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Recreational Cannabis: What You Need to Know About Border Patrol Checkpoints

June 25, 2021

With recreational cannabis now legal in Arizona, there are many questions about the limits of the new laws and how they will be enforced. One significant issue on the minds of many people in Arizona is whether it is legal to bring recreational marijuana through a Border Patrol checkpoint. Because Southern Arizona is dotted with such checkpoints along daily commutes, it’s not surprising this question is so prevalent. Continue reading to learn why you may still need a criminal defense attorney if you are caught with cannabis, even though it is now legal in the state. 

Border Patrol Checkpoint Laws

Border Patrol checkpoints are run by the federal government, and federal law rules checkpoint areas, regardless of which state the checkpoint lies in. In the case of Arizona, the jurisdiction of Custom and Border Protection is within 100 miles of the border. Federal law can be applied within that jurisdiction and Border Patrol agents can pursue and stop vehicles anywhere within that zone.

Cannabis at Border Patrol Checkpoints

Recreational marijuana is legal in certain amounts under state law in Arizona, but it is still illegal under federal law. As such, if you show up at a checkpoint with marijuana, even if it is in the amount that is legally allowable under state law, you can be ticketed or arrested. This also applies to cannabis discovered by Border Patrol agents within their jurisdiction, even if state and local police officers within the same area would not charge you for marijuana possession. If you are charged under federal law, the legality of cannabis at the state level cannot be used to have your case dismissed. 

If you find yourself dealing with drug charges in Tucson, Janet Altschuler is on standby to help. She has been on both sides of the courtroom and uses her experience to get the best possible outcomes for her clients. When you need a defense lawyer, call Ms. Altschuler at (520) 829-4460.

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