Arizona: Medical Marijuana & DUI In Arizona

Author: Attorney Marc J. Victor

Arizona State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
Experienced in Criminal law for over 24 years.
www.AttorneysForFreedom.com

Despite the existence of voter supported medical marijuana laws in Arizona, the current trends towards legalization nationally and the total failure of the foolish “drug war,” controversy about the legalization of marijuana remains. Indeed, criminal prosecutions involving marijuana remain as aggressive as ever. Horrible injustice regarding marijuana possession, sales, production, and transportation remains alive and well in Arizona’s courts.

From my vantage-point as a criminal defense attorney for over twenty years, it seems to me prosecutors have become more aggressive in criminal marijuana prosecutions and plea offers have become even more harsh and immoral. I suspect the reason for this increase in harshness towards marijuana users is part of an intentional effort to make it appear as if marijuana crimes are on the rise in preparation for the inevitable battle over recreational use of marijuana in Arizona. Don’t be fooled!

In this unjust and overly harsh climate for marijuana users, heightened awareness of the existing laws is critical. Medical marijuana users sometimes forget that an Arizona medical marijuana card does not protect the cardholder from a criminal prosecution for driving while impaired to the slightest degree as a result of marijuana use. Indeed, under current Arizona law, even the slightest impairment from marijuana or the active metabolite of marijuana in a user’s blood will support a DUI conviction; even for a legal medical marijuana user. Said another way, the existence of a valid medical marijuana card does not protect a user from a DUI.

In addition to DUI laws, which remain applicable to legal medical marijuana users, there are also several other potential traps and yet unresolved issues of which medical marijuana users need to be aware. Users who are legally authorized to cultivate are routinely prosecuted for having more than 2.5oz of marijuana in their possession despite the fact that twelve legal marijuana plants will almost certainly produce an amount far in excess of 2.5oz. Lots of unresolved legal issues surround medical marijuana users and guns.

Portions of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act have already been determined in court to be vague and unreasonably difficult to understand for the ordinary person. Whether anyone can “sell” marijuana or receive reimbursement for marijuana remains an unclear and unresolved question. Even technical violations of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act can invalidate all legal protections and pave the way for a criminal prosecution.

Despite the fact there are many issues still unresolved for medical marijuana users, undercover officers have been dispatched in force to lure legal marijuana users into violating some unclear or even technical aspect of the Act so as to allow criminal prosecution. The fact that a legal medical marijuana user was intending in good faith to follow the law is generally irrelevant in a criminal prosecution.

All people are always required to follow all laws; regardless of their erroneous but good faith views about complying with the law. We all know ignorance of the law is no excuse. Medical marijuana users are well advised to proceed with extreme caution and avoid pushing the limits of the yet unresolved edges of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

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Author Bios

Canada
Matt Maurer – Minden Gross
Jeff Hergot – Wildboer Dellelce LLP

Costa Rica
Tim Morales – The Cannabis Industry Association Costa Rica

Nicaragua
Elvin Rodríguez Fabilena

USA

General
Julie Godard
Carl L Rowley -Thompson Coburn LLP

Arizona
Jerry Chesler – Chesler Consulting

California
Ian Stewart – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Otis Felder – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Lance Rogers – Greenspoon Marder – San Diego
Jessica McElfresh -McElfresh Law – San Diego
Tracy Gallegos – Partner – Fox Rothschild

Colorado
Adam Detsky – Knight Nicastro
Dave Rodman – Dave Rodman Law Group
Peter Fendel – CMR Real Estate Network
Nate Reed – CMR Real Estate Network

Florida
Matthew Ginder – Greenspoon Marder
David C. Kotler – Cohen Kotler

Illinois
William Bogot – Fox Rothschild

Massachusetts
Valerio Romano, Attorney – VGR Law Firm, PC

Nevada
Neal Gidvani – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder
Phillip Silvestri – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder

Tracy Gallegos – Associate Fox Rothschild

New Jersey

Matthew G. Miller – MG Miller Intellectual Property Law LLC
Daniel T. McKillop – Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

New York
Gregory J. Ryan, Esq. Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Tim Nolen Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Oregon
Paul Loney & Kristie Cromwell – Loney Law Group
William Stewart – Half Baked Labs

Pennsylvania
Andrew B. Sacks – Managing Partner Sacks Weston Diamond
William Roark – Principal Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin
Joshua Horn – Partner Fox Rothschild

Washington DC
Teddy Eynon – Partner Fox Rothschild