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The New Marijuana Laws in Arizona Affect Family Law

Marijuana and a gavel together for many legal concepts on the drug.

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”4.9.2″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]In November of 2020, Prop 207 was passed in Arizona. When the law went into effect, it means that marijuana for personal use was decriminalized and that it was now legal for personal use. Previously, Arizona allowed only medical marijuana to be used. Today, as long as someone is at least 21 years old, they are allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana without any fear of legal repercussions. Additionally, they are allowed to have up to six marijuana plants in their home, and less than six per person with up to 12 plants in a household.
Dispensaries are set to open in March and April of 2021, which will make it possible for people to have easier access to marijuana. It remains illegal to sell marijuana to someone else unless it happens through a licensed dispensary. To get a dispensary license, the business has to go through the Arizona Department of Health Services. Giving marijuana to someone is considered legal, though, as long as it’s not sold.
Restrictions on Marijuana Use
Of course, there are still certain restrictions when it comes to marijuana usage in Arizona. It is illegal to use marijuana in public in most cases, for example. It can’t be smoked in public, but it can be taken as an edible, such as a gummy. Additionally, to grow marijuana, it has to be done inside your home. You can’t grow it outside in your garden, which means you will need to have the tools and equipment to grow indoors.
It is also illegal to drive while on marijuana. Users can be convicted of a DUI if they have an active metabolite in their system. There is no “legal limit” in Arizona, so the court has to prove that there was an active metabolite and that it impaired the driver’s ability behind the wheel. Proving impairment can often be difficult, but it’s likely that there will be more and more marijuana DUI cases in the coming years as more people are partaking. Even though marijuana is legal, DUI cases will affect family law cases.
How Could This Affect Family Law Cases?
Many factors can affect family law cases, including drug and alcohol usage. Now that marijuana has been legalized, it’s important to consider the ways that it could affect these types of cases. According to family law, if one of the parents has had a drug or alcohol conviction in the previous 12 months, there’s a presumption against joint legal decision-making. Since marijuana is legal, it means no convictions for that drug.
The use of edibles could cause problems, too. The edibles are typically gummies, candies, cookies, brownies, etc. These are items that children see as treats, and some children are getting into their parents’ recreational edibles. What types of consequences could come into play now? Would it be treated like a child gaining access to alcohol?
There has also been an increase in the number of pending marijuana cases being dismissed by prosecuting agencies. Other types of cases, including cases where someone sold marijuana, are being reduced in some instances. Those who have personal marijuana convictions are applying to the court to have the charges dismissed and expunged, which is new. Previously, there was no expungement in the state. Now, with expungement available, it could wipe the conviction from the record.
In the past, parents with these types of convictions would often have limited say in the parenting of their children. It was left to the children’s other parent. Now, with the ability to remove these convictions from the record, it can allow parents to have equal rights to how the children are raised and in the decision-making process. Those who are going through a family law case or divorce should make it a point to consider trying to get the conviction expunged.
There is an interesting point in what types of charges could stick even if the marijuana possession is removed from the record. For example, when people are arrested for possession, they are usually charged with drug paraphernalia, as well. Paraphernalia could be anything that’s used to store, use, or ingest illegal drugs. Since they are connected and are typically put together, expungement of one would likely remove the other. However, when there is another charge, such as a traffic offense, the traffic charge could stay. It will take time to see exactly how the legal system unfolds.
Another question that is bound to come up in the courts will be about how child endangerment and marijuana use are handled. It’s likely to follow a similar path to other cases with drugs that are already legal, such as alcohol and prescription medications. These issues are already litigated, and it would make sense for the courts to use a similar line of thinking when it comes to marijuana and family law cases.
Of course, it will often depend on the trial judges. They will have their own views on the subject and will need to determine whether it is being abused and whether it is affecting their ability to care for their children. Judges will need to determine how and when they are using, where they are using, etc. Certain judges may also have their biases for or against marijuana use.
What Should People Do?
Those who have been convicted of possession or use of marijuana in the past should make it a point to get in touch with an attorney. Expungement is a good and viable option that could help a lot of people regardless of how long ago they were convicted.
With the new laws, it should be relatively easy for many people to have these cases expunged from their records. This can help them in the family courts, help them to find employment, and more. Working with a good attorney who knows and understands the changes to the laws in Arizona is one of the best things that people can do. Having these cases expunged could help them to change their life for the better.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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