After more than 6 years of litigation and setbacks from the Arizona Court of Appeals, the Arizona Supreme Court finally handed Arizona’s medical marijuana patients a victory in shutting the door on prosecutions of those patients for possessing their medicine.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (or “AMMA”) provides a defense to arrest, prosecution, or penalty for possession of marijuana by a qualifying patient.
The question at hand was this – do extracts of the marijuana plant constitute marijuana for purposes of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act? This would include shatter, wax, hash, oils, and almost any other derivative of marijuana that is not simply the smoked buds of the plant.
After oral argument, the Arizona Supreme Court issued its opinion on May 28, 2019, finally holding what everyone knew – that the voters, when they enacted the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, intended it to protect the use of all medicinal marijuana products. In a scathing opinion, they shut down the arguments put forth by the State, represented by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk’s office, stating that a “plain reading of the relevant provisions compels out 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.”
For dispensaries and patients, this means one thing – in Arizona, possession of marijuana extracts is no longer prosecutable so long as you have a valid Arizona Medical Marijuana card and an amount that is permissible by the statute.
This was a huge victory for medical marijuana card holders.
Nevertheless, law enforcement agencies are often slow on the uptake, and sometimes try and find ways to circumvent the clear stated law. If you are an Arizona Medical Marijuana card holder and are arrested for possessing the medication that you are lawfully allowed to possess, call an attorney immediately to find out what recourse and defenses you may have.