AZ Marijuana-Related Offenses May Be Expunged Effective 7/12/21

Marijuana Leaves

As a part of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (which allows the legalization, taxation and recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and over) which was passed by Arizona voters in 2020, effective July 12, 2021 many people will be eligible to have convictions for marijuana-related offenses expunged.

Expungement in this instance means, as to the marijuana-related charges, the case file and law enforcement records will be sealed; the conviction and sentence will be vacated, including any outstanding court debt imposed in connection with the expunged charge, and the defendant’s civil rights will be restored; the arresting law enforcement agency and the prosecuting agency will stop making the records available to the public; the Arizona Department of Public Safety will seal the records of the offense in its criminal history database, which means the records will not be available to the public; A.R.S. § 36-2862 states that an individual whose records are expunged “may state that the individual has never been arrested for, charged with, adjudicated or convicted of, or sentenced for the crime that is the subject of the expungement.” In addition, the law states that the expunged charge “may not be used in a subsequent prosecution by a prosecuting agency or court for any purpose.”.

Eligible petitioners are those who were arrested, charged, convicted or acquitted of any of the following offenses:

Possessing, consuming, or transporting two and one-half ounces or less of marijuana, of which not more than twelve and one-half grams was in the form of marijuana concentrate;

Possessing, transporting, cultivating, or processing not more than six marijuana plants at your primary residence for personal use; or

Possessing, using, or transporting paraphernalia related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing, or consumption of marijuana.

The Arizona Supreme Court has published instructions and forms for Municipal/Justice Court cases and Superior Court cases, which may be filed at no cost after the July 12th effective date.  The petition should be filed in the court where the case was resolved or, for cases where a criminal complaint was not filed, in the Superior Court of the County where the arrest took place.  Separate offenses require separate petitions to be filed.  Be aware that if only one count is expunged in a case containing multiple counts, the remaining counts will not be sealed but will remain available to the public (for instance, in a case containing counts of both Aggravated Driving Under the Influence and Possession of Marijuana, only the Possession of Marijuana charge will be expunged).


Gordon Thompson

For more information about Arizona DUI and criminal law issues please contact Gordon Thompson who has used his experience to write a blog on topics of interest. You can also chat with Gordon about your specific questions.