Is recreational cannabis legal in Arizona? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Arizona? What about Arizona's CBD laws? Find out in this article.
Home to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Arizona is a popular tourism destination for millions of people each year. The copper state is also home to the renowned Sonoran desert, where the rare saguaro cactus grows.
And while many consider Arizona to be quite arid, the state also has some of the largest national forests in America.
However, marijuana aficionado's will all have one crucial question in mind: Does Arizona allow you to partake in another one of the world's natural wonders; cannabis? Let us explore further in this article to discover more about the laws surrounding marijuana legalization in Arizona.
Is Recreational Weed Legal in Arizona?
Arizona, despite its magnificent natural environmental beauty, is one of the most conservative states in the U.S and has some of the strictest laws regarding Cannabis. As of today, the recreational use of cannabis in Arizona is illegal and has been since 1931.
Possessing anything up to 2 pounds, or 0.9 kilograms is punishable by a maximum fine of $150,000, 2 years of prison, and a felony charge. Possessing any amount is considered a criminal act and will result in a felony however, the severity of the charges depends on the weight in which you're carrying.
Back in the early 1930's Marijuana was outlawed by 29 states, Arizona is one of them, and was labelled as a scheduled 1 controlled substance. At the time, crime rates in the U.S were at an all-time high and there was an influx of immigrants migrating from Mexico. From misinformation and a bevy of propaganda, the government theorized that there was a correlation between crime rates and Mexican immigrants, and these immigrants committed crimes whilst intoxicated by marijuana. This was one of the major excuses the U.S government had for outlawing cannabis and Arizona was in favor of these stricter laws due to its proximity to Mexico.
While Arizona remains strict when it comes to cannabis, the landscape and attitude towards cannabis in Arizona are starting to see change. In November 2016 there was a proposition, labeled prop 205, which intended to make recreational use legal in the state for adults over the age of 21. However, the bill failed to pass as 51 % voted no and 48% voted yes. Close, but no marijuana cigar.
Despite this loss, however, the short distance between these yes and no voters is indicative of a change in attitudes toward marijuana. Moreover, in November 2020, the state will see another marijuana legalization initiative passed through the senate, and if sentiments have continued to change in 2016, Arizona may join the cannabis club along with the other 11 states that have done so.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal In Arizona?
Medical marijuana is in fact legal in Arizona if you have met the criteria regarding medical ailments and have a written prescription from an approved physician.
Obtaining a medical recommendation is simple but the outlying conditions that qualify you for being prescribed cannabis are more severe than those of other states. In order to meet the eligibility, one must have serious ailments such as AIDS, HIV, cancer, hepatitis C, and Crohn's disease. It's not as easy-breezy as having a sore back or insomnia, which actually qualifies as a medical ailment that necessitates medical marijuana in less conservative states like California.
Arizona's debacle over medical marijuana started in 1996 when voters passed a ballot initiative, Prop 200, to legalize medical marijuana. Subsequently, the state overruled the vote and maintained that doctors could not prescribe a schedule 1 narcotic as a medicine. Medical marijuana remained illegal in the state until 2010 when voters, again, passed another initiative – prop 203. Finally, this proposition was successful and rendered cannabis legal under medical licenses in Arizona.
Having a medical marijuana card in Arizona permits a patient to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower every fortnight and grow up to 12 plants.
It is important to keep in mind that even while having a medical card one cannot light up in public spaces, especially in national parks. So, no blazing while gazing in the Grand Canyon.
Is CBD Legal In Arizona?
Similar to all 50 states in the U.S, purchasing and possessing hemp-derived CBD is legal in the state of Arizona, just as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC. However, one cannot simply grow their own hemp in hopes of manufacturing CBD as cultivation without a prescription is illegal.
Thanks to the Farm Bill in 2018, the U.S legalized hemp cultivation and distribution, which effectively legalized hemp-derived CBD on a federal level too.
You can now get CBD oils, topicals, edibles, and beverages, each of which will give you some of the medical properties of cannabis, without the THC that gets you high.
However, it is important to keep in mind that even though possession and use are legal, one still needs a license authorized from the department of agriculture in order to cultivate hemp and extract CBD from it. So think twice before you jump the gun and try to start your own hemp farm.
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