Last week, the Arizona Department of Health released a new website with information on the Smart and Safe Arizona Act – Arizona’s new adult marijuana law. The department is the marijuana regulator in Arizona. In addition to links to the full text of the law and current medical marijuana regulations (which will apply to adult use until the new adult use regulations are published), the website also contains a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). The FAQs should be helpful to companies and entrepreneurs preparing for licensing in a few months, March 2021 (the first recreational marijuana sales are due to start in April).
The FAQs cover several categories, including general information, information on growing and selling marijuana, buying marijuana, and licensing. For example, one of the frequently asked questions asked, “Does my employer have to allow me to use marijuana?” For adult marijuana, the ministry states that “an employer retains the right to get a drug- and alcohol-free job”.
If you have any questions about licenses and related issues, the department has also released an email address for inquiries – M2Dispensaries@azdhs.gov. You can bet this address will be flooded with questions. Based on our company’s experience in multiple states, the department is likely to use joint inquiries to further update these FAQs and issue licensing guidelines in the future. So it pays to regularly check the department’s FAQs and publications.
The ministry also announced that it is expected to publish the proposed regulations for adult marijuana establishments, including pharmacies, in mid-December 2020. That is obviously just around the corner and we are excited to see what the ministry has put together.
Every data subject should have the right to comment on the proposed rules. If you are an industry participant or want to get involved, it may be beneficial to review the proposed regulations and provide comments on them. You should also read our previous posts on the New Arizona Law for a general understanding of the new law and potential opportunities in the developing Arizona cannabis industry. The new law usually came into force on December 1, 2020.
On November 25, 2020, the Arizona Supreme Court issued Administrative Ordinance No. 2020-184 entitled “Regarding: Establishing Procedures for Filing and Hearing Civil Marijuana Cases.” As the Arizona Supreme Court found:
Proposition 207 does not provide a procedure for filing and ruling on marijuana violations that are classified as civil under ARS § 36-2853. Changes to the statutes and court rules are required to implement the proposal. These changes are not expected to be completed for some time.
In the meantime, while we await these changes, certain procedures have been put in place by the Arizona Supreme Court to judge certain minor marijuana offenses. For example, certain civil marijuana violations (such as smoking marijuana in public places) can be filed with both a magistrate and a city court and filed using the Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint. The new procedures set out in the Administrative Ordinance will apply until September 30, 2021 or until another order from the Arizona Supreme Court.
We will be sure to update our analysis of the department’s proposed regulations as they become public. In the meantime, check out the following cutting edge cannabis posts in Arizona.