In 2012, Colorado and Washington made history by becoming the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Over the next eight years, ten more states would come to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. While other states decriminalize or legalize weed, it’s essential to identify where Arizona is in regards to the legalization process, if the process has even started.
Arizona & Medical Marijuana
Arizona has legalized the use of marijuana to treat a list of qualifying medical conditions.
Patients with the following conditions may be able to obtain a medical marijuana identification card in Arizona:
• Human immunodeficiency virus;
• Acquired immune deficiency syndrome;
• Hepatitis C;
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
• Crohn’s disease;
• Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease;
• Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
• Severe and chronic pain;
• Severe nausea;
• Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
• Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis;
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Unfortunately, a medical diagnosis of one of these conditions does not guarantee that someone will receive a medical marijuana identification card. A patient must obtain written certification from a physician who has the authority to authorize the use of medical marijuana. Once he or she is certified, certain forms must be sent to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
FAQs Concerning Medical Marijuana
What if My Condition Isn’t Listed?
State law allows people to request the addition of medical conditions to the list.
Can My Workplace Fire Me for Using Medical Marijuana?
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act states that an employer cannot penalize a qualifying patient who has a registry identification card, even if he or she tests positive for marijuana use. However, an employer can penalize a patient for using, possessing, or being under the influence of marijuana while on the job.
Can I Grow My Own Marijuana?
Based on state law, a qualifying patient may be allowed to grow marijuana if he or she does not live within twenty-five miles of an operating dispensary.
How Much Marijuana Can I Purchase?
A registered patient cannot buy more than two-and-one-half ounces of marijuana during any 14-day period.
Can a Traveler from Another State Use Medical Marijuana While in Arizona?
Visiting qualifying patients with a registry identification card or its equivalent can possess or use marijuana in Arizona. However, a visitor cannot buy medical marijuana from an Arizona dispensary.
What Are the Restrictions of Medical Marijuana Use?
- It cannot be used when it would constitute negligence or professional malpractice;
- It cannot be used or possessed on school buses, the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or high school, or in a correctional facility;
- Smoking is not permitted on public transportation or in a public place; and
- Private property owners can disallow the use of medical marijuana on their property.
While most patients will have no problem with law enforcement, mistakes and arrests can happen. If you or a loved one is criminally charged for using medical marijuana, contact Suzuki Law Offices to obtain award-winning criminal defense for your case.
As of September 2019, the Arizona Department of Health Services states there are 210,308 qualifying patients for medical marijuana use. As medical marijuana use continues to rise in Arizona, let’s take a look at the legalization efforts for recreational use.
Recreational Marijuana & Arizona
In 2016, the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Proposition 205, was on the ballot. A “yes” vote supported the legalization of the possession and consumption of marijuana by peoples 21-years-old and older. A “no” vote opposed the measure, preventing the possession and consumption of marijuana by people 21-year-old and older.
When the votes came in, Proposition 205 was defeated with 1,300,344 “no” votes compared to 1,233,323 “yes” votes; in other words, the initiative lost by a 2.64% margin.
However, recreational use advocates are far from giving up.
In 2020, the Arizona Dispensaries Association is backing a new ballot measure hoping for a different outcome than what happened four years ago. The new ballot measure is named The Smart and Safe Act, representing how backers believe recreational marijuana should be used.
Key aspects of The Smart and Safe Act include:
- The legalization of the sale, possession, and consumption of one ounce of marijuana (of which 5 grams can be concentrate) for adults at least 21 years old;
- The generation of an estimated $300 million in new revenue annually to fund community colleges, public safety, public health programs, and infrastructure;
- The ban on smoking marijuana in public places like restaurants and open spaces like sidewalks and parks;
- The dedication of more than $30 million annually for addiction prevention, substance treatment, teen suicide prevention, mental health programs, and justice reinvestment projects;
- The option for people previously convicted of low-level marijuana charges to have their criminal records sealed.
The executive director of the ADA, Tim Sultan, went on the record saying, “This bill represents the right balance for Arizona right now. It gives back to the state and the people of Arizona in the form of tax revenue, education, and public safety.”
Regardless of the legality of recreational marijuana, Suzuki Law Offices is dedicated to representing those charged with marijuana-related criminal acts. If you or a loved one is arrested for possessing, using, or selling marijuana, call (602) 842-6762 now for a free consultation for your case.