Knowing Arizona’s marijuana laws is the first step to the best legal defense.
While many of the statutes and laws in Arizona are complex, the laws regarding possession of marijuana in Arizona are clear. You can’t knowingly use or possess marijuana, for your own use or for sale. This, of course, does not refer to those who are lawfully able to use or possess marijuana for medical purposes.
Marijuana Possession Laws in Arizona (A.R.S. 13-3405)
There are essentially four laws that govern the use and possession of marijuana in Arizona (ARS 13-3405). They state that marijuana cannot be:
- Used or possessed
- Possessed in order to sell
- Transported within, or imported into, Arizona
The penalties for marijuana possession are determined by several factors, including the weight of the marijuana possessed. The statutes divide penalties into three categories: under two pounds, two to four pounds, or over four pounds.
So how much weed is a felony in Arizona? As it stands, any amount can be a felony charge, and the felony class depends on the circumstances of your case.
Possession of under two pounds of marijuana can be a:
- Class 6 felony if it’s found to be for personal use
- Class 4 felony if it’s for sale
- Class 5 felony if it was personally produced
- Class 3 felony if it’s transported or imported into Arizona
Possession of two to four pounds of marijuana can be a:
- Class 5 felony if it’s for personal use
- Class 3 felony if it’s for sale
- Class 4 felony if it was personally produced
- Class 2 felony if it’s transported or imported into Arizona
Possession of four or more pounds of marijuana can be a:
- Class 4 felony if it’s for personal use
- Class 2 felony if it’s for sale
- Class 3 felony if it was personally produced
- Class 2 felony if it’s transported or imported into Arizona
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Arizona
Fortunately, marijuana possession drug offenses can often be reduced to a class 1 misdemeanor with the help of an effective Mesa criminal lawyer. Additionally, you may be able to attend a diversion or education program, and if completed, you may have the charge dismissed altogether.
When you participate in a diversion drug, you’ll typically have to submit to drug tests to ensure that you don’t continue to use marijuana. Once the program is completed successfully, you have the opportunity to have the charge dismissed.
Arizona Proposition 200 prohibits first- and second-time nonviolent drug offenders being sentenced to jail time, which means that you may only face incarceration after three convictions. If there are other charges involved, however, this will affect your sentence and potential incarceration time.
In addition to a diversion program, you’ll likely be placed on probation, which has similar terms of sobriety as the program you enter. You may be required to also pay fees and surcharges, or complete community service hours as assigned by the court.
One of the most common diversion programs is known as TASC, which is run by the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. TASC – short for Treatment Assessment Screening Centers – is a nonprofit that provides drug testing to first-time offenders as part of a larger diversion program. If this option is available to you, it may incur additional expenses, but
Other Factors to Consider
In Arizona, there must be a “usable” amount of marijuana present in order to be charged with possession. If it can be demonstrated that there was not a usable amount, you may be able to avoid the charges.
However, the same law does not apply to drug paraphernalia. If your possession charge also included a paraphernalia charge, but the object in question doesn’t have any usable amount of marijuana, you can still be charged with paraphernalia possession.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is weed a felony in Arizona?
According to ARS 13-3405, all instances of possession of marijuana in Arizona are considered a felony, even when the case involves only a small amount of marijuana. However, the right legal defense can result in having your charge reduced to a misdemeanor, which can significantly improve your future outlook when it comes to employment, education, housing and the like.
What happens if you get caught with weed in Arizona?
When you’re caught with marijuana in Arizona, you’ll face possession of marijuana charges as outlined by ARS 13-3405. Although these statutes are very clear in what constitutes possession of marijuana, you’ll have a range of outcomes depending on how you decide to move forward. Working with an experienced marijuana attorney can help you explore the most options, and in many cases you can have your charges reduced or dismissed. To learn more about your specific situation and what will happen if you’re convicted, call us today to get a free case review.
How much weed can you legally have in Arizona?
If you have a medical marijuana card, you can use or store up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days. If you do not have a card, any amount of marijuana is considered illegal. As mentioned, the penalties for illegal possession are based on weight, so anything under two pounds is considered less serious than possessing 2-4 pounds or more than 4 pounds at a time.
Can you go to jail for possession of marijuana in Arizona?
As mentioned, Arizona Proposition 200 allows first- and second-time nonviolent offenders to avoid jail time when faced with a possession of marijuana conviction. Although the consequences of these types of convictions are still strict, the proposition allows offenders to focus on rehabilitation and improvement rather than facing immediate jail time. To learn more about jail time, sentences and potential consequences, call us to schedule a free case review with an attorney.
How much marijuana can you buy in Arizona?
In Arizona, you can buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days if you have a medical marijuana card. That means you can buy and use approximately 5 ounces per month. If you don’t have a medical card in Arizona, you are not legally allowed to use marijuana.
How hard is it to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona?
Getting a medical marijuana card in Arizona requires getting medical certification from a qualified doctor in Arizona, and meeting a number of checklist items during the application process. The process is relatively straightforward, and the most challenging part of getting a medical card is meeting the standards for a debilitating medical condition. The Department of Health Services maintains a comprehensive list of these conditions, and includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s Disease and other conditions.
If you meet the medical requirements, you must get your information and material together and meet every checklist item, as outlined here.
Can you get a medical marijuana card while on probation in Arizona?
According to a Supreme Court ruling in 2015, those on probation are still eligible to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona. The Supreme Court found that “prosecutors and courts could not block that right as a term of probation” when referring to the use of medical marijuana.
This was outlined in the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, but faced opposition throughout the years. In January 2018, Representative Vince Leach (R-Saddlebrooke) introduced bill HB 2068, which would take away medical cards from those on probation or parole, but it has not been passed, so as it stands, you can still get a medical card while on probation.
Is it legal to grow hemp in Arizona?
At the time of this writing (May 2018), it’s not legal to grow hemp in Arizona, but several bills in the last few years have tried to reverse this. In 2017, SB 1337 was vetoed by Governor Doug Ducey, and SB 1098 is now being reviewed by the Governor. Federal law allows hemp to be grown if states can “regulate the crop under their department of agriculture or for research purposes.”
How much is a medical marijuana card in Arizona?
A medical marijuana card costs $150, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. There are additional costs associated with the doctor’s appointment that you must have in order to qualify for a medical card. During the appointment, the doctor will determine if you qualify for a medical card by having a qualifying condition like cancer, glaucoma and other diseases.
You can get a reduced rate of $75 for your medical marijuana card if you’re currently on food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). During the application process, there will be a checkbox you can mark to let the state know that you are eligible for this financial assistance.
Does Arizona accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards?
Yes, Arizona does accept medical marijuana cards issued by other states when it comes to possession. The Arizona Court of Appeals made the ruling in 2018 after a tourist from California who was indicted on possession charges after he was pulled over with marijuana in Arizona, though he had a medical card from California. The court decided that the physician’s recommendation for marijuana use met the same requirements as Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act. However, out-of-state visitors with medical cards can’t purchase marijuana at Arizona dispensaries.
Do You Need Your Possession Charge Reduced?
If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession in Arizona, a resourceful defense can work to get your charge dismissed or reduced to the minimum penalties. Even if you’re a first-time offender, navigating your course is complex, and without help, you could quickly lose your chances of success in court.
Let the Mesa defense lawyers of JacksonWhite Law help minimize the impact of your drug possession charges today.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our criminal defense team today at (480) 467-4370.