Arizona Dispensary Laws
Arizona Dispensary Rules (Updated for 2020). Arizona State flag.

Arizona Dispensary Laws (Updated Guide for 2020)

This is an update (2020) of Arizona dispensary laws. If you are an aspiring dispensary owner, a medical marijuana patient of a 420 friendly tourist in Arizona, this guide is for you. It will keep you abreast of all that it entails to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the Grand Canyon State plus what it takes to be employed in one.

To start us off, here are a few facts on the state of medical marijuana in Arizona:

  • Medical marijuana was legalized in Arizona in 2010.
  • Patients with “qualifying conditions can access medical marijuana from legal marijuana dispensaries
  • Patients living 25 miles or more away from a legal marijuana dispensary can grow their own marijuana at home
  • In 2019, total marijuana sales were $709 million in the state of Arizona

Opening and operating a marijuana dispensary in Arizona is not easy. The state limits the number of marijuana dispensary licenses issued at a time, it also sets dispensary laws and regulations to govern the operations of marijuana dispensaries in the state. It is advisable to get acquainted with Arizona dispensary laws and requirements before embarking on the process. More information on this can be obtained from the AZ Department of Health Services website:

Soon after medical marijuana was legalized in Arizona, the state began licensing dispensaries. To date, there are about 130 legal marijuana dispensaries operating in the state. Patients with a qualifying medical condition can apply for a medical marijuana card from the state and use the card to buy marijuana products from any of these dispensaries.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allows marijuana patients to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks. Patients can purchase marijuana flowers, concentrates, edibles and tinctures from marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana dispensaries also sell hemp-derived CBD products that do not contain THC.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) regulates the medical marijuana program in Arizona.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Arizona in November 2010 through the passage of Proposition 203. In 2019, the Supreme Court of Arizona legalized cannabis extracts for medicinal use. This made it possible for patients with qualifying conditions to purchase concentrates such as live resin, crumble, shatter, and terp sauce from marijuana dispensaries.

So far, there are about 225,000 licensed medical marijuana patients in patients and 130 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

Recreational dispensaries are illegal in Arizona. However, the Smart & Safe Arizona Act ballot initiative of 2020 will allow residents to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. If this is passed, up to 150 recreational dispensaries will be opened in the state.

How to Get a License For Marijuana Dispensary in Arizona

Marijuana dispensaries in Arizona operate under a non- profit dispensary registration certificate. This license allows the dispensary to grow, process, and sell medical marijuana products to medical marijuana patients in the state. The application fee for this license is $5,000 and it is non-refundable.

The application portal (Arizona Department of Health Services) for new applications was re-opened on 1st April, 2020.  Application will be considered in order of priority with geographical location being a key consideration. The dispensary has to be located at least 25 miles away from the next licensed dispensary. The dispensary also has to be located in an area that was previously registered as a non-profit medical marijuana dispensary location. In the event that there are many applications from the same location, the one that serves most patients within a five mile radius will be given priority. Alternatively, the ADHS may use a random ballot to select.

Once the license has been granted, the dispensary must be opened within 18 months of registration failure to which the license will be withdrawn.

Aspiring dispensary owners must submit the following together with their application:

  • Business plan template
  • Cultivation plan template
  • Processing template
  • Financial plan template
  • Fire safety plan template
  • Inventory control template
  • Security plan template
  • Patient record keeping template
  • Production safety plan template
  • Patient education
  • Transportation plan template
  • Staffing plan template

 Arizona Medical Marijuana Testing License

All medical marijuana products sold at marijuana dispensaries in Arizona have to be tested by a third party lab that has been accredited by the AZ department of health services.

One can apply for licensing as an independent third party lab to analyze marijuana grown for medical use through the ADHS. You will be required to submit an application and pay a non refundable fee of $5,000.

Who is a Dispensary Agent?

Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Dispensaries agents such as board members, principal officers, employees, or volunteers are referred to as dispensary agents. All dispensary agents must be registered by the ADHS whether they are working or volunteering at the dispensary.  Principal Officers and board members can apply directly for registration while employees and volunteers must have the dispensary entities make the application on their behalf. When applying for registration, dispensary agents must fill an attestation form to verify the authenticity of the information being submitted.

Dispensary agents must also fill a fingerprint verification form and submit it with their application for registration.

What is the Age Limit for Working At A Dispensary In Arizona?

To work in marijuana dispensary in the state of Arizona, you must be at least 21 years old. However, you can purchase medical marijuana in a marijuana dispensary in Arizona even if you are a minor, as long as you have a qualifying condition. The following are the conditions that have been approved as “qualifying” for medical marijuana use in Arizona:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Nausea
  • Persistent Muscle Spasms
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures

How to Get A Job In A Marijuana Dispensary in Arizona

If you are at least 21 years old it is not hard to get a job at a marijuana dispensary in Arizona. For most entry level positions you will be required to have a basic training on medical marijuana or a related field. You can consider jobs such as budtender, patient advisor, cashier, receptionist, delivery, or security. Once you have a foot in it is easy to rise up the ranks to assistant manager or manager of the dispensary.

You can search for marijuana jobs in sites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, 420 careers, Indeed, and Craigslist. You can also consider jobs in the cultivation and processing facilities.

Marijuana jobs in Arizona can be found in Tucson, Mesa, Cottonwood, Scottsdale, Casa Grande, Glendale, and Flagstaff among other cities with legal marijuana dispensaries.

If you want to learn more about Arizona dispensary laws consider signing up for a top rated online marijuana course.

Arizona Cannabis University

If you are looking for all the latest Arizona cannabis laws, and want to know how to open a legal cannabis business in Arizona make sure to enroll online at Arizona Cannabis University. Learn all it takes to get an Arizona cannabis job or start your own Arizona cannabis business.


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