Marking a significant shift in its approach to cannabis, Arizona legalized recreational marijuana in 2020. Now adults can legally obtain both medical and recreational cannabis products throughout the state, in addition to federally legal hemp THC products which are widely available in stores and online.

Interested in learning more about cannabis legality in Arizona? Let’s delve into existing regulations and relevant implications for residents and visitors.

A Few Propositions

Medical marijuana was first legalized in 2010 with the passage of Proposition 203, also known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The AMMA allowed patients with specific medical conditions to obtain cannabis with a physician’s recommendation.

The push to legalize recreational marijuana as well soon gained momentum. In 2016, Proposition 205, which would have legalized “the possession and consumption of marijuana by people 21 and up,” was defeated, though narrowly.

In just a few more years, the landscape changed significantly with the passage in 2020 of Proposition 207, or the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. By legalizing the possession and use of cannabis for persons 21 and older, Proposition 207 set the stage for a regulated market.

The Law as of 2024

Age and Possession

You must be at least 21 years old to buy cannabis products in Arizona. You can legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and no more than five grams in the form of concentrates. These standards are consistent with those common in other states that have legalized recreational cannabis.

Home Cultivation

Arizona residents are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants per person, with a maximum of twelve plants per household. You must cultivate them in a secure location in your home that is not visible or accessible to the public.

Retail and Licensing

Arizona imposes strict retail and licensing requirements. The Arizona Department of Health Services oversees the licensing of cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, cultivation facilities, and testing labs.

Public Use and Consumption

Although cannabis is legal in Arizona, public consumption is not. Cannabis use is restricted to private residences. Consumption in public places, including parks, streets, and vehicles, is prohibited and subject to penalties.

Medical Marijuana

The medical marijuana program continues to operate. Medical patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks and have access to more potent products than people who are using marijuana recreationally.

Economic Effects of Cannabis Legalization

In Arizona, the legal cannabis industry has created jobs, boosted tourism, and generated substantial tax revenue.

In addition to its standard sales tax, the state imposes a 16% excise tax on sales of recreational cannabis. These funds support public services, including education and public health programs.

To prevent misuse and promote public health, the state has launched campaigns to inform the public about how to use cannabis responsibly and the risks of using it, particularly for minors.

Challenges for Arizona’s Cannabis Industry

Despite the positive aspects of legalization, Arizona faces ongoing challenges. Ensuring

equitable access to the cannabis market for marginalized communities, addressing social justice

concerns, and preventing youth access remain priorities.

As Arizona navigates the complexities of this new era, ongoing efforts to address social,

economic, and public health challenges will shape the future of cannabis in the state.