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Changing Laws: How Arizona Marijuana Laws Changed Last Year to Allow for Medical Marijuana Spike


As experienced Mesa criminal defense attorneys, we talk a lot about how Arizona has some of the strictest laws and most severe punishments for DUI, DWI, and drug possession in the nation. Getting convicted of one of these offenses can be life changing.

However, from time to time, and for a variety of reasons, laws change.

Here’s the short story…

Prior to 2014, ARS § 28-1381 (A)(3) stated that it is unlawful for any driver to be in physical control of a vehicle if there is any drug “or its metabolite” in his or her system.

In the State v. Harris case, the courts needed to determine whether the phrase “or its metabolite” included Carboxy-THC, a non-impairing chemical in marijuana, as a metabolite under this law.

The court decided that since the Carboxy-THC component of the cannabis plant does not cause impairment and can stay in a person’s system for 30 days or more, it is one exception to the rule.

This change came about because an Arizona man was pulled over and was suspected of driving impaired. He submitted to a blood test where Carboxy-THC was found in his system. He admitted to smoking his legal medical marijuana the day before his blood test which is why the Carboxy-THC was there, it just didn’t impair his driving the next day and thus he shouldn’t have been charged. The law changed and Carboxy-THC isn’t considered a metabolite under ARS § 28-1381 (A)(3) anymore, thanks to a man taking a stand.

Hiring a Medical Marijuana DUI Attorney

An experienced Phoenix DUI attorney stays current on all aspects of Arizona DUI law, including this change with Carboxy-THC, and will help you build the best possible defense for your case.

Charlie Naegle is one such Phoenix DUI attorney, giving you the support you need and the legal experience required to fight your Arizona DUI charges and get your life back on track. Charlie Naegle offers free anytime, anywhere consultations so you can get your questions answered when you need them most. Call (480) 378-9000 today for your free case review and consultation.

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