Recreational Marijuana Has Been Legalized in Arizona. Here’s What That Means
The 2020 presidential election has been one of the most contentious in recent history, and both Democrats and Republicans are feeling the stress. Soon enough in Arizona, you’ll be able to use marijuana to help you unwind. Prop 207 was passed on November 3, 2020, with a 60% to 40% majority vote.
Additional propositions were voted on throughout the country. In Arizona, there are new laws that will go into effect in the upcoming months. Our Arizona legal team takes a closer look at some of these new laws and the ramifications.
Arizona’s Prop 207
The ADHS has until April 5, 2021, to establish specific guidelines for recreational dispensaries. Recreational marijuana use will be decriminalized before then, but will only be available for legal purpose at recreational dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries, which were legalized in Arizona in 2010, will have first priority when applying for a recreational license. Adults aged 21 and older will be able to visit these recreational dispensaries and will be able to possess no more than one ounce of marijuana, up to 5 grams of which can be marijuana concentrates. Like alcohol and cigarettes, recreational marijuana will have a 16% excise tax.
When Can I Buy Pot in Arizona?
Arizona will start rolling out recreational dispensaries on or before April 5, 2021. There will be approximately 145 licenses available, and established medicinal dispensaries will have first go at these licenses. These dispensaries will have from January 9, 2021 to March 9, 2021 to submit their applications. These applications will take about 60 days to process, so it isn’t unreasonable to expect recreational marijuana to be available before April 5, 2021. New recreational-only dispensaries will likely take longer to get approval.
Can I Drive After Smoking Marijuana?
Just because marijuana will be legal recreationally doesn’t mean you can drive while under its influence. Prop 207 doesn’t override Arizona’s existing DUI laws, which allow for charges when anyone in Arizona drives while impaired by any drug, alcohol, or other substance. Arizona allows for DUI- Impaired to the slightest degree. This means you can be charged for DUI with any amount of marijuana in your system.
DUI charges are extremely serious in Arizona. For even a first time DUI arrest, the defendant will face a minimum mandatory one day in jail, driver’s license restrictions, and thousands in fines and other expenses. DUI laws apply to all motor vehicles, so you can also be arrested for operating a boat, motorized scooter, and other vehicles while under the influence of marijuana.
Can I Smoke Marijuana in Public in Arizona Now?
While recreational marijuana will now be legal, you will still need to enjoy it in the privacy of your own home. Smoking in restaurants, at bars, on sidewalks, etc., will remain illegal. If you caught doing so, you could be charged with a petty offense. However, you can try cultivating your own marijuana at home. Any Arizona resident 21 or older can have up to 6 plants in their home, and households with at least 2 adults who are at least 21 years old may have up to 12 plants.
Do I Still Need to Pay Marijuana Fines I Received Before the Election?
The passage of Prop 207 doesn’t negate your old marijuana possession and other fines. However, those convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana will be eligible to apply for expungement on July 12, 2021. This will remove the possession charge from your criminal record, but you may still need to pay your fines to qualify for expungement.
Other Facts About Arizona Prop 207
There are plenty of other features about Prop 207 that may only seem relevant to frequent marijuana users. For example, Arizona won’t make changes to permit recreational marijuana deliveries until January 1, 2023. As mentioned above, smoking marijuana in public will be a petty offense, as will possessing more than 1 but less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
Prop 207 also provided for marijuana testing procedures to detect contaminants like pesticides and mold. Edibles can only be sold in 10mg servings, and each container can have at most 100mg of edibles (10 edibles with 10mg each). Marijuana products can’t be designed or marketed to children- for example, you won’t see cartoon characters on recreational marijuana packaging. Marijuana use won’t be protected by law for employment purposes by Prop 207- your employer can still terminate you for recreational marijuana use.
If you have further questions, it is better to learn what the new Arizona laws mean and how they may impact your life. The attorneys at My AZ Lawyers are a valuable source of information and will be able to assist you if you have criminal defense issues.