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How Colorado’s marijuana laws affect Arizona residents

In the November 2010 election, voters in Arizona elected to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. At this time, any use beyond that remains illegal in the state of Arizona. However, given the proximity of Colorado to Arizona, it can be important for Arizona residents to understand how the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado may impact them.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, persons wishing to obtain and use marijuana to aid in medical situations must complete appropriate required paperwork and obtain identification which validates their approved use of this drug in such manner. Guidelines are provided to physicians on how and when to recommend the use of marijuana and dispensing of the drug is monitored carefully.

Neighboring Colorado has recently allowed the use of marijuana for general use by persons aged 21 years and older. Colorado’s official state website indicates clearly that people from other states—including Arizona—may purchase and use marijuana in Colorado but they must not take the drug back to another state or they may face charges involving drug crimes. Additionally, Colorado residents may possess up to one ounce of marijuana at a time. Out-of-state residents may only be in possession of 0.25 ounce of the drug at any given time.

Clarity on this law is important for anyone who may leave Arizona to purchase marijuana in Colorado. Knowing what is legal and what is the first step to preventing unnecessary criminal charges such as illegal possession of drug paraphernalia.

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