Cannabis extracts are now illegal in the state of Arizona after a ruling last week from the state’s Court of Appeals. The state has a legal medical marijuana program in place, and no laws on the books whatsoever which state that cannabis is less legal just because it has been turned into hash.
But the court pointed out that there’s also no law explicitly saying that cannabis concentrates are legal. “AMMA is silent as to hashish,” wrote Judge Jon W. Thompson, who was part of the 2-1 majority vote on the matter, as reported by The Phoenix New Times. “Prior understanding of the pertinent words strongly indicates that AMMA in no way immunizes the possession or use of hashish. That AMMA immunizes medical use of a mixture or preparation of the marijuana plant does not immunize hashish.”
So judges can just decide to make stuff illegal as long as there is no law explicitly saying that it’s legal? Fuck. We better hope the law is very clear about vanilla extract or playing tennis or picking your nose, otherwise we’re all going to the slammer soon.
Even more ridiculous than the judges’ decision is their reason for even having to reach a decision. The matter came up as an appeal to the conviction of Rodney Jones. When Jones was arrested in 2013, he was a card-carrying legit medical marijuana patient in Arizona. But someone thought that they should probably charge him for a felony for the small amount of hash oil he was carrying. Hash oil is commonly sold in medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona.
Instead of offering a “mea culpa” for arresting someone for what was understood to be a legal medicine, instead the state managed to give Jones 2.5 years in jail. Then in the Court of Appeals, it doubled down on the decision and decided that not only does their conviction stand, but now all concentrate is illegal in the state of Arizona.
There is one slight piece of hopeful news in all this, which is that many members of the cannabis industry have chosen to just ignore the court’s decision. Many have said they will wait until the state Supreme Court weighs in before changing their business plans, according to PNT.
The Department of Health Services, the government body which actually oversees Arizona’s MMJ program, does not have any regulations against concentrates, and has said that it has no instructions to change its own rules.
“However, criminal law does take precedence over department rules,” a statement from the DHS said. “The department is reviewing this case with its legal counsel to determine whether any rule changes are necessary.”
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