Sarah Climaco

Arizona Supreme Court: Medical Cannabis Extracts Are Legal

A unanimous ruling for the Arizona Supreme Court clarifies that medical cannabis extractions are indeed legal, shielding (and exonerating) patients and dispensaries from hardliner lawmakers and regulators.

Full story after the jump.

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that cannabis extracts meet the definition of medical cannabis under the state’s Medical Marijuana Act, according to a Phoenix New Times report. The unanimous ruling effectively prevents lawmakers and regulators from pulling extracts from dispensary shelves in addition to shielding medical cannabis patients from prosecution for possessing concentrates.

“We hold that [Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s] definition of marijuana includes both its dried-leaf/flower form and extracted resin, including hashish.” – Arizona Supreme Court ruling in State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher Jones, via the New Times  

Rodney Christopher Jones was arrested in 2013 for possessing 1.4 grams of hashish and, despite being a medical cannabis patient in the state, he was sentenced to two and a half years in jail in 2014. Last year, the state Appeals Court ruled against Jones, with Judge Jon W. Thompson, writing in the court’s majority opinion that the AMMA “is silent as to hashish.”

The ruling, however, neither stopped patients from extracting cannabis for concentrates nor dispensaries from selling them. Law enforcement officials did not crack down on the dispensaries but some patients were arrested and convicted following the lower court ruling, according to the report.

The high court opined that state law “defines ‘marijuana’ as ‘all parts of [the] plant.’ The word ‘all,’ one of the most comprehensive words in the English language, means exactly that.” The opinion also explicitly protects patients and business owners from prosecution for concentrates.

Jones’ conviction was also vacated by the court.

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