Medical Marijuana Things to Know for 2020!
This year, 2020, a host of new marijuana laws are now in effect or are under consideration in Arizona regarding marijuana’s legality, particularly the use of medical marijuana. Everyone should be educated on these changes, as well as how they will impact your use of this medical option. Since laws pertaining to medical marijuana change swiftly, it is crucial to stay on top of all the latest developments, thus staying on the right side of the law.
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What Does a Medical Marijuana Identification Card Look Like?
In June 2019, it was decided that physical medical marijuana cards are too wasteful and all identification was ordered to go digital in December. Everyone approved to use medical marijuana is issued a digital identification card in the form of a PDF document sent to their email address on file. Keeping this saved to your mobile phone and available to view at all times is important for those times when you are required to prove you are legally permitted to possess marijuana for medical purposes.
For anyone not savvy with technology or those who do not carry a smartphone with internet access, the safest way to carry your medical marijuana identification is to print out a physical copy of the PDF sent to your email. It provides the information required to prove your legal right to marijuana, despite not having an electronic device to produce this ID. All marijuana identification cards will contain a photograph of the patient, as well as their full legal name, date of issue, and date of expiration. It should also display your legal residential address.
How Long is a Medical Marijuana Identification Good For?
All legal identification for medical marijuana will display a “valid until” date, which is firm. Despite new identification guidelines allowing newly approved users a license valid for two years, those approved prior to this law’s passage in August 2019 will still only have an ID valid for a single year. Check your expiration date and abide by it to stay legal.
How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card Cost?
All marijuana identification card fees are $175 for the new two-year ID card. This fee is reduced to $75 for two years when you can show that you are also a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- or food stamp) recipient. This change to a two-year license essentially cuts the fees for obtaining the identification card in half by doubling the length of time it remains valid.
What Conditions Qualify for an MMJ Card
Since 2011, Arizona has permitted the issuance of a medical marijuana ID card for specific diagnoses only. This list is subject to change, but as of this writing, the qualifying conditions are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
- All stage Cancer
- Diagnosed severe Chronic Pain, Crohn’s Disease, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, AIDS or HIV, severe Nausea (with or without Vomiting), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Seizure Disorders. Twice each year, people are given the opportunity to submit conditions that are not yet on this list for consideration to be included in the future.
How Much Am I Allowed to Possess?
The legal possession limit for individuals with a valid medical marijuana identification card is a maximum of two and a half useable ounces of marijuana. This is the amount allowed to be purchased for medical use once every two weeks. You may not use the marijuana within the dispensary, however, in some cases, you are permitted to ingest a portion of a prescribed edible marijuana product in public. Be sure to check the law where your dispensary is located.
Can I Grow My Own Marijuana Plants?
The only medical marijuana ID cardholders allowed to grow their own marijuana plants are those who live more than 25 miles away from Arizona state-licensed faculties certified to dispense medical marijuana. There are about 100 state-licensed facilities that dispense to over 150,000 licensed patients in Arizona.
Where Can I Buy Marijuana Legally?
If you are not close enough to a facility, the law states you are legally entitled to grow up to twelve marijuana plants within the confines of an enclosed space which must remain locked when not being tended. You are also permitted to have a caregiver grow your plants for you instead if you don’t have an appropriate space or the green thumb to grow it.
Laws Pertaining to Caregiving for a Medical Marijuana Patient
Arizona requires anyone who is a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient to be registered with the state. There is a $200 initial fee for new caregiver identification cards in the state, as well as a bi-annual $200 renewal fee if they want to continue caregiving in Arizona.
A licensed caregiver can provide medical marijuana, up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks, for up to 5 patients residing more than 25 miles from a licensed dispensary. They are permitted to cultivate up to 12 plants per patient, as well, provided they also keep the plants locked in an enclosed, safe space. But a caregiver cannot provide both the proscribed amount of medical marijuana while also growing plants for any patient.
I Have an Out of State Medical Marijuana Card
A valid out-of-state medical marijuana license will be honored in Arizona. This means you will be protected when traveling with your medically prescribed amount of marijuana. However, an out-of-state ID will not allow you to purchase any medical marijuana from any licensed Arizona dispensary. Be sure to plan for that when coming to Arizona.
States that allow you to show your Arizona medical marijuana license to purchase in that state’s dispensaries are Hawaii, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State. It is also welcomed by the territory of Puerto Rico. States similar to Arizona that allow you to possess legally prescribed marijuana with your Arizona ID, but not to purchase from their dispensaries, are Rhode Island, New Hampshire, California, and Maine.
Rules Regarding My Use of Medical Marijuana with a Valid ID
There are some restrictions pertaining to where and how a person can use their legal marijuana. The use of marijuana by anyone on the grounds of a school, daycare, preschool, or any correctional facility constitutes a violation of the law. Performing the tasks of certain jobs under the influence of marijuana can constitute negligence, as well. In the case of the medical profession, this is medical malpractice.
Any smoking of marijuana in public spaces or on public transportation is not permitted. A person who owns private property is legally allowed to prohibit the use of marijuana in any form on their own property, while employers are permitted to forbid the use of any substance while a person is on the job. And while the law cannot forbid those who reside in nursing homes and assisted care facilities from exercising their right to legally obtain medical marijuana, the facility can, at their discretion, determine when and where at that facility to permit a resident to use marijuana.
How Can I Get a Doctor to Prescribe Medical Marijuana?
First, you must have one of the qualifying medical conditions as a diagnosis. Next, you will need to approach your primary doctor to find out what his or her feelings are regarding the use of marijuana as prescribed medicine. Not all doctors feel favorable, nor are they required by law to prescribe marijuana.
If your doctor is not in support of your use of medical marijuana, you are allowed to seek out other medical opinions. The best way to find a doctor who will consider whether marijuana is the right medicine for your condition is to ask people for physician recommendations. Keep in mind that no doctor has to prescribe any specific treatment, but your best chance will be doctors who are open to alternative medicine and natural, homeopathic remedies, rather than strong, potentially dangerous, prescription drugs.
All doctors who may legally prescribe marijuana must be in good standing and be an M.D. (Medical Doctor- a doctor of medicine with a valid license to practice medicine), a D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine with a valid license to practice osteopathic medicine), an N.D. (a naturopathic physician with a valid license to practice naturopathic medicine), or an M.D.(H) or D.O.(H) (a homeopathic physician licensed to practice homeopathic medicine).
What About Recreational Use in Arizona?
As of early 2020, it is still illegal to possess or use marijuana in the state of Arizona without a valid medical marijuana identification card. That doesn’t go without saying that later this year, recreational marijuana is on the ballot. Then it becomes a game-changer for many that are currently fighting charges – or would be in the future. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance due to charges of possession of marijuana while in Arizona, it is critical to find someone to assist you in fighting back against those charges. Be sure you are not trying to battle the legal system without having someone knowledgeable regarding the drug laws in the state of Arizona by your side to stand up for you.
In 2020, this issue could see movement due to the organization of recreational use proponents in the state gathering signature to put this issue to a potential vote in November.
This is no guarantee of legalization for recreational purposes, however, if this eventually comes to pass the effects will be immediate and far-reaching. Should the issue meet requirements, and become law, marijuana possession, use, cultivation, and sale becomes legal for citizens of the state of Arizona who are age 18 and above.
Another benefit will see those convicted of marijuana charges prior to the effective date of legalization released and charges overturned or dropped. The legalization of recreational marijuana would provide revenue from sales tax going forward to fund charter schools and assist with state health care costs.
Anyone with questions can consult the Arizona Department of Health Services for answers in relation to medical marijuana requirements, restrictions, and regulations.
As more states accept that marijuana offers significant medical benefits in certain health situations, the law will change and acceptance will grow. As of now, there are thirty-three states that permit the prescription of medical marijuana for a growing number of health conditions. There are eleven states that allow for the use of recreational marijuana.
Whatever the circumstance, if you find yourself in trouble with the law over marijuana, be sure to call an experienced and qualified drug crime attorney who can work through the situation for you and act on your behalf.
Contact marijuana drug crime defense attorney Arja Shah from the Shah Law Firm now!