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Arizona v. Maestas
Arizona Supreme Court
No. CR-17-0193-PR, 417 P.3d 774, 244 Ariz. 9 (2018)
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), a ballot initiative, decriminalized certain medical uses of marijuana and shielded AMMA-compliant individuals from arrest and prosecution for the use or possession of marijuana. The AMMA included an express list of locations where even AMMA-compliant marijuana possession was subject to prosecution. This list included preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and correctional facilities but did not include college campuses. Two years after the AMMA was enacted, the Arizona legislature enacted Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 15-108(A), which prohibited AMMA-compliant possession of marijuana on public university campuses. Section 15-108(A) was approved by more than three-fourths of the members of each house of Arizona’s legislature. Andre Lee Juwaun Maestas (defendant), an AMMA cardholder and a student at Arizona State University, was charged with marijuana possession after police found 0.4 grams of the drug in his dorm room. Maestas moved to dismiss the charge, arguing that he was immune from prosecution because his marijuana possession had been AMMA-compliant. The State of Arizona (the state) (plaintiff) argued that Maestas was subject to prosecution under § 15-108(A). The trial court denied Maestas’s motion to dismiss, held a bench trial, and convicted Maestas of marijuana possession. The court of appeals reversed and held that § 15-108(A) was unconstitutional because it violated Arizona’s Voter Protection Act (VPA). The Arizona Supreme Court granted review to determine the constitutionality of § 15-108(A).
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pelander, J.)
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