Penalties For Marijuana Possession, Use, Or Possession For Sale In Arizona


Arizona considers marijuana to be separate from any other kind of drug – it is neither a dangerous drug nor a narcotic. Marijuana charges are simple – the law says you cannot knowingly possess or use marijuana. Though even simple possession can be charged as a felony, it’s usually charged as a misdemeanor in the state of Arizona. The penalties depend on the type of marijuana-related charge and the amount of marijuana involved.

The Difference Between Possession And Possession For Sale

Possession of marijuana encompasses marijuana in its pure form or any derivative of marijuana. This includes THC concentrates that one might smoke with a vaporizer pen, THC edible goods (like brownies or gummies), wax, and resin. Possession assumes personal use, rather than that an individual is selling the marijuana they were found with. Any amount below two pounds (which is a fairly large amount) will usually be considered possession for personal use depending on other circumstances.

For quantities of marijuana above two pounds, the charge will usually be possession for sale. Such a large amount of marijuana typically signifies that the person was dealing in it rather than exclusively using it. While it is difficult to do, an excellent lawyer can prove that a larger quantity of marijuana was for personal use rather than distribution, more or less exhibiting that the person in possession of marijuana purchased a personal supply in bulk. Possession of four pounds or more requires a mandatory minimum prison sentence, but anything below four pounds leaves some room for interpretation. This defense might reduce the charges if no evidence of being for sale is presented alongside the large quantity of marijuana.

The Legal Penalties For Possession Of Marijuana

Some marijuana charges are eligible for Prop 200 sentences. According to Prop 200, non-violent drug offenders should be given a little bit of a break for first or second offenses. This doesn’t apply to people with multiple previous drug convictions, people who were convicted for selling drugs, people who were convicted for introducing contraband into a prison, violent felons, or people who were caught for felony driving under the influence.

If you had a smooth arrest for possession of less than 2 pounds of marijuana less than three times, the judge usually cannot send you to prison. Probation and mandatory treatment programs may take the place of prison time. If these requirements are completed in a timely manner and without violation, the individual convicted will never be sentenced to time behind bars. Repeat offenders, violent offenders, or people selling marijuana won’t have the same luck.

Probation Violations For Marijuana Charges

If you were given probation and treatment for your possession charge, things become more complicated if you violate that probation. Most commonly, violations stem from failing a urine test. When an individual is violated, he or she is temporarily placed in jail until a judge reinstates the sentence, and the process starts all over again. The violation itself is a separate charge that can lead to up to six months in jail. However, there is a way to avoid serving time.

Violation charges can sometimes be brought down to misdemeanors with the help of a diligent attorney. Some people are eligible for an alternative resolution called the TASC program. These programs can be difficult to get into, and it almost always requires the help of a competent lawyer. People with previous drug convictions and people who have already attended a TASC program cannot utilize this option.

The TASC program takes anywhere between 3 and 6 months to complete, and successful completion of the program can lead to the dismissal of charges. As part of the terms of the TASC program, eligible adults will need to attend a weekend seminar on drug and alcohol abuse, submit to random urine screenings at least once every month, and pay fees. These fees top out at $700, but may be as little as $300. It’s a small price to pay to avoid jail time.

Defenses Against Marijuana Possession Charges

The biggest part of the charge is the “knowingly” part of the law. The prosecution needs to prove that you knowingly possessed marijuana. If the drugs were found in a space that belonged to you (such as a car or an apartment), it needs to be proven that you were aware you were in possession of that marijuana. If you have a roommate, a friend, a guest, or an acquaintance in your space (or borrowing your car), this individual may have left their marijuana behind.

The amount of drug within the substance can also be called into question. Five pounds of THC edibles does not actually contain five pounds of THC, for example. Many procedural and testing protocols can be called into question – it all depends on the circumstances of the case.

Getting An Aggressive Attorney

Whether you are defending yourself against a marijuana possession charge or you’re looking to become a part of the TASC program, the Law Office Doug Taylor in Tucson can help you. You can contact us now for a free consultation so we may explore your options. Acting now can help you avoid jail time.