Details of Arizona's Marijuana Laws
Simple Possession: In Arizona, convictions for possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia is a criminal offense and may be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony, at the discretion of the State.
Incarceration cannot be imposed for a first or second offense, but probation may be imposed and drug treatment or education may be required, especially if it is a second offense. While unlikely, in some cases, persons on probation must also submit to urine drug tests as a condition of their probation. Beginning with the third offense, incarceration is at the discretion of the judge.
Sales/Cultivation: Convictions for marijuana offenses related to the sale, possession for sale, and cultivation are punishable by imprisonment, but probation may be granted at the discretion of the judge for the first offense. After that, prison time is mandatory unless a plea agreement is reached that specifically calls for probation.
Early Release: With the exception of school zone cases, a person sentenced to prison is eligible for early release after serving approximately 85% of the total prison sentence.
School Zone Enhancement: Possession or sale within 300 feet of a school, on any public property within 1000 feet of any school, at any school bus stop or on any bus transporting pupils to or from school adds an additional one year to any prison sentence and anyone sentenced to prison is not eligible for early release (parole).
Marijuana DUI: Prior to the passage of Prop 207, Arizona had a zero-tolerance law enacted. This means that drivers were forbidden from operating a motor vehicle if they have any detectable level of marijuana in their system, as indicated by the presence of THC metabolites (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) in their bodily fluids. It was not necessary for the State to prove that the presence of THC metabolites caused any impairment; instead, the State turned the tables and improperly put the burden on the defendants to prove they were not impaired.
Under Prop 207, the standard for all marijuana users (medical and adult recreational) is “impaired to the slightest degree”.