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Posted on April 29, 2020 in Drugs

Cannabis Laws in Arizona As of 2020

Recreational cannabis or marijuana remains illegal in Arizona. Several attempts to legalize cannabis have failed. However, the state did legalize medical marijuana in 2010.

Marijuana is often considered a minor drug crime. However, a conviction of a cannabis crime could result in severe penalties. It is always best to consult with a criminal defense attorney before you agree to a plea deal for a marijuana charge.

Penalties for Possession of Cannabis in Arizona

It is illegal to use or possess cannabis in Arizona, including cannabis concentrates and edibles. If you have marijuana in your possession without a valid medical marijuana prescription, you could go to jail. You could lose your job and face other serious consequences for possession of cannabis.

The amount of marijuana in your possession determines the severity of the criminal charges. The more marijuana you have in your possession, the more severe the penalty. The least severe charge that you can face for possession of marijuana is a Class 6 felony.

In addition to prison time, you could also face additional penalties for a conviction on a marijuana charge. A fine of $750 or three times the value of the marijuana in your possession, whichever amount is higher, is also a penalty for marijuana possession. The fine is mandatory.

Other factors could increase the classification of the level of the marijuana offense. For example, if the arrest took place in a school zone, the minimum prison time and fines increase.

A criminal defense attorney may help you seek alternatives to prison for a conviction of a drug crime. For example, you may qualify for probation instead of serving time in jail. However, if you violate the terms of your probation, you must serve your full sentence.

Some individuals may qualify for the Treatment Assessment Screen Center (TASC) diversionary program. The TASC program allows some first-time offenders to avoid jail time by participating in the program. However, you must complete the program, or the court reinstates your sentence.

Other Marijuana Crimes in Arizona

Possession of marijuana is not the only drug crime related to cannabis. There are several other criminal charges that you could face related to cannabis.

Cannabis crimes that you may face in addition to possession of marijuana include:

  •   Marijuana Cultivation
  •   Sale Of Marijuana
  •   Marijuana Manufacturing
  •   Transporting Marijuana
  •   Marijuana Distribution
  •   Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia
  •   Medical Marijuana Offenses
  •   Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Being charged with a cannabis crime is serious. Contact a marijuana defense lawyer to learn about your legal rights and your options for fighting drug charges.

Medical Marijuana Laws in Arizona

You must have a medical marijuana card to possess and use cannabis in Arizona legally. Only individuals 18 years of age or older can obtain a medical marijuana card. If a minor requires medical marijuana, a caregiver or legal guardian who is 18 years of age or older must obtain the card and control the marijuana.

Only certain medical conditions qualify for a medical cannabis card. You can petition for approval to use medical cannabis if you have a debilitating or chronic disease or medical condition. There is no guarantee that you will receive approval for the use of medical marijuana.

Individuals with a medical marijuana card can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for personal use. However, there are strict guidelines regarding the use of medical marijuana. If your employer prohibits drug use, you could also face negative consequences with your employment.

Are There Defenses to Cannabis Crimes?

Yes, there may be one or more valid defenses to cannabis crimes. For example, your attorney may determine that you were subjected to an illegal search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, police officers cannot conduct a search with a valid warrant or probable cause.

Even if the police officers have a search warrant, the search warrant may have been obtained illegally. If the search warrant was invalid, any evidence obtained through the search could not be used in court.

The marijuana in question may not have been your marijuana. For instance, you may have been at someone’s house when the police searched the house. The cannabis was not on your person, but only in your vicinity.

Another example would be driving another person’s vehicle or borrowing a jacket. You may not have “knowingly” been in possession of the marijuana, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges.

Entrapment might be a defense if a law enforcement officer encouraged you to commit a drug crime. This situation can occur in stings.

A drug crime defense attorney can review your case to determine whether you have a valid defense. Your lawyer can help you weigh your options to determine the best defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case.