Updated on January 3, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Arizona’s medical cannabis program started in 2011, allowing patients suffering from several different medical issues to obtain as much as 2.5 ounces of weed over a two-week period. However, people who violate the law run the risk of being subjected to stiff punishment. Here is some information on the medical marijuana penalties in Arizona, as well as the punishments people face if they use cannabis illegally.
Under Arizona law, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other conditions can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable weed. Patients or their caregivers are allowed to grow as many as 12 marijuana plants, provided those plants are in an enclosed, secured facility and the patient lives 25 miles or more from the closest dispensary. State-licensed dispensaries are operational in Arizona.
Arizona also has a limited reciprocity program. This means that qualifying patients can possess marijuana if they suffer from a qualifying condition and have a medical marijuana registration card — or an equivalent card or document — from another state. However, visiting patients are not allowed to purchase medical cannabis in the state.
Arizona medical marijuana law requires that caregivers are at least 21 years old and have been convicted of a felony offense. Caregivers can serve no more than five medical cannabis patients, but they are not required to provide professional caregiving services, such as assisting in home health.
Arizona marijuana penalties can be harsh for people who break the law. While there are no medical marijuana penalties in Arizona for qualifying patients, non-patients could face anywhere from six months to three years in jail and a fine of as much as $150,000.
Possession of four pounds or more carries a minimum sentence of a year and a half in jail, as well as a maximum fine of $150,000. If someone is convicted of attempting to sell less than two pounds of cannabis, he or she will be sentenced to anywhere from 2.5 to seven years in jail and a fine of as much as $150,000.
Illegal cultivation of less than two pounds of pot is considered a Class 5 felony. Punishments range from six months to 2.5 years in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000. There is, however, the possibility of receiving probation. If that is the case, the defendant will have to serve 240 hours of community service.
Probation is not an option for anyone convicted of cultivating between two and four pounds of weed. This carries a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum 3.75-year sentence.
People who have been convicted for the first time of possessing marijuana may be eligible for a “conditional release” program. This allows the defendant to choose probation rather than going through a trial. If a person can complete the program, his or her criminal record will not include the conviction.
When you visit MarijuanaDoctors.com, you’ll find details about Arizona marijuana laws. You can also search our database to find qualified doctors who can recommend you for medical cannabis if you suffer from one of the approved conditions.