Recreational use of marijuana is not legal in the state of Arizona. Arizona failed to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2016, but Arizona has offered medical marijuana since 2010. If you do not have a medical marijuana card, you need to be aware that recreational use of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and intent to sell marijuana, are serious crimes in Arizona.

What Are the Laws on Medical Marijuana in Arizona?

Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Arizona. But too legally possess marijuana you need to obtain a medical marijuana card. You must apply for a card and take a filled-out form to a physician who can confirm that you need a medical marijuana. To qualify for the card, you must have a qualifying condition like:

  • Cancer;
  • Glaucoma;
  • HIV/AIDS;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • ALS;
  • Crohn’s Disease;
  • Alzheimer’s Disease; or
  • Severe and chronic pain/nausea/seizures

There is a fee to apply for a medical marijuana card, and you may apply for a card if you are under the age of 18 years-old if you have permission from a caregiver/guardian/parent. You cannot get a medical marijuana card if you are not a resident of Arizona.  But once you have a medical marijuana card, you can visit one of the state licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

What is Marijuana Possession in Arizona?

Marijuana  in Arizona is considered a Schedule I drug. Marijuana possession involves both knowing and deliberately possessing the drug. There are two ways a person can possess marijuana. The first is actual possession and it refers to a defendant physically having marijuana. The other is constructive possession and it refers to the defendant having knowledge and control over the drug, but the marijuana isn’t in physical possession.

Can I Get Charged with Marijuana Possession If I Don’t Have Actual Marijuana?

Yes. In Arizona, marijuana possession is illegal if the defendant has real or imitation marijuana. Even medical marijuana if purchased without a valid prescription like:

  • THC concentrate liquid
  • Dabs
  • Edibles
  • Anything with THC content

What are the Penalties and Fines if I Carry Two Pounds or More of Marijuana?

Having two or more pounds of marijuana is a class 6 felony. If charged and convicted of possession, you can be punished by 6 months to 1 ½ years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

For possessing more than two pounds, Arizona increases their punishment, such as:

  • 2 to 4 lbs: 6 months to 2 ½ years with a fine of up to $150,000
  • 4 lbs or more: 1 to 3 ¾ years with a fine of up to $150,000

It’s important to note that Arizona has different charges for the sale of marijuana, cultivation/manufacturing, trafficking, paraphernalia, and possessing/using/trafficking any other types of marijuana like a hash or concentrate.

There will also be additional consequences for the defendant if they:

  • Have a prior felony conviction;
  • Committed a drug offense in a school zone; and
  • Used a minor to sell/traffic marijuana;

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Marijuana Offense in Arizona?

If you have been arrested for any sort of crime involving marijuana in Arizona, it is very important to get a local and experienced criminal lawyer right away. The advice of an attorney may help you understand both the procedural aspects of criminal prosecution and local attitudes in your jurisdiction toward prosecution for possession of this drug.