A Look at Arizona’s New Recreational Marijuana Laws
In November 2020, Arizona voters passed the Smart and Safe Act, which legalized recreational cannabis in the state. This bill, also known as Proposition 207, made it legal for dispensaries to sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. Previously, a medical marijuana card was required to purchase marijuana from a dispensary in the state. In late January 2021, dispensaries officially received the green light from the Arizona Department of Health Services to begin selling to recreational marijuana. However, while the law does now allow adults to buy and possess cannabis products, there are restrictions, and you could still find yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney in a marijuana-related case. Here is what you need to know about the new recreational marijuana laws in Arizona.
Legal, recreational marijuana use is strictly limited to adults over age 21 and over. People under the age of 21 found in possession of marijuana without a medical card will face legal consequences. For possession of one ounce or less, the first charge will be a civil case with a maximum fine of $100 and a possible sentence of four hours of drug counseling. The second violation is a petty offense, and each additional offense will result in a Class One misdemeanor charge.
A person misrepresenting his or her age to buy recreational marijuana will be charged with a petty offense for the first violation and a Class One misdemeanor for each subsequent offense. If an underage person is charged with soliciting another person to buy marijuana on his or her behalf, the first violation is a petty offense, and each subsequent charge will be a Class Three misdemeanor.
Purchase and Possession Limits
A person may have up to one ounce of recreational marijuana legally. Of that ounce, only five grams may be a marijuana concentrate. These weights do not include any substance with which the marijuana is combined, such as food or drinks. Consumption of recreational marijuana cannot occur in a public place.
Anyone who has more than one ounce of marijuana but less than two-and-a-half ounces, with less than twelve-and-a-half ounces of concentration, will be charged with a petty offense. Having larger amounts will result in more significant criminal charges.
Under the new law, individuals are allowed to have up to six marijuana plants stored in their private residence. The plants must be for personal use, and they must be stored in a place that is not within public view and that is protected by a lock so that the area cannot be accessed by minors.
In a household with multiple residents, a maximum of 12 marijuana plants are allowed, as long as two of the residents are over age 21. All of the same rules apply regarding location of the plants. Note that the 12-plant maximum per household is in place regardless of how many adults live in a single private residence.
The new Arizona marijuana does allow people to transfer marijuana to other people, but only licensed dispensaries may profit from marijuana sales. Individuals may transfer up to one ounce of marijuana, with no more than five grams of concentrate, or six marijuana plants to another individual, provided that the receiving party is 21 or older.
Private individuals cannot publicly advertise their ability to provide recreational-use marijuana or receive payment for the transfer. Currently, it is also illegal for delivery services to provide marijuana, but the state legislature is slated to take up that issue in 2022 or 2023.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. Under the new recreational-use law, police cannot use the odor of marijuana as a suspicion of a crime, except in suspected DUI cases. A law officer may still use the odor of marijuana in a vehicle as a reasonable suspicion to require a field sobriety test or other investigate a suspected DUI.
Although recreational marijuana is now legal in Arizona, the law is very specific, and running afoul of the rules, even unintentionally, is possible. If you’re charged with a drug-related crime, you need legal counsel right away. Trust criminal defense lawyer Janet Altschuler to fight for your rights. She will work hard to get you the best solution for your case and make sure your rights are protected every step of the way. If you’re facing criminal charges, make an appointment with a defense attorney in Tucson today by calling (520) 200-5003.