Arizona: Supreme Court Rules That Concentrates Are Legal Under State’s Medical Cannabis Access Law

by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 28, 2019

Manufacturing and possessing concentrated forms of cannabis are legally protected activities under the state’s medical cannabis access law, according to a unanimous decision issued today by the Arizona Supreme Court. The decision reverses a 2018 ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Writing for the Court, justices opined: “AMMA (the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) defines ‘marijuana’ as ‘all parts of [the] plant.’ The word ‘all,’ one of the most comprehensive words in the English language, means exactly that. Taken together, ‘all parts’ refers to all constituent elements of the marijuana plant, and the fact the resin must first be extracted from the plant reflects that it is part of the plant.”

They added: “Proposition 203 was intended to allow the use of marijuana in connection with a wide array of debilitating medical conditions. … It is implausible that voters intended to allow patients with these conditions to use marijuana only if they could consume it in dried-leaf/flower form. Such an interpretation would preclude the use of marijuana as an option for those for whom smoking or consuming those parts of the marijuana plants would be ineffective or impossible. Consistent with voter intent, our interpretation enables patients to use medical marijuana to treat their debilitating medical conditions, in whatever form best suits them, so long as they do not possess more than the allowable amount.”

The ruling vacates the conviction of Rodney Jones, a state-registered patient, who was sentenced two-and-one-half years in prison for the possession of 0.05 ounces of hashish.

NORML Legal Committee member Tom Dean filed an amicus brief in the case.

The case is State v Jones (No. CR-18-0370-PR).