Arizona’s Changing Medical Marijuana Card Laws: A Quick Reference Guide for Card Holders

Cannabis plants

After legalizing medical marijuana in 2010, Arizona’s laws regarding marijuana remain somewhat confusing. On top of this, the state has made a couple of changes to their medical marijuana card laws. As a medical marijuana cardholder, keep these rules and limitations in mind to avoid charges and other penalties.

What the new validity law means for you

Arizona Senate Bill 1494 has gone into effect on August 27, 2019, which extends the validity of a medical marijuana license from one year to two years. However, the new validity period only applies to those who submitted an initial or renewal application on or after August 27, 2019. If you got your current license before that date and have not renewed it since, it will still expire on the expiration date printed on it. Even if you submitted an application before August 27, 2019, but received your license after the date, it will still be valid for one year.

Simply put, the date on your license is a firm date. When submitting a renewal application, use that date as a reference and turn in your application before then.

Adapting to digital cards

By December 1, 2019, the Arizona Department of Health Services has stopped issuing new medical marijuana cards by mail. All the new medical marijuana cards are now being emailed as PDF files. You might have already received a supplemental digital version of your card via email, but you can keep using your physical card until it expires. Upon its expiration, you need to renew online and your new card will be in PDF form only.

But what if you go to a medical dispensary or get pulled over with marijuana in your car and you can’t access your digital card? The digital form of your card is not its only valid format. You can download the file and print it out, so you can have multiple copies of your card.

Other laws you need to be mindful of

In Arizona, being a cardholder does not excuse you from felonies related to possessing or using marijuana in certain circumstances.

  • You can still get a DUI after using medical marijuana. In 2015, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that drivers who test positive for marijuana have no immunity from prosecution even if they hold a medical marijuana license. However, you can show in court that you did not have enough marijuana compound in your body to cause impairment.
  • You cannot use or possess medical marijuana in schools, college campuses, and correctional facilities. You cannot smoke it in public places and on public transportation, as well.
  • You can possess a medical marijuana card and own a gun, but you cannot use medical marijuana and own a gun. That may sound confusing, but this implies that cardholders can own guns as long if they have not used medical marijuana.

We support your journey

At Territory Dispensary, we want your medical marijuana journey to be as safe and smooth as possible. We provide high-quality medical cannabis to patients across Arizona, and we are always ready to help the patients who come to our stores.