Possession or Use of Marijuana in Arizona
Despite a national trend legalizing the possession of marijuana for personal use, Arizona still prohibits its possession under ARS 13-3405(A)(1) where it states “a person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana.” This law also prohibits a person from possessing marijuana buds, wax, THC concentrates and edibles. Under this statute, a person will be charged with possession for personal use so long as they possess less than 2 pounds of marijuana. Therefore, if you are arrested and are found to be in possession of 2 pounds or more of marijuana, you will face a more severe penalty because Arizona law will presume that you are selling marijuana because of that amount.
Prop 200 and Penalties for Possession of Marijuana
In 1996, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200. Under Prop 200, judges are prohibited from sending first or second time nonviolent drug offenders to prison, even if these convictions are for felony offenses. The judge may only sentence the defendant to a term of probation and mandatory drug treatment.
TASC is an Adult Deferred Prosecution Program which takes 3-6 months to complete. In TASC you will be required to provide 1 random urine test per month, 1 three-hour drug and alcohol abuse education program, and fees between $300-$700. It is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the TASC program and its strict requirements. Once TASC is completed, your case will be completely dismissed.
If you have any prior drug conviction for sale or transportation of drugs, promoting prison contraband, or driving under the influence of drugs, or any methamphetamine drug related offense, then you are ineligible under Prop 200 and could face jail and/or prison time.
Non-Prop 200 Punishments
If you are not eligible under Prop 200 then you could face the following punishments:
Possession of Marijuana less than 2 pounds (Class 6 Felony):
- Probation with up to 1 year in jail, or 4 months to 2 years in prison;
- If you have 1 historical prior felony conviction then you could face 9 months to 2.75 years in prison;
- If you have 2 historical prior felony convictions then you could face 2.25 years to 5.75 years in prison.
Possession of Marijuana with 2 or more pounds, but less than 4 pounds (Class 5 Felony):
- Mandatory prison from 6 months to 2.5 years;
- If you have 1 historical prior felony conviction then you could face 1 year to 3.75 years in prison;
- If you have 2 historical prior felony convictions then you could face 3 years to 7.5 years in prison.
Possession of Marijuana with 4 pounds or more (Class 4 Felony):
- Mandatory 1 year to 3.75 years in prison;
- If you have 1 historical prior felony conviction then you could face 2.25 years to 7.5 years in prison;
- If you have 2 historical prior felony convictions then you could face 6 years to 15 years in prison.
In addition to substantial jail/prison time, you would have to pay substantially high mandatory fines and fees, court ordered counseling, and community service hours.