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Could Marijuana Legalization Affect Family Law in Arizona?

Modern Law

Many states have legalized marijuana usage in recent years. Often, the path to legalization begins with medical marijuana, as it did in Arizona. After this happens, it often leads to the legalization of recreational use. In November 2020, Arizona voters passed Prop 207. This law has decriminalized marijuana in the state, making it legal to possess and use. Of course, there are still certain restrictions, which will be discussed later.
When the law was first passed and implemented, there were no locations in the state selling anything other than medical marijuana. The first few months of 2021 were about getting legal dispensaries set up, and the first of these to offer recreational marijuana were the medical dispensaries. They were already in place and running, so it was easy for them. Other dispensaries will become available in March 2020 and later, but they all need to get a dispensary license through the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Legalization and Family Law

Many were happy with the legalization of marijuana and thought it was overdue. However, it’s also important to consider just how legalization could affect family law in the state. Drug and alcohol use and abuse can affect how a family law case plays out, and with marijuana made legal, there could be some changes.
In Arizona, divorced parents will often have joint legal decision-making for their children. This means that both of the parents can make legal decisions for their children. However, those who have had a drug or alcohol conviction in the past 12 months will not be able to make those legal decisions for their child. With the legalization of marijuana, there will be no more marijuana convictions for possession or usage.
Additionally, many of the cases that were pending are being dismissed because they now have no basis. Parents who thought they would no longer have the right to make decisions for their children will not have to worry. Furthermore, there are many cases—including old cases—that are being expunged from the records of those who were convicted in the past. This means that the conviction will be erased from their record, so parents who may not have had legal decision-making rights for their child for several years will now regain that right.
The fact that cases are being expunged is interesting because Arizona is not a state where that typically happens. Changes in the political climate could be causing the change, and it is something that those who have been convicted in the past will want to consider. It’s relatively easy to get the old convictions expunged.
When someone is arrested for a marijuana charge, they will often have other charges that are coupled with it. For example, they may have a paraphernalia charge if they have items used to smoke or ingest the marijuana, or if they have a storage container for it. In these cases, the paraphernalia charges will likely be removed as well since the substance that requires them is no longer illegal. However, in cases where there was violence involved or a DUI, it’s not likely those particular charges will be expunged, just the marijuana conviction.

The Current Marijuana Restrictions

Although marijuana is legal for recreational use, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still certain restrictions on that usage. It is important to understand these restrictions for anyone who is considering using marijuana and who wants to stay within the bounds of the law.
For starts, you will need to be at least 21 years old if you are going to possess marijuana and use it. Additionally, you are only allowed to have up to one ounce of marijuana on your person.
You could also grow marijuana if you choose. However, there are restrictions to this. You can have up to six plants in your home. If multiple people are living in the home, there can be up to 12 plants in the house, but no one person can have more than six. If you are growing, it needs to be done inside of the house, so you will need indoor grow equipment. It is still illegal to keep it in the yard.
You should also understand that even though it’s legal for you to possess and grow marijuana, it is not legal for you to sell it unless you have a dispensary license. You can, however, give marijuana away if you choose. It just can’t be sold.
There are other restrictions, too. You can smoke in your home, but you can’t smoke in public. Yet, you are allowed to use edibles in public, such as cookies or a gummy. Because marijuana is still a drug, you are not allowed to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Most experts believe that the instances of DUIs for marijuana will increase in the coming years as more people start using it. However, it can be hard to prove impairment from marijuana. Still, getting arrested for a DUI can affect family law cases, so you will always want to be careful.
Parents should also make it a point to be careful with the marijuana they keep in the house. This is particularly true of edibles and children. Often, children don’t realize that they shouldn’t have those gummy bears or that brownie. This could prove to be dangerous, and it could lead to accusations of child endangerment that could hurt the parent in a family law case. Being safe is always better than being sorry.

What Should Parents Do?

If you have been convicted of marijuana possession or use charges in the past, it might be time that you had that removed from your record. This will help to ensure that you can have more say in your child’s life. Expungement is a good solution that can be used even if it has been years since you had the conviction. Working with a good attorney can help you get the conviction removed easily and relatively quickly.

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