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Arizona Cannabis Education

Frequently Asked Questions

Also available in Spanish: Preguntas frecuentes sobre cannabis en Arizona

Cannabis Laws 

An individual can carry up to 1 ounce of cannabis for recreational use or 2.5 ounces with a medical marijuana card.1

An individual needs to be 21 years of age or older to use cannabis recreationally in Arizona. Younger people may be able to use cannabis medically, if they have a qualifying medical condition.1

This is for informational purposes only. If an individual is found to be carrying more than the allotted amount of cannabis for personal or medical use, or if an individual is underage, they may be penalized with the following:

  • Adults possessing between 1 – 2.5 oz is a petty offense
  • Adults with more than 2.5 oz are subject to the current criminal code (felonies)
  • Persons under 21 years of age possessing less than 1 oz is $100 fine; 2nd offense is a petty offense; 3rd offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Anyone can also still get a DUI if they are found to be driving under the influence of cannabis to the slightest degree (for people who use recreationally and for medical card holders) AND/OR with any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) metabolites found in your system. (The law offers some affirmative defense for medical card holders in the case of metabolites in system).2

An individual can use cannabis in a non-public, non-open space in Arizona.1 However, the laws around cannabis change when present on federal Indian reservations.

Yes, in Arizona your employer can still conduct drug tests due to its at-will employment status, giving employers flexibility in setting workplace policies. For medical marijuana card holders, policies may vary depending on the workplace. Know your rights and employer-specific policies. Review your employment materials and consult an employment law attorney. Examples of when an employer may conduct a test include3:

  • Pre-Employment Testing
  • Random Testing
  • Reasonable Suspicion Testing
  • Post-Accident Testing
  • Legal Compliance
  • Employee consent is typically required via written policies in these instances
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Privacy and Consent

Tribal nations have sovereignty to set their own cannabis rules, and whether you can legally use on tribal lands depends on the tribe. Most Arizona tribes still have cannabis as a controlled substance, though some tribes – like the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian communities – permit recreational and medical cannabis.

Keep in mind that federal regulations may apply, as cannabis is federally illegal. This adds complexity as federal agencies can enforce drug laws on tribal land. Consult tribal authorities and legal experts for accurate and current information on cannabis in Arizona's tribal areas.4

Out-of-state and international visitors can purchase cannabis products with valid government-issued ID, like a driver's license, State ID, or passport (. International visitors must present a passport as identification.) However, there are quantity restrictions compared to Arizona residents. For international visitors, continue reading for additional information regarding cannabis for Non-US citizens.

Non-US citizens: Non-U.S. citizens – whether documented or undocumented – might assume that state laws allow them to possess, use or work in the cannabis industry, however this is not the case. Cannabis is federally restricted, and immigration is a federal jurisdiction. Being found with cannabis possession, or admitting cannabis use to a federal official at border or immigration checkpoints or other federal interactions could impact visa or immigration status.

Cannabis rules can change and vary by location. Comply with both state and federal laws, as federal cannabis prohibition remains.5

Cannabis Responsible Use, Health & Safety: People over 21 years of age

Unlike alcohol, we don’t have the science yet to determine what is a "standard" dose of cannabis. There are a variety of factors for this including lack of research and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (the psychoactive part in cannabis) content varies depending on the product one uses and how they use it (smoking, vaping, edibles, etc.). Each individual is another variable – meaning your unique mind, body, and situation may affect how cannabis is felt. The same amount of THC will not feel the same for each individual. Factors such as weight, sleep, nutrition, tolerance, situation and genetics all play a part.6

Arizona limits a single serving of an edible product to no more than 10 mg per serving, (A.R.S § 36-2854(A)(7)) a standard dose for someone familiar with THC and its effects. Ten mg of THC corresponds to a few puffs of a joint, depending on the strain strength.7

To avoid negative experiences, consider adjusting your typical dose in increments of 5-10 mg THC. In general, consider using smaller amounts of products with lower levels of THC and pausing between puffs or other ingestion methods before consuming more (one can always use more but never less). Try to keep used to calmer settings around trusted people. If anything feels wrong, anyone can always call the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center at: 1-800-222-1222.7

Arizona is a zero-tolerance state for impaired driving, and any impairment to the slightest degree or the presence of any drug or its metabolites could result in a DUI for putting yourself or others in danger on the road.8 Studies show driving impairment returns to safer levels after waiting 6 hours after smoking up to 35mg of THC (this is around half a joint), or 8 hours after 18mgs or less of THC of cannabis consumed orally through edibles or drinkable products. A standard serving size for edible products in AZ is 10mg.9 Increase wait times if you've consumed more than these amounts, or if you still feel any effects.10

Some people describe feeling paranoid as being hyper-suspicious of the people or things around them. Some people report these feelings when using cannabis. If you’re feeling paranoid, try using less cannabis less often and only in calm settings around people you trust. Consider using products that are lower in THC or have a high CBD content, as well. If you have a family history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, substance use disorder or psychosis, you may want to reconsider using cannabis as there may be a higher risk of experiencing paranoia or other mental side-effects.11

Cannabis Benefits

Yes, cannabis, particularly its components like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), has been studied for its potential use in pain management. Some people report finding relief from various types of pain when using cannabis products, while others may not experience the same benefits.

Cannabis may offer relief for some individuals dealing with pain, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Its use should be approached with caution and under medical supervision, especially considering potential side-effects and legal considerations. Discuss with a healthcare provider to determine an approach to pain management for your specific situation.12

Cannabis is not a cancer cure. Cannabis is not a substitute for conventional cancer treatments. It is used by some cancer patients for symptom relief and managing treatment side effects. Potential benefits include:

  • Relieving Pain: Cannabis may help alleviate cancer-related pain.
  • Reducing Nausea and Vomiting: cannabis can help with nausea and vomiting
  • Stimulating Appetite: It may stimulate appetite for those with appetite loss and weight loss. Dronabinol and nabilone are also approved for this purpose.

Cannabis affects individuals differently. It has side effects and legal considerations. Consult your oncologist or a medical cannabis expert for guidance on potential benefits, dosages and interactions with other medications, and information on FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved cannabinoid medications. Be aware of local cannabis laws.13

Not much is currently known about cannabis and mental health. Some people use cannabis to unwind.14 However, heavy or frequent use may make symptoms of anxiety worse.15 Talk to a health care provider for additional information.

Cannabis Risks

While there are few, if any, reported deaths due to cannabis overdose, you can take too much and have a bad reaction to cannabis or it may contribute to accidents. Children who accidentally consume edibles should be taken to the hospital. Children can experience more severe and lasting symptoms.6

Symptoms of an excessive dose of cannabis (sometimes called “greening out”) can include:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Fast heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea or vomiting

Everyone can prevent adverse reactions by taking lesser amounts (especially for edibles, these have delayed effects), using products with low THC concentrations and using them in relaxed settings or around people they trust.

Cannabis bought from an unlicensed source has a much higher risk of unknown contaminants. Also, using cannabis with other substances can increase the risk of overdose or other adverse effects.

Call the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center at: 1-800-222-1222 or 911 with any concerns.16

Just because something is natural does not necessarily mean it is harmless. Using cannabis every day can have impacts on your mental and physical health. It can also interact negatively with current medications or other recreational drugs.16 Check for possible interactions here: https://dhbazmedmj3.pharmacy.arizona.edu/uses-safety/drug-drug-interactions

Heavy use has been shown to affect memory and attention. We do not fully understand the relationship between regular use and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and serious mental illness. Smoking or vaping can also cause harm to your lungs and cardiovascular system.17

Medical Cannabis and Health & Safety

 The Arizona Department of Health Services lists qualifying conditions for medical marijuana cards including:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Alzheimer's agitation
  • Conditions causing cachexia, severe pain, nausea, seizures or muscle spasms.

Non-qualifying conditions can be requested for inclusion twice a year in January and July. Request details should include the condition, symptoms' impact, available treatments, evidence of marijuana's therapeutic benefits and supportive research from peer-reviewed journals. Contact the Arizona Department of Health Services for information on qualifying and non-qualifying conditions and support.18

For an Arizona medical marijuana card:

  1. Eligibility Check: Confirm a qualifying medical condition, listed on the ADHS website here: https://www.azdhs.gov/licensing/medical-marijuana/#faqs-patients.
  2. Consultation: See an authorized health care provider for evaluation.
  3. Medical Records: Bring relevant records to support your condition.
  4. Recommendation: If qualified, receive a written recommendation.
  5. Create an Account: Register on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program (AMMP) website.
  6. Complete Application: Fill in your AMMP application with personal details, provider's recommendation, and payment.
  7. Application Fee: Check ADHS website for current fees.
  8. Patient Registry Card: Upon approval, get a Patient Registry Identification Card by mail.
  9. Renewal: Annually renew the card with updated requirements.
  10. Dispensary Visits: Buy from licensed dispensaries with a valid card.

Ensure you verify current requirements and updates on the ADHS website, as medical marijuana laws can change.18

Cannabis can affect the medicine you are taking. It might increase or decrease your medication levels in the blood affecting proper dosage, change how you feel with your medicine, or other potentially serious side effects. While some people use cannabis recreationally or to help with other medical issues, it can be risky when used with other medicines, especially when used at the same time. To stay safe and make sure your treatment works as planned, talk to your doctor about using cannabis with your prescribed medicines. To learn more, consult the list from the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center showing known drug interactions here: https://dhbazmedmj3.pharmacy.arizona.edu/uses-safety/drug-drug-interactions

Keep in mind, it may not cover all the possibilities. For the best advice, ask your regular doctor.

If an individual is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, it's important to consider the health of the baby. For example, when breastfeeding/chestfeeding or pumping breast milk, it is recommended not to use cannabis as THC can be passed through breast milk to the child. Other considerations during and after pregnancy can be found on this fact sheet20: https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/marijuana-pregnancy/

Help us improve our FAQs page! 

1. Arizona Department of Health Services. FAQs - General. Bureau of Marijuana Licensing. [Internet]. Available from: https://www.azdhs.gov/licensing/marijuana/adult-use-marijuana/index.php…. Accessed November 20, 2023.

2. Arizona State Legislature. Title 36 - Public Health and Safety, § 36-2853. [Internet]. Available from: https://www.azleg.gov/ars/36/02853.htm. Accessed November 20, 2023.

3. State of Arizona. Alcohol and Drug-free Workplace - Drug and Alcohol Testing of Employees. Department of Administration Human Resources. [Internet]. Published November 2, 2018. Available from: https://hr.az.gov/resources/alcohol-and-drug-free-workplace-drug-and-al…. Accessed November 20, 2023.

4. Picciuolo C. Council Approves New Comprehensive Drug-Related Laws, Including Recreational Marijuana Use. [Internet]. Published April 13, 2023. Accessed September 1, 2023, from https://oan.srpmic-nsn.gov/council-approves-new-comprehensive-drug-rela….

5. Brady K, Nightingate Z, Adams M. Warning for immigrants about medical and legalized marijuana. ILRC. [Internet]. Published May 21, 2021. Available from: https://www.ilrc.org/resources/community/warning-immigrants-about-medic….

6. Sante Montreal. How do you handle a green out? [YouTube video]. Published 2022. Available from: https://youtu.be/imHpPid0X1M?si=0Qp9OImnNhFduSG0.

7. Arizona Department of Health Services. (n.d.). Arizona Medical Marijuana Rules [PDF]. https://www.azdhs.gov/documents/licensing/medical-marijuana/az-medical-…

8. Colorado Department of Transportation. How long should I wait to drive after getting high? Safety. [Internet]. Available from: https://www.codot.gov/safety/impaired-driving/druggeddriving/campaign-n…. Accessed November 20, 2023.

9. Auguste ME, Zambrano VC. Self-reported impacts of recreational and medicinal cannabis use on driving ability and amount of wait time before driving. Traffic Injury Prevention. 2023;24(3):237-241. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2023.2172679

10. Arizona State Legislature. (n.d.). Title 36 - Public Health and Safety § 36-2854. Arizona Revised Statutes. Accessed from https://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=https://www.azleg.gov/ars/3…

11. Sideli L, Quigley H, La Cascia C, Murray RM. Cannabis Use and the Risk for Psychosis and Affective Disorders. J Dual Diagn. 2020;16(1):22-42. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2019.1674991

12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana and Pain. [Internet]. Published October 19, 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/chronic-pain.html#:~:text=…. Accessed November 20, 2023.

13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana and Cancer. [Internet]. Published October 19, 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/cancer.html#:~:text=Studie…(or,pain%20caused%20by%20damaged%20nerves. Accessed November 20, 2023.

14. Sharpe L, Sinclair J, Kramer A, De Manincor M, Sarris J. Cannabis, a cause for anxiety? A critical appraisal of the anxiogenic and anxiolytic properties. J Transl Med. 2020;18(1):374. doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02518-2

15. Raypole C, Carter A. Marijuana and Anxiety: It’s Complicated. Healthline. Published December 16, 2019. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/marijuana-and-anxiety#cbd-vs-thc

16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana FAQs. [Internet]. Marijuana and Public Health. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/faqs.htm. Accessed November 20, 2023.

17. The University of Arizona. Marijuana with Other Drugs. Center for Toxicology and Pharmacology Education and Research. [Internet]. Available from: https://dhbazmedmj3.pharmacy.arizona.edu/uses-safety/drug-drug-interact…. Published 2023. Accessed November 20, 2023.

18. Arizona Department of Health Services. AZDHS: Public health licensing - medical marijuana. Bureau of Marijuana Licensing. [Internet]. Available from: https://www.azdhs.gov/licensing/medical-marijuana/index.php. Published 2023a. Accessed November 20,2023.

19. Poison and Drug Information Centers of Arizona. Marijuana with other drugs. [Internet]. azmedmj. Available from: https://dhbazmedmj3.pharmacy.arizona.edu/uses-safety/drug-drug-interact…. Published November 10, 2020. Accessed November 20, 2023.

20. MotherToBaby. Marijuana and Pregnancy. [Internet]. [Accessed date – December, 2023]. Available from: https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/marijuana-pregnancy/

Disclaimer: These FAQs are meant as a guide and are for informational use only. They are not intended to be used for legal or medical advice. Please contact a legal representative or medical professional for information about your specific concerns.