Proposition 203 or the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was passed in November 2010, allowing patients suffering from certain painful and debilitating conditions, access to marijuana. The Arizona Department of Health Services ADHS is responsible for governing the matters regarding the medical marijuana law and issuing the Medical Marijuana Card or the Cannabis Card in Arizona.
What Qualifies as Medical Purposes?
If you are suffering from any of the following conditions, you get legal state protection and convenient access to marijuana in Arizona:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Severe and Chronic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Seizures and Epilepsy
- Hepatitis C
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Crohn’s Disease
The important thing to note here is that in addition to the diseases and conditions mentioned in the Act, the Severe and Chronic Pain category might include pain resulting from any condition or treatment of a condition. Extremely painful conditions like Sickle Cell Anemia may not be listed; however, since it may cause excruciating pain, you may be able to qualify for a medical marijuana card. Similarly, painful rehabilitation programs may be a basis to qualify.
How and Where to Get the Medical Marijuana Card?
If you have already been diagnosed with one or more conditions listed above, and have medical records of the past 12 months showing you have been treated for the said conditions, you can apply for a medical marijuana card. You will need a recommendation from a doctor licensed to dispense medical marijuana in AZ, as your application must accompany a signed Medical Marijuana Physician Certification Form along with documents proving your identification.
You can submit your application online; however, it is best to schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor who can submit your application for you along with the required documents to the ADHS. This allows you hassle free access to your Medical Marijuana Card that will likely be mailed to you within 10 days of your doctor’s visit.
What to Bring When You Go?
When you visit a state-approved medical marijuana physician for your certification, you must bring following things with you:
- A copy of a valid Arizona ID like Arizona’s Driver License or Arizona Identification Card
- A current photograph
- A valid and current credit card, debit card or a pre-paid card
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) documentation
Your doctor will provide and submit following forms in addition to your marijuana card application:
- Signed and dated Medical Marijuana Patient Attestation
- Medical Marijuana Physician Certification Program
If you are under 18 years old, you must also provide information about the legal guardian or caregiver
How Much Does It Cost?
Even though you are receiving access to marijuana for medical purposes, the insurance companies do not cover the state’s medical marijuana application fee or medical marijuana physician consultations. You will need to pay following fees to get your medical marijuana card:
- $150 dollar state fee, if you participate in SNAP program (food stamps) you have to pay $75
- Around $100-$150 for your medical marijuana doctor’s consultation and recommendation fee
You can expect to pay anywhere around $300, if you are looking to get most of the documentation and process sorted out by your physician’s office.
How to Renew Your Card?
Your medical marijuana card will expire one year after the issue date. The expiry date is clearly mentioned on the right side of your card. It is important that you apply for the renewal at least 30 days before the expiry date. You cannot apply more than 90 days prior to the expiration. The renewal process is similar to the initial application for your card, requiring you to submit same yet updated documents and costing you the same amount of money.
How to Get Your Medical Marijuana
There are about 100 state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona. It is important to access a quality dispensary near you, when looking to buy legal medical marijuana. You need to bring your marijuana card as well as a government issued ID to get the amount and kind of marijuana you need to help you with your medical condition.