Voters effectively made Arizona the 14th state to adopt a medical marijuana law with the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) in November 2010. The AMMA went into effect on April 14, 2011, which legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, but not recreational use.
As of January 2017, the Arizona Department of Health Services has more than 120,000 active medical marijuana cardholders recorded in the state. Some cardholders are students, faculty members or visitors of Arizona universities, which have their own set of rules regarding marijuana. If you’re among this group, it’s important you know the legal ramifications of possessing and/or using medical marijuana on Arizona campuses, including whether you may need help from a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer.
Legalities of Marijuana Medical Cards and Campus
More than half the states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana; a few have even legalized marijuana for recreational use. However, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Consequently, schools must comply with federal laws or they could lose vital federal grants and funding.
While most colleges simply ban marijuana on campus, Arizona stands out for its strict drug laws. They issued an AMMA revision called the campus-ban statute in 2012. This statute made Arizona the only state where medical marijuana was illegal on college campuses, even though use within the state makes it legal. One Arizona college student learned in 2014 this statute meant possessing even minuscule amounts of medical marijuana on campus was a class 6 felony. Contact us today if you have any further questions.
Fortunately, this student’s conviction was overturned on April 6, 2017, when an appellate court ruled that this statute violated protections for voter-approved laws. This meant lawmakers couldn’t make it a crime to possess medical marijuana on campus. However, colleges and universities could prohibit marijuana possession and usage to protect their federal funding.
The AMMA forbids criminalization of medical marijuana possession on school property; it doesn’t change the fact that schools can regulate items brought onto its property. Therefore, you still can’t possess cannabis at colleges and universities with an internal policy banning it on campus.
The AMMA prevents you from criminal possession charges; but if you violate a college or university policy banning marijuana on the premises, you could be removed from the property or potentially charged with trespassing, even with marijuana medical cards. The Arizona Legislature is also free to create non-criminal laws prohibiting marijuana usage on campuses. So, don’t face the courts by yourself.
Hire a Top Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you face accusations or have been arrested for a drug-related crime at an Arizona University, call an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at the Lerner & Rowe Law Group for a free consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call at 602-667-7777. So, don’t wait and contact us today. We look forward to helping you every step of the way.