Arizona Supreme Court decides cannabis extracts are legal

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The Arizona Supreme Court decided unanimously on Tuesday that cannabis extracts including concentrates, vape cartridges as well as infused beverages and food, are now legal and can be sold in dispensaries.

“We hold that [the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s] definition of marijuana includes both its dried-leaf/flower form and extracted resin, including hashish,” the court wrote in its decision.

Prior to the decision made Tuesday, it was unclear as to whether or not concentrates were legal according to Arizona law. When new legislation was passed in 2010, many people believed that all forms of cannabis were included, but other people believed that the legislation did not overwrite the law that defined extracts separately from the flower. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act never fully addressed the issue which resulted in local law enforcement and lower-level courts making decisions.

The decision made on Tuesday will ensure a provision is made that defines medical cannabis as both flower and its concentrates.

“The court got it right. This ruling means that qualifying patients will no longer have to fear being prosecuted for using this medicine in the most helpful form,” said ACLU of Arizona Criminal Justice Staff Attorney Jared Keenan. “This is what voters intended when they overwhelmingly passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.”

During the vote on Tuesday, the court also vacated the convictions and sentences of Rodney Jones who was a medical cardholder arrested in 2013 for having a thimble-seized amount of hashish. It was this case that really stemmed the movement to explicitly legalize other forms of cannabis in the state aside from flower. 

“AMMA 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 …

 “A plain reading of the relevant provisions compels our conclusion that AMMA protects the use of ‘marijuana,’ including resin, so long as the patient does not exceed the allowable amount and otherwise complies with the statutory requirements,” the court ruled.

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