A new Arizona House Bill stems from the 2016 conviction of a medical marijuana card holder. The individual was sentenced to 2 years for possessing 0.05 ounce of cannabis resin. While the patient held a valid Arizona medical marijuana patient ID, the courts ruled that cannabis extracts are not covered under Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). Since then, the state of Arizona has faced difficulty defining the use of allowed cannabis extracts. The state Court of Appeals ruled in 2018 that those extracts or concentrates aren’t protected by the AMMA. The Supreme Court later chose to review that decision.
“Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk was the first to interpret the law to mean that anyone buying extracts from a dispensary can be charged with a felony.” Currently, the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) represent the statutory laws of the state of Arizona. The A.R.S. and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Rules each contain requirements applicable to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program. Accordingly, to fully understand all the requirements applicable to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program, the A.R.S. and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Rules should be read in conjunction with each other.
The new Arizona bill HB 2149 will clarify the allowance of cannabis extracts.
HB 2149 would change the law’s language for “usable marijuana” from “the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant” to:
- “All parts of any plant of the genus cannabis and the seeds of the plant.”
- “The resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant or its seeds.”
- “Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the resin or tetrahydrocannabinol.”
- “Includes plant material from which the resin has not been extracted.”
- “Does not include the mature stalks of the plant or the sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination.”
If the bill passes, it would definitively legalize all forms of marijuana in Arizona. The bill would allow cannabis extracts to be sold at dispensaries and provide protection for patients. Currently, Arizona Dispensaries have continued to sell edibles and concentrates.
The Need for Cannabis Extracts
In Arizona, medical marijuana patients depend on cannabis extracts such as vape-pen cartridges, shatter, and THC-infused food and drinks. This ongoing issue is very important for many Arizona MMJ patients. Should the bill not pass and the supreme court agree with the lower courts, patients alternatives to smoking such as tinctures, edibles, and vaporizable oil and waxes would no longer be available. This product uniquely works for many patients and some consider it a “healthier alternative.”
Other states are also working to clarify laws concerning cannabis products. Ironically, they are preferring extracts, concentrates and edibles over dry flower materials. For example, in Florida and New York, the laws allow for extracts and edibles but not flower.
Need for Consistency in Rules
Rules for states to allow/disallow cannabis flower, edibles, and extracts are complicated subjects and should be addressed by the state prior to implementation of their legal markets, when possible. At this moment, rules and regulations vary from state-to-state which will make federal legalization and national cannabis distribution even more complex. If the marijuana bill does not pass here in Arizona, many patients will be affected and could face felony charges if caught purchasing banned items. The need for this bill to be approved will allow patients choices for needed medication.
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