Medical Marijuana Arrests

In 2010, Arizona voters passed an initiative making it state law to allow cannabis for medical purposes. With a doctor's recommendation for treating a debilitating medical condition, Arizonans can legally posses up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and have up to 12 plants if not living within 25 miles of a state-licensed dispensary.

However, the new law has faced resistance from state officials, and people who have a legal right to possess marijuana under the law have been arrested. Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act. And, if you are confused about the statute and inadvertently break the law, you may be arrested and charged with possession or another drug crime, regardless of your intentions.

Tempe Medical Marijuana Lawyer

If you are arrested in the Tempe area for any crime relating to medical marijuana, you can have a Tempe medical marijuana lawyer fighting for you. Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney James Novak will be your advocate during any criminal proceedings and will strive to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call the Law Office of James E. Novak today at (480) 413-1499 for a free consultation about your medical marijuana charges.

James Novak represents clients throughout the Tempe area, including Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale and East Valley.

Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws

Under the 2010 law, Arizona residents who have a condition on a list the state maintains, including cancer, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, hepatitis C, or a chronic medical condition that causes severe pain or nausea, can apply online for a qualifying patient card after obtaining written certification on a state form from their physician. Applicants must pay a $150 fee for the card, or $75 if the applicant is on SNAP benefits.

Within 10 working days, if the patient qualifies, the Arizona Department of Public Health will issue a card to the person. The card allows the patient to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana or 12 cannabis plants. The patient may not smoke marijuana in a public place or other places designated by law.

If you do not live within 25 miles of a state-licensed dispensary, you may be approved by the Department of Public Health to cultivate up to 12 plants in an enclosed, locked facility. You must be approved by the department to grow the plants. If you do live near a dispensary, you are only allowed to obtain 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

If you need assistance in either using, obtaining or cultivating medical marijuana, a friend or family member may apply to become a designated caregiver. The designated caregiver is allowed to possess the marijuana to assist you in using it, but it not allowed to use it.

Only qualified, licensed dispensaries may distribute medical marijuana to patients. To become a licensed dispensary, a facility must apply, pay thousands of dollars in nonrefundable fees and follow very strict guidelines.

Resistance to Marijuana Laws by Arizona Officials

Proposition 203, as it was called in 2010, faced significant opposition from state and local officials in Arizona, and these officials were largely displeased when voters passed the proposition. Since its passage, elected officials, including Gov. Jan Brewer, have sued to overturn the law. The situation has created confusion for law enforcement, and qualified patients with a legal right to carry marijuana have been arrested for possession.

If you're a qualified medical marijuana user who has been arrested for possession despite your legal status, a Tempe marijuana defense lawyer will be able to help you. Many medical marijuana users have had their charges dismissed after their lawyers are able to present the facts of their case.

Tempe Marijuana Laws Still Applicable

The qualifying patient card only creates a narrow exemption for patients to possess and use 2.5 ounces. If you possess any more, you may face possession charges, including jail time and serious fines. You are not allowed, under the law, to buy marijuana from anyone other than a licensed dispensary or grow marijuana unless you are authorized by the Department of Public Health. If you are not a licensed dispensary following specific procedures, you are not allowed to sell marijuana.

Additionally, marijuana is still a federally banned substance, even if you are a qualified patient or dispensary under state law. Federal officials can still arrest you for violating federal law, and you can be charged in federal court.

The fact that marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes does not change DUI laws. If you are found to be driving under the influence of marijuana, you may face charges of DUI. If you admit to have been legally using marijuana during a traffic stop, officers may arrest you whether or not you can still feel any effects. Prosecutors still must prove you are under the influence, though. A marijuana DUI defense lawyer can help you fight the charges.

The Law Office of James E. Novak | Maricopa County Medical Cannabis Attorney

If you've been arrested for marijuana charges, despite being a qualified patient, the Law Office of James E. Novak can represent you. We’ll fight for your rights and seek the best possible result, which may mean the charges are dismissed. Call us today at (480) 413-1499, and we'll set up a free consultation to discuss your medical marijuana charges.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(840) 413-1499