KRISTINA R. DOBSON, Petitioner,
THE HONORABLE CRANE MCCLENNEN, JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF MARICOPA, Respondent Judge, CITY OF MESA PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, Real Party in Interest. MARVELLE D. ANDERSON, Petitioner,
THE HONORABLE CRANE MCCLENNEN, JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF MARICOPA, Respondent Judge, CITY OF MESA PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, Real Party in Interest
Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. The Honorable Crane McClennen, Judge. No. LC2014-000196 and LC2014-000266. Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division One. 236 Ariz. 203, 337 P.3d 568 (App. 2014) .
John P. Tatz (argued), John P. Tatz Attorney at Law, P.C., Glendale, Attorney for Kristina R. Dobson and Marvelle D. Anderson.
W. Craig Jones (argued), Chief Assistant City Prosecutor, Mesa City Prosecutor's Office, Mesa, Attorneys for City of Mesa Prosecutor's Office.
David J. Euchner (argued), Tucson, Attorney for Amicus Curiae Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
Thomas W. Dean, Phoenix, Attorney for Amicus Curiae National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES authored the opinion of the Court, in which VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER and JUSTICES BRUTINEL, TIMMER, and BERCH (RETIRED) joined.
BALES, CHIEF JUSTICE.
[¶1] The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (" AMMA" ), passed by voters in 2010 and codified as A.R.S. § § 36-2801-2819, allows a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition to apply for a card identifying the holder as a registered qualifying patient. Such patients may possess and use limited amounts of marijuana for medical reasons. The AMMA broadly immunizes them from prosecution for using medical marijuana consistent with the Act.
[¶2] Arizona's laws generally make it a crime for a person to drive with any amount of certain drugs, including marijuana or its impairing metabolite, in the person's body. A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(3); State ex rel. Montgomery v. Harris (Shilgevorkyan), 234 Ariz. 343, 347 ¶ 24, 346 P.3d 984, 990 (2014). We today hold that the AMMA does not immunize a medical marijuana cardholder from prosecution under § 28-1381(A)(3), but instead affords an affirmative defense if the cardholder shows that the marijuana or its metabolite was in a concentration insufficient to cause impairment.
[¶3] Kristina Dobson and Marvelle Anderson (" Petitioners" ) were each charged with two counts of driving under the influence (" DUI" ). Count one alleged a violation of A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(1), which prohibits a person from driving a vehicle in Arizona " [w]hile under the influence of ... any drug ... if the person is impaired to the slightest degree." Count two alleged a violation of § 28-1381(A)(3), which prohibits driving a vehicle " [w]hile there is any drug defined in § 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body." Cannabis (marijuana) is a drug defined in A.R.S. § 13-3401(4). Blood tests showed that each Petitioner had marijuana and its impairing metabolite in her body.
[¶4] The municipal court denied Dobson's motion to present evidence at trial that she held an Oregon-issued medical marijuana card and granted the State's motion in limine to preclude evidence that Anderson held an Arizona-issued medical marijuana card. Neither Petitioner sought to introduce any evidence other than their respective medical marijuana cards. The State dismissed the (A)(1) charges and Petitioners, after submitting ...