Arizona Marijuana Limitations

What Happens If I am Under 21 and Caught Carrying or Using Cannabis?

Most marijuana possession charges in Arizona are felonies. Residents under the age of 21 caught with any amount of cannabis will be tried in court. Penalties awarded by the court depend on the age of the offender and the amount of cannabis in their possession. Offenders aged 18 - 20 will be tried as adults as subject to the following penalties:

  • Possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis is a petty offense punishable by up to $300 in fines
  • Possession of more than 2.5 ounces and up to 2 pounds of cannabis is a Class 4 felony punishable by fine between $1,000 and $150,000 and an incarceration lasting between 6 and 1.5 years
  • Possession of more than 2 pounds but less than 4 pounds of cannabis is a Class 5 felony punishable by a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $150,000 and an incarceration lasting 9 months - 2 years
  • Possession of more than 4 pounds of cannabis is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to $150,000 in fines and a prison term between 1.5 and 3 years

Juveniles caught with cannabis will likely be tried in Arizona juvenile courts. However, prosecutors may decide to try minors who are one or two years away from turning 18 as adults. Juveniles tried as adults for cannabis possession will face the penalties outlined above. Minors charged as juveniles face these four categories of punishments:

  • Drug counseling - this is the most lenient penalty. It aims to rehabilitate the offender. A juvenile court may order the offending minor, and sometimes their parents/guardians, to attend drug counseling sessions
  • Probation - this may involve drug counseling, community service, gainful employment, or compulsory school attendance. Probation lasts a minimum of 6 months
  • Diversion - much like probation, the juvenile must comply with court-ordered restrictions. However, the juvenile does not come before a judge in a juvenile court when handed a diversion. After successfully completing the assigned diversion program, the charges are dismissed. Diversion is usually only available for first offenders
  • Detention - rarely used but mostly reserved for repeated offenders and cases in which marijuana possession resulted in, or from, violence. Detention could be confinement at home or placement with a relative or in a foster home

Where Is It Legal to Smoke Weed in Arizona?

Arizona only allows adults aged 21 and over and patients qualified for medical marijuana to smoke weed in private spaces. Therefore, they can smoke weed at home. It is illegal to smoke weed in public and open spaces in Arizona including at bars, parks, and restaurants. The ban covers pre-roll marijuana as well as weed in vape pens. The state recommends maximum penalties for those caught smoking weed in public around minors and in designated school zones. Arizona also does not allow smoking weed in vehicles of any kind regardless of whether the individual consuming weed is the driver or passenger.

Can I Leave Arizona with Cannabis?

No. Transporting cannabis outside of Arizona means crossing state borders with the drug and, therefore, a violation of the federal ban on marijuana. By federal law, cannabis is a controlled substance. While most states have legalized medical cannabis, marijuana still remains prohibited on federal properties including the interstate roads connecting states. Therefore, transporting cannabis outside Arizona is a federal crime even when visiting another state where marijuana is fully legal.

It is also illegal to transport cannabis into Arizona from another state. This is a Class 2 felony in the state punishable by a minimum fine of $2,000 and a maximum fine that is three times the value of the seized weed as well as 4 - 10 years in prison.

Will Cannabis Affect My Driving Record in Arizona?

Yes. Arizona has very strict drugged driving laws and points accumulated from DUI (driving under the influence) due to cannabis use will stay on the offender's driving record for the prescribed duration. The point system established by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) recognizes two types of DUI: DUI and Extreme DUI. The ADOT assigns 8 points to each of these offenses.

Points accrued from DUI following cannabis are added to offending drivers' permanent driving records. A motorist that accumulates 8 or more points on their driving record in a 12-month period may have their driving license suspended for up to 12 months and will be required to attend Traffic Survival School. A motorist arrested for DUI due to cannabis use but refusing to submit to a drug test will have their driving privilege suspended for 12 months and then mandated to complete drug screening before their driving license is reinstated. Failure to submit for a second road test within 84 months of the first refusal will cause the offender's driving privilege withdrawn for 24 months.

In addition to raising the chances of having driving privileges suspended, a cannabis DUI on a motorist's driving record can have other implications. Arizona courts are unlikely to be lenient when sentencing offenders with accumulated points on their driving records if their DUI offenses involve criminal charges. Similarly, a motorist's insurance premium goes up with the number of points on their driving records.

Can I Get a DUI If I Drive While I am High?

Yes. In Arizona, operating a motor vehicle gives law enforcement implied consent to test the motorist's breath, blood, urine, and other bodily fluid for drug and alcohol content. Therefore, motorists must submit to field drug tests when requested by law enforcement. Failure to submit to such tests is taken as an admission of guilt and punished with maximum penalties.

Arizona drug driving laws make clear distinctions between DUI arrests following the detection of cannabis or its metabolite in the offender's body and driving under the influence of cannabis. Patients with medical marijuana ID cards are not guilty of DUI if cannabis metabolites are detected in their bodies. However, they will be charged with DUI if deemed to be driving under the influence of cannabis.

In Arizona, law enforcement officers often rely on intuition and field sobriety tests designed to detect alcohol intoxication when trying to ascertain whether suspected motorists are high. They test a driver's balance, coordination, and response with horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand, and walk-and-turn tests. However, these tests are not conclusive and failing any of them does not fully confirm that a person is high. Some people are capable of passing such tests while high and others who are not high may fail them because they are nervous.

While there are blood, urine, and saliva tests to determine whether someone is high or not, these are currently not available for use during traffic stops. Therefore, an Arizona law enforcement must determine that there is a high chance the motorist they stopped is high and then arrest them.

Definitive blood tests can only be conducted in police labs, after the individual suspected has been arrested. These tests look for marijuana metabolites in the blood. However, they may not be completely fair because some individuals metabolize marijuana faster than others. Slow metabolizers may be deemed high and charged with DUI days after they consumed cannabis.

Experts agree that there is a need to design a field test capable of determining the level of THC in the body. A simple swab test can be administered at a traffic stop to analyze the test subject's saliva. Furthermore, THC level is a better indicator of cannabis high than other metabolites of the drugs, most of which are not psychoactive.

Arizona has well-defined penalties for individuals convicted of DUI of cannabis. A summary of these penalties are as follow:

  • First offense - jail for no fewer than 10 consecutive days and a minimum fine of $1,250. The offender will also be ordered to perform community service, install a certified ignition interlock device in their vehicle, and undergo drug screening and education sessions
  • Second offense - jail for no fewer than 90 days and a minimum fine of $3,000. The offender's driving license will also be suspended for 12 months while their vehicle is outfitted with a certified ignition interlock device. they must perform community service, submit to drug screening tests, and attend drug education classes

Can I Buy Marijuana in Arizona?

Yes, as long as you meet the state's restrictions as stated in the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act and the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. These marijuana laws establish that only those aged 21 and above can legally purchase and possess marijuana in Arizona. Those below this age threshold can only buy marijuana if they have medical marijuana identification cards. Underage users must demonstrate that they have medical conditions that qualify them to receive medical cannabis in Arizona.

Where Can I Buy Marijuana in Arizona?

Marijuana is only legally available in Arizona from state-licensed marijuana dispensaries. Currently, most of these are licensed to provide medical marijuana while a few only have licenses to offer recreational marijuana. A select number of marijuana dispensaries in Arizona have dual licenses and can sell both medical and adult-use cannabis.

Arizona restricts the number of places residents can buy marijuana by limiting the number of dispensary licenses it uses. The ADHS only issues one marijuana dispensary license for every 10 pharmacy permits approved in the state. By June 2021, the ADHS has licensed 143 marijuana dispensaries with 124 of them already operational. Out of these total, there are currently 73 adult-use marijuana dispensaries in Arizona.

Arizona also allows medical marijuana delivery service but only for qualifying patients requiring such services. Patients approved to use delivery services are those living very far from the nearest marijuana dispensaries. Delivery services may deliver medical marijuana to patients' addresses or the addresses of their approved caregivers.

How Much Is Marijuana in Arizona?

The price of marijuana in Arizona varies widely depending on location, strain of weed, cannabis product type, and intended use. Overall, a market survey shows Arizona marijuana prices are some of the lowest in the country. A gram of weed sells for as low as $8 in the state and an ounce of marijuana can retail for over $300. Generally, marijuana dispensaries sell 1 gram of marijuana for $10 - 20 and one ounce for $150 - 200.

Pre-roll weed costs as low as $4 per gram in Arizona while concentrates and vape cartridges have average costs of $21 and $39. Edibles cost 8 cents per milligram on average.

How Much Cannabis Can I Legally Have?

Arizona's marijuana laws allow adults aged 21 and older to have up to 1 ounce or 28 grams of marijuana or cannabis-infused products on their person. Out of this maximum amount, marijuana concentrate forms can make up to 5 grams. Patients with qualifying medical conditions and medical marijuana identification cards may possess up to 2.5 ounces or 70 grams of cannabis.

Adults aged 21 and older can only give a maximum amount of marijuana of 1 ounce to other adults aged 21 and above. Such transfers are only legal if they do not involve the payment and are not advertised. Similar restrictions extend to patients gifting medical marijuana. They can only give up to 2.5 ounces to other medical marijuana patients or their caregivers.

Where Is Weed Legal?

State Legal Status Medicinal Recreational
Alabama Criminalized No No
Alaska Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arizona Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arkansas Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Colorado Decriminalized Yes Yes
Connecticut Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Delaware Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
District of Columbia Decriminalized Yes Yes
Florida Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Georgia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Hawaii Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Idaho Decriminalized No No
Illinois Decriminalized Yes Yes
Indiana Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Iowa Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Kansas Decriminalized No No
Kentucky Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Louisiana Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Maine Decriminalized Yes Yes
Maryland Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Massachusetts Decriminalized Yes Yes
Michigan Decriminalized Yes Yes
Minnesota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Mississippi Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Missouri Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Montana Decriminalized Yes Yes
Nebraska Decriminalized No Yes
Nevada Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Hampshire Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Jersey Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Mexico Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New York Decriminalized Yes Yes
North Carolina Decriminalized No Yes
North Dakota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Ohio Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Oklahoma Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Oregon Decriminalized Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Rhode Island Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
South Carolina Decriminalized No No
South Dakota Decriminalized Yes Yes
Tennessee Decriminalized No No
Texas Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Utah Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Vermont Decriminalized Yes Yes
Virginia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil Yes
Washington Decriminalized Yes Yes
West Virginia Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Wisconsin Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Wyoming Decriminalized No No
In this section:
Arizona Marijuana Limitations