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Smart & Safe Arizona and Marijuana Law in Arizona

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On Nov 3, 2020, Arizona became the 13th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older when the state’s voters passed Prop 207 by 60% to 40%. The new law will be known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (SSAA).

Marijuana possession, cultivation and use officially became legal for adults 21 and older on Nov 30, 2020 when Secretary of State certified the Prop 207 ballots. On January 22, dispensaries started legally selling marijuana to adults 21 and older. Adults can buy up to one ounce of marijuana daily from a dispensary, with no more than 5 grams being concentrates (extracts).

The SSAA should not affect the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act that was approved by voters in 2010. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) oversees the state’s medical and recreational marijuana industries.

18 facts about the Smart and Safe Arizona Act:

1. Adults 21 and older are be able to possess 1 ounce of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of it being marijuana concentrates (extracts).

2. Limits home cultivation to 6 plants at an individual’s primary residence and 12 plants at a residence where two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old reside at one time.

3. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) oversees the recreational marijuana industry.

4. A 16% excise tax (the same as cigarettes and alcohol) is placed on recreational marijuana products. Money from the excise tax will fund various state agencies and be dispersed between community college districts, police and fire departments, and the Highway User fund.

5. Marijuana use remains illegal in public places (restaurants, parks, sidewalks, etc). Offenders are guilty of a petty offense.

6. No marijuana products can be sold that imitate brands marketed to children or look like humans, animals, insects, fruits, toys or cartoons.

7. Marijuana edibles are limited to a maximum of 10mg of THC per edible, and limited to a maximum of 100mg of THC per package of edibles.

8. Employers have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.

9. Driving, flying or boating impaired to even the slightest degree by marijuana remains illegal (i.e., zero tolerance rule).

10. Marijuana testing facilities test marijuana for harmful contaminants (i.e., pesticides, molds, etc).

11. “Qualified early applicants” (qualifications are currently undetermined) can apply for a recreational dispensary license (approx. 145 licenses will be available) with the ADHS. Any remaining or additional licenses will be provided by random selection.

12. The ADHS may issue a marijuana establishment license (recreational marijuana dispensary license) to no more than two recreational dispensaries per county that contains no medical marijuana dispensaries, or one recreational dispensary license per county that contains one medical marijuana dispensary (the ADHS will accept applications from Jan 19, 2021 – Mar 9, 2021).

13. On or before April 5, 2021, medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana to adults until the ADHS issues licenses for recreational dispensaries.

14. Medical marijuana dispensaries that obtain a recreational marijuana dispensary license(s) could operate both entities in the same/shared location.

15. Possessing more than one ounce but less than 2.5 ounces is be a petty offense. Minors caught with less than one ounce receive up to a $100 fine and four hours of drug counseling for a first offense. A second offense is up to a $100 fine and eight hours of drug counseling. A third offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

16. Smoking in a public place is a petty offense.

17. On or after Jan 1, 2023, the ADHS can adopt rules to permit recreational marijuana deliveries.

18. Beginning on July 12, 2021, people convicted previously of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six or fewer plants or paraphernalia can petition to have the record expunged.

New Cannabis Law in Arizona

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Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC2.0 Modified

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