A latest Arizona courtroom of appeals choice has despatched the state’s medical marijuana market right into a frenzied state. In 2010, Arizona enacted the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”), which grants licensed dispensaries and registered certified immunity from felony prosecution for promoting or possessing marijuana. Regardless of this, in March 2013, registered affected person Rodney Jones was arrested for possessing .05 ounce of hashish oil. Jones moved to have the fees dismissed, arguing that he was immune from prosecution beneath the AMMA by means of registering as a medical affected person. The trial courtroom denied the movement and Jones was convicted for possession of a narcotic drug. Jones appealed to the Arizona Court docket of Appeals, Division 1 (the “Court docket”).
In State v. Jones (“Jones“), the Court docket upheld Jones’ conviction by ruling that the AMMA didn’t prolong protections to cannabis. The AMMA protects registered sufferers from arrest, prosecution, or penalty as long as the affected person doesn’t possess greater than the allowable quantity (2.5 oz.) of “useable marijuana.” “Useable marijuana” is outlined as “the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any combination or preparations thereof, however doesn’t embrace the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant.” In keeping with the Court docket, the language of the AMMA didn’t present immunity for the possession of “cannabis” which was outlined many years earlier than the AMMA was enacted by the Arizona Supreme Court docket in State v. Bollander, 110 Ariz. 84, 87, 515 P. 2nd 329 (1973). Bollander outlined cannabis as “the resin extracted from the marijuana plant.” The AMMA didn’t point out “cannabis” or reference oil extracted from marijuana, which the courtroom interpreted to imply that the AMMA didn’t present safety for cannabis.
One choose dissented claiming that the Court docket learn the definition of “marijuana” too narrowly and that the AMMA was meant to embody cannabis and different oil merchandise. The dissent pointed to rules from the Arizona Division of Well being Providers (“ADHS”), the physique that oversees Arizona’s medical marijuana program, that assist the conclusion that the AMMA does embody hashish oils. For one, an applicant for a dispensary should present its bylaws to ADHS and people bylaws should point out whether or not the dispensary intends to “put together, promote, or dispense marijuana-infused non-edible merchandise.” Moreover, ADHS’s dispensary handbook states that non-edible merchandise embrace “any non-edible objects, resembling concentrates, offered that comprise medical marijuana” and should be labeled with the quantity of marijuana they comprise.
Regardless of the dissent and ADHS rules, because it presently stands, Jones is now legitimate regulation. Nonetheless, information experiences point out that some dispensaries will proceed to promote hashish oils. ADHS has not but supplied steerage on the matter. We’re considering the division undoubtedly ought to, and quick.
Given the holding in Jones, distributing marijuana vape or oil merchandise in Arizona comes with vital threat. Jones has put Arizona in a state of uncertainty, which could possibly be resolved if the case is reviewed by the Arizona Supreme Court docket or it could possibly be “mounted” by legislative motion by Arizona’s state lawmakers. We’ll be awaiting any updates and if you’re a affected person or dispensary proprietor, it’s best to do the identical.
*Disclaimer: Our regulation agency is comprised of hashish enterprise legal professionals in Washington, Oregon and California, with places of work in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. We now have shoppers collaborating within the Arizona marijuana market, however we refer these shoppers to native counsel. We additionally monitor business developments nationwide and are publishing the Jones choice as a dialog piece and public service announcement.