ARIZONA PROP 207 MARIJUANA EXPUNGEMENTS
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Arizona Proposition 207 first appeared on the voter ballot on the November 3rd Arizona general election ballot in 2020. Another name for it is the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. It passed with approximately 60% of the vote. According to the Arizona Judicial Branch, it “allowed the legalization, taxation, and recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and over.” Arizona Prop 207 has changed the way that Arizona handles marijuana-related criminal records and outlines who is eligible to have those records expunged.
So, is weed legal in Arizona? As of 2020, it is legal for recreational use by adults aged 21 and up.
If you’re aiming to have your marijuana conviction expunged in Arizona, you need to work with a licensed legal professional to ensure that your case is handled properly. The Phoenix criminal defense lawyers at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group are here to offer qualified legal help. To jumpstart the process of having your marijuana convictions expunged, contact our Phoenix law office as soon as possible. Call 602-910-4040 to schedule an appointment with us today.
Arizona Proposition 207: Marijuana Legalization Initiative
According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the Smart and Safe Act in Arizona was a ballot measure that legalized adult recreational marijuana use. Specifically, Arizona voters approved the ballot measure for adults 21 and over. It legalized marijuana in the following ways:
- Adults 21 and over may possess up to 1 oz of marijuana.
- No more than 5 g of this may be in the form of marijuana concentrate.
- Adults 21 and over may have up to 6 marijuana plants in their homes.
- For homes in which there are two or more adults, up to 12 plants are allowed.
After the November 3, 2020 election was certified, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office began taking steps to dismiss any and all pending cases in the county. They dismissed pending cases which would have been covered by the new laws aside from their dates.
Additionally, Proposition 207 allowed those convicted as juveniles for possessing, transporting, cultivating, or processing marijuana to apply for expungement under ARS 36-2862.
This outlines the “allowable possession and personal use of marijuana, marijuana products, and marijuana paraphernalia” in Arizona. The following actions have been legalized for those who are 21 years or older.
- Possessing, consuming, purchasing, processing, manufacturing, or transporting up to 1 ounce of marijuana. No more than 5 grams of this may be in a form of marijuana concentrate.
- Possessing, transporting, cultivating, or processing no more than 6 marijuana plants for personal use at that individual’s primary residence.
- Processing and manufacturing exclude chemical extraction or chemical synthesis.
- At a residence where two or more adults are 21 years or older, there may be up to 12 plants produced.
- Cultivation must occur in a closet, room, or greenhouse with a security device that prevents minors from entering the area.
- The plants must not be visible to the public without the use of optical aids.
- Transferring up to one ounce of marijuana, with no more than 5 grams as marijuana concentrate, to another person 21 or older.
- This transfer must not be paid for or promoted to the public.
- Transferring up to 6 plants to another person 21 or older.
- This transfer must not be paid for or promoted to the public.
- Acquiring, possessing, manufacturing, using, purchasing, selling, or transporting items related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing, or consumption of marijuana products.
- Assisting another person who is at least 21 years old with the actions described in the above sections.
NOTE: It is still illegal under ARS 28-1381 to operate a vehicle if the person is impaired to the slightest degree by marijuana use. Smelling marijuana no longer constitutes reasonable suspicion of a crime unless a law enforcement officer believes that section 28-1381 is being violated.
Beginning on July 21th, 2021, those individuals who were arrested, charged, adjudicated, convicted, or sentenced for the following marijuana offenses may petition the court to have those records expunged.
- Possessing, consuming, or transporting up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, of which no more than 12 and one half grams was in the form of marijuana concentrate.
- Possessing, transporting, cultivating, or processing up to 6 plants at their primary residence for personal use.
- Using, possessing, or transporting items related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing, or consumption of marijuana.
What Does Proposition 207 Do?
According to the Smart and Safe Act, if Arizona voters chose “yes” on their ballot measures, they would be voting for the following.
- Arizona law would allow the limited use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and older.
- Amending criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
- Banning smoking marijuana in public spaces.
- Imposing a 16% tax on marijuana sales for funding public programs.
- Authorizing state and local regulation of marijuana licenses.
- Allowing expungement of marijuana convictions and offenses for eligible petitioners.
What Does Prop 207 Mean for Marijuana Convictions in Arizona?
The Smart and Safe Arizona Act (Proposition 207) made history in Arizona by legalizing recreational marijuana in the form of marijuana concentrate, marijuana plants, medical marijuana, and other forms of marijuana for adult recreational use. However, it also dedicated a large portion of the existing state medical marijuana fund to the following.
- Arizona teachers
- The Office of Highway Safety
- Public health councils
- Preventing substance abuse
- Other important issues of public health
Additionally, a new chapter of the Arizona Revised Statutes was added to incorporate the ballot measures called Smart and Safe Arizona. It deals with the expungement of marijuana convictions, including the following.
Those convicted or charged with these offenses are eligible to petition for the expungement of their arrest, charge, conviction, adjudication, or sentence.
Individuals convicted or charged with having up to 6 marijuana plants at their primary residence for personal use are eligible to petition for the expungement of their arrest, charge, adjudication, or sentence.
Those convicted or charged with having possessed, consumed, or transported up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana are eligible to petition for the expungement of their arrest, charge, conviction, adjudication, or sentence.
What’s the Difference Between Prop 207 Expungement and Setting Aside Convictions?
Before Arizona Proposition 207 took effect, it was not possible for marijuana convictions or any other convictions to be expunged in Arizona. However, those charged or convicted of using recreational marijuana, transporting paraphernalia related to marijuana, having personal possession of marijuana, and other crimes related to adult recreational use are eligible to petition for expungement. No new statute has been enacted for other criminal record types.
But what exactly is the difference between an expungement and a set aside in Arizona? According to current Arizona laws, a set-aside releases someone of “all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction (ARS 13-905). Set-asides do not seal records or expunge convictions, nor does it allow individuals to refrain from reporting those convictions if prompted. In other words, your criminal record simply undergoes modification rather than destruction.
However, expungements are very different. If the court grants an expungement, all related records are sealed. Only the person to whom those records belong may have access to them. Additionally, these expunged records may not be used in future prosecutions of that person. In other words, expungements can have a significant impact on those who petition for them, if granted.
When Did Arizona’s Proposition 207 Become Effective?
With 60.3% of the vote in the November 3rd General Election, Proposition 207 passed. Only 39.7% of voters rejected Proposition 207. The Arizona Department of the State certified this decision on November 30th that same month. However, certain elements of the new voter initiative only went into effect in 2021, the following year.
As of June 30th, 2021, the Arizona Department of Health Services granted 143 retail recreational marijuana licenses. In other words, marijuana sales for adult use were approved for 143 licensed retail stores.
How Do I Expunge a Marijuana Conviction in Arizona?
The first step in achieving an expungement under the new statute is to speak with an experienced drug crime lawyer in Arizona. We will be able to assist you with the processes, applications, and related paperwork under Proposition 207. Once you file, the court gives prosecutors a 30-day period in which to respond to your petition.
It is possible for the prosecuting agency to dispute your expungement petition. If this happens, you will need to attend a court hearing. At that hearing, the prosecuting agency must offer evidence in support of your ineligibility for expungement.
The court will then either grant or deny your expungement petition. If granted, the expungement applies to all records related to the crime. All your civil rights are restored, your records are sealed, and the Department of Public Safety will be notified. In cases of denial, you can appeal the decision with your lawyer.
What Are the Benefits of Marijuana Expungement?
There are many benefits to seeking expungement for marijuana-related crimes. Especially in cases of felony convictions, there are certain civil rights that you can regain with an expungement, including the following.
- Voting rights
- Ability to have professional licenses
- Right to serve on a jury
- Ability to get loans or government-funded housing
- Right to hold public office
- Right to own or possess a firearm
All of these benefits can directly benefit and impact your life if you are granted an expungement. You can even secure a better child custody situation and pass criminal background checks.
Arizona Marijuana Expungement Forms
In this section, we’ve included some useful information and links to forms to begin your expungement process. For further information, please call our Phoenix law office at 602-910-4040 or fill out our online intake form.
- Expungement Instructions
- Expungement Petition for Municipal/Justice Court
- Superior Court Expungement Petition
- Expungement Petition for Juvenile Court
Other Useful Forms
- Instructions for Completing Your Expungement Petition
- Establishment of Procedures for Expungement Petitions Filed
- Proposition 207 Sentencing Chart
- Proposition 207 Legal and Illegal Sentencing
Do I Need an Expungement Attorney in Arizona?
While many people are capable of handling their own expungements, the best way to ensure a successful outcome is to work with a Phoenix lawyer from the very beginning. At Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group, we take pride in helping our clients better themselves through expungements and set-asides. If you need help securing an Arizona marijuana expungement, please call our law office today at 602-910-4040.