You might think that because Arizona and Colorado are neighbors, that Arizona might adopt the same laws as Colorado when it comes to marijuana. However, this is not the case. Arizona has some of the strictest laws in the country. In November of 2016, there was a measure that would have legalized marijuana. It was called Proposition 205. It failed by a narrow margin, and Arizona still has some of the strongest laws known in the United States.
Rules for Possession of Marijuana
The only way that you can legally grow marijuana in the State of Arizona is if you have a medical marijuana ID card. This must be given only by a licensed MD., DO, or N.D. in Arizona. When you have a medical card, this will allow you to possess 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana (the dried flower, mixtures or preparations, such as resin or hashish, made from 2.5 ounces of dried flowers) every 2 weeks, and you will be allowed to grow up to 12 plants as long as you do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary.
Arizona marijuana is also known as cannabis. It is labeled as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This law also includes all the different forms of marijuana, including concentrates and edibles. If you are caught with any form of cannabis, you will face a felony charge under the ARS 13-3405. The charges for possession of marijuana will depend on how much you have, and what the specific charge is.
Medical Marijuana in Arizona
Proposition 203 was first defeated in 2002 but the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act eventually passed in 2010 by the voters in Arizona. If you want to use medical marijuana in Arizona, you will have to be registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services, and have a registry identification card. To qualify you must:
- Be 18 years old.
- Have a government-issued ID.
- Be an Arizona state resident.
- Medical records for the past year must be provided to the doctor.
- Must have a debilitating medical condition like cancer, severe chronic pain, severe nausea, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, and glaucoma.
Consumption of Marijuana
The current law states that only those with a medical marijuana ID can consume marijuana. If you are allowed to smoke medical marijuana, you can only do it privately. In the state of Arizona, it is prohibited on public transportation, and in any public place. It is also illegal to use it at a dispensary. Not only could you get into trouble, but you could also get the dispensary in trouble as well, they could even lose their license to sell.
If you choose to consume marijuana in edible form, there is no law stating that you cannot do this in public. However, you cannot operate a vehicle, or do anything that might constitute negligence when consuming marijuana products.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana (THC)
Even if you get marijuana legally in the state of Arizona, ARS 28-1381 states that you cannot control a vehicle while you are under the influence of any type of drug. You will not be found guilty just because you have marijuana in your system. If you are driving recklessly or dangerously, you will be charged. A DUI for Marijuana can be a misdemeanor for the first offense. You could face a license suspension, jail time, or fines.
Getting a Medical Marijuana Card
If you have one of the above ailments, and meet all of the qualifications for a medical marijuana, you will need to schedule a visit with your doctor to get a Physician Certification form. You will want to visit your doctor, and then you will have to pay a $150+ application fee. Once you have your doctor submit your application, you will get your card within five days. You must renew your card once a year.
Where to Purchase Medical Marijuana?
Once you have your card, you will be free to purchase marijuana, or grow your own. To grow your own, you will need to get approval from the ADHS. There are several state-licensed dispensaries that will be able to help you. You will need to remember that you can only possess 2.5 ounces of the dried flower, mixtures or preparations, such as resin or hashish, made from 2.5 ounces of dried flowers if you are a legal medical user. If you are caught with more, you could end up in trouble, and may even lose your medical marijuana card.
What are the Rules for Marijuana Cultivation?
You can only grow “weed” under two conditions. If you are a medical user, you can grow up to 12 plants in your home. This is only allowed if you do not have a dispensary within 25 miles of your home. The plants can only be grown in a locked facility. Somewhere like a greenhouse, closet, or room that is completely enclosed. It will have to secure with security devices and locks. The only person that can be in the room, is the licensed cardholder. You will also need ADHS to license you as a medical marijuana cultivator. In some cases, the ADHS may also allow you to be a caregiver. As a caregiver, you will be able to grow marijuana for 1-5 patients.
The Penalties for Marijuana Possession If You Are Not a Medical Recipient
If you do not have a medical card, and you are caught with marijuana in your possession, you will face some pretty stiff consequences. Here are some of the consequences that you may face:
- 2 Pounds and Less
If you are caught with less than 2 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony. This will have you facing a minimum sentence of 4 months with a maximum of 2 years. You will face a fine of $1,000 or more. If you are giving probation, you will also face serving 24 hours of community service.
- 2-4 Pounds
If you are caught with 2-4 pounds, you will be charged with a Class 5 felony. You will face a minimum of 6 months in jail, with the chance to serve up to 2.5 years. You will face a fine of over $1,000 with this, and you may have to serve in community service.
- 4+ Pounds
If you have more than 4 pounds of marijuana in your possession, you will face a Class 4 felony. The minimum sentence is 1 year, and you could face the maximum of almost four years. The fine for this is over $1,000, and you may have to serve community service as well.
Penalties will also increase if you are found to have been trafficking marijuana, selling marijuana (see: possession of drugs for sale ARS 13-3407), or if you have in your possession the tools to grow marijuana. Edibles, and other consumables will face the same charges as having marijuana in your possession. The punishment can be severe in many of these cases. If you have a medical card, and you are caught not following the laws, you could be charged with a crime, and face the same punishments as a non medical ID user.
What to do if Charged for Cultivation or Possession of Marijuana Illegally
If you find yourself charged with possession of marijuana, you will want to get legal representation as soon as possible. A good legal team should be able to help you get the charges reduced. In some cases, especially if it is your first offense, you can go to a drug treatment program where your charges will be dismissed upon the successful completion of the program.
Here at DM Cantor, we have helped many people charged with Arizona marijuana crimes get their drug charges reduced or dismissed altogether. We can help you to have a defense that will help protect you, and get back on good terms with the law. We offer a free consultation, so call our office today so that we can help you face your charges.