With the legalization of marijuana for medical use in a number of states
and even recreational use recently in our neighboring states of California
and Colorado, use and possession of marijuana has seemingly become much
more acceptable. Unfortunately, although society’s general attitudes
toward marijuana may be changing, the law in Arizona has not. Possession
or use of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia, even in minor amounts,
is still considered afelony criminal offense in the State of Arizona and law enforcement will and does arrest offenders.
Medical marijuana programs are legal in both Arizona and other states;
however, they still operate in a “grey area” as federal law
still prohibits the use of the drug in
any way. With a new administration now in the White House, the federal prohibition
against any use poses a threat even to those people who are allowed to
use marijuana legally pursuant to their own state and local laws. Furthermore,
even if you have a valid authorization or prescription to use marijuana,
those same authorizations or prescriptions may not be valid outside of
your particular state and are not recognized under federal law. Additionally,
based on current interpretations of the law by Arizona law enforcement
including our current Maricopa County Attorney, obtaining or distributing
marijuana even as a medical caregiver may not make you exempt from criminal
prosecution and you could still face criminal felony charges for possession,
transportation, or sale of an illegal drug.
In Arizona, possession of marijuana, in any amount, is a felony punishable
by a sentence of up anywhere between 1 to 5 years a state penitentiary
and up to $150,000 in fines depending on the amount and circumstances
involved. Moreover, conviction of a felony can result in the loss of your
civil rights such as the right to vote and bear arms and can hinder your
ability to obtain future employment.
If you charged in Arizona with an offense involving marijuana, you should
seek legal counsel immediately as alternative or diversion programs may
be available to you depending on the facts and circumstances involved.
If you would like to work with one of our experienced criminal defense
attorneys, please call
OWENS & PERKINS at480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.