Criminal Defense for Marijuana-Related Crimes
We Defend Those Accused of Every Type of Crime
Arizona Marijuana Crime Defense Lawyer
Professional & Experienced Lawyer – Available 24/7
An arrest for a marijuana crime can be a confusing and overwhelming process, especially with the seemingly ever-changing laws in the United States. At Belén Law Firm, we know that facing charges is never an easy or simple process. Our team can support you through this complicated situation and protect your rights while fighting for your freedom.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a marijuana-related offense, contact a Phoenix criminal defense attorney from Belén Law Firm as soon as possible. You can reach us by calling (602) 715-0908 to schedule your free consultation with an Arizona marijuana crime defense lawyer.
Is Marijuana Legal in Arizona?
Proposition 207 was passed in November 2020, allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana recreationally. This means marijuana is officially legal for those who are at or beyond the required drinking age in Arizona. However, this doesn’t fully legalize all amounts of the drug, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t be charged with marijuana-related crimes.
Certain marijuana offenses, such as possessing excess amounts of marijuana and driving while impaired, can result in severe penalties, including felony convictions. Convictions like these can alter the course of your life forever. That’s why the Phoenix drug crime attorneys at Belén Law Firm are ready to fight to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed altogether.
Arizona Marijuana Laws
Arizona Proposition 207
The most recent marijuana-related legislature was the passing of Proposition 207. This law allows the possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. Adults can possess up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use and have up to 1 ounce, or 28 grams, of marijuana in their possession.
Hash, or hashish, has different restrictions. Hash is a concentrated form of cannabis and is listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic drug. Resin and hash can still be used recreationally, but people are limited to 5 grams. Anything over 5 grams can result in a criminal conviction. This cannabis law can be confusing, especially with all the back-and-forth around marijuana in popular culture.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Act
In 2010, Arizona passed the Medical Marijuana Act, which allowed people with debilitating diseases to use marijuana to relieve the symptoms of their illness. Those with a medical marijuana card are subject to many of the same laws governing recreational users. However, medical marijuana cardholders can legally have up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana in their possession.
Another key difference is within the operation of a motor vehicle. Under normal circumstances, the presence of marijuana on a chemical test can be used as evidence against someone driving under the influence of marijuana. Under the Medical Marijuana Act, the mere presence of metabolites or components of marijuana cannot be used as evidence to prove someone was impaired.
Restrictions for Recreational Marijuana Use in Arizona
Marijuana may no longer be an illegal drug, but it’s still heavily regulated under Arizona law. As such, a marijuana offense can go on your criminal record and cause complications for you in the future. Remember, recreational users are limited to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or 5 grams of hash or concentrate. Recreational users can also have their own marijuana plants in a private residence, but they are limited to six plants.
Arizona Marijuana Crimes
While recreational use and possession of marijuana are legal in Arizona, some actions can still result in marijuana charges. The legalization of recreational marijuana also doesn’t make marijuana possession possible everywhere in Arizona. For example, businesses and employers can still require that you be sober on the premises. Cannabis use and possession are also not allowed on any Arizona State University campuses. Below, we’ve outlined specific marijuana-related offenses that are still illegal under Arizona marijuana law.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is a serious offense in Arizona. Under Arizona law, the “slightest degree” of impairment can result in a marijuana DUI charge. The penalty for a marijuana DUI in Arizona is a class 1 misdemeanor with a minimum jail sentence of 10 days and a maximum sentence of 6 months. You may also be subject to fines, an ignition interlock device, and higher insurance premiums for three years.
Smoking in Public
Smoking in public places is strictly prohibited in the state of Arizona. The use of marijuana in public is a petty offense and can result in hefty fines. Jail time isn’t possible for a petty offense, but this still becomes part of your criminal record.
Exceeding Threshold Amount
Under Arizona law, the threshold amount for marijuana is two pounds. Exceeding this threshold can result in a Class 5 felony charge. In fact, if you are found in possession of more than 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams) of marijuana or more than 5 grams of hash or concentrate, you can be charged with a Class 6 felony.
Illegal Marijuana Cultivation in Arizona
Adults may grow up to six marijuana plants in a private residence, but these plants cannot be used for commercial purposes. Having more than six plants can result in Class 5 felony charges. Producing more than 2 pounds but less than 4 pounds of marijuana can result in Class 4 felony charges, while producing more than 4 pounds is a Class 3 felony.
Illegal Dispensaries in Arizona
The possession, use, and commercial sale of marijuana may be legal, but dispensaries have to have a special license/certification to sell cannabis products. Selling (or possessing for sale) less than 2 pounds of marijuana can result in a Class 4 felony charge. The more marijuana you have, the more severe the charges can be. Selling between 2 and 4 pounds of marijuana is a Class 3 felony, and selling more than 4 pounds is a Class 2 felony.
Penalties for Marijuana Crimes in AZ
The penalties for marijuana crimes can include jail time, extensive fines, community services, and other severe penalties. Involvement of a minor, prior felony convictions, and committing a drug offense in a school zone can all lead to increased penalties. Luckily, an experienced Arizona marijuana defense attorney like Belén can help prevent these harsh penalties.
Below, we outline the possible penalties for common marijuana crimes in Arizona.
Having between one and 2.5 ounces of marijuana or between 5 to 12.5 grams of hash are both petty offenses. These offenses come with a $300 fine and no chance of jail time. Use in public is also considered a petty offense.
Most violations of the marijuana law are considered felony offenses. Arizona punishes drug trafficking and other drug crimes harshly in an effort to cut down on distribution and trafficking within the state.
Class 6 Felony
Possession of more than 2.5 ounces but less than 2 pounds of marijuana is a Class 6 felony. This is punishable by:
- 6 to 18 months in prison (1 year presumptive sentence)
- A fine of at least $1,000 for first-time offenders
Class 5 Felony
Possessing between 2 and 4 pounds of marijuana is a Class 5 felony. Owning more than 6 plants and growing up to 2 pounds is also a Class 5 felony. This is punishable by:
- 9 months to 2 years in prison
- A minimum fine of $1,000
- 240 hours of community service is sentence is reduced to probation
Class 4 Felony
Possessing more than 4 pounds of marijuana, selling marijuana, growing more than 2 pounds, and possessing more than 5 grams of cannabis concentrate are all Class 4 felony offenses. This is punishable by:
- 1.5 to 3 years in prison
- A minimum fine of $1,000 (unless the felony is for possession of concentrate, in which case the fine is $2,000 or three times the value of the drug)
Class 3 Felony
You can be charged with a Class 3 felony if you sell (or have possession to sell) between 2 and 4 pounds of marijuana, grow more than 4 pounds, or bring less than 2 pounds of marijuana across state lines. This is punishable by:
- 2-7 years in prison
- A minimum fine of $1,000
Class 2 Felony
You can be charged with a Class 2 felony if you transport more than 2 pounds of marijuana across state lines or possess more than 4 pounds for sale. This is punishable by:
- 4-10 years in prison
- A minimum fine of $1,000
Can You Expunge Marijuana Crimes in Arizona?
The recent passing of Prop. 207 leaves many people who have been convicted of possessing, using, or transporting marijuana, marijuana plants, or paraphernalia still facing the penalties and lasting consequences of these crimes. Arizona doesn’t usually allow you to expunge criminal records, but this is a rare exception. If your charges came before November 30, 2020, you may be eligible for marijuana expungement. Speak with one of the Arizona marijuana lawyers at Belén Law Firm to learn more about the possibility of expungement.
Phoenix, Arizona Drug Crime Defense Lawyer
Belén Olmedo Guerra is an Arizona criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and knowledge necessary to get a positive outcome in your case. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for marijuana, you can trust the attorneys at Belén Law Firm to provide proactive and aggressive legal representation. We know the intense and severe consequences of both misdemeanor and felony convictions in Arizona, and we also know that the criminal justice system doesn’t operate on a 9-5 schedule. That’s why our law office is available to you 24 hours a day.
When you need an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney with a successful track record, you can trust Belén. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (602) 715-0908 or feel free to contact us online.