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Hold That Bud

Just a few years ago, marijuana was uniformly considered a dangerous narcotic all throughout the country. Now, that perspective is shifting. In Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, marijuana is completely legal for both recreational and medical use. In other states, only medical usage has been legalized. Here in Arizona, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”) has made marijuana use for medical purposes legal under Arizona law.

Without a legitimate prescription for marijuana, being caught with it is still a serious matter. Under the Controlled Substance Act, 21 U.S.C Section 801, marijuana remains illegal under federal law for almost any purpose, including most medical research. More than that, Arizona's marijuana possession laws are some of the harshest in the country and is always considered a felony offense.

Penalties for marijuana possession in Arizona include:

  • Less than 2 lbs: max. fine of $150,000 and max. jail time of 2 years
  • 2 lbs - less than 4 lbs: max. fine of $150,000 and max. jail time of 30 months
  • Over 4 lbs: max. fine of $150,000 and max. jail time of 45 months

Federal Charges

Interestingly, the federal government has also resisted reforming its classification of marijuana. As it stands at the time of this writing, cannabis is considered a Schedule I narcotic by federal law enforcement agencies, placing it in the same category as heroin.

However, this may all change. The Department of Justice is expected to announce whether it will reclassify marijuana sometime this year. Not only has there been many official recommendations to do so by other agencies, but many advocates and lawmakers have backed the reclassification, as well. Whether or not the DoJ will act on these recommendations is yet to be seen.

If you have been caught in possession of marijuana, it is critical that you seek capable and aggressive legal counsel. At the Law Offices of Randall J. Craig, I have defended numerous clients from marijuana possession charges. As a former prosecutor, I know how our court system processes the accused in these cases and how to slow down that process and ensure that my clients get every consideration they deserve before the judge.

Don't be just another case number. Call my firm today to start exploring your legal options.