Arizona has voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, which means that if you are currently facing marijuana charges, or have been convicted of a marijuana crime in the past, your charges should be eligible for dismissal and expungement under the new Arizona marijuana laws.
Under Prop 207, Arizona residents who are 21 years or older can now legally consume and cultivate marijuana for recreational use.
Licensed dispensaries will also be able to sell marijuana. However, although the new law has passed, the ballots need to be certified by the Secretary of State before changes begin taking place, which will likely be mid-December. The timelines vary for dispensaries and home cultivation. Below we outlined 18 facts you should know about the new Arizona marijuana law aka the Smart and Safe Act (SSAA) or Prop 207.
New Arizona Marijuana Laws
1. On November 30th, 2020, adults 21 and older would be able to possess 1 ounce of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of it being marijuana concentrates (extracts).
2. Limits home cultivation to 6 plants at an individual’s primary residence and 12 plants at a residence where two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old reside at one time.
3. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) would have to establish recreational marijuana regulations on or before April 5, 2021.
4. Possessing more than one ounce but less than 2.5 ounces would be a petty offense. Minors caught with less than one ounce would receive up to a $100 fine and four hours of drug counseling for a first offense. A second offense would be up to a $100 fine and eight hours of drug counseling. A third offense would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
5. Marijuana use would remain illegal in public places (restaurants, parks, sidewalks, etc). Offenders are guilty of a petty offense.
6. Smoking in a public place would be a petty offense.
7. Marijuana edibles will be limited to a maximum of 10mg of THC per edible and limited to a maximum of 100mg of THC per package of edibles.
8. Beginning on July 12, 2021, people convicted previously of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six or fewer plants or paraphernalia can petition to have the record expunged.
9. Driving, flying, or boating impaired to even the slightest degree by marijuana would remain illegal (i.e., zero-tolerance rule).
10. Marijuana testing facilities will test marijuana for harmful contaminants (i.e., pesticides, molds, etc).
11. “Qualified early applicants” (qualifications are currently undetermined) can apply for a recreational dispensary license (approx. 145 licenses will be available) with the ADHS. Any remaining or additional licenses will be provided by random selection.
12. The ADHS may issue a marijuana establishment license (recreational marijuana dispensary license) to no more than two recreational dispensaries per county that contains no medical marijuana dispensaries, or one recreational dispensary license per county that contains one medical marijuana dispensary (the ADHS will accept applications from Jan 19, 2021 – Mar 9, 2021).
13. On or before April 5, 2021, medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana to adults until the ADHS issues licenses for recreational dispensaries.
14. Medical marijuana dispensaries that obtain a recreational marijuana dispensary license(s) could operate both entities in the same/shared location.
15. A 16% excise tax (the same as cigarettes and alcohol) would be placed on recreational marijuana products. Money from the excise tax would fund various state agencies and be dispersed between community college districts, police and fire departments, and the Highway User fund.
16. No marijuana products could be sold that imitate brands marketed to children or look like humans, animals, insects, fruits, toys, or cartoons.
17. On or after Jan 1, 2023, the ADHS can adopt rules to permit recreational marijuana deliveries.
18. Employers have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
Possession of Marijuana, Charges, Options, and Outcomes Under the New Arizona Marijuana Laws
The prosecutor in Arizona’s largest county is dropping all pending charges for recreational marijuana use by adults after Arizona voters legalized recreational marijuana use, making Arizona the 13th state to legalize marijuana.
“Instead of continuing to spend resources on these cases, this office will begin implementing the will of the voters immediately,” the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said in a written statement Monday.
If you have been convicted or charged with a marijuana-related crime you should contact an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney immediately. Under the new Arizona marijuana law, people who have been convicted or charged are eligible to have their case dismissed and record expunged. Contact us today for a free consultation if you have questions or need assistance.