Arizona Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in Arizona?

No. Although marijuana is legal in Arizona for recreational and medical use, ordering or sending it via mail is illegal because federal law prohibits cannabis use. The United States Postal Services, which is a federal agency, cannot ship marijuana products. Also, marijuana dispensaries in Arizona cannot mail cannabis products through third-party carriers. The provisions of Title 36, Chapter 28.2 of the Arizona Revised Statutes only permit the delivery of cannabis products by marijuana dispensary employees.  

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in Arizona?

Edibles are ingestible products infused with marijuana, such as gummies and pastries. In Arizona, adults 21 years or older can legally purchase and consume edibles as permitted in Title 36, Chapter 28.2 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The provisions of Section 13.3405(A)(4) of the Arizona Revised Statutes specifically prohibit the importation of marijuana products into the state. Offenders caught bringing cannabis products, such as edibles, into the state could face severe punishments in line with Section 13.3405(B) of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The degree of punishment depends on the weight of cannabis products imported into the state. Carrying less than 2 pounds of edibles into Arizona is a class-3 felony punishable by 2.5 years to seven years jail term. Transporting two pounds or more of edibles is a class-2 felony, which carries four to ten years imprisonment. 

Per Section 13.3405(C) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, offenders convicted of taking over 2 pounds of cannabis products (including edibles) across state lines are not eligible for probation, suspension of sentence, or pardon. They must serve the complete sentences imposed on them. In addition to their jail terms, offenders convicted of transporting edibles across state lines in Arizona must pay minimum fines of $750 or amounts equal to three times the value of edibles recovered from them, whichever is greater. As stipulated in Section 13.3405(F) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, an offender convicted for bringing less than 2 pounds of edibles into the state may be granted probation, provided they perform 240 hours or more of community service. Since cannabis is illegal at the federal level, offenders caught transporting edibles across state lines in Arizona risk facing federal charges.    

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in Arizona?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution helps protect defendants from searches and seizures without a warrant or probable cause. A marijuana trafficking charge may be dismissed if a defendant did not consent to a search of their belongings or the police officers who executed the search did not have a warrant or probable cause. Also, a marijuana trafficking charge may be dropped if an arresting officer did not read a defendant's Miranda rights before taking them into custody. The Miranda rights protect suspects from unlawful questioning by law enforcement officers, so evidence supporting a marijuana trafficking charge may be inadmissible in court if a defendant's rights were not read. Another way to dismiss a marijuana trafficking charge is by proving that the cannabis product recovered from a defendant did not belong to them. The punishments for other drug trafficking offenses in Arizona are different from cannabis trafficking penalties and may be less severe. Defendants in marijuana trafficking cases can cooperate with the prosecution in order to reach deals for reduced sentences. Such a deal may be reached if a defendant has valuable information that can enable law enforcement to build a case against a potential suspect in another case.     

Drug Trafficking Facts in Arizona

As stipulated in Section 13.3405(A) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, marijuana trafficking is the illegal possession, sale, production, transportation, transfer, or importation of cannabis products. Offenders charged for trafficking marijuana in Arizona risk facing felony punishments, depending on the amounts of cannabis products recovered from them. As defined in Section 13.105 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, felonies are offenses that can attract prison sentences of over one year. In contrast, misdemeanors are offenses that may be punished by short jail terms below one year or other types of punishments that do not involve incarceration. Section 13.3405(F) of the Arizona Revised Statutes states that if an offender is convicted of trafficking less than two pounds of cannabis products, they may be granted probation by a court. In such a case, the condition of a defendant's probation would be 240 hours or more of community service with a drug rehabilitation center. 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the federal agency responsible for drug trafficking monitoring. The Criminal Investigations Division (CID) under the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) monitors drug trafficking activities at the state level. A press release by the Arizona house of representatives reveals that approximately 311,000 pounds of marijuana products were seized in Arizona in 2021. That year, the state recorded high rates of criminal activities and up to 2,138 drug trafficking arrests. According to a report on marijuana trafficking offenses published by the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), in 2020, Arizona had the third highest number of cannabis trafficking offenders in the country. 

Arizona is a high-intensity drug trafficking area (HIDTA), as classified by the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). According to a drug market analysis report by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Arizona is one of the primary arrival zones for marijuana products entering the U.S. from Mexico. Per the drug market analysis report, 42% of all cannabis seizures along the U.S. Southwest border in 2009 occurred in Arizona. Marijuana traffickers now smuggle smaller loads of cannabis products weighing between 200 and 500 pounds instead of large shipments weighing 1,000 pounds or more to minimize losses from law enforcement seizures.    

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in Arizona?

Arizona law addresses marijuana trafficking based on the amounts of marijuana products recovered from offenders, where offenses were committed, and whether a defendant involved a minor (person under 18 years) in their operations. Arizona Revised Statutes do not specify how many grams of weed can make an offender face cannabis trafficking charges. However, Section 13.3401(36)(h) of the Arizona Revised Statutes designates 2 pounds as the ''threshold amount'`' of marijuana considered in drug trafficking punishments. Section 13.3405(C) of the Arizona Revised Statutes requires that offenders convicted of trafficking over the threshold amount of cannabis products serve the entire sentences imposed on them by courts. Therefore, defendants will not be eligible for parole, pardon, or suspension of their sentences.

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in Arizona?

According to Section 36.2852 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, adults 21 years and older can legally possess up to six cannabis plants or 1 ounce of marijuana (which may include 5 grams or less of marijuana concentrates). The degree of punishment for weed trafficking offenses in Arizona depends on the type of illegal activity an offender engages in, such as carrying, selling, producing, or importing. The provisions of Section 13.3405(B) of the Arizona Revised Statutes stipulate that carrying over 1 pound but less than 2 pounds of marijuana products illegally is a class-6 felony punishable by six months to 1.5 years imprisonment. If an offender carries 2 pounds or more but less than 4 pounds of cannabis products, they commit a class-5 felony punishable by 0.75 years to two years imprisonment. The penalty for illegally carrying cannabis products in Arizona increases to a class-4 felony punishment (between 1.5 years to three years jail term) for defendants caught with 4 pounds or more of cannabis products. 

Furthermore, per Section 13.3405(B)(4) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, selling less than 2 pounds of cannabis products illegally in the state is a class-4 felony punishable by 1.5 years to three years jail term. If an offender sells 2 pounds or more but less than 4 pounds of cannabis products, they are guilty of a class-3 felony punishable by 2.5 to seven years incarceration. Selling 4 pounds or more of cannabis products in Arizona is a class-2 felony for which an offender can face between four to ten years imprisonment. Section 13.3405(B)(7) of the Arizona Revised Statutes states that offenders who produce less than 2 pounds of cannabis products are guilty of class-5 felonies punishable by imprisonment for 0.75 to two years. 

Manufacturing 4 pounds or less but over 2 pounds of cannabis products in Arizona is a class-4 felony punishable by 1.5 to three years imprisonment. The penalty for manufacturing cannabis products illegally increases to class-3 felony punishment if an offender is caught with over 4 pounds of marijuana products. Defendants who traffic 2 pounds or more of cannabis products from another state or country into Arizona are guilty of class-2 felonies punishable by four to ten years imprisonment in line with Section 13.3405(B)(7) of the Arizona Revised Statutes. In addition to the prison sentences, marijuana traffickers in Arizona may be required to pay a minimum of $750 in fines or three times the value of cannabis products recovered from them. Per Section 13.3405(E) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, if offenders are released before their sentences for drug trafficking expire, they cannot consume narcotics or marijuana products recreationally before their original sentences expire. As a result, defendants will be required to submit to regular drug testing.    

How to Transport Weed Legally in Arizona

Only licensed recreational marijuana establishments and medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to transport cannabis products in Arizona. As stipulated in Section 36.2858 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, recreational marijuana establishments may purchase cannabis products from other cannabis establishments in the state and transport marijuana supplies between licensed facilities. Also, marijuana establishments may cultivate cannabis plants, process them, and package cannabis products for sale to adults 21 years and older or registered medical marijuana patients. Section 36.2858(D) of the Arizona Revised Statutes allows marijuana businesses to hold recreational marijuana establishment licenses and medical marijuana dispensary registration certificates. Therefore, dual licensees can legally produce and package cannabis products for sale to registered medical marijuana patients and eligible recreational cannabis users. The provisions of Section 36.2860 of the Arizona Revised Statutes stipulate that marijuana products manufactured in the state must not be packaged in a misleading manner. The product packages must not have cartoon characters or other images that might make them attractive to children. Furthermore, Section 9.18.310 of the Arizona Administrative Code requires that marijuana products must have child-resistant packaging and labels indicating:

  • Manufacturers' marijuana establishment license numbers
  • The products' batch numbers and potencies
  • The possible health risks of marijuana use and warnings for consumers to keep their cannabis products out of children's reach

The provisions of Section 36.2854 of the Arizona Revised Statutes outline the state's guidelines for marijuana establishment license applications. Prospective licensees must undergo criminal background checks and create accounts in the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) facility licensing portal. Also, applicants must complete the financial institution statement form, zoning compliance form, property ownership form, and attestation form (for principal officers and board members of the proposed establishments). Applicants must submit their completed forms and pay their license fees to the ADHS, after which they will receive their cannabis establishment licenses. Per Section R9.18.102 of the Arizona Administrative Code, the application fee for an initial marijuana establishment license is $25,000.     

Arizona Marijuana Trafficking Laws