If you suffer from certain medical conditions, you may be wondering if Arizona has joined the growing list of states which have legalized the medical use of marijuana. In November of last year, Arizona voters narrowly approved Proposition 203, making the use of marijuana (and its cultivation) legal under very specific restrictions for certain “chronic or debilitating” conditions and diseases. Earlier this year, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) issued its final set of rules governing the implementation of the law, known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
Arizona is now one of 16 states (in addition to the District of Columbia) which have such laws on the books, with another half dozen states having such laws pending in the form of bills not yet passed by their legislatures.
Before you run out to make a purchase, note that both the statute and the rules of the ADHS strictly limit the persons who may possess marijuana legally in the state, where they may obtain it, and the amount they may possess. It may be legally obtained only from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary, and only by a “qualifying patient” or his or her caregiver. The limit of legal possession is 2½ ounces, and in order to become a qualifying patient, the patient must be diagnosed with certain conditions or diseases specified in the statute, among them cancer, HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis C, and apply for and receive a valid registry identification card.
Interestingly, the Arizona statute does not negate federal law making possession of marijuana a crime, although the United States Justice Department has indicated that
“it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers.”
If you have been charged with an offense involving marijuana or any other drug, contact an experienced Phoenix marijuana defense lawyer today.