New Arizona Bill Reduces Home Cultivation Limit, Extends Card Expiration, and More

Dan Kingston - AZ

A bill recently introduced in Arizona’s Legislature by Rep. Randall Friese aims to amend the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

HB 2537 would change the AMMA by implementing third party testing of marijuana, fingerprinting for caregivers and dispensary agents, lowering the home cultivation plant limit for patients and caregivers, extending medical marijuana card expiration dates, reducing the cultivation limit, and more.

The major changes HB 2537 would make are:

  • Home cultivation would decrease from 12 to 6 plants.
  • Arizona medical marijuana cards would expire after two years of issuance instead of one.
  • Caregivers and dispensary employees would have to get a valid fingerprint clearance card.
  • The definition of marijuana would become: “Marijuana that is cultivated, processed, dispensed, tested or possessed for a medical use, including medical marijuana extract and medical marijuana.”
  • The definition of marijuana extract would become: “Medical marijuana extract means a substance that is obtained by separating cannabinoids of the marijuana plant by physical or chemical means to create a medical marijuana product with a cannabinoid concentration greater than the raw plant material from which it is derived.”
  • The definition of medical marijuana product would become: “Medical marijuana product means a product that both contains cannabinoids that have been extracted from plant material or the resin from plant material by physical or chemical means that is intended for administration to a registered qualifying patient for a medical use. Includes oils, distillate, tinctures, edibles, patches, topicals, shatter, wax, kief, pills, capsules and suppositories.”
  • Mandatory testing of marijuana would be implemented forcing independent third-party laboratories to confirm that marijuana for medical use meets certain standards.
  • Mandatory inspection of dispensaries would begin in June 2020 to determine the quality of the marijuana being stored and dispensed.
  • Marijuana would be sold in “childproof containers and indicate the registered qualifying patient’s name and registry identification card number and the potency of the marijuana on the label.”
  • Would allow out-of-state medical marijuana patients to purchase marijuana from Arizona dispensaries.

What are your thoughts on this issue?


A little Arizona history:
Arizona, along with California, was one of the first states to legalize medical MJ, back in 1996. This was voter approved. But then medical mj in AZ was taken away by the state legislature, just a few months later. This act of legislature was a huge slap in the face to AZ voters, who turned around in 1998 and rejected the legislature with a veto referendum (we apparently live in a democracy where voters/citizens get to choose). But there was wording in the new provision that allowed it to be struck down once again (Pres. Clinton said that if a doctor prescribed weed, they would have their medical license revoked, thanks Bill). Twelve years later, Prop 203 won by voter approval, and in 2010 AZ went medical mj.

So goes the weed in AZ.

I bring this history up because here, yet again, we have the legislature trying to mess with voter approved laws, even tho now they have to get voter approval to do so. This amendment makes some concessions, while taking some things away. I say reject the whole thing based on these guys are total scumbags who used to write their own laws until we changed that for them, and yet they’re still trying to do it.

I want to see the voter initiative for AZ full recreational !

Also, Prop 203 was won by a small margin overall, and only three counties actually approved it - Santa Cruz, Pima, and Coconino. It overwhelmingly won in Pima county, which basically carried 203 to a win for the state. This past election showed positive numbers for Maricopa (the way I see it), which makes me think MJ could def win rec for the state in 2020, IMHO.

Don’t sell youself short, AZ!

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do home grows need more than 6 plants ? I smoke a lb. of flower a year maybe 1.5, give away more than I smoke, so … ?
Voter approved ? when these kind of referendums they are phrased to garner the most support possible, not what is deemed appropriate by business interests. Which changes as a market develops into capitalism and state revenue. Besides, Cali is right next door !

When you have cancer or a kid with epilepsy, and they need oil, you bet 6 plants isn’t enough.


You’re going to have a lot of law-breaking moms and dads!

Parents often cannot afford to shop at dispensaries (on top of the annual $150 patient card fee and $200 caregiver card fee that parents have to pay now) to get their kids the medicine they need. Also, many dispensaries in AZ only carry very psychoactive cannabis, which may not suit the specific needs of your child’s condition. This bill ONLY serves the need of the dispensaries and the oligopoly that they have created and work so hard to preserve. This bill will make criminals out of good parents who are just trying to get their sick kids the medicine they so desperately need.

I think the point of this bill is this: if you try to grow your own medicine, you put yourself at risk; i.e. “shop at my dispensary or go to jail.”

Arizona voters: Call your local legislator and tell them to vote no on HR2537.

How does one keep mother plants for a few cultivars, clones, and flowering plants when you are allowed only 6 plants – without breaking the law?

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I take it AZ doesn’t have the same voter initiative protections that CA does.

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I’m not sure, but the language appears to leave the words “usable” in the statement. And usable is defined in the bill - which doesn’t include large parts of the plant, and is specific to dried flower and substances made from the dry flower. This sort of implies that non-flowering plants might not count towards the count, but perhaps I am being too optimistic. They appear to have added this section on “usable” as well - maybe there is specific intent there?

On the other hand - it does seem nice that the price for a med card has been cut in half, since it now lasts twice as long. And having quality control testing seems pretty appropriate to me - there’s been recalls and warning letters - which means a lack of self-regulation on some actors.

So maybe - ask that it gets amended instead of dumped completely? Are there other bills out there that include the cut in pricing and the need for testing? Thanks!