Marijuana Possession

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping Clients Beat Drug Possession and Distribution Charges

It used to be that all marijuana charges were aggressively pursued by the Arizona police and prosecution. Of course, now, with the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use, things have changed a bit. However, if you were arrested for possessing more than the legal amount of marijuana, for distribution or growing marijuana, or for driving under the influence of marijuana, you aren’t off the hook. James Novak is a Phoenix criminal defense and DUI defense and trial lawyer who routinely defends clients facing all types of marijuana charges. If you face any type of marijuana offense, you should contact the Law Office of James Novak at (480) 413-1499 to schedule a free consultation.

Arizona’s Current Marijuana Laws

In 2020, Arizona voters passed Prop 207, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana as well as some types of cannabis derivatives, including hash, hash oil, and other concentrates. However, the use of recreational marijuana is only permitted for adults over the age of 21.

For adults, it is generally legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Similarly, you are allowed to grow as many as six marijuana plants as long as the marijuana you harvest is strictly for personal use. Possession of cannabis derivatives is also legal, provided you do not possess more than five grams of the substance. However, outside of these situations, the possession, sale, transfer, cultivation and trafficking of marijuana is still illegal and aggressively prosecuted.

Marijuana DUIs

Driving under the influence of marijuana is also illegal. However, with the passage of Prop 207, lawmakers had to change the way these crimes were prosecuted. In essence, it is no longer illegal to drive with marijuana in your system as long as you were not “impaired to the slightest degree.” In other words, to prove you guilty of a marijuana DUI, prosecutors must prove that you had marijuana in your system and, as a result of the marijuana, your ability to drive was impaired.

Possession of Too Much Marijuana

In Arizona, you can legally have up to an ounce of marijuana. However, if you possess more than an ounce, you will face criminal charges. For example, if you are arrested with more than an ounce but less than two pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony, punishable by 6 months to 18 months in jail, with a presumptive sentence of one year in jail. However, if you are in possession of this much marijuana, prosecutors will likely claim you had the intent to sell marijuana, in which case the offense would be a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1.5 to 3 years’ incarceration, with a presumptive sentence of 2.5 years’ incarceration.

Distribution and Manufacturing of Marijuana

Even with the legalization of recreational marijuana, it remains illegal to sell marijuana or grow more than six marijuana plants. Notably, while it is also against the law to “transfer” marijuana, meaning giving it to someone without receiving money in exchange, transferring marijuana does not carry a criminal penalty.

Minor in Possession of Marijuana

Prop 207 and the subsequent changes to the Arizona Revised Statutes regarding the recreational use of marijuana only apply to those over 21. Thus, nothing has changed when it comes to minors in possession of marijuana, and both police and prosecutors continue to take an aggressive approach to minors who are arrested with marijuana. However, for a first marijuana possession arrest, minors won’t be charged with a crime and will be issued a civil penalty.

Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer for Marijuana Charges

One of the keys to a successful marijuana possession defense is to hire a Tempe criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you have drug charges hanging over your head, call the Law Office of James E. Novak today for your free consultation. Attorney Novak cares deeply about each of his clients and aggressively pursues the best possible result at every stage of your case. Call James Novak at (480) 413-1499 and let him begin building you a strong and effective defense. The Law Office of James Novak proudly defends clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler Scottsdale, Gilbert and other surrounding cities in Maricopa County.