Marijuana Laws Vary from State to State

by DCantor on April 30, 2012

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Marijuana possession amounts and penalties vary from state to state in the US. In some states simple possession of less than 1 ounce could be a simple misdemeanor and the same amount in another state could be a felony. Most drug defense lawyers will tell you that as more and more states are considering or have pass laws regarding medical marijuana the situation regarding marijuana laws is fluid. Not every state has medical marijuana laws on the books and even the states that do have guidance around medical marijuana their view often vary.

In the State of Arizona, we recently passed a medical marijuana law for terminally and chronically ill patients. These patients must be stricken by a debilitating disease or have a serious illness like cancer. The reason I bring this up is because they also have medical marijuana provisions in the State of California. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a California medical marijuana card will give you a free pass in Arizona. Another example of how the laws regarding marijuana are in flux is that in Arizona they have legalized the use of marijuana for medical use. You have two options for obtaining your prescription, 1) grow your own plants, and 2) purchase the pot from a licensed dispensary. Currently, the state has not licensed any dispensaries which means if you are to lawfully obtain your prescription you’ll need to grow your own plants.

For example, you are pulled over for speeding and the cop finds a marijuana cigarette in your car. As the law is currently written, you will need to prove that you obtained the cigarette through one of the legally afforded options and since there are no dispensaries you must have grown it yourself. A drug lawyer will tell you that as things currently stand in Arizona, just because you have a medical marijuana card it does not mean you can purchase the pot off the street and still be legal. You can still be charged with unlawful possession of marijuana mainly because you did not acquire it in the appropriate manner.

As you can see from those examples, it is of utmost importance to understand the marijuana laws in your state. Do not take a medical marijuana card for granted, just because you have a card still means you need to understand and abide by the rules that govern the state no matter how absurd they may seem.

This blog post was provided by the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor. for more information on drug crimes in Arizona, please see their website:



David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, practicing Criminal Defense in Arizona. The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor is an AV rated law firm in Phoenix, AZ.

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