The Arizona Supreme Court put to rest the question whether edibles, extracts and resins are covered in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and whether patients are protected from criminal charges for possessing them. The court was unambiguously clear this week that edibles are indeed covered in the Act.
The Ruling came in the form of the final decision in the State v. Jones case which was released on Tuesday.
Here's the case in a nutshell. Back in 2013 a medical marijuana patient (who had a valid ADHS Medical Marijuana Card) was arrested for possession of a small amount of hashing (a preparation of marijuana) in Yavapai County. Even though he was a Qualified MM Patient, he was convicted by a jury of a class 6 felony and spent 2.5 years in jail.
Mr. Jones appealed his conviction in Superior Court to the Court of Appeals which upheld his conviction. He appealed to the state supreme court who heard the case about 6 weeks ago.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act provides qualified patients and dispensaries a number of legal protections under the voter approved Act. The Act's definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) differs from the Arizona Criminal Code’s definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 13-3401(19). In addition, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act makes a distinction between “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana” A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) and (15). The basics of the case consists of a profound difference of opinion between the prosecutor, who believes that edibles are not included in the definition of Marijuana in AMMA, and the defense, who makes the common sense argument that edibles are included.
Mr. Jones’ appeal was successful and Qualified Patients can now be assured that as long as they have the allowable amount of marijuana in their possession they are protected from prosecution. That means they can have up to 2.5 ounces of dried marijuana flower or, as the court said this week, "... mixtures or preparations made from two-and-one-half ounces of dried flowers".
Dispensaries can now be assured that their business models that rely on the production and sale of edibles and extracts are protected as well.