If you’ve been following all the snow storms and winter weather plaguing other states, you know it’s time to get your guest room ready. Our moderate temperatures in Phoenix will certainly beckon even reluctant snowbirds. But how to entertain them after you’ve shown off all that the city has to offer? If the weather holds and gas is cheap, you could drive to Four Corners, where you and your visitors can set foot in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana.
Be careful, though. If you take advantage of Colorado’s new state law, you could quickly find yourself in a bind. You and your guests may purchase marijuana over the state line, but you cannot bring it back into Arizona. Possession of the drug is a felony here. And, according to a recent National Public Radio spot, it will be hard to find a place to smoke it before you head home.
The NPR story included a long list of where smoking pot is illegal, at least in Denver. It is illegal to smoke pot in public. It is illegal to smoke pot in restaurants and retail establishments, and most hotels that permit smoking do not allow marijuana.
A Huffington Post rundown of legal marijuana do’s and don’ts tells us that it is against the law to use marijuana (smoking or otherwise) in a motor vehicle, so smoking in the car is out. Open container laws apply to marijuana, too.
You should know, too, that Arizona has zero tolerance for driving while high. Arizona law makes it clear that it is illegal to drive “while there is any drug or its metabolite in the person’s body” — a provision that legalization advocates have long fought against. While alcohol stays in a person’s system for a few hours, a blood test can find traces of THC weeks after marijuana use. If you’re driving home after a short visit to Four Corners, then, you may want to consider appointing a designated driver.
State law imposes the same penalties for a drug-related DUI as it does for an alcohol-related DUI. The penalties include jail time, license suspension, fines and more. The difference, as we said, is that THC, the mind-altering chemical found in marijuana, will stay in your system for a long time. If you are pulled over or arrested for a drug- or alcohol-related DUI, you should contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.
Huffington Post, “Here’s Where You Can Get Arrested For DUI Weeks After Smoking Marijuana,” Katy Hall and Jan Diehm, Dec. 31, 2013
National Public Radio, “Visitors To Colorado Will Find Few Legal Places To Smoke Pot,” Ben Markus, Jan. 3, 2014