Cannabis remains federally illegal and listed as a Schedule 1 drug, but many states have embraced legalization with open arms. In fact, over 75% of the US has legalized medical or recreational marijuana. It’s only a matter of time before we see larger sweeping changes to radically change our nation’s policy and finally end prohibition for good.
For now, one by one, states join the ranks of places you can legally get high, and Arizona is one of them. Take a look at the inside details about all things legal weed in the Grand Canyon State.
Is Weed Legal in Arizona? Straight to the point.
- Recreational THC: Yes
- Medical THC: Yes
- CBD: Yes
- Delta-8: No
Medical Weed Laws
Arizona legalized medical marijuana in 2010 with the passing of Proposition 203 – which is commonly referred to as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). Initially, the law allowed patients or their caregivers to buy two and a half ounces of marijuana every 14 days. Yet, the laws were unclear regarding what counted as “marijuana.” Was it only raw cannabis, or did it include hashish and other extracts?
In a case in 2013, Arizona medical marijuana patient Rodney Jones was arrested with less than one and a half grams of hash. Jones was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in 2016. The courts determined that hashish was not the same as cannabis leaves and therefore warranted their decision. It wasn’t until 2019 that the Arizona Supreme Court overruled the lesser Arizona Court of Appeals to determine that hash is indeed protected under AMMA regulations. Jones was released but had unfortunately already lost time to this absurd understanding of the law.
To obtain a medical marijuana card in Arizona, you first book an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor. The consultation is brief, although you may be asked to submit qualifying documents about your condition.
Qualifying medical conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- HIV or AIDS
- Persistent Muscle Spasms
After paying $150 to the state, you will receive your Arizona medical marijuana card within 14 days. Patients must renew their licenses every two years.
Home growing is an option for Arizona residents living more than 25 miles from the state-licensed dispensary. It’s limited to 12 plants that must be locked in an enclosed facility.
Recreational Weed Laws
Arizona voters passed Proposition 207 – The Smart and Safe Act – in 2020, legalizing adult-use marijuana. It passed with 60% of the vote, and adult-use recreational sales went into effect in January 2021.
Adults over 21 may possess up to one ounce of marijuana at any given time. Hash, wax, oil, vape pens, edibles, and other concentrated forms of marijuana can only account for five grams out of the total ounce.
Despite full legalization in Arizona, employers may still enforce drug-free workplace policies at will. However, medical marijuana cardholders are protected from termination for testing positive for marijuana. Recreational users can face greater consequences, including termination.
Prefer to grow your own under the Arizona sun? Anyone over 21 can grow recreational marijuana. The limit is capped at six plants per person or twelve plants per household with two or more adults over 21.
Is Weed Decriminalized in Arizona?
Yes. When voters passed Proposition 207, Arizona decriminalized marijuana effective November 2020.
Cannabinoid Variants FAQ
Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, they have very different rules and regulations regarding production, sale, and distribution. For example, a CBD product made from marijuana is only legal in states with a governed medical marijuana or adult-use program and sold in a licensed dispensary. However, a CBD product made from hemp is sellable just about anywhere.
As of late, several hemp-derived cannabinoid products have hit the mainstream. Consumers over 18 can purchase them in retail stores and online. However, Arizona decided to pick and choose which cannabinoids are deemed safe for their residents.
Is CBD legal in Arizona?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products.
The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution.
Is Delta-8 legal in Arizona?
Delta-8 THC is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that is found in hemp and marijuana in small amounts. It has become wildly popular as the hemp-derived cannabinoids that get you high. It’s also readily available for purchase online. The Farm Bill protects all hemp-derived cannabinoids containing less than 0.3% THC, but Arizona does not stand by these laws regarding Delta-8 products.
Despite legalizing hemp and CBD products, the Arizona Controlled Substances Act strictly classifies any type of THC variant or derivative as a controlled substance and, therefore, illegal. The Arizona State Legislature clearly outlines this law in 36-2501, completely prohibiting the use of Delta-8.
The statute states that THC in any format (outside of legal, licensed dispensary channels) is prohibited, and you cannot legally use, possess, purchase, sell, distribute, or produce Delta-8 products. Any THC-containing product is labeled as cannabis, and their state law defines cannabis as “The resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin … and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such resin or tetrahydrocannabinol.”
Is Delta-10 legal in Arizona?
Delta-10 THC is produced similarly to Delta-8. As you may assume, Delta-10 is also illegal in Arizona per the above rules and regulations affecting Delta-8 THC products.
Are THC-O and other THC variants legal in Arizona?
In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers.
For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.
Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Arizona?
HHC and HHC-O are hemp-derived cannabinoids manufactured in a slightly different way than the Deltas and THC variants. First, extractors remove CBD from hemp and isolate it into a powder. From there, the techniques used to create HHC and HHC-O remain proprietary, though it’s believed to involve a specific chemical reaction.
HHC and HHC-O are psychoactive cannabinoids, producing a high that is less intense than Delta-9 but perhaps more intense than Delta-8. Arizona law does not specifically state whether or not these substances are illegal, but it’s safe to assume they probably are.
Medical marijuana cardholders are permitted to grow up to 12 plants at their residence so long as the plants are hidden from public view and remain inside a locked enclosure. Adults over 21 can grow recreationally in their homes. The limit is six plants per person, with a maximum of two people growing in one home for a total of 12 plants.
You cannot sell plants or the resulting cannabis to friends or family. It is illegal to sell cannabis from your home under all circumstances.
Anyone who wishes to grow for sale must apply for a dispensary license. Once you are registered to open a dispensary, you can apply for an Arizona Cannabis Cultivation License. The registration fee is $5,000, and the annual renewal costs $1,000. Should you wish to change the location of your dispensary or cultivation facility, the state will charge you $2,500.
Note that Arizona is focused on a social equity program for all new applicants in an effort to right the wrongs of those who have been disproportionately affected by criminal law and the war on drugs. To apply for a social equity dispensary license, applicants claiming 51% or more ownership must have a household income lower than 400% of the poverty level. They must have been previously convicted of a marijuana crime in Arizona, and prove residency for at least three of the last five years. There are additional stipulations surrounding the social equity applications, and at this time, Arizona will not accept any other types of applications.
Where to Buy Weed in Arizona
Arizonians have plenty of options for stocking their stash.
There are currently 123 active dispensaries throughout Arizona, 25% of which are located in Phoenix. Cardholders and adults can shop in-store for a wide selection of cannabis products or order online for pickup.
Medical marijuana card holders are eligible for home delivery. You only need a card or a licensed caregiver to order delivery. So far, recreational customers cannot have their weed delivered.
Direct to Consumer
Currently direct to consumer is not an option for Arizonians. Perhaps if delivery laws open up to allow recreational consumers the choice for delivery, things will change. As of now, all delivery drivers must work at a licensed dispensary.
Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.
Is Drug Testing Legal in Arizona?
In Arizona, employers are permitted to conduct drug testing on job applicants and employees but must follow guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy. The most common method for detecting THC in the body is urine drug testing, with a threshold of 50 ng/mL for THC-COOH. Employers may prohibit marijuana use while on the clock, including for medical purposes, but Arizona has legalized medical marijuana, so employers may not discriminate against employees for legal off-duty use or for being a registered medical marijuana cardholder.
Employers do not have to provide notice to employees about the drug testing policy. However, they must use a certified laboratory, and follow strict procedures for sample collection and handling to ensure accuracy and employee privacy. For more information about an employer’s drug testing policy in Arizona, it’s best to consult with a legal professional or the employer’s HR department.
Where can you smoke weed in Arizona?
Adults over 21 can smoke weed in the privacy of their homes on their private property. You can smoke at a friend’s house or private residence with permission.
Can you smoke weed in public in Arizona?
No. Arizona law prohibits smoking weed in any public or open space. Avoid public parks, recreation areas, and inside your own vehicle.
When was weed legalized in Arizona?
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2010 and went into effect in 2011. Recreational marijuana was legalized in 2020, with adult-use sales opening in January 2021.
Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ
What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?
Adults can transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to each other so long as there is no currency exchanged. The sale of fewer than two pounds is a felony with a minimum fine of $1000 and a minimum time served of one and a half years.
Selling over four pounds of weed could land you in prison for up to 10 years with fines comparable to the value of the weed.
What is the penalty for selling to a minor?
Selling to a minor results in greater punishment across the board. Expect larger fines and increased jail time for doing so.
What is possession with the intent to sell?
Possession with intent to distribute means that someone has more weed than they could possibly consume in a reasonable time. Or much more than is legally allowed. This indicates that the person plans to sell the excess weed on the black market. It is a severe offense with legal consequences.
When is possession still a crime?
Possession is still a crime if you intend to distribute, sell to a minor, or have more than the legal limits. Arizonians can possess up to one ounce, and five grams can be cannabis concentrate. If you are found with more than two and a half ounces, a first petty offense comes with a fine of roughly $100.