Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Arizona

Arizona went recreational with marijuana officially, November 2020, on paper, with the passing of Proposition 207. Prop 207 is the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (SSAA) and, to be clear, it has no affect on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act that was approved in 2010.

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What Does Prop 207 Say?

In Prop 207 a number of things were addressed and changed regarding cannabis usage and possession.

Any adult, 21 and older, may use and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. The act indicates only up to 5 grams of that can be concentrates. Possessing over 1 ounce, but under 2.5 ounces can get an individual a petty offense. A petty offense is the least-serious offense in Arizona and they are punishable by a fine of up to $300. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-601, 13-602 (2020).)

The SSAA also gives Arizonians the right to cultivate their own marijuana plants at home. An individual 21 or older is able to grow up to 6 plants at a time. If there are multiple individuals 21 or over in a residence, the max is extended to 12 plants.

That’s right, if you are an Arizona resident over the age of 21 years old, not only can you purchase marijuana for recreation use, but you can grow your own marijuana plants and save yourself some money in the long run. Don’t worry, if you don’t know how to grow a marijuana plant, there are plenty of online forums and YouTube video at your finger tips to aid you in such a journey.

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Public marijuana use in places like, restaurants and parks, is still illegal. If caught, offenders can expect to be guilty of a petty offense.

The SSAA slapped a 16% excise tax on all recreational purchases of marijuana products, this is in addition to any state or city tax. Similar to the tax for the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol. This excise tax is hefty for sure, especially when compared to prices you may see else where. Understand, when you purchase from a dispensary, you’ll at least know exactly what you are getting and what properties were used in the cultivation of the flower or concentrates purchased.

What’s the Difference Between Purchasing as a Medical Marijuana Patient Versus a Recreational Marijuana User?

There are a number of differences in what is allowed and how orders are processed in Arizona for medical users in comparison to recreational users.

AGE: For medical marijuana patients, there is no age limit restriction. However, they do have to be 21 or older to enter a dispensary.

PURCHASING: While recreational users can buy unto one ounce per transaction, medical marijuana patients can buy unto two and a half ounces per two week period. Medical marijuana patients are also given priority at the dispensaries over recreational users. In essence, this means, they are given a ‘fast pass’ like at the amusement parks.

POSSESSION: Same as the purchasing limits, medical marijuana patients can possess upto two and a half ounces and recreational users can only possess unto one ounce.

PRICE: Medical marijuana patients don’t have to pay that extra 16% excise tax that recreational users have.

CULTIVATION: There are specific rules around medical marijuana patients and the cultivation of marijuana plants, like the distance the residence is from a dispensary and in some cases licensing. Whereas recreational users have the ability to cultivate a limit of six plants at a time in their residence.

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POTENCY: Both medical marijuana patients and recreational users can purchase the flower form of marijuana at any potency, but for recreational users there is a limit on edibles. The edibles can have no more than 10 mg of THC per serving and 100 mg per package. They also cannot purchase any edibles that favor children’s candies.

WORKPLACE: Medical marijuana patients are protected from the discrimination of their employer, unless it can be proven that such person is impaired at the workplace or is in possession of marijuana in the workplace. Recreational users have no protections, you can be fired in a drug free/alcohol free place of work for a THC positive drug test administered by your employer.


Anyone 21 years or older can now purchase marijuana for recreational use in Arizona. There are a number of pros and cons to being a medical marijuana patient and a recreational user. Either way, the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana use means more money for Arizona schools, police, fire departments and other state entities, who are in need of additional funding. It also means more relaxed and open minded state residents, hopefully.

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