Is Weed Legal in Arizona?

A desert highway in Arizona

Although marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, some states like California, Oregon, and Washington have decided to legalize it for recreational use. In some other states like Montana, Minnesota and Arizona, medical marijuana is legal.

Back in the early 1930’s Marijuana was outlawed by 29 states; the government theorized that there was a correlation between crime rates and Mexican immigrants, and these immigrants committed crimes whilst intoxicated by pot. This became the major excuse of the U.S government for outlawing cannabis. Among the 29 states, Arizona was in favor of these stricter laws due to its proximity to Mexico.

However, things are starting to change. Like many other states, Arizona has changed its attitude towards cannabis. If you want to be aware of the current marijuana laws in Arizona and the upcoming changes regarding cannabis in the Grand Canyon state, this article will let you know all about weed in Arizona.

Arizona Marijuana Laws

Ever since 1931, the recreational use of cannabis in Arizona is illegal. Possessing anything up to 2 pounds is punishable by 2 years of prison, a felony charge and a maximum fine of $150,000. Each punishment varies depending on the amount of weed you possess.

For less than two pounds of pot, you may receive a class 3 felony if it’s imported into the state, and a class 4 felony if the substance is for sale. On the other hand, you may get a class 5 felony for personally produced marijuana, and if the substance is for personal use, a class 6 felony.

Medical Marijuana Arizona

Fortunately, medical marijuana is legal in Arizona. In 2010, Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, legalizing the medical use of marijuana under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). For this reason, you won’t get in trouble if you have a medical marijuana ID card issued by a licensed doctor. In order to obtain a medical card for cannabis in Arizona, you must be 18 or older or have the approval of your legal guardian. Additionally, you must have a residential address in the state and possess an Arizona ID or driver’s license. 

For a 2-year card, you will pay the state’s fee of $150. However, if you’re on SNAP (food stamps), the price is $75. After a doctor’s appointment, you will be notified if you have a qualifying condition for receiving medical marijuana and get a prescription. Some conditions that are legal to be treated with cannabis in Arizona are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer 
  • Crohn’s Disease 
  • Glaucoma 
  • Hepatitis C 
  • HIV/AIDS 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

If you are eligible for a medical marijuana ID card, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks and grow up to 12 plants with the approval of the ADHS. To buy weed in Arizona, you will need to go to licensed dispensaries and present your Medical marijuana card. It is important to note that smoking pot in public in Arizona is not legal. However, the state does allow you to consume medical marijuana in edible form in public, as long as you’re not operating a vehicle or doing anything else that could constitute negligence.

Arizona Marijuana Legalization

While Arizona remains strict when it comes to cannabis, many movements are starting to work towards a change. In November 2016, prop 205 was passed, which intended to make recreational use legal in the state for adults over the age of 21. However, the bill failed to pass as 51 % voted no and 48% voted yes. However, the short distance between the yes and no voters has given the Arizona Cannabis Chamber an incentive to try once again. In November 2020, the state will see another marijuana legalization initiative passed through the senate. For this reason, marijuana legalization in Arizona will likely happen soon, joining the other 11 states that have done so.

The new proposal for weed legalization in Arizona lets you grow up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use, with no more than 12 plants growing at a single residence at a time. Users would also have to respect the same facility restrictions as medical marijuana growers, cultivating only in an “enclosed, locked facility.”

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