Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since 2010. However, it is only legal for medical marijuana cardholders who are using it for medicinal purposes. Other uses – even with the best intentions – are considered recreational and are illegal in Arizona.
If you are caught using recreational cannabis in Arizona, you can face serious consequences due to its strict classification level.
What Class Drug is Cannabis?
On the federal level, medical marijuana is still considered an illicit substance and a Schedule I drug. This means it is at the highest level of drug enforcement recognized by the federal government.
But sometimes, state laws are applied to crimes instead of federal laws. With that in mind, it’s useful to understand Arizona’s marijuana classifications and laws as well.
In Arizona, marijuana can be classified as a Class 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 penalty drug. The class applied will mainly depend on the type of law that is being broken.
What are the Marijuana Laws in Arizona?
When it comes to recreational marijuana, Arizona still has many laws in place. The most common types of Arizona marijuana laws include:
Possession refers to having marijuana under your control. This does not necessarily mean it was on your body; possession can refer to having marijuana somewhere you can access it, like in your house or vehicle.
“Intent to sell” can be inferred by the authorities from the presence of certain paraphernalia. For example, scales and baggies may indicate intent to sell. This charge does not require a large amount of marijuana to be involved.
Cultivation refers to any effort to grow your own marijuana, even with medicinal intent. It is not necessary to have advanced equipment, such as grow lights or hydroponics, to be charged. Even keeping one seed in a pot is illegal.
Trafficking refers to taking any amount of marijuana from one place to another. Although most charges come from driving with marijuana in a vehicle, having it in your possession and going somewhere – or just agreeing to do so – can be enough.
What are the Penalties for Breaking Marijuana Laws?
No matter what marijuana crime you commit, state laws are consistent in how they define marijuana offenses. Severity of an offense is usually determined by how much marijuana is found in connection with the alleged crime.
All federal and Arizona marijuana offenses are considered felonies, but those involving less than two pounds of marijuana are subjected to the most lenient penalties. For example, the penalty may only require the offender to attend a diversion program until his or her marijuana use has stopped.
For offenses involving four pounds or more, penalties are the most serious. In these cases, being punished to 8-12 years in prison is not unusual.
Accessing Marijuana Legally in Arizona
When you consider the penalties for using recreational marijuana in Arizona, it’s clear why many people choose to use medical marijuana instead. Although it may require some extra time and effort to get a medical card and visit Arizona dispensaries, doing so could mean avoiding serious trouble and even jail time.
Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries can also supply you with a wide variety of cannabis products – all of which are high quality and completely legal.
Considering these benefits, there’s really no reason to choose recreational marijuana over medical marijuana. To find out more, contact our team at Arizona Natural Selections.