The Way Arizona Recreational Marijuana Legalization Changes Possession Penalties

by | Drug Possession, Legal information

Society is beginning to change its attitude towards the usage of marijuana and marijuana derived products. Hemp products, CBD oils, and medical marijuana have opened the doors to new studies regarding the usage of the plant, including its efficacy and safety. The majority of Americans do not believe that recreational marijuana usage is inherently harmful, and laws are beginning to change to reflect this position. Recently, the state of Arizona has joined a handful of states in which marijuana usage within certain limits is no longer seen as a criminal offense. If you use marijuana recreationally, you must be sure to understand the limits of the law and the extent of your rights should you ever be questioned by authorities.

The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Arizona Proposition 207, also referred to as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, made its way onto the ballot November 3, 2020. More than 60% of Arizonans voted in favor of the proposition, passing recreational marijuana use into law. The proposition came with important stipulations. Arizonans cannot carry pounds of marijuana or use it as publicly as they might use a cigarette or a nicotine vaporizer device. In order to avoid potential penalties, marijuana users must indulge in accordance with the law. It’s legal to drink, but you cannot drink and drive. It’s legal to smoke cigarettes, but you cannot sell them to minors. Being topless in public is illegal unless you are a licensed performer at a cabaret venue. Marijuana use comes with caveats just like everything else. You should fully understand how to use marijuana with respect to the law before you participate.

The Usage and Possession of Marijuana

Each adult at least 21 years of age may not possess less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use. The maximum amount you may possess without facing a penalty would technically be 0.99 ounces. This refers to marijuana buds, rather than edibles, vape cartridges, or plants. Those forms have different weights and restrictions.

Users 21 or Over

An adult over the age of 21 possessing more than one ounce of marijuana, but less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, is committing a petty offense. Petty offenses are often punishable by fines of up to $300. There is no jail time for a petty offense. Possession of marijuana in amounts exceeding 2.5 ounces becomes criminal.

Users Under the Age of 21

Anyone under the age of 21 possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana will be subject to a $100 fine for their first offense. Second offenses are petty offenses, and the court may require up to 8 hours of drug counselling. Subsequent offenses are criminal. The third offense becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor, racking up $2,500 in fines and up to six months in jail. People under the age of 21 should never possess marijuana in any amount.

Using Marijuana in Public

No one of any age should smoke marijuana in public. Smoking marijuana in public is a petty offense, similar to public intoxication. Although public intoxication is not technically illegal, the police may detain an individual found to be drunk in public and relocate them to rehabilitation facility or a jail for supervision. Marijuana users may be saddled with fines or face intervention for using marijuana in public. Marijuana should always be used on private property.

Marijuana Edibles and Vaporizer Liquids

Marijuana edibles are legal at concentrations of 10 milligrams of THC or less per edible, and 100 milligrams maximum per package of edibles. This means that ten edibles at 10 milligrams of THC each is the maximum legally allowed for possession at any one time. THC vaporizer concentrates have been legal in the state of Arizona for medical use for quite some time. Concentrates are now recreationally legal at a limit of 5 grams. Small vaporizers usually function with a 1 gram cartridge, while larger vaporizers utilize a 5 gram cartridge. If you have a smaller vaporizer, you can possess up to five 1 gram cartridges simultaneously.

Cultivating Marijuana for Personal Use

The new law allows Arizonans to grow marijuana, but essentially suggests that they must do so in secret. A single adult can have up to six plants, and multiple adults can grow up to twelve. The law requires plants to be so well hidden that they cannot be spotted without binoculars or an aircraft. Marijuana must be grown in a greenhouse or any other indoor location. The door must have a lock to prevent minors from accessing the plants. If these criteria aren’t met, you may be charged with a petty offense for your first offense. The second offense is a class 3 misdemeanor, which can be punished with up for 30 days of jail time.

Marijuana and DUI Laws

The laws for police stops have been changed to reflect the legalization of marijuana. The new law is as follows: NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, THE ODOR OF MARIJUANA OR BURNT MARIJUANA DOES NOT BY ITSELF CONSTITUTE REASONABLE ARTICULABLE SUSPICION OF A CRIME. THIS SUBSECTION DOES NOT APPLY WHEN A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IS INVESTIGATING WHETHER A PERSON HAS VIOLATED SECTION 28- I381. The police may no longer conduct a search based on the premise that they believe someone was using marijuana, as using marijuana is no longer automatically a crime. However, the police can search based on suspicion of marijuana use if the purpose of the stop pertains to driving under the influence. Driving high is still a crime.

Using Marijuana in Accordance with The Law

The legalization of recreational marijuana will likely take some getting used to, both for the general public and for law enforcement. It is your responsibility to understand the law and operate within its limits if you choose to use marijuana. If you are ever charged with a crime or offense pertaining to marijuana use, you’ll want a competent Tucson criminal defense attorney on your side. At Damianakos Law Firm, we’ve ruthlessly studied the new laws and their implications. We’re well equipped to defend Arizonans facing charges related to marijuana use. If you intend to use legal recreational marijuana, it never hurts to save our number in your phone. Call us any time you need us at 520-222-8270.

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