Although marijuana has been legalized for medical and recreational purposes in Arizona under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Smart and Safe Arizona Act, there are still laws against its use. It is a felony to possess, use, sell, produce, transport for sale, import, or transfer more than the permitted quantity of marijuana in this state. If you are facing a felony charge of a marijuana crime or a marijuana DUI charge, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced Phoenix marijuana attorney as soon as possible. Contact the AZ Defenders law office for dedicated advocacy and experienced representation.
In 2021, Arizona’s marijuana laws changed significantly under Proposition 207. This law allows the legal recreational use of cannabis for adults ages 21 and older within certain parameters. The possession, consumption or transportation of up to one ounce of marijuana (or five grams of marijuana concentrate) for recreational use is now legal. With a medical marijuana card, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces. Cultivating up to six cannabis plants for personal use at your primary residence is also legal. However, there are still strict laws restricting a resident’s use of marijuana.
While cannabis is not considered a dangerous drug, under Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-3405), it remains unlawful for Arizona residents to knowingly:
As stated in the statute:
Although marijuana has now been legalized in Arizona, users are still subject to state policies. For example, recreational and medicinal marijuana may not be smoked in public (A.R.S. 36-2851). It is also against the law to drive while impaired by marijuana under Arizona’s DUI laws. Possessing, cultivating or consuming more than the permitted amount of marijuana can also lead to significant criminal penalties. For more information regarding marijuana laws in Arizona, speak with a knowledgeable marijuana lawyer in Phoenix.
A strong defense to a marijuana charge in Arizona could save you from the most severe penalties applicable in your case. At the AZ Defenders law office, our Phoenix marijuana lawyers can start your case with an assessment of its facts. With this information, we can create an effective and personalized defense strategy against your criminal offense.
Other defense possibilities your criminal defense attorney can explore include planted drugs, missing drugs (missing evidence), a crime lab analysis showing the alleged drug is not a drug and lack of control over the marijuana. The right defense could prevent life-changing consequences and help you move forward with less of a criminal record for a marijuana-related charge.
Penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use depend in part on the amount possessed. Possession offenses can often be reduced to a class one misdemeanor with the help of a Phoenix defense attorney experienced with drug possession charges. In addition, you may be able to attend and complete a diversion or education program and have the charges dismissed.
Proposition 200 prevents nonviolent first and second-offense drug users from being sentenced to jail time. After a third conviction, however, you may be facing incarceration. Sale of marijuana and possession with intent to sell come with harsh penalties, including large fines and prison terms.
A few different statutes authorize sentences that offer alternatives to jail or prison time for marijuana offenses. ARS 13-901.01, for example, allows for a sentence of probation instead of a prison sentence. Other common alternative sentences are diversion and deferred sentencing. Probation means the defendant must keep up with certain conditions such as drug testing or else go to jail. Diversion is a program intended to keep the defendant away from drugs, such as counseling or treatment. Deferred sentencing is the postponement of a sentence while the defendant completes certain requirements for his or her criminal offense, such as community service or house arrest. A marijuana offense does not necessarily mean jail time. Your marijuana attorney in Phoenix can explain the possible alternatives to jail in more detail.
Proposition 207 in Arizona created a new statute, A.R.S. 36-2862, that helps people seal their marijuana-related criminal records. It authorizes eligible petitioners to request a court order using marijuana expungement forms. Even if you were never convicted of a crime, you could petition to have your arrest record sealed. If you were arrested for, charged with, convicted or acquitted of any of these marijuana crimes for conduct that occurred before November 30, 2020, you can file a petition for record sealing:
This law went into effect on July 12, 2021. If you had more than one marijuana charge brought against you, you must go through the petitioning process for each case number you want sealed. If the courts grant your request, a marijuana-related conviction or sentence will be vacated. You will no longer need to pay any fines still owed and your court file and law enforcement records will be sealed. This means they will only be available to you and your attorney in the future. Any lost rights, such as the right to bear arms or vote, may also be restored.
If you get arrested on one or more charges related to marijuana in Phoenix, try to remain calm and remember how to protect your rights. What you do and say in the moments immediately after your arrest can have a significant impact on your case. Here’s what to do:
In some cases, an attorney can have your charges reduced or dismissed without you ever needing to spend a day in jail or appear in court. If your marijuana case does go to trial, retain an attorney with a history of success in your practice area for the greatest possible outcome. When you are facing significant penalties for a marijuana crime in Arizona, you need an experienced defense lawyer.
If law enforcement has arrested and charged you with a marijuana crime in Phoenix or anywhere in the state, contact AZ Defenders right away. Our Phoenix marijuana defense attorneys have in-depth knowledge of marijuana laws and the criminal justice system in Arizona, and we will raise every possible defense against the charges. Call our office at (480) 456-6400 or submit an online form to discuss your legal issue.