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Medical-Cannabis Extracts Like Vape Pen Oil Are Illegal, Arizona Appeals Court Rules

In a major legal setback to the state's medical-marijuana community, the Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that cannabis extracts commonly sold in state dispensaries are illegal.

The ruling affects what the court and Arizona law calls "hashish," or the resin extracted from marijuana. Medical marijuana consumers also know it as hash oil, shatter, wax, and other names. It's become one of the biggest sellers at the state's dispensaries, used to fill vape cartridges and create most cannabis-infused food and drinks.

It's also the main ingredient in the cannabis oil used by many parents to treat epileptic children.

The appeals court found in a 2-1 decision that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act doesn't address hashish.


Inside one Arizona cannabis operation's mission to spread the culture

Before you see the cannabis, you smell it. Our pickup truck is rolling down a very dusty, very long driveway on the outskirts of Willcox, Arizona—a town that itself feels like the outskirts of anywhere—when the pungent scent floods the car. “I smell cannabis!” exclaims Sunday Goods CEO Randy Smith as we pull up to the "Pharm"—the company’s massive Dutch greenhouse and grow facility. The desert sun glints off of it; the mountains pose behind it; the lush cannabis plant fills it.

It is beautiful.


Medical marijuana legal on college campuses, Arizona Supreme Court rules

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state can't criminally charge public college students for having and using marijuana on campus if they have a medical marijuana card.

The high court said a 2012 law banning medical marijuana on college campuses violated the Arizona Constitution's protections for voter-approved laws. The court also vacated a marijuana possession conviction for the student, Andre Maestas, who fought the law.


Arizona governor allows industrial hemp

Arizona is the latest state to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday signed legislation that funds a pilot program for growing hemp. The fiber form of marijuana can be used to create a variety of products like building materials, food, paper and textiles.

Ducey’s office says at least 34 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp, and that the product will benefit Arizona’s economy.

The new law says hemp grown here cannot contain more than .3 percent THC, which is the psychoactive element of marijuana.

Growers, harvesters, processors and transporters will be required to get a license from the state agriculture department. The legislation also spells out penalties for anyone who violates the licensing requirements.


Cannabis cultivation will be a race to the bottom

The current “green rush” has brought with it an intense focus on large-scale cannabis cultivation. Across the United States and around the globe, we routinely hear stories of companies building larger and larger cannabis farms.

In Arizona, Colorado, California, and Oregon, cannabis is being cultivated in greenhouses in excess of 250,000 sq. ft. that are capable of yielding more than 50,000 pounds of flower. While large-scale Canadian producers are building greenhouses in the millions of square feet and building similar-sized facilities in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.


Arizona: Could money for teacher pay raises come from legalized marijuana?

Governor Doug Ducey has promised Arizona teachers a raise, and he has called on state lawmakers to make it happen, as part of a new budget.

The question is: where will the money come from?

One idea being floated is potential tax revenue from the legalization of recreational marijuana. A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state was all but dead in the State Legislature this session, but it might be getting new life.

"It's not going to solve the entire issue," said State Rep. Mark Cardenas (D-Phoenix). "I think it's $680 million that we need to come up with, and this would take care of 150 of that, but this is a significant portion."


House kills bill to allow eye tests for pot impairment

Unwilling to trust untested technology, state lawmakers voted Wednesday to block employers from firing workers based on their eye movements.

Current state labor law spells out the kinds of tests that companies can use to determine if current or prospective employees are impaired or under the influence of certain chemicals or alcohol. That includes testing urine, saliva, blood, breath, hair or “other substances from the person being tested.”

SB 1199 would amend that to include “eye movement data collected using software on an electronic device.”


Arizona lawmakers fail to put cannabis legalization on ballot

A bipartisan bill to put recreational marijuana on Arizona's November ballot has died in the statehouse, writes Calvin Hughes.

One of the bill's primary sponsors, Representative Todd Clodfelter (R), thinks the Arizona legislature is only making things harder for themselves by not dealing with the issue now before Arizona residents repeal cannabis prohibition through a ballot initiative.


California medical marijuana recommendation provides legal immunity in Arizona

An Arizona Court of Appeals ruling says a man's medical marijuana recommendation letter obtained from a physician under California's medical marijuana law provides the same legal immunity as registry cards issued by Arizona authorities.

The three-judge panel's decision Thursday upholds a La Paz County Superior Court judge's dismissal of drug possession charges stemming from a 2016 traffic stop of Stanley Kemmish Jr.

Prosecutors argued that the physician's letter saying Kemmish would benefit from marijuana medical usage wasn't the equivalent of Arizona's state-issued cards, but the Court of Appeals said having the letter meant Kemmish was a "visiting qualifying patient" under the Arizona law.


4 reasons why recreational marijuana has a shot in Arizona

Arizona voters may have another shot at legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes if Rep. Mark Cardenas and Rep. Todd Clodfelter have their way.

They're proposing House Concurrent Resolution 2037, which would refer a ballot measure to voters that would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six plants.

And this time, the bipartisan effort may work, though there are significant hurdles as well.  


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