Is recreational cannabis legal in Arizona? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Arizona? What about Arizona's CBD laws? Find out in this article.
Home to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Arizona is a popular tourism destination for millions of people each year. The copper state is also home to the renowned Sonoran desert, where the rare saguaro cactus grows.
And while many consider Arizona to be quite arid, the state also has some of the largest national forests in America.
However, marijuana aficionado's will all have one crucial question in mind: Does Arizona allow you to partake in another one of the world's natural wonders; cannabis? Let us explore further in this article to discover more about the laws surrounding marijuana legalization in Arizona.
Is Recreational Weed Legal in Arizona?
Yes, cannabis is now legal in Arizona!
After a long battle in Arizona to legalize recreational-use marijuana, the scenic Grand Canyon state finally succeeded in its efforts, joining a host of other states that legalized cannabis on November 3rd via Prop 207, with a healthy 60% of voters supporting it.
And, as of November 30th, cannabis is now legal to possess and consume privately, with citizens now able to cultivate six plants at their residence. However, dispensaries aren't expected to open until March 2021.
Smart & Safe Initiative
In September, Smart and Safe Arizona filed its petition to legalize cannabis, which stipulated the following:
"A Yes vote supported this ballot initiative to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old, enact a tax on marijuana sales, and require the state Department of Health and Human Services to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses."
The petition, also known as Proposition 207, received over 400,000 signatures, which was significantly more than the required 238,000 needed to be placed on the November ballot in Arizona.
The petition then received a 60% "yes" vote, enacting recreational marijuana legalization into law in AZ as of November the 30th.
History of Arizona's Cannabis Legalization
Up until November 3rd, recreational cannabis in Arizona had been illegal since 1931, with cannabis possessors risking a fine of $150,000, a felony charge, and up to two years in prison for carrying the plant.
This wasn't Arizona's first attempt to legalize cannabis, with a previous attempt occurring in November 2016 in the form of proposition 205, which attempted to legalize adult-use for adults aged 21 and over. However, the bill was voted against by a very narrow margin of 51%.
Furthermore, not only has Arizona legalized cannabis via Proposition 207, but in Maricopa County, which is the largest county in the state, a prosecutor has announced that the county will be dropping pending cannabis-related charges faced by those over 21.
"Instead of continuing to spend resources on these cases, this office will begin implementing the will of the voters immediately," the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said in a written statement Monday.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal In Arizona?
Medical marijuana is in fact legal in Arizona if you are an Arizona citizen, you're over the age of 18, and have met the criteria regarding medical ailments in addition to receiving a written prescription from an approved physician. There is a $150 application fee that citizens will need to pay in order to be given their medical marijuana card in Arizona.
Obtaining a medical recommendation is simple but the outlying conditions that qualify you for being prescribed cannabis are more severe than those of other states. In order to meet the eligibility, one must have serious ailments such as AIDS, HIV, cancer, hepatitis C, and Crohn's disease. It's not as easy-breezy as having a sore back or insomnia, which actually qualifies as a medical ailment that necessitates medical marijuana in less conservative states like California.
Arizona's debacle over medical marijuana started in 1996 when voters passed a ballot initiative, Prop 200, to legalize medical marijuana. Subsequently, the state overruled the vote and maintained that doctors could not prescribe a schedule 1 narcotic as a medicine. Medical marijuana remained illegal in the state until 2010 when voters, again, passed another initiative – prop 203. Finally, this proposition was successful and rendered cannabis legal under medical licenses in Arizona.
Having a medical marijuana card in Arizona permits a patient to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower every fortnight and grow up to 12 plants.
It is important to keep in mind that even while having a medical card one cannot light up in public spaces, especially in national parks. So, no blazing while gazing in the Grand Canyon.
Where are Cannabis Dispensaries in Arizona?
Following the approval of the Smart and Safe Initiative, also known as Prop 207 on November 5th, Arizona residents aged 21 and over can now legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
That being said, recreational cannabis dispensaries aren't expected to be operational until March 2021, and so Arizonans won't be able to purchase cannabis legally for recreational purposes until then.
However, if a patient has a qualifying condition, such as Cancer, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Cachexia, Chronic Pain or another qualifying medical condition, citizens can obtain a prescription from an approved doctor or physician for medical cannabis.
According to Arizona Medical Marijuana Clinics (AZMMCC), there are a total of 97 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Arizona, which typically can open at 8 AM and close as late as 10 PM.
How Much Does Weed Cost in Arizona?
According to AZMarijuana, the average prices for medical marijuana products in Arizona begin at roughly $4.15 for a pre-rolled gram of raw flower, $102 for an ounce of raw flower, $20.90 per gram of concentrates, and $38.70 per gram of vape juice.
While recreational marijuana isn't yet sold in dispensaries in AZ, there will be a 16% state excise tax placed on all recreational marijuana sales, which is a slight notch up from California's 15%.
These taxes, in combination with regulatory requirements, can often push the price of cannabis above that found on the illicit market, which creates difficulty for legal vendors to capture the audiences who opt for lower prices.
However, as legal cannabis markets mature, the prices of legal weed tend to drop, which can be expected in Arizona after recreational cannabis dispensaries have been established for several years.
Where Can You Consume Cannabis in Arizona?
While Prop 207 passed, allowing for adult-use, recreational cannabis in AZ in November this year, and became effective on the 30th of November, public consumption of cannabis in Arizona remains illegal.
Whether or not cannabis consumption lounges will be established in Arizona is yet to be seen, as even recreational dispensaries won't be available until March 2021. As such, if Arizona residents would like to consume cannabis in the State, they will need to do so in private, unless you are consuming a medical marijuana edible with a valid marijuana card.
Even then, if you are renting or live in an apartment block, prohibitions against smoking tobacco will also apply to cannabis.
Home Cultivation in Arizona
As you can't yet purchase recreational cannabis in Arizona, procuring weed can be done in two ways; you either get a medicinal cannabis card if you have a qualifying condition, or you grow it yourself at home.
Prior to the passage of Prop 207, cultivating cannabis at home in Arizona was only allowed for those with a medical marijuana card. However, now that Prop 207 has officially taken effect, Arizona citizens can now cultivate cannabis at home without needing a qualifying condition.
The new provisions allow for the personal cultivation of up to six plants for personal use, provided the plants aren't visible to the public.
Until recreational cannabis dispensaries come into effect in March 2021, cultivating cannabis at home will be the only legal way for Arizonan residents to procure their own recreational marijuana.
Is CBD Legal In Arizona?
Similar to all 50 states in the U.S, purchasing and possessing hemp-derived CBD is legal in the state of Arizona, just as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC. However, one cannot simply grow their own hemp in hopes of manufacturing CBD as cultivation without a prescription is illegal.
Thanks to the Farm Bill in 2018, the U.S legalized hemp cultivation and distribution, which effectively legalized hemp-derived CBD on a federal level too.
You can now get CBD oils, topicals, edibles, and beverages, each of which will give you some of the medical properties of cannabis, without the THC that gets you high.
However, it is important to keep in mind that even though possession and use are legal, one still needs a license authorized from the department of agriculture in order to cultivate hemp and extract CBD from it. So think twice before you jump the gun and try to start your own hemp farm.
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