Weed Laws in Arizona You Need to Know
Posted By Salvador Phillips, PLLC || Oct 9, 2018
Weed laws vary across the entire country. Federally, marijuana is still illegal and considered a Schedule 1 substance. However, more states are enacting laws that make the drug legal both medically and recreationally. Currently, there are 30 U.S. states with laws that make medical marijuana use with a doctor’s recommendation legal, including Arizona. Nine states have also legalized recreational use of the substance for those over 21.
Even with marijuana becoming a more widespread medical treatment for people and being legalized recreationally as well, those breaking drug laws can still face harsh punishments. Although medical marijuana is legal in Arizona now, individuals should know the details of these laws to avoid legal punishments and ensure that their rights are protected.
Medical Marijuana Use in AZ
After many failed attempts to pass medical marijuana use, Proposition 203 passed in 2010 with a narrow majority of 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent. As of November 2017, there were over 157,000 active medical marijuana cardholders in the state. The Arizona Department of Health Services only accepts online applications for medical cards and requires all supporting documents to be submitted as PDFs. Valid doctors can write recommendations for a medical marijuana card for those over 21 years old who suffer from various ailments such as:
Cancer or effects of cancer treatments
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Cachexia or wasting syndrome
Severe or chronic pain
Seizures or epilepsy
Severe muscle spasms
Once you receive your medical marijuana card, it will be valid for a time period of one calendar year. Those with cards can also possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis at any given time.
Restrictions on Marijuana Possession
Technically, those caught by officials possessing marijuana who do not have a medical card can be charged with a felony and most likely receive jail time or fines. In addition, it is also considered a felony crime to be caught with marijuana in a prohibited place, such as a college campus, a school bus, or any primary or high school campus. The law also prohibits users from smoking in public or while on public transportation. In addition, even with a medical marijuana card, users cannot have more than 2.5 ounces, according to Arizona law.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
It is illegal to be operating a vehicle if you are under the influence of marijuana and any person pulled over for such can receive a misdemeanor on their first offense, as well as:
Up to 10 days in jail
Suspension of their driver’s license for up to 90 days
Mandatory drug screenings or meetings
Fees and fines
After a first offense of driving under the influence of marijuana, people can be convicted of felonies and receive even harsher punishments, usually in the form of increased fines, extended jail times, or a combination of both.
The Future of AZ Recreational Marijuana Use
There have been recent attempts to pass recreational marijuana use in the state. In November 2016, a ballot to legalize recreational use narrowly failed to pass. Over 2.5 million people voted; 51.32 percent of them voted “no” to legalize recreational marijuana, while 48.68 percent of voters marked “yes.” Then again, in 2017, another ballot to pass non-medical marijuana failed by another small percent, 2.6 percent of the vote.
Another recent attempt to legalize non-medical marijuana use did not succeed. An initiative to get the issue on the 2018 ballot needed 156,000 signatures, although there were only about 70,000 collected. More grassroots organizations continue to look for ways to get recreational cannabis passed in the future.
Because of severe crackdowns that the government has on drug use and possession, it’s essential to know current legislation about marijuana in your area so that you can avoid legal repercussions. While medical marijuana use is legal in Arizona, nuances to this law can still land residents in jail. If this if your case, it may be in your best interest to get an experienced drug defense attorney on your side.
Contact our firm at (602) 842-6222 to speak with our experienced criminal drug defense attorneys about your possible case.