To the benefit of patients who use marijuana to help alleviate their medical issues, Arizona has incorporated provisions of the Medical Marijuana Act. The Medical Marijuana Act is governed by the Arizona Department of Health Services. If the dispensary is licensed, the patient receives a recommendation from a licensed physician and the patient receives no more than the maximum amount of marijuana allowed under Arizona law, then everything should be considered legal. The Medical Marijuana Act applies to marijuana as well as edible marijuana.
The issue my office sees is when people who do not have a valid medical marijuana card are in possession of marijuana or edible marijuana. As you may know, even though Arizona has incorporated provisions of the Medical Marijuana Act, if a person does not have a prescription or recommendation, they are an illegal possessor. If they are an illegal possessor, they will still be arrested and prosecuted for possession of marijuana.
Arizona law distinguishes marijuana from marijuana extract. Marijuana extract is considered a “dangerous drug.” Because of the strong taste, marijuana is rarely used when making edibles; instead, bakers use marijuana extract or cannabis.
If a person is arrested, caught baking or selling marijuana edibles, and they don’t have a medical marijuana card or they are selling to people without marijuana cards, they will be charged with a dangerous drug and could end up spending several years in prison.
As a criminal defense lawyer, I cannot understand why it is perfectly legal to bake, sell and possess edible marijuana, but if you don’t have a card, you could face several years in prison. A conviction for simple possession of marijuana is eligible for probation, but possessing edibles has a presumptive prison sentence of 3.5 years.
If you don’t have a card and you are making or buying edible marijuana, be careful. My office knows everything about the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and would be glad to answer your questions should you have a run in with the law. If you don’t need us at the moment, but have questions, you are more than welcome to call – we would be glad to help.