Nearly All Arizona Counties Drop Cannabis Charges

As the rollout of Arizona’s new recreational cannabis law approaches, leaders at the county level plan to toss out former protocols to arrest people for simple possession of cannabis. 

Before recent legal changes, including Proposition 207, Arizona was one of the only states to consider simple possession of cannabis a felony. That meant that felony cannabis charges could prevent Arizonans from passing pre-employment background checks, among other problems.

The Associated Press conducted a survey to determine how Arizona will prosecute cannabis charges now that voters approved an adult-use cannabis bill. Thirteen of 15 elected county attorneys said they were either immediately dropping existing cannabis cases or pausing prosecutions and planning to drop them when Proposition 207 goes into effect. 

Only attorneys in Graham and Gila counties did not respond to the survey, however it’s unlikely those counties will say any differently. The two counties contain about 1.2 percent of Arizona’s population, which is nearly 7.3 million people.

“I could have had jail time, I could pay large, large fines, I could have probation, things go down on my record that could affect all of these opportunities that I have,” Elsea told Fox 10. “And it’s exactly because of those factors that I said ‘I’m hiring an attorney.’”

“Whether it was the proposition that’s been passed in Arizona or a combination of that and my record and my attorney, they got dropped,” she said of the charges. “I’m excited about that.”

Some county attorneys took it a step further, such as in the case of Cochise County, where County Attorney Brian McIntyre said his policy was to allow people to get a medical marijuana card and make a $200 contribution to a drug rehabilitation program in exchange for having the misdemeanor case dismissed.

Before the election, recreational cannabis was touted in the state as a way to restore and save its economy. A lawsuit filed five months ago failed to block the state’s recreational cannabis initiative from moving forward. 


Nearly All Arizona Counties Drop Cannabis Charges