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 reparation 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.