In some ways, medical marijuana in Arizona is a bit like the wild west. The laws are new, constantly evolving to recognize the demand and needs of our populace as well as meet and test legal requirements. It is imperative that as responsible, medical marijuana patients people stay informed and up to date on them, not only for ourselves but for all those who will seek out medical marijuana for treatments in the future.
Is marijuana legal in Arizona?
Short answer: medical yes, recreational no.
While medical marijuana was legalized in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act of 2010, recreational use is not. In November 2016, Prop 205 sought to legalize marijuana for recreational use for those 21 and older but that did not pass.
How can I get an Arizona medical marijuana card?
You can apply online or find more information here. There is a ton of information to be found looking through the state’s site, including qualifying conditions and how to petition for the addition of a new condition. The most-cited condition affecting Arizonans is ‘severe and chronic pain,’ found in a number of conditions from migraines, back pain and more.
The cost of application is $150, or half that for those who are eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
Patients under 18 must have a legal guardian or custodial parent designated as a caregiver, together they can apply.
Can I be fired for possessing/using medical marijuana legally?
If you are in possession or under the influence of medical marijuana at the workplace, yes you can be.
However, it is illegal for an employer to make any action against an employee because they are a cardholder, or if they should have a positive test for marijuana – unless said employer would lose licensing or federal funding by not taking action. It can be a bit tricky there.
Can I receive a DUI after using medical marijuana?
Absolutely. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that if someone tests positive for marijuana or its metabolites they are not immune from prosecution. Yes, even though those compounds remain in the body after the person is no longer ‘under the influence.’ That’s why, in December 2016, an Arizonan court ruled that medical marijuana cardholders who were accused with a DUI have certain options for proving in court that there was not enough of the compounds in their system to cause impairment. Never drive impaired, and understand the legality of your medication and use. In some ways Arizona is still a bit of a wild west when it comes to its medical marijuana policies, we all need to be up to date and understand what we can do to advocate for our rights.
Possessing medical marijuana on college campus, legal or illegal?
This may be confusing because it is a very recent change! Originally in 2012, there was a revision of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act that was called the ‘campus-ban statute.’ This determined that medical marijuana cardholders could not possess medical marijuana on a school bus, grounds of preschool through high school, nor a correctional facility. In May of this year (2018) the Arizona Supreme court ruled that this revision was unconstitutional.
Can police still search me and/or my property over the smell of marijuana alone?
Yes, unfortunately, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that police who detect the odor of marijuana can use it as probable cause to conduct a search. However, a search can lose its legal footing if the authorities are notified that the marijuana use/possession is legal and under the medical-marijuana law.
Can I use medical marijuana if I’m on probation?
Yes. In 2015 the Arizona Supreme Court handed out two rulings on this subject. These barred prosecutors and courts from prohibiting marijuana use as a term of a probation (if the convicted has a valid medical marijuana card.)
Can I own a gun while having a medical marijuana card?
This is tricky. Under federal law, anyone who uses marijuana is barred from possessing a firearm or ammunition (this is due to the Gun Control Act of 1968,) but Arizona law does not prohibit even drug users or addicts from possessing firearms.
It is incredibly rare for any either the DEA or ATF to bust patients for a gun or gun owners for having cards but, hypothetically, it is possible.
How might things change?
As we mentioned, it is a bit of the wild west when it comes to medical marijuana, Arizona’s laws may change or go through revisions of the federal government may change the way they approach state laws. In January of 2018, the current Trump administration did away with the Obama administration’s 2013 policy to not crack down on states that legalize marijuana. What that means for the future is uncertain.
But policy may change in favor of medicinal use as well. There are efforts to legalize even recreational use of marijuana, so the status quo is constantly in flux. For now, be rest assured that using your Arizona Medical Marijuana card works and that so long as you are following the current laws and regulations you have nothing to worry about.
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