In the state of Arizona, possession, use, or sale of recreational marijuana is illegal. Our Phoenix marijuana defense attorneys have seen it time and time again. No amount of marijuana is legal to possess; any amount is a felony. Should a person have less than 2 pounds of marijuana on his or her person, he or she is guilty of a class 6 felony with a minimum prison sentence of 6 months.
Two pounds is considered the threshold amount when it comes to marijuana. This means a person possessing more than 2 pounds is assumed to be selling the illegal substance. Anything over this limit comes with steep penalties, sometimes a even steeper than those for “dangerous drugs“. A person carrying between 2 and 4 pounds is guilty of a class 5 felony, and possessing more than 4 pounds of marijuana is a class 4 felony.
In most cases, felony charges mean prison time. A class 5 felony carries a minimum sentence of 9 months, and a class 4 felony means a minimum prison sentence of 1.5 years. While nonviolent drug offenders are not sent to prison on their first conviction in Arizona, they can expect fines and probation. A person guilty of possessing marijuana typically must pay either $750 or 3 times the value of the amount of marijuana he or she was found to have.
When convicted of marijuana possession, the person is required to do mandatory drug testing. Another term of probation when convicted includes attending 8 hours of instruction on the harmful effects of marijuana. This includes an overview of drug laws related to controlled narcotics and marijuana, both through Arizona and the federal government.
A person found guilty of marijuana possession for a second or third time can expect a prison sentence.
Medical marijuana was recently legalized, so there are a few cases in which possession is legal. To possess medical marijuana, a person must have an identification card, and he or she is not permitted to have more than 2.5 ounces at any given time. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces is interpreted as intention to distribute, which is illegal, regardless of one’s medical status. If the card holder is permitted to grow marijuana for his or her own use, he or she may have no more than 12 plants.
Medical marijuana is prescribed to treat cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease. It also can be used to treat chronic conditions not related to these illnesses, such as seizures, nausea, epilepsy, and muscle spasms.
In some situations, a designated caregiver is assigned to a patient in need of medical marijuana. The caregiver is allowed to give the patient their medicine, but there are guidelines. The person must not have been convicted of a felony, be at least 21 years old, and cannot be given money by the patient for his or her services. The caregiver is instead compensated by the government.
Being allowed medical marijuana doesn’t mean one can bring the drug anywhere. A person may not possess or use marijuana on school property, on a school bus, or near a prison. Smoking or using marijuana on public transportation or any public place is not permitted.
Interestingly, only the marijuana flower is considered when weighing how much is in possession at a given time; the seeds, roots, and stalks of the plant do not count. Should the drug be present in a food, oil, or tincture, the weight of the non-marijuana ingredients isn’t counted. With so much legislation affecting the degree of any conviction, it is important to know your rights. Contact our Phoenix marijuana Attorney Scott Stewart at the Stewart Law Group if you are accused of any amount of marijuana possession or other related charge.