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Frequently Asked Questions

Medical Marijuana Program Qualification Criteria

How do I know if I qualify?
You must have one of the qualifying conditions outlined in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. In addition to having one of the qualifying conditions, conventional therapies and medications should have been tried and demonstrated to fail in order to qualify for the medical marijuana program. As a tool, we have created an online Prequalification form to help you decide if you would prequalify. This is not a guarantee as a certification is always at the discretion of the certifying physician.
What about anxiety, insomnia and PTSD?
Currently PTSD is the only mental condition approved for the program. In addition, with PTSD you must be currently undergoing conventional treatment (counseling, support group, medications) in order to qualify for the medical marijuana program
What about chronic pain, is that a qualifying condition?
Any condition that causes severe (decreased ability to perform activities of daily living) and chronic (lasting more than 3 months) could qualify for the program.
Do I need to have medical records?
The certifying physician is required to review medical records from other treating physicians that have been seen WITHIN the past 12 MONTHS for the qualifying condition. If these records exist, then the certifying doctor is legally bound to review them to assist them in their determination if medical marijuana will have a therapeutic or palliative benefit to the patient. So yes if the records exist, then the physician needs to see them.
What if I do not have any records for my qualifying condition within the past 12 months?
If you have not seen a physician for your qualifying condition from within the past 12 months, then they do not exist and, therefore, you cannot produce them for the certifying physician. In this case the certifying physician may ask for older records and or diagnostic reports such as xrays and/or MRI’s to assist him/her in making / confirming the diagnosis. In addition, you may be asked to have additional testing done which we can be done in house at the time of your NEW or RENEWAL appointment.
Do chiropractic records count as medical records?
Yes, your chiropractic records are considered as part of your medical record history. The certifying physician will need to review them if they are from within the past 12 months. Obtaining older records are at the discretion of the certifying physician.
How much does the appointment cost?
The cost varies depending upon whether you are a new patient to our certification center or a returning patient. In addition, we have discounts for veterans, seniors and disabled patients. Please refer to our pricing page for details
How long will the appointment take?
Plan on being at our facility for about 45 minutes. Your appointment with the doctor will be approximately 15-20 minutes. We value your time so we make every attempt to be on time but occasionally things out of our control may come up that will cause us to be 30 minutes or more behind. If this happens, you will be advised upon check in and asked if you would like to reschedule.
Can I have my appointment over the phone or Skype?
No. It is not legal. The certifying physician must conduct an in-person examination per law.
What if I cannot pay the state fees right away, can I still have an appointment?
Yes, as long as you keep in mind that you have up to 90 days to apply with the state once you have seen the doctor and have a signed certification. Otherwise, you will need to see the certifying doctor again to see if you are still approved prior to applying.
How do I Pre Qualify?
In order to not waste your time or money we offer a FREE pre-qualification service. To take advantage of this, you need to be willing to fax/email/drop off your medical records for review. If you do not want to do this and, instead, wish to bring your records to your appointment please note that you are NOT Pre-Qualified until those records have been reviewed. When you arrive at your appointment, the records will be reviewed and a determination made prior to receiving any of our services.
Will I have to pay for my appointment if I am not qualified?
No, however we have a strict pre-qualification process that we follow so typically you will not even get an appointment unless you meet the pre-qualification criteria. In some cases, additional records are required by the certifying doctor to review prior to signing your certification. If this happens you will be placed in an ON HOLD status pending receipt and review of those records. You still pay for your appointment and state fee.
Are there any additional costs?
Yes, Arizona Department of Health Services also charges to issue the medical marijuana registry card. The charges are as follows: New and or Renewal Cardholders = $150. There is a discounted fee of $75 for patients on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Caregivers of adults and minors = $200. These fees are collected at the time of your appointment.
Are there any additional costs?
Yes, Arizona Department of Health Services also charges to issue the medical marijuana registry card. The charges are as follows: New and or Renewal Cardholders = $150. There is a discounted fee of $75 for patients on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Caregivers of adults and minors = $200. These fees are collected at the time of your appointment.
What do I need to bring with me to the appointment?
Any paperwork that has not been previously sent in such as our appointment packet paper work. In addition, you must bring one of the following: a) Valid AZ State issued driver’s license, b) Valid Az state issued identification card , c) Valid US passport and, if you are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program your identification card with your name on it (if your name is not on your card, we will need a copy of your approval letter with your name on it)
How do I apply for my card with the State?
The application process with the state is all online and can be a bit intimidating for those that are not computer literate so as a result, we will process your application with the state at no additional cost within 24 – 48 hours after your appointment. (unless you have been placed in an ON HOLD status – see above)
How long before I get my card?
Once your appointment is COMPLETED the time to receive your medical marijuana registry card is approximately 3 business weeks. However, it can be sooner. If you have been placed in an ON HOLD status it could be longer depending on how long it takes for your other treating physician(s) to release your records to our facility.
What’s Next? What happens after I receive my card?
You can choose any state licensed medical marijuana dispensary to purchase your medicine. You will receive a list from the state. In addition, you can go online and search for one. The dispensary agent at these facilities should be educated about the medical uses of cannabis and be able to guide you through the process. However, at any time, our knowledgeable staff physicians are available for follow up appointments.
What is required to become a caregiver?
You must complete an application with the state, pay the $200 fee and submit fingerprints. We do not provide a fingerprinting service at our facility.
Are there any discounts?
Currently the state does not offer any discounts for caregivers.
What is the cost to become a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient?
The state charges $200. We charge $20 to process your application with the state.
What is a medical marijuana patient caregiver?
For an adult patient that can’t obtain medicine on their own: any person that can act on behalf of the patient to purchase and / or administer medical marijuana. It is required by law as no one without either a caregiver or patient card is allowed to purchase and/or possess medical marijuana. Not all patients are required to have a caregiver. Only those that cannot go to a dispensary on their own and purchase.

For a minor: The parent or legal guardian is required to be the minor patient’s medical marijuana caregiver. It is law, all minor patients must have a caregiver.

How often do I need to come in?
With regard to your medical marijuana certification, an annual renewal with the state is required. As part of the renewal process, you will need to see your certifying physician again. Your physician will assess the benefits, adverse effects (if any) and determine if this continues to be a therapeutic option for you. For all other treatment options recommended, your doctor will recommend a follow up schedule.
Is Medical Marijuana the only treatment option my physician will discuss with me?
No, we are state licensed naturopathic physicians and as such, we have an array of treatment options available. Any additional treatment options that the physician feels would be appropriate for your condition will be recommended.
Can a minor under the age of 18 become a medical marijuana patient?
Yes, as long as they have a qualifying condition. The state requires a signed certification from 2 physicians. We can accommodate that at our facility. Ask a staff member for details regarding additional costs for the second physician.
Can I purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary before I receive my card?
No, you must wait for your Arizona Medical Marijuana Registry Card.
Cannabis (aka Marijuana) 101 How do I know what medicine to get?
During your appointment with one of our knowledgeable certifying physicians, they will give you a recommendation on what medicine will be best for you. Unlike other certification centers, we do more than just sign a certification we provide education and a personal recommendation based on your unique medical history.

In addition, we have contracted with a 3rd party concierge service that can accompany you to the dispensary, instruct you on how to get the most out of your medicine and, even how to extract and create your own infused products.

What types of Cannabis are there?
Your certifying physician will discuss the best options for you and, you will receive an extensive handout with this information along with a personalized recommendation.There are 2 main species of cannabis: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.

Cannabis Indica is calming, used mainly at night and is best for pain conditions.

Cannabis Sativa is more stimulating and typically used in the daytime and is best for patients that need to have daytime medication and co-conditions of ADD, fatigue and mood disorders.

Hybrids : A cross between the two species and can be in varying ratios such as 50/50 or 60/40 etc.

Pure Sativa highs can often induce paranoia attacks and irregular heart beats so as a medicinal product pure Sativas are a rare choice. One of the positive effects of a Sativas hybrid are their uplifting capabilities that may aid in depression and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. Caution is used with 100% Sativas.

Your certifying physician will discuss the best options for you and, you will receive an extensive handout with this information along with a personalized recommendation.

How can I use Cannabis, I don’t want to smoke it?
There are several basic routes of administration for cannabis: Inhalation, Oral, Topical and suppositories. The inhalation method of vaporizing is preferred over smoking and best for situations that require a quick onset – onset is approximately 10-15 minutes and its effects can last 4-6 hours. Oral use of cannabis has a longer onset of approximately 60-90 minutes and its effects can last 8-10 hours. Oral use can lead to a stronger impairment and may not be the best choice for patients new to the use of cannabis. Topical and suppositories are other sources of use that can be very beneficial depending on your condition. Topical use of cannabis does not usually result in any kind of impairment. Your certifying physician will discuss the best options for you.
How can I avoid getting “high”?
THC is the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant – many cultivators are now growing strains of cannabis that have lower amounts of THC in the plant thus controlling/reducing the “high” effect. The amount of THC can be tested by laboratories and, most dispensary will know the THC content of their strains. Most patients will want to stay within the low to moderate % of THC such as 10-18%. Your certifying physician will discuss the best options for you.

Improving the quality of life for every patient.

Don’t just “Get a Card”, Learn How to Get Better !

Southwest Medical Marijuana Physicians Group is a top-rated center and has been making a positive difference in the lives of thousands of patients since 2011.