Towards the end of last year, Arizona became the 13th state in the country to legalize recreational use of marijuana when voters passed Proposition 207 by a 60/40 margin. By the end of January 2021, stores across the state were selling marijuana to consumers. However, Arizona’s new marijuana law doesn’t provide for carte blanche legalization and raises many questions.
There a few things to keep in mind about Arizona’s new recreational marijuana law. For example, possessing, selling, growing, and driving under the influence of marijuana still remains illegal under some circumstances. And in most cases, the potential punishment for violating the state’s new marijuana laws are very harsh.
Possession of Marijuana
Proposition 207 legalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Under the current law, possessing less than an ounce of marijuana is legal. However, possession of more than an ounce but less than 2.5 ounces is a petty offense, punishable by a fine. From there, the punishments increase quickly. For example, possession of two to four pounds of marijuana is a felony offense that carries a term of imprisonment of up to two years.
Sale of Marijuana
Arizona’s new marijuana laws do not make it legal to sell marijuana (unless you have a license to do so). However, acknowledging that smoking marijuana is often a social activity, the law allows for the transfer of small amounts of marijuana, up to one ounce. The keyword here is transfer, which means “without remuneration,” or without receiving anything in exchange. So, while passing a joint to a friend isn’t going to land you in jail, selling that same friend some of your marijuana might. The sale of marijuana remains a felony, regardless of the amount.
Cultivation of Marijuana
Currently, any Arizona resident can legally grow up to six plants for their own personal use in a residential home. However, if you were to grow seven plants, you’d be facing a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
It is not legal to drive while under the influence of marijuana, even after the new laws. However, Prop 207 amended the state’s DUI laws. Under the new law, just having THC in your system is not enough to sustain a conviction for driving under the influence or driving while impaired; the prosecution must show that you were at least “impaired to the slightest degree.”
Have You Been Arrested for a Marijuana Offense?
If you were recently arrested for a marijuana-related offense, including possession, selling, cultivating, or driving under the influence, reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak is a dedicated Tempe criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience handling all types of serious drug crimes and has a firm understanding of the state’s new marijuana laws. He puts this knowledge to use in each of his client’s cases, to ensure that their rights are protected throughout the process. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 480-413-1499 today.