Recreational Arizona Marijuana Laws

The passage of Proposition 207 by voters in Arizona in the Nov. 2020 general election changed how the recreational use of marijuana by adults is treated. Legalizing recreational marijuana has resulted in major changes in some Arizona marijuana laws for marijuana and paraphernalia possession offenses.

While possessing and using small amounts of marijuana by adults who are 21 or older is now legal, you can still face criminal charges if you do not follow the law. To help you understand the new recreational marijuana laws in 2021, Gurion Legal has written this guide.

For Immediate Help

Proposition 207 and Changes to the 2021 Arizona Marijuana Laws

Proposition 207 significantly changed the marijuana laws in Arizona surrounding possession. Before the law was passed, you could be convicted of a Class 6 felony for possessing less than two pounds of marijuana per ARS 13-3405.

Proposition 207 added Chapter 28.2 to Title 36 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. This chapter, known as the responsible adult use of marijuana, includes a number of statutes that affect the rights of people to use marijuana recreationally.

Under ARS 36-2852, adults ages 21 and older can legally possess one ounce or less of marijuana, six or fewer plants, or five grams or less of marijuana concentrate. Violating the law by possessing more than the allowed amount will result in the following penalties:

  • A first offense of possessing from one to two-and-one-half ounces – Civil offense carrying a fine of $100 per ARS 36-2853
  • A second offense of possessing between one and two-and-one-half ounces- Petty offense with the potential being order to attend eight hours of drug classes
  • Third offense of possessing between one and 2.5 ounces – Class one misdemeanor with the potential of up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of up to $2,500

You are prohibited from smoking marijuana in any public place. You are legally allowed to grow up to six plants per person in your residence or a maximum of 12 plants for two or more adults. However, the plants must be kept in a locked, enclosed area away from public view.

What Happens to Pending Marijuana Charges?

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office started dismissing pending cases that involve marijuana offenses covered by Proposition 207.

If you have a pending marijuana possession charge for an amount that is less than what appears in the statute, you can file a motion with the court under ARS 36-2862(G) to ask for the possession charge(s) to be dismissed for offenses occurring before the new law was passed.

Arizona courts are required to dismiss the case with prejudice if the amount you were charged with qualifies. A dismissal with prejudice means that the prosecutor cannot try to prosecute you for the same offense again.

However, if you were charged with other offenses unrelated to marijuana simultaneously, the prosecutor can still prosecute you for those separate offenses.

Possessing Marijuana Paraphernalia

The new laws also legalized the possession of paraphernalia used to consume or cultivate marijuana. Under ARS 13-3415, drug paraphernalia has a broad definition and includes almost anything that might be used for marijuana.

Before Proposition 207 was passed, the police could charge you with a crime if you possessed any type of marijuana paraphernalia, including pipes, bongs, baggies, or growing equipment, unless you had a medical marijuana card. While you can now possess marijuana paraphernalia, you can still be charged with an offense if you are caught with other types of paraphernalia for other illegal drugs.

The new marijuana laws allow you to gift marijuana plants or marijuana to another person who is at least 21. However, you are prohibited from drug sales of marijuana. Only licensed providers are allowed to sell cannabis.

If you sell marijuana, the police can charge you with possessing marijuana with the intent to sell it. This offense can be charged as a Class 6 to a Class 2 felony based on the marijuana’s weight.

Where Marijuana Can Be Used Legally

Smoking or vaping marijuana in public or open areas is prohibited, including places like parks, restaurants, and bars. If you are charged with publicly using marijuana, you will face a petty offense and a fine but no jail sentence.

Public places are defined in ARS 36-601.01 as including most businesses, walkways, and parks. While this law was passed to ban the public use of tobacco, Proposition 207 adopted the same definition for marijuana use. Unlike the Smoke-Free Arizona Act, Proposition 207 does not allow you to smoke marijuana in hotel rooms, including those that allow smoking.

People who smoke tobacco are allowed to smoke cigarettes in a greater number of places than people who smoke marijuana. However, it is not a crime to walk in public while under the influence of marijuana as long as you don’t smoke it in public.

You cannot get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive when you are under the influence of marijuana without potentially being charged for a marijuana DUI charge. It is illegal to ingest marijuana while operating a boat or motor vehicle, and DUIs involving marijuana are frequently prosecuted.

While it is legal for adults to use marijuana recreationally in Arizona, employers in the state are allowed to require their workplaces remain drug-free. If you are caught with marijuana in the workplace, you could be terminated by your employer.

Reasonable Suspicion/Probable Cause Under the New Marijuana Laws

Police officers must have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a violation or criminal offense before stopping and detaining you to investigate. Before an officer can search you or your vehicle, they must have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime.

Before Proposition 207, police officers could use the smell of marijuana as a basis for stops and searches, and it was difficult for people to disprove that officers detected the odor of marijuana. The standard has changed and is now more complex. Distinctions are now drawn between raw and burnt marijuana, and there are also exceptions for people with medical marijuana cards.

Police cannot use the fact that a person possessed marijuana in a legal amount as the reason to support the person’s arrest, search, or detention. The smell of marijuana by itself no longer amounts to reasonable suspicion, with some exceptions.

If an officer stops you for a suspected DUI and smells marijuana from your car, the officer might use that odor as a reason to search your vehicle. They can also detain you while determining other reasons to justify searching your vehicle.

A marijuana attorney at Gurion Legal can review what happened and explain whether or not the DUI exception was properly used when the officer searched your vehicle.

Officers can consider an odor of marijuana under the totality of the circumstances to determine reasonable suspicion. This means that they can consider several observations which together combine to allow the officers to reach a conclusion to investigate further.

Marijuana Expungement – What has Changed in Arizona?

Under ARS 36-2862, people in Arizona who have certain marijuana possession convictions on their records can petition the court for an expungement as of July 12, 2021.

Expungement removes the conviction and arrest record from your criminal record, and employers and others will no longer be able to see this information. The following convictions are eligible for expungement:

  • Transportation, use, or possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 12.5 ounces of marijuana concentrate
  • Cultivation or possession of up to six marijuana plants in your house
  • Transportation, use, or possession of marijuana paraphernalia

The ability to have your record expunged is important. Previously, the only thing you could apply for is a set-aside. Records that are set aside still appear on your record but are designated as set-asides. By contrast, expungement will remove these convictions from your record and potentially provide you with a new start.

Other Effects of Proposition 207

Law enforcement agencies in Arizona have targeted drug offenses for years. Before recreational marijuana was legalized, you could face a felony for possessing a small amount of marijuana. People who have felony convictions on their records have trouble finding jobs, housing, and credit.

Marijuana convictions also can prevent people from receiving housing assistance, financial aid for college, and public benefits. Being able to expunge a marijuana conviction from your record might open all of these areas back up to you.

Talk to an Experienced Marijuana Possession Lawyer

Even though recreational marijuana is now legal, you can still face charges if you sell marijuana or transport or possess more than what is legal. You can also be charged with a DUI if you drive while impaired by marijuana.

If you are facing any type of marijuana charge, you should talk to an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. It is also a good idea for you to get help if you have a past conviction and want to petition for an expungement. Contact the experienced marijuana defense lawyers at Gurion Legal today for help.

What People Say

Client Testimonials


Well, we aren’t finished yet, but already Mr. Gurion has displayed tolerance, patience, and truly gifted knowledge in his advice and guidance for me in regard to a criminal case that is already complicated but made more frustrating, at best, by my conduct (FTA x 2) thus far. On top of that, he brings with him a genuine swagger when entering the courtroom which shows in his actions and ability to to have an amazing working relationship with the prosecutor and judge alike. I’m am truly grateful to have had this gentleman appointed to represent me. Thank You Omer, you have already blessed me more than you could ever know.


We just finished working together after receiving the verdict that we wanted, and I must say that Omer is highly skilled in the court room and very knowledgeable of the law. He was very patient with me every time we met and thoroughly answered all my questions. He was able to adjust his schedule to accommodate me as well as personally represent me at each court hearing that was requested. He communicated quickly and effectively to me and made sure I had a complete understanding before asking what I wanted to do next. Omer was very aggressive, as this case was extremely important to me and I am very fortunate to have had him represent me, thank you Omer!


I worked with Omer for five years. He is always professional and ready to advocate for his clients. He is incredibly knowledgeable on the law and finds creative solutions for complex problems. I would highly recommend Omer Gurion for any criminal case.


Omer Ramiro is top notch criminal defense and is very good at what he does. Omer approached my case weighing out every scenario and fully explaining to me what may or may not happen along the way. He really put me at ease during a trying time in my life and applied the right finesse to get me a very acceptable pla that would have been impossible to get on my own. Truly a great outcome for me and I’m very relieved. Bottom line hes very good and would ask for him by name. I specifically did not initially seek out Omer Ramiro but went to a very respected law firm for representation in a criminal charge against me. I was assigned Omer and I’m very glad for this and would recommend him to anyone needing help. Aside from being good at his job hes actually quite a nice guy also. A+++


Thank you Omer for helping my family and I through the one of the hardest times that we have ever gone through. I had a trial coming up in two weeks in 2 weeks when I made the decision to hire Omer Gurion and that was the best decision I have ever made. Omer prepared himself for my case in only 2 weeks and destroyed the state’s poor case against me. After working with him I can say without a doubt he is undoubtedly one of the best criminal defense attorney’s there is because he is extremely articulate, intelligent and absolutely knows the law inside and out. The jury came back almost immediately with a “not guilty” verdict. I can’t even truly express how relieved I felt at that moment and it is all thanks to Omer and the defense team he works with. I say emphatically that you can count on Omer Gurion.


I was in contact and worked with a couple of attorneys from the Rosenstein Law Group and was provided solid legal services but it wasn’t until I had the privilege of having Mr. Gurion on myside that I felt some bit of peace of mind or a little bit at ease. I’m sure Mr. Gurion had several clients while he was working with me, yet I never felt like just a number to him; I always felt like I was his number one priority. Mr. Gurion was never too busy to reply to an email or answer a call from me. Mr. Gurion was always calm, cool and collected and reassured me that everything was going to be OK for me and my family. Not only did Mr. Gurion reassure me, more importantly he delivered. I am a free man because of Mr. Gurion. If anybody is in need of legal assistance I would without a second thought I would highly recommend Mr. Gurion.


My son had a DUI arrest hanging over his head. We hired Omer to guide us through the process. He carefully outlined and explained all options available. He advised my son on a course of action based on his knowledge of the law and his experience. His advice was spot on. His guidance and responsiveness helped relieve the stress of the situation. We highly recommend Omer. You can put your confidence in him.


September 23, 2019

I was really in trouble and I wentto Rosenstain Law firm because of it was close by my home. Then I met with Omar and he checked my case and told me all of the things gonna happen . However, he trusts himself a lot which is very important for me. First when I received my warrant he directed me very well and took me out of the jail in 2 hours and reduced the bail from 25 k to $500. And at the end case was dismissed. He always believed me and did his best. I am so sad that I did not meet him before. I would highly recommend to work with him because you can just trust him and don’t keep your mind busy with court. He will do anything for you, and he knows what he is doing very well. I appreciate for all of his afford and making my case so easier.


Omer was not only extremely knowledgeable and efficient as an attorney but was very caring and supportive during a very difficult time for our family. Omer even followed up after the resolution to make sure we had everything we needed. I would recommend Omer Gurion highly. Thank you Omer!

Samantha Knobbe

Omer is an excellent lawyer. He is known in the legal community as a skilled and prepared attorney. He is a fierce advocate for his clients.

Samantha Knobbe

Criminal Defense Attorney

One of the best criminal defense attorneys available. Incredibly knowledgeable, compassionate and communicative. Would absolutely recommend for any of your criminal defense needs. One of the best litigators with a client-centered focus. 10/10

Shannon McShay

Everyone at this firm is amazing Lisa is one of the strongest and nicest females on this planet and we need more of those, Omer doesn’t take the easy way out and fights FOR YOU, for a small growing firm they are the best in the business hands down, I have never had to deal with lawyers and attorneys before but I’m glad that this was my experience, having Gurion represent me was the best thing ever and we came out on top thank you guys again for everything!

TJ Stream

DUI Defense
Criminal Defense
Personal Injury
Gurion Legal