patient's designated caregiver. How can I become a designated caregiver?

A qualifying patient must apply for a designated caregiver, and only if the designated caregiver meets specific requirements. The requirements for a designated caregiver are specified in state law and include that the individual must be at least 21 years of age, agree to assist the qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana, and have not been convicted of an excluded felony offense. An individual may be a designated caregiver for no more than five qualifying patients. A designated caregiver does not have to be a home health aide or other professional caregiver.

Do I need a separate card for each of my qualifying patients?

Yes. Each patient must apply for you separately as the designated caregiver, so you will have a separate card for each qualifying patient you help.

Can I be both a qualifying patient and a designated caregiver?

Yes, an individual may be both a qualifying patient and the designated caregiver for another qualifying patient as long as the individual meets the requirements for both.

If I am a designated caregiver, can I use marijuana?

A designated caregiver must pledge not to divert marijuana to anyone not allowed to possess marijuana under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Therefore, a designated caregiver may not use marijuana unless the designated caregiver is also a qualifying patient.

If I already have a fingerprint clearance card from another job, why do I need to submit another fingerprint card to be a designated caregiver?

The list of offenses that would prevent a fingerprint clearance card from being issued to a teacher, child care worker, or other individuals required to obtain these, is not the same as the list of "excluded felony offenses" for which designated caregivers are checked. Therefore, all designated caregivers are required to submit fingerprints in a Departmentprovided format as part of the applications for registry identification cards unless their fingerprints were submitted within the previous six months as part of another application to the medical marijuana program.

Will I need to send in prints every year with the renewal application?

Designated caregivers must submit prints at renewal (yearly), unless the designated caregiver has submitted fingerprints for a different registry identification card in the previous 6 months.If I am a designated caregiver, can I grow marijuana?

A designated caregiver can grow marijuana for a qualifying patient's medical use only if the qualifying patient's home is more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary and the qualifying patient has designated the caregiver as the one who should be approved to cultivate marijuana on the qualifying patient's behalf. The amount of marijuana a designated caregiver may grow or possess is limited by the number of qualifying patients who the designated caregiver is assisting.

What if I live less than 25 miles from a dispensary, but the qualifying patient does not? Can I grow medical marijuana?

When a qualifying patient lives more than 25 miles from a dispensary and has authorized the designated caregiver to grow, the caregiver may cultivate marijuana on the qualifying patient's behalf. The amount of marijuana a designated caregiver may grow or possess is limited by the number of qualifying patients who the designated caregiver is assisting.

What if my qualifying patient lives less than 25 miles from a dispensary, but I don't. Can I grow medical marijuana?

When a qualifying patient lives less than 25 miles from a dispensary, neither the patient nor the qualified caregiver will be authorized to grow marijuana.

How much can I grow?

The amount of marijuana a designated caregiver may grow or possess is limited by the number of qualifying patients who the designated caregiver is assisting. It is limited to 12 plants per qualifying patient.

Can I grow outside?

Designated caregivers can grow marijuana outside when authorized to grow marijuana and who comply with the law, growing the marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility: a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder. "Enclosed area" is defined in rule as an outdoor space surrounded by solid 10-foot walls constructed of metal, concrete, or stone that prevent any viewing of the marijuana plants, with a one-inch-thick metal gate.

- 30 -
have your say   

Comments

There are no comments on this report. Sorry, comments are closed.

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Click image to enlarge

Dank Depot/Flickr

Medical marijuana on sale in California.

Youtube Video

On the Web

Proposition 203

Last year's Proposition 203 was the fourth time in 15 years that a medical pot measure was put to voters. Arizonans approved medical marijuana twice before, but neither took effect because of problems in the wording of the measures.

Prop. 203 was Arizona's first voter-driven marijuana initiative to qualify for the ballot. The push was financed by the national Marijuana Policy Project, which lobbies for decriminalization of pot possession.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project collected 252,000 signatures asking for a vote on the law. 153,365 were needed to qualify for the ballot.

Arizona's first medical marijuana law was approved in 1996, but tossed out by the Legislature.

A second initiative was approved in 1998, but language allowing doctors to "prescribe" pot instead of "recommend" it essentially invalidated the law. Doctors who prescribed marijuana would have their ability to write any prescriptions taken away, said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

A 2002 measure that would allow doctors to recommend, instead of prescribe marijuana, was defeated. It would have decriminalized pot possession for everyone, with the fine for having 2 ounces set at $250. It also would have compelled the state to supply patients with marijuana from drugs seized by law enforcement.

Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia have some form of medical marijuana laws

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that the federal government wouldn't prosecute marijuana users who comply with state laws.

  • A
  • A
  • A
  •   Share:
  • more»
Show previews