In November 2020, Arizona passed Proposition 207 – the Safe and Smart Arizona Act. This law legalized Arizona for recreational marijuana use.
But it’s important to understand what this actually means for the average person in the state.
So, what do Arizona marijuana laws now say? Here are some important tips to ensure you know exactly where you stand with the new regulations.
Know the what and where of recreational marijuana
1) Recreational marijuana use is legal if you’re 21 and over
You can now “possess, purchase, transport, or process 1 ounce or less of marijuana” in Arizona, five grams or less of which can be marijuana concentrate. One ounce is around 28 grams. Marijuana concentrate is something like resin, wax, or the oil used in a vape pen that has been extracted from the original plant material.
If you have any more than one ounce of marijuana on you, you are breaking the law and can be fined. If you are carrying significantly more for any reason – the figure is technically over 2.5 ounces – you will suffer worse consequences.
Much like alcohol, you still can’t possess or use marijuana in Arizona if you’re under the age of 21. Similarly, just as you can’t provide alcohol to someone underage, you can’t distribute marijuana to a minor.
2) You can’t use cannabis just anywhere
The Safe and Smart Act makes some, well, smart and safe provisions for where marijuana can and cannot be used.
Public and open spaces are at the top of the list for places you still can’t use cannabis. It’s also not smart or safe – and, so, still illegal – to drive or operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. The prosecution would need to prove that you are impaired by your smoking if you were caught, but it’s still not a smart thing to do even if you believe you’re not.
It’s also important to remember that weed is still illegal on the federal level, so any federal land is almost always going to be a black spot for marijuana use too. You also can’t consume marijuana near a school.
Finally, your employer is still allowed to say that they want their workplace to be drug and alcohol-free. This means you won’t be able to use marijuana while working if your employer says you can’t.
Not even recreational THC cartridges in vapes are immune to this law, so no smooth, modern, self-contained delivery system is going to help you get around them.
Understand the law in states with legal recreational THC use
Like other states that have legal recreational THC use, Arizona has its own new laws about exactly what law enforcement and the criminal justice system can do in relation to citizens using marijuana recreationally.
1) Police can’t search you without a warrant
There’s one little-known but crucial part of the new Arizona recreational use laws to be aware of:
“The odor of marijuana or burnt marijuana does not by itself constitute reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime.”
This means your 4th Amendment rights still protect you against warrantless searches by police in this instance.
2) You can have (some) previous marijuana convictions expunged
Part of the Safe and Smart Act contains provisions for past marijuana convictions to be expunged. However, it’s important to understand that there are some limitations to the kind of convictions that fall under this law:
- Convictions for large quantities aren’t eligible – if your original conviction was for transporting or possessing large amounts of marijuana, you are very unlikely to be able to get it expunged.
- Eligible convictions are limited – you have to have only been possessing, consuming, transporting, or cultivating under 2.5 ounces of marijuana (12.5 grams or less of which can have been marijuana concentrate) or 6 or fewer marijuana plants or some marijuana paraphernalia for your conviction to be eligible.
- You may have to go to a hearing – while a wide array of people, including defendants, defense attorneys, and even prosecutors can file a petition to have a case expunged, the process can require you to go to a hearing.
Think about where to buy recreational THC in Arizona
Just because marijuana is now legal for recreational purposes in Arizona does not mean you should start buying anything from cannabis to strain-specific THC vape carts just anywhere.
Quality control is also something that the Safe and Smart Arizona act considers. The ADHS (the Arizona Department of Health Services) now has the responsibility for licensing and regulating sales, growth, and testing of marijuana in Arizona.
Just because a product claims to be something strain-specific for your vape, don’t just take the flashy packaging’s word for it. Be sure that it’s of good quality and has been tested.
Start by always buying from a proper dispensary and looking for things like cannabis that’s been grown using natural, organic processes and concentrates extracted using a process that leaves no contaminants behind – like everything you’ll find in the world of K.I.N.D.
Once you’re sure you’re buying something of good quality and you understand the how, what, and where of what Arizona’s recreational marijuana laws say, you’re good to enjoy all the benefits of cannabis use while you and everyone around you stay smart and safe.