By: Max Nicholas Hanson, Esq.
The use and possession of marijuana has become seemingly more acceptable in today’s society with a number of states, including Arizona, now allowing the use of medical marijuana and several others including the neighboring states of Colorado and now California recently having legalized even recreational use.
The prevalence of marijuana in today’s culture promotes the concept of “it’s just marijuana, no big deal!” Unfortunately, although society’s attitudes toward marijuana may be changing rapidly, Arizona law has not in large part. Just last month, Arizona voters rejected a proposition seeking to expand legalizing recreational use of marijuana in this state. Possession or use of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia, even in minimal amounts, is still considered a felony criminal offense in the State of Arizona and the courts will and do prosecute offenders accordingly.
Medical marijuana may be legal in Arizona; however, such use is heavily regulated and is still subject to the existing federal prohibition against the use and possession of marijuana in any form or fashion. This conflict poses a threat to those people who are allowed to use marijuana legally as even though you may have permission by the State of Arizona or have a prescription administered by another state to use marijuana, those prescriptions may not be valid outside of your particular state and are not recognized under federal law. For example, marijuana legally obtained in Colorado, through a prescription or otherwise, is not transferable over state lines and may subject you to criminal charges in Arizona for its transportation, possession or use.
In Arizona, possession of marijuana, in any amount, is a felony punishable by a sentence which can range from probation to between 1 to 5 years in the state penitentiary and up to $150,000 in fines depending on the amount and circumstances involved. Moreover, a felony conviction can result in the loss of your civil rights such as the right to vote, have and own a firearm, and hinder your ability to obtain future employment.
If you or a loved one are charged with a criminal offense involving marijuana, you should seek legal counsel immediately as alternative or diversion programs may be available depending on the facts and circumstances involved. With proper legal representation, it may be possible to get your charges dismissed upon the successful completion of a program that involves drug testing and education.
At OWENS & PERKINS we are aggressive in our defense of you against any and all criminal charges. To learn more about what our experienced attorneys may be able to do for you concerning criminal charges that you may be facing please call us at (480) 630-2464 for a free 30-minute consultation.