Frequently Asked Questions
What is Proposition 203 or the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act?
Proposition 203 allows a "qualifying patient" who has a "debilitating medical condition" to obtain an "allowable amount of marijuana" from a "nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary" and to possess and use the marijuana (cannabis) to treat or alleviate the debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the condition. Under Proposition 203, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is required to adopt and enforce a regulatory system for the distribution of marijuana for medical use, including a system for approving, renewing and revoking the registration of qualifying patients, designated caregivers, nonprofit dispensaries, and dispensary agents. The costs of the regulatory system will be paid from application and renewal fees collected, civil penalties imposed, and private donations received pursuant to this proposition.
Who will qualify to receive a medical marijuana registration card?
A "qualifying patient" is defined in Proposition 203 as a person who has been diagnosed by a physician (a doctor of medicine, osteopathy, naturopathic medicine, or homeopathy) as having one of the following debilitating medical conditions:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn's disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces any of the following:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy) or
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms (including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis)
How much marijuana can a qualifying patient buy?
A qualifying patient registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services (or a registered designated caregiver on behalf of the qualifying patient) will be able to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period from a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary. If the qualifying patient's home is located more than 25 miles from the nearest nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary, the patient or designated caregiver will be able to cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked facility.
What protections will the card provide to the patient?
Proposition 203 generally provides that any person who acts in conformity with the requirements of the proposition is not to be subjected to any governmentally imposed sanction relating to the medical use of marijuana.
This proposition will prohibit certain discriminatory practices, including:
- A school or landlord will not be able to refuse to enroll or lease to a person registered pursuant to this proposition unless failing to do so would cause the school or landlord to lose a monetary or licensing benefit under federal law;
- An employer will not be able to discriminate against a person registered pursuant to this proposition in hiring, terminating, or imposing employment conditions unless failing to do so would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing benefit under federal law; and
- An employer will not be able to penalize a qualifying patient registered pursuant to this proposition 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?
Proposition 203 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 a person 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.
Where will I be able to use medical marijuana?
According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient may not consume medical marijuana at a dispensary. The law lists other places where a qualifying patient may not smoke medical marijuana, including public places, but allows qualifying patients to consume marijuana-infused edible food products in public. 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.
How can I get a qualifying patient registry identification card to use medical marijuana?
The qualifying patient will have to obtain a written certification for medical marijuana from a physician (medical doctor, osteopath, naturopath, or homeopath) who makes or confirms a diagnosis of a debilitating medical condition for the qualifying patient. In the written certification, the physician will need to state that the physician agrees to assume responsibility for providing management and routine care of the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition. The physician will also need to attest to having conducted an in-person physical examination of the qualifying patient appropriate to the qualifying patient's symptoms and the debilitating medical condition.
Who can be my designated caregiver?
The designated caregiver can be anyone over 21 who does not have an excluded felony offense and agrees to assist the qualifying patient with the qualifying patient's 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 individual to assist the qualifying patient with the use of medical marijuana. This designation does not affect the ability of the qualifying patient to use other caregivers to assist the qualifying patient with the administration of other medications, activities of daily living, home health care, or other tasks.
How much will it cost to obtain an individual registry identification card?
According to the draft rules, the costs will be:
- $160 for an initial or a renewal registry identification card for a qualifying patient. Some qualifying patients may be eligible to pay $80 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
- $10 for a replacement card
Where can I obtain a Medical Card?
(To be provided once final rules are available 3/28/11)
For More Information
Visit the official Division of Public Health Services - Medical Marijuana Program FAQs website.