Go and Grow: Quick Tips for Legally Growing Cannabis in Arizona
Thanks to a proposition passed in 2010, medical marijuana is a reality for over 167,000 local patients (according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’April 2018 report). While the vast majority of patients are qualified to purchase, possess, and administer cannabis for the purpose of treating medical conditions, around 2300 patients are currently authorized to grow it.
Cultivating cannabis is certainly not a new hobby, though the trend has picked up with medical and recreational legalization sweeping the country over the past few decades. Tracing back to even to prehistoric sites, Cannabis was found to be cultivated in ancient Asia and used as an anesthetic during surgery. However, the herb is a relative newcomer to America and arrived from Mexico at the turn of the 20th century.
It’s no surprise that growers of Cannabis are so enthusiastic; the health benefits of marijuana are immense and the documented negative side effects are minimal in comparison to conventional pharmaceuticals.
If you have a green thumb that is anxious to become greener as a medical cannabis grower – or are just curious about the laws – then check out a few of the tips below to get started.
Arizona Law Regarding MMJ Cultivation
The bottom line is that the regulations in Arizona don’t make cannabis cultivation easy or accessible for most residents of the state. According to the law, “a qualifying patient or the qualifying patient’s caregiver may be allowed to grow marijuana only if a dispensary is not operating within twenty-five (25) miles of the qualifying patient’s home.” This sounds appealing at first glance until you realize that 95% of Arizona residents already live within a 25 mile range of a dispensary. This means that a mere 5% qualify to be able to cultivate and grow marijuana.
That said, for those who qualify, the cultivation option is included on the online medical marijuana application that is submitted through the AZ Department of Health Services. In order to be approved, the department will perform a check to ensure that your address is not within 25 miles of a dispensary and will then designate you as a medical marijuana cultivator.
Regulations for growing marijuana state that you may grow up to 12 plants in an “enclosed, locked facility,” which the law defines as a “closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.”
Getting Set Up to Grow
If you’ve been approved as a medical marijuana cultivator in Arizona, you have a wide variety of options in strains you can grow as well as many different ways to get started. Keep in mind that Cannabis grows well both indoors and outdoors and you will need to decide which works best with the space and environment you have available.
Be sure to do research on which strains grow best under certain conditions (such as an indoor, controlled environment or an outdoor greenhouse setup). There will be a small investment necessary to successfully grow Cannabis, such a tools and equipment designed specifically for the plant to flourish. Some of the essentials necessary to begin cultivating include the seeds (strain specific), grow lights if cultivating indoors, nutrients and fertilizers, and lots of patience.
Your setup can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose and will be based on cost, your needs, and the time you are willing to commit to the process. Be open to experimenting with different methods and different strains of Cannabis to see what produces the best results. Online forums and websites provide excellent resources on the grow process and afford the chance to build community around Cannabis cultivation.
Are You in the 5%?
If you are one of the lucky Arizona residents who qualify to grow Cannabis, take advantage of this right (and of all of the benefits of Cannabis) and consider trying your hand out at cultivating. Just like our ancestors, you’ll be well on your way to having potent, natural medicine right at your fingertips.
As a medical marijuana cultivator, you will not only reap the benefits of this powerful plant but the rewards of tending to a successful and healthy mini-Cannabis garden.