Is Weed Legal in Arizona? Arizona Marijuana Laws & Prop 207
Most Arizonians are aware that in the November 2020 election, Arizona voters passed Proposition 207: The Smart and Safe Act, which legalized recreational cannabis use throughout the state. Arizona Prop 207 came ten years after Proposition 203, which legalized the medical use of marijuana.
On January 22, 2021, certain Arizona licensed cannabis dispensaries began to legally sell recreational marijuana products and paraphernalia to consumers. However, Arizona marijuana legalization did NOT lift all restrictions on possession, production, transportation, use, or sale of cannabis and cannabis products.
You can still face charges for marijuana crimes in certain circumstances. This blog will explore the specific limitations and laws that recreational users should know about Arizona weed laws. Of course, if you are facing any criminal charges related to marijuana use, you should speak with a knowledgeable Arizona criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Arizona Marijuana Laws
Supporters and advocates of state-level legalization of marijuana purport that legalization provides tax revenue and stimulates the economy while reducing crime and spending on criminal justice initiatives. Many states, including Arizona, have legalized marijuana by ballot initiative. With the passing of Arizona Prop 207, marijuana laws fall into two categories: Adult use (Arizona recreational weed use) and Medical use.
The legalization of marijuana for Adult use did not change Arizona pot laws for medical use. Many people approved for medical use continue to hold Medical Marijuana Registry Identification cards, for cost savings and higher amounts of marijuana to legally possess under Arizona cannabis law.
How Proposition 207 Affected Arizona Marijuana Laws in 2021
Is pot legal in Arizona? Proposition 207, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, was passed in November 2020, allowing adults ages 21 and older) to begin legally purchasing up to one ounce of marijuana for adult use in 2021. It also:
- Allowed adults to cultivate up to 6 plants for personal use
- Allowed retail sale of marijuana at licensed establishments
- Banned smoking marijuana in public places
- Authorized local and state regulation of production and sale of marijuana
- Allowed courts to vacate and expunge certain prior marijuana convictions, charges, adjudications, and sentences.
AZ Prop 207 did not change Arizona’s DUI laws. Driving (or riding a bicycle, operating a boat, or flying an airplane) while impaired by marijuana or THC remains a crime.
Medical Marijuana Use in Arizona
Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card Holders are not subject to an Arizona weed age minimum for using cannabis products. If the cardholder applicant (qualifying patient) is under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian must apply on their behalf.
Which Medical Conditions Qualify?
- Hepatitis C
- Muscle Spasms
Other debilitating or chronic medical conditions and diseases qualify as qualifying conditions for medical Arizona weed legal status. Designated caregivers for qualifying patients may obtain a card to assist not more than five qualifying patients with the medical use of marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana Use in Arizona
Is weed legal in Arizona for recreational use? Yes. Arizona’s “recreational” marijuana program is officially called the “Adult Use Marijuana Program”. To purchase marijuana for recreational use, individuals must be at least 21 years old. Arizona recreational weed/Arizona recreational marijuana is subject to purchase and possession amount limits that are separate from (and lower than) the Medical Marijuana Program.
How Much Weed Can You Have Legally in Arizona?
While adults can consume marijuana legally, there are restrictions on the legal amount of weed you can carry:
- For recreational use (Adult Use Marijuana Program), an adult aged 21 or older, may purchase and/or possess up to one ounce (about 28g) of marijuana at a time. Not more than 5 grams of marijuana may be in the form of marijuana concentrate.
- For medical use (with possession of a medical marijuana card), you can possess up to 2.5 ounces.
Many people who have a Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card choose to keep it because the card allows them to have higher allowable purchase limits and allowable amounts in their possession (2.5 ounces with a medical card, vs. 1 ounce for adult recreational use).
Is It Legal to Grow Weed in Arizona?
Arizona Prop 207 growing rules allow adults to have up to six marijuana plants at home, or up to 12 plants if there are two or more adults living in the home. Adults with medical cannabis cards and designated caregivers may each cultivate up to 12 plants, although they must not be visible to the public. In other words, don’t grow marijuana plants in the planter on your front porch.
Is Buying or Selling Weed Legal in Arizona?
With the Adult Use Marijuana Program, it is legal for any adult over age 21 to purchase marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary. Individuals cannot sell marijuana on their own, without a state license, but may give marijuana or cannabis plants to another adult.
What about Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia in AZ?
Where Can Marijuana Legally Be Used?
Even though recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Arizona, it is still subject to policies and restrictions that restrict where you can consume marijuana legally.
Also, just like with alcohol, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by marijuana. Arizona has strict DUI laws which prohibit operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug that makes you impaired “to the slightest degree”. This language gives a wide berth to prosecutors. Even if you have a medical card for marijuana, you can still be charged and prosecuted if you are impaired “to the slightest degree”.
Potential Charges and Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Outside of a potential DUI charge, there are a variety of violations you should know for the newly written marijuana rules in Arizona. Breaking Arizona’s marijuana laws can happen in different ways. Penalties will vary depending on how much marijuana you possess, and other particulars.
Possessing Less than Two Pounds of Marijuana (Greater than the Allowed 1 Ounce)
If the marijuana was:
- Imported or transported into the state (Class 3 Felony)
- For sale (Class 4 Felony)
- Personally produced (Class 5 Felony)
- For personal use (Class 6 Felony)
Possessing Two to Four Pounds of Marijuana
If the marijuana was:
- Imported or transported into the state (Class 2 Felony)
- A plant for sale (Class 3 Felony)
- Personally produced product (Class 4 Felony)
- For personal use (Class 5 Felony)
Possessing More than Four Pounds of Marijuana
If the marijuana was:
- For sale or in possession to be sold (Class 2 Felony)
- Personally produced product (Class 3 Felony)
- For personal use (Class 4 Felony)
If you have questions about Arizona’s New Recreational Marijuana Law, Prop 207 marijuana expungement in Arizona, or are facing a DUI or DUI Drugs, or even a Marijuana related offense, call our Arizona criminal defense team to help you navigate this. We’re here to help.
Can Police Perform a Warrantless Search If They Smell Marijuana?
Search and seizure laws pertaining to reasonable suspicion and probable cause are complex. Police officers cannot perform a warrantless vehicle search without reasonable suspicion. Prior to the legalization of Adult Use of marijuana, police officers could conduct searches based on observing the scent of marijuana. Many people are not aware that Prop 207 addressed 4th Amendment rights pertaining to AZ pot laws in A.R.S. § 36-2852(C), which states “the odor of marijuana or burnt marijuana does not by itself constitute reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime”. If you’ve been subjected to a warrantless search, speak to an Arizona marijuana criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Can a Marijuana Charge Be Expunged or Dismissed?
Marijuana expungement in Arizona is possible. Thanks to Arizona’s prop 207, many past marijuana charges and convictions can now be expunged and removed from your criminal record. If you were charged with a criminal offense involving marijuana before recreational use became legal, you may be eligible for set-aside or expungement. Not all arrests, charges, adjudications, and convictions are eligible. For example, convictions involving the transportation of large quantities of marijuana are not eligible. Eligible offenses include:
- Possession, consumption, or transportation of marijuana (less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, with less than 12.5 ounces of marijuana concentrate).
- Possession, transportation, or use of marijuana paraphernalia.
- Possession, cultivation, or transportation of marijuana plants (six or fewer) for personal use.
It is possible to file a petition for expungement without an attorney. However, because expungement is not automatic, and the court could hold a hearing, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer petition for you can save you time, and money, and ensure a smooth process.
Contact an Arizona Marijuana Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have questions about a marijuana criminal case or potential expungement, contact the Law Offices of Brandon White to arrange a free consultation. We are committed to zealously protecting our client's rights and freedom, and achieving the best outcome in every case we handle. Contact us today to speak with our team and see how we can help you. Your first consultation is free, with no obligation.
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