Which term do you prefer: cannabis or marijuana? One has roots in scientific classification of
genus and species, while the other is its name in Spanish (used as propaganda in the 1930’s to
persuade the general public that Mexicans were introducing the U.S. to the illegal herb, no less).
Weed, pot, tree, dank, cabbage, devil’s lettuce, reefer, bud, ganja, chronic, loud, purp skurp; at
the end of the day, this is all just semantics. That is, unless you’re the Arizona Court of
Appeals. Arizona concentrates have been safe to purchase and consume from a legal
standpoint under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act until the recent Arizona Court of Appeals
State v. Jones ruling, putting the legal standing of extracts in limbo. The reasoning used by the
majority opinion was derived from a ruling in 1978 which used the word “cannabis” to define the
oil extracted from the plant, or “hashish” in the Jones case, and continued to describe how
dangerous and addictive it is. Jones’ lawyers cited the AMMA as being its sole protection as it
defines marijuana as “the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation
thereof.” A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) and (15).
Unfortunately, the terms cannabis and marijuana have been interpreted to mean different things
to the Court of Appeals. Rodney Christopher Jones, the defendant in the case, was charged
with a class 4 felony and sentenced to 2.5 years in jail — despite being a registered MMJ card
holder in the state of Arizona. This is especially troubling when you consider the reason for
passing the AMMA was to provide protections for patients in exactly this kind of scenario.
After the public announcement of the ruling, the Arizona concentrates market was thrown into
confusion. The ADHS (The Arizona Department of Health Services) has nothing to say except
to read the relevant state statutes — a statement which doesn’t offer any assurances to our
patients. Words can mean different things to different people despite their intended meaning.
And if a powerful judge views it differently than, say, we do, it leaves a considerable door of
ambiguity open that MMJ patients may not feel comfortable with.
The current status of the Arizona concentrates market is this: dispensaries are still selling
extracts, patients are still buying and consuming them, and life seems to be going on as normal.
There remain the occasional rumors that someone was arrested for possessing extracts, but we
believe those rumors to be primarily false. Several municipal enforcement agencies have said
they’re not ready to enforce the ruling, the Phoenix New Times reports.
In time, this case is sure to be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court to hopefully reverse the
ruling. But until then, we will just have to understand that while the ruling is confusing, it has
little, if any, impact on our lives. As we have said before, the ruling has not affected the ability of
K.I.N.D. Concentrates to sell medicine to patients under ADHS regulations.