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Do Arizona Pot Laws Apply to Medical Marijuana Card Holders?

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It’s important to note that Arizona law does not legally recognize the use of marijuana without a medical marijuana registry identification card. Any form of use, sale, possession without such a card is illegal under both federal and Arizona Pot laws.\n

Federal and Arizona Marijuana Laws Conflict

\nWhile Arizona laws may allow you to use marijuana for medicinal purposes if you hold a medical marijuana card, federal law does not. Simply stated, federal law does not recognize or protect medicinal marijuana possession or use. Additionally, the federal government can prosecute people who are otherwise protected under Arizona medicinal marijuana laws.\n\nHowever, the chances of the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (FDEA) prosecuting individual consumers of medical marijuana is slim as long as those individuals hold a valid medical marijuana card and follow the law with respect to amounts in their possession. The FDEA is more interested in spending its limited budget and manpower looking at the dispensaries and drug dealers who sell pot illegally.\n

What are Arizona Pot Laws?

\nThe laws regarding marijuana in Arizona are pretty 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 and who carry a valid card.\n

Marijuana Possession Laws in Arizona (A.R.S. 13-3405)

\nThere are essentially four laws that govern the use and possession of marijuana in Arizona. They state that marijuana cannot be:\n

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  • Used or possessed
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  • Possessed in order to sell
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  • Produced
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  • Transported within, or imported into, Arizona
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\nThe 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.\n\nPossession of under two pounds of marijuana can be a:\n

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  1. Class 6 felony if it’s found to be for personal use
  2. \n

  3. Class 4 felony if it’s for sale
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  5. Class 5 felony if it was personally produced
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  7. Class 3 felony if it’s transported or imported into Arizona
  8. \n

\nPossession of two to four pounds of marijuana can be a:\n

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  • Class 5 felony if it’s for personal use
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  • Class 3 felony if it’s for sale
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  • Class 4 felony if it was personally produced
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  • Class 2 felony if it’s transported or imported into Arizona
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\nPossession of four or more pounds of marijuana can be a:\n

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  • Class 4 felony if it’s for personal use
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  • Class 2 felony if it’s for sale
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  • Class 3 felony if it was personally produced
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  • Class 2 felony if it’s transported or imported into Arizona
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\nMarijuana offenses can often be reduced to a class 1 misdemeanor. Additionally, there’s the possibility that you may be able to attend a diversion or drug education program to have the charge dismissed altogether. You may be ordered to pay fees and surcharges, or complete community service hours as assigned by the court.\n\nFortunately, Arizona Proposition 200 states that first and second-time non-violent drug offenders cannot be sentenced to jail unless there are other charges in addition to the marijuana one. However, the third offense may land you behind bars.\n

How do Arizona Pot Laws Apply to Medical Marijuana Card Holders?

\nIf you have a valid medical marijuana card and comply with all the rules and regulations, you will not be subject to the same criminal charges and penalties as someone who is caught in possession of marijuana who does not have this card. But the following exceptions are important to note:\n

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  • You can possess no more than 2.5 ounces.
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  • You cannot use medical marijuana in public, on school property or in a correctional institute.
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  • You cannot operate a motor vehicle under the influence of anything – including marijuana. Even if you have a valid medical marijuana card, you cannot drive a car or motorcycle while you are medicated. However, if you are pulled over and marijuana is found in your system, this alone cannot be proof of impairment.
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  • If you are allowed to cultivate marijuana, the limit is 12 plants that must be grown in an enclosed, locked facility, defined as “closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area.
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\nThis list is not exhaustive and there are more specifics to note, especially if you are a caretaker of someone who has a valid medical marijuana card or if you are looking to become a non-profit dispensary. Knowing Arizona pot laws and having experienced legal representation can help.\n\nIf you’ve been charged with a crime related to marijuana, call me today at 480-899-1025 or submit your inquiry here for a quick case evaluation.\n\n