Arizona’s relationship with marijuana laws has been complicated. The state initially criminalized marijuana, making it illegal to possess, use, or sell. However, in 2010, Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, which allowed for the use of medical marijuana. As of 2011, patients with qualifying medical conditions were permitted to purchase, possess, and use marijuana under the law.
In 2020, recreational marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 was legalized in Arizona by Proposition 207, marking a significant shift in the state’s marijuana laws.
If you are currently facing marijuana possession charges, our experienced Mesa criminal defense attorneys offer free initial consultations to assist you with your case. Contact us to schedule a free case review.
Current Marijuana Possession Laws in Mesa, Arizona
Unless you have a valid medical marijuana card or are over 21 years old and possess no more than one ounce of marijuana, possession is illegal under A.R.S. 36-2853(A).
Possession of more than one ounce but less than two and a half ounces is a petty offense, which carries a fine of up to $300.
Possession of more than two and a half ounces but less than two pounds is a class 6 felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Possession of at least two pounds but less than four pounds is a class 5 felony, punishable by up to two and a half years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
A.R.S 13-3405 addresses possession of marijuana with intent to sell, produce or transport for sales – offenses with significantly harsher punishment than simple possession.
Possession of marijuana in any form on drug-free school zones is illegal and any individual caught possessing marijuana will face an enhanced penalty of one year for their act of possession.
Other Marijuana Laws in Mesa, Arizona
Smoking Marijuana in Public Spaces
The use of marijuana in a public place or open space is prohibited under Arizona’s recreational marijuana law.
Smoking or consuming marijuana in a public place is considered a petty offense under Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. 13-3415. Violators of this law may be fined up to $300. It’s essential to note that the definition of “public place” under Arizona law is extensive. ARS 36-601.01 defines it as any enclosed area to which the public is invited or permitted, such as airports, banks, bars, apartment buildings’ common areas, educational and entertainment facilities, healthcare facilities, hotels, laundromats, public transportation facilities, restaurants, retail stores, shopping malls, sports facilities, theaters, and waiting rooms.
However, a private residence is not considered a “public place” unless it is used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility. Contact with any of the listed public places may result in legal consequences.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana is for medical or recreational use. A.R.S. 28-1381 makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and this includes marijuana. A person is considered under the influence if they have a detectable amount of marijuana or its active metabolites in their system.
It is also illegal to have an open container of marijuana or a device used for smoking marijuana in a vehicle. This would include bags that have broken seals or potential consumption evidence.
Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana are nearly identical to those for driving under the influence of alcohol. A first offense is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent offenses are more severe, with penalties increasing for each offense.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
Hire A Mesa Marijuana Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges for a marijuana-related offense in Arizona, seeking a skilled defense attorney can potentially lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges. At JacksonWhite Law, we have extensive experience in defending against drug crimes, including marijuana possession, and have achieved favorable outcomes for countless clients. Our Mesa drug defense attorneys can provide more information about our track record of success and how we can assist you in your case.
Whether you are a first-time offender or have prior charges, we can guide you through the complicated legal process. To explore how we can advocate for you, reach out to us today.
Expungement Is Now Legal in Arizona, With Limitations
If you are dealing with an older Marijuana conviction we may be able to help. Previously, Arizona law did not support expungement of drug convictions. Now, under the new law, certain marijuana convictions can be expunged. Primarily, those who are eligible were convicted of possessing, consuming, or transporting two and one-half ounces or less of marijuana before the year 2021.
Call us now at (480) 467-4370 to schedule your free consultation to see if we can have your old marijuana charges expunged.