Under the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act, Marijuana (aka Cannabis) and its Cannabinoids are Schedule 1 Controlled Substances. They are, for most purposes, wholly and criminally illegal. The growth, trafficking, sale, possession, or consumption of marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, may be a felony punishable by imprisonment, fines, forfeiture of property, or any combination thereof.
Separate and apart from Federal law, each State is also empowered to regulate cannabis and its derivative products. In this regard, Arizona law is not unique and mimics the same or similar criminal prohibitions as exists under Federal law. However, in 2011, the people of Arizona boldly voted Proposition 203 into law (the second time Arizonans attempted to deregulate or to decriminalize marijuana), thereby creating a safe harbor from prosecution for licensed Arizonans who scrupulously and faithfully abide a well-regulated and medically-based marijuana program.
Arizona's Medical Marijuana statutes and rules are new, there have been few cases yet adjudicated in any appellate court seeking to interpret these new laws. So, the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association reminds everyone to be cautious and aware that these new laws may change rapidly and radically.
The State Bar of Arizona has opined:
Lawyers may ethically advise clients about complying with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, including advising them about compliance with Arizona law, assisting them to establish business entities, and formally representing clients before a governmental agency regarding licensing and certification issues, but only in the narrow circumstances set forth in this opinion and only if lawyers strictly adhere to those requirements.
State Bar of Arizona Ethics Opinion 11-01
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Supporting the Legal Community That Supports Wise and Ethical Cannabis Law
Arizona Cannabis Bar Association
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