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Arizona marijuana laws are very strict

If you're visiting Arizona or live here full time but often visit a neighboring state, you could land in a heap of trouble if you use marijuana, grow it, sell it or buy it and you aren't familiar with current marijuana laws. In fact, this state is known for having some of the most stringent marijuana laws in the nation. Proposition 205 was put to a vote last year, but did not pass, which means any hopes you may have had of legally using marijuana for pleasure were dashed.

Certain people, perhaps including you, may be card-carrying medical marijuana users in Arizona. Even then, strict rules apply as to how much of the drug you may possess, grow or use at a given time.

Very different from Colorado

This neighboring state legalized personal, recreational use of marijuana some time ago. Regardless what your personal opinion might be on that controversial topic, it's very important to remember that you can't smoke pot in Colorado and then bring some home with you to Arizona to use at your next social gathering. Legally speaking, that could be a big mistake. By keeping the following facts in mind regarding marijuana laws in this state, you may be able to avoid serious problems:

  • If you have a marijuana ID card, you cannot grow any more than 12 plants at a time. Also, you can only possess 2.5 ounces of pot within a two week time span.
  • Arizona law categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning a controlled substance. (This is typically how heroin and cocaine are labeled as well.)
  • People smoke marijuana, but it also comes in edible form as well as concentrates. You'll want to keep in mind that state law applies to any and all forms of the drug.
  • The minimum charge you might face for possession of less than two pounds of marijuana for personal use is a Class 6 felony.
  • If a police officer charges you with a marijuana crime and you are not a valid medical marijuana cardholder, you stand to face very severe penalties if the court convicts you of a drug crime.

If you do have a medical marijuana ID card, you still can't go out and purchase pot from someone on the street. You're limited to legal purchases carried out at state-approved dispensaries. The rules for possession would affect how much and when you may purchase the drug.

If accused of a marijuana crime, this doesn't necessarily mean you're going to jail. Given the fact that federal and state laws often conflict where cannabis is concerned, a court may wind up dismissing your case once the situation is clarified. Most Arizona residents (or those charged with crimes while visiting from another state) should retain strong defense help before heading to court.

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