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Recreational marijuana is legal in Arizona but there’s still no way legally to get it, at least for now

Nov. 30 baked in a win for recreational weed in Arizona, but experts say the smoke still needs to clear before legally buying it.

PHOENIX — Arizona officials, including Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, have certified the election in Arizona, which means recreational marijuana is officially legal. 

However, if you're 21 years or older and want to purchase or grow the drug, there's no legal way to do so for now. 

“Very important that people know there is no method for people to buy legal cannabis anywhere in Arizona today, but it’s coming,” founder of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association Demitri Downing said. “It’s very complicated right now – this transition from a black market to a tax and regulated market.”

Arizona's Department of Health Services will begin receiving applications for dispensaries starting in January and experts say March or April will likely be the earliest buyers without a medical marijuana card can legally purchase pot. 

“There’s this weird void of time that will exist where people will be able to hold, possess and consume but where did it come from?,” said Downing.   

Proposition 207 now certified allows Arizonans 21 years and older to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants, but it doesn’t change the facts that smoking it in public places is still illegal along with driving under the influence. 

12 News spoke with Phoenix personal injury attorney Marc Lamber, who is an expert on DUI laws in the state. He warns against underestimating the effect that THC can have on your ability to drive.

“If you’re impaired to the slightest degree then that’s going to be something illegal if you get behind the wheel,” said Craig Marc Lamber, a personal injury attorney at Fennemore 

According to Arizona's Department of Public Safety, the threshold of driving high or impaired is the slightest degree. If a trooper suspects a driver is impaired by any drug, including marijuana, they will go through the standard field sobriety test performed by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). DRE experts go through extensive training to be able to determine not only drug impairment, but what category of drug. 

"For us, the process is not changing. If you’re impaired by marijuana or any drug, you will be arrested for DUI as we always have done," said Sgt. Kameron Lee.

As for buying recreational marijuana now, Downing says any transaction would be considered illegal. 

“There will be people on Craigslist or elsewhere trying to sell them cannabis today and any of those transactions will be illegal.”  

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