Arizona Marijuana Laws: What You Need to Know

Arizona’s move to legalize possession and consumption of marijuana by adults 21 and older was thwarted last November after fierce, high-stakes lobbying campaigns battled it out. With the majority of voters saying “no” to Proposition 205, here’s what you need to know.

To sum up, marijuana can only legally be used for medicinal purposes by registered cardholders. Here are some of the things you need to know:

Smell of Marijuana is Probable Cause.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in July that police can conduct a search in your car or premises because they smell (or claim to smell) marijuana.

You Can Be Charged with a DUI After Using Medical Marijuana.

Patients are not immune to DUI charges. If you are found to be under the influence of any medication that can impair your ability to drive, you can be charged with a DUI. That includes having marijuana in your system, even if you did not recently use it.

Cardholders Cannot Use Medical Marijuana in Learning Institutions.

Thanks to a 2012 amendment to Arizona’s medical marijuana law, even authorized cardholders are not allowed to possess or use marijuana on college campuses, around schools or on school transport vehicles. It’s also banned in correctional facilities.

You May Use Medical Marijuana While on Probation.

Of course, you have to be a legal cardholder. If you are, depriving you of medical marijuana cannot be a term of probation set by the judge or prosecutors.

The legality of marijuana from state to state is, shall we say, smoky. It’s not enough to know which states have legalized, decriminalized or authorized marijuana for medical use. You also need to know each state’s specific statutes and revisions that may have been passed after the fact, not to mention how law enforcement deals with the discrepancy between state and federal policy.

As new laws are tested, rulings can often be appealed to clarify the legality of a particular case. Meanwhile, the legalization lobby gears up for another proposition. We’ll keep you up to date on how any changes affect you.


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