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Deciperhing Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Laws

Posted on January 28, 2014 by Alex H. Lane
Criminal defense attorneys in arizona
Arizona background view

The truth about medical marijuanaTo many people, Arizona represents one of the few states in the nation to “legalize marijuana.”  Actually, this is far from the truth.  The law Arizona has passed is a medical marijuana law and severely limits the legal use of the drug, requiring those who are going to use it to prove that they have a medical need and convince a doctor to issue them the appropriate paperwork to apply for a medical marijuana card.  Even then, there are limits on how much they can possess at one time and who can have access to the drug.

Although there are still movements to legalize marijuana completely, none have so far been successful.  Many lawmakers feel that legalizing marijuana in Arizona would make the state a haven for drug traffic, particularly since other states around Arizona have not yet made the drug legal, even for medical purposes.

The Truth About Medical Marijuana Laws

Despite the urban myths surrounding medical marijuana laws, people who are given medical marijuana cards are held to very strict standards as to how they procure the drug and how they use it.  Briefly, current Arizona medical marijuana laws allow:

  • Patients with an approved condition such as cancer or chronic pain, as documented by a licensed physician, to obtain a medical marijuana card by application to the state.
  • The medical marijuana card allows patients to possess no more than 2.5 ounces at any given time of usable marijuana or, if so designated, twelve growing plants if the patient cultivates his or her own product.
  • Marijuana plants must be contained in a locked facility to which no one but the patient has access.
  • Anyone who is a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient must not be a convicted felon.
  • In order to dispense medical marijuana, the dispensing agent must meet certain state qualifications and must not profit from the dispensation of medical marijuana.

As you can see, this is hardly a law that “legalizes marijuana.”  Furthermore, even though medical marijuana patients are allowed to use the drug under these terms, they can still be arrested under certain circumstances, such as when they are driving.

Medical Marijuana and DUI

One large problem with the medical marijuana laws is that they have done nothing to address the problem of after-the-fact DUIs.  Metabolites of marijuana can remain in the bloodstream for weeks after the drug is ingested or smoked.  Therefore, if a driver is pulled over and tested, he or she may show positive for marijuana even if the person did not smoke for days before the arrest.  Unfortunately, Arizona has done nothing to address this problem at present.

Alex Lane represents those who have been arrested for DUIs involving medical marijuana.  Contact him today for help with your case.

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