Medical and adult use marijuana is legal in Arizona – registered patients may possess, use, and purchase medical marijuana from state licensed businesses. On November 3rd, 2020, Arizona voters had the opportunity to vote on Proposition 207, also known as the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act” to legalize adult-use/recreational marijuana in the state. State licensed businesses are allowed to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana – learn more about how to get an Arizona marijuana business license or schedule a complimentary consultation with our licensing expert, below.
When to Apply
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NUMBER OF MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES AVAILABLE
Arizona Medical Marijuana Business License: Under the current medical marijuana program, the state awarded 130 Dispensary Registration Certificates in between 2011 – 2016. A Dispensary Registration Certificate allows you to operate a cultivation, processing/manufacturing and/or dispensary facility. In 2019, the state passed Senate Bill (SB) 1494 which allows for the additional licensing of Dispensary Registration Certificates, based on geographic areas where a previous dispensary moved from and is 25 miles from another dispensary. Due to COVID, the state was unable to implement the application process for these additional certificates/licenses, initially slated for April 2020, it is still to be determined, if/when the state will be accepting applications to award these additional certificates/licenses.
Arizona Recreational Marijuana Business License:
There is an opportunity to apply for Marijuana Establishment Licenses as soon as January 2021. There will be a total of 160 marijuana establishment licenses available. A marijuana establishment will be allowed to operate all of the following:
- A single retail location at which the licensee may sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers, cultivate marijuana and manufacture marijuana products.
- A single off-site cultivation location at which the licensee may cultivate marijuana, process marijuana and manufacture marijuana products, but from which marijuana and marijuana products may not be transferred or sold to consumers.
- A single off-site location at which the licensee may manufacture marijuana products, and package and store marijuana and marijuana products, but from which marijuana and marijuana products may not be transferred or sold to consumers.
Additionally, the state will issue marijuana establishment licenses based on the below parameters:
- The state may not issue more than one (1) marijuana establishment license for every ten (10) pharmacies
- The state may issue a marijuana establishment license to not more than two (2) marijuana establishments per county that contains no current medical marijuana dispensaries, or one (1) marijuana establishment license per county that contains only one (1) medical marijuana dispensary.
- The state shall accept applications for marijuana establishment licenses from early applicants beginning January 19, 2021 through March 9, 2021.
- Early applicants are defined as either:
- A marijuana establishment seeking to operate in a county with fewer than two registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.
- An existing medical marijuana business licensee that is registered and in good standing with the state.
- Early applicants are defined as either:
HOW TO START A MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN ARIZONA
To obtain a marijuana business license in Arizona, you will be required to submit an application. As part of the application, you will need the following marijuana business documents:
- Business Plan
- Financial Plan to include Application Expenses, Pre-Opening Expenses, and 5 Year Pro Forma
- Inventory Control Plan
- Security Plan
- Recordkeeping Plan
- Patient/Customer Education Plan
Schedule for a complimentary 15-min consult with our licensing/application expert to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
ENHANCED OVERVIEW OF MARIJUANA IN ARIZONA
Arizona Medical Marijuana Overview: Arizona legalized medical marijuana through a majority vote of Proposition 203 in Nov 2010. The state’s Department of Health Services regulates the program and has since awarded up to 130 medical marijuana business licenses.
In June of 2019, Arizona passed Senate Bill 1494 making improvements to the state’s existing medical marijuana program. The passing of S.B. 1494 makes the following changes:
- Requires the distribution of marijuana testing laboratory licenses and the creation of standards for testing medical marijuana for contaminants and toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
- Extends patient card validity from one year to two years. This means that registered patients will only be required to renew their patient cards every two years.
- Award additional Dispensary Registration Certificates for priority licensing for additional non-profit dispensaries based on geographic areas where a previous dispensary moved from and is 25 miles from another dispensary.
Qualifying Medical Conditions: Cancer, Glaucoma, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; Severe and chronic pain; Severe nausea, Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy; Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis.
Arizona Recreational Marijuana Overview: The Smart and Safe Act initiative appeared and was passed through the November ballot as Prop 207. Prop 207, which aims to legalize cannabis for adult-use in Arizona, has officially been approved by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Prop 207 allowed the following:
- The sale, possession, and consumption of one ounce of marijuana (of which 5 grams can be concentrate) for adults 21 years old or older.
- Home cultivation of up to six (6) cannabis plants at an individual’s primary residence and up to twelve (12) plants if two adults reside there.
- The licensing of Marijuana Establishments.
- The establishment of a social equity ownership program to promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.
- The decriminalization of certain marijuana-related offenses.
- People previously convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six (6) or fewer plants or paraphernalia can petition to have the record expunged.
Regulating Department: Arizona Department of Health Services
ARIZONA MARIJUANA TIMELINE
2010 – Arizona legalized medical cannabis
2011 – Arizona awarded 99 Dispensary Registration Certificates (marijuana business licenses)
2016 – State awarded the remaining 31 Dispensary Registration Certificates, bringing the state to a total of 130 marijuana business licenses.
2019 – Arizona passed Senate Bill 1494, amending the current medical marijuana program to include required marijuana testing, additional licensing for Dispensary Registration Certificates, and more.
2020 – Smart and Safe Initiative appeared as Prop 207 on the ballot to be considered for the legalization of adult-use.
January 2021 – State to begin accepting applications for marijuana establishments (only for early applicants)
March 2021 – State stops accepting applications for marijuana establishments
May 2021 – State issues marijuana establishment licenses to qualified early applicants
TBD – State begins accepting applications for additional marijuana establishments for general (non-early) applicants and social equity applicants.
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"WORKING WITH SARA WAS A PLEASURE. WE DON’T KNOW HOW WE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THROUGH THE APPLICATION PROCESS WITHOUT HER."Arizona Vertically Integrated Facility Owner
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"Sara’s success speaks for itself. Our company continues to engage Sara for ongoing consulting and her advice remains solid and relevant to our growth."Owner, Firefly Dispensaries in Pennsylvania.
"Working with Sara was a pleasure. We don’t know how we would have gotten through the application process without her."Arizona Vertically Integrated Facility Owner