The only exception was the medical marijuana program, which was signed into law in 2011. 13 specific conditions could qualify a patient to legally obtain and use medical marijuana. For those not within 25 miles of a dispensary, growing was also allowed. There were many hoops to jump through, but since 2020’s vote, obtaining marijuana in this state is a lot easier.
Arizona’s had a medical marijuana program since 2010, with the passing of Prop 203. However, recreational marijuana was not allowed whatsoever. In 2020, Prop 207 changed all of that.
Grow Weed in Arizona
The new laws allow adults (age 21 and older) to possess up to one ounce of “flower” and up to 5 grams of concentrates. Perhaps best of all is that residents of Arizona can now grow their own marijuana as well with a Pot for Pot. Individuals can grow up to six plants at a time, with a household cap at 12 plants (for residences with 2 or more people).
In 2020, Arizona’s voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana. Soon, established dispensaries will also sell recreational marijuana in Arizona. Better yet, people who were previously charged with marijuana possession crimes (of 2.5 ounces or less) can have their criminal records hidden, giving them a fresh start.
Related Article: Step by Step Guide to Grow a Small Weed Plant
Up until now, the situation for recreational marijuana users was bleak. Anyone caught in possession of marijuana could be charged with a felony, jail time, and a fine of $150,000. Growing marijuana plants came with the same penalties and a higher maximum for jail time. Paraphernalia, hash, concentrates, and the sale of marijuana was also strictly forbidden, with the same harsh penalties.
If you do not have a medical card, and you are caught with marijuana in your possession, you will face some pretty stiff consequences. Here are some of the consequences that you may face:
You can only grow “weed” under two conditions. If you are a medical user, you can grow up to 12 plants in your home. This is only allowed if you do not have a dispensary within 25 miles of your home. The plants can only be grown in a locked facility. Somewhere like a greenhouse, closet, or room that is completely enclosed. It will have to secure with security devices and locks. The only person that can be in the room, is the licensed cardholder. You will also need ADHS to license you as a medical marijuana cultivator. In some cases, the ADHS may also allow you to be a caregiver. As a caregiver, you will be able to grow marijuana for 1-5 patients.
If you find yourself charged with possession of marijuana, you will want to get legal representation as soon as possible. A good legal team should be able to help you get the charges reduced. In some cases, especially if it is your first offense, you can go to a drug treatment program where your charges will be dismissed upon the successful completion of the program.
Penalties will also increase if you are found to have been trafficking marijuana, selling marijuana (see: possession of drugs for sale ARS 13-3407), or if you have in your possession the tools to grow marijuana. Edibles, and other consumables will face the same charges as having marijuana in your possession. The punishment can be severe in many of these cases. If you have a medical card, and you are caught not following the laws, you could be charged with a crime, and face the same punishments as a non medical ID user.
What are the Rules for Marijuana Cultivation?
Once you have your card, you will be free to purchase marijuana, or grow your own. To grow your own, you will need to get approval from the ADHS. There are several state-licensed dispensaries that will be able to help you. You will need to remember that you can only possess 2.5 ounces of the dried flower, mixtures or preparations, such as resin or hashish, made from 2.5 ounces of dried flowers if you are a legal medical user. If you are caught with more, you could end up in trouble, and may even lose your medical marijuana card.
The current law states that only those with a medical marijuana ID can consume marijuana. If you are allowed to smoke medical marijuana, you can only do it privately. In the state of Arizona, it is prohibited on public transportation, and in any public place. It is also illegal to use it at a dispensary. Not only could you get into trouble, but you could also get the dispensary in trouble as well, they could even lose their license to sell.
You might think that because Arizona and Colorado are neighbors, that Arizona might adopt the same laws as Colorado when it comes to marijuana. However, this is not the case. Arizona has some of the strictest laws in the country. In November of 2016, there was a measure that would have legalized marijuana. It was called Proposition 205. It failed by a narrow margin, and Arizona still has some of the strongest laws known in the United States.
Where to Purchase Medical Marijuana?
If you have one of the above ailments, and meet all of the qualifications for a medical marijuana, you will need to schedule a visit with your doctor to get a Physician Certification form. You will want to visit your doctor, and then you will have to pay a $150+ application fee. Once you have your doctor submit your application, you will get your card within five days. You must renew your card once a year.
Even if you get marijuana legally in the state of Arizona, ARS 28-1381 states that you cannot control a vehicle while you are under the influence of any type of drug. You will not be found guilty just because you have marijuana in your system. If you are driving recklessly or dangerously, you will be charged. A DUI for Marijuana can be a misdemeanor for the first offense. You could face a license suspension, jail time, or fines.