The Legal Battle Over Marijuana
It was the November election in 2010. Proposition 203, legalizing medical marijuana, was on the ballot. Arizona voters approved the measure by a narrow margin with 50.1% in favor and 49.9% against. With the success of the proposition, the Arizona Department of Health services began working to set rules and regulations for medical marijuana sales and use. Those rules were scheduled to be effective on April 14, 2011, making Arizona the 15th state to legalize some forms of marijuana use. There was some short-lived opposition, including a lawsuit by former Governor Jan Brewer to block the new law, but it wasn’t long before dispensaries began opening all over the state. Doctors began recommending marijuana to control pain in cancer patients and relieve anxiety, nausea, and other symptoms.
The 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allows people with approved medical conditions and a recommendation from a physician to purchase up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana every two weeks. The approved conditions run the gamut from AIDS to things like glaucoma, PTSD, and chronic pain issues. As of early 2017, more than 180,000 Arizona residents qualified for a medical marijuana card. The patient applies by filling out an online application. They must also obtain supporting documentation from physicians and caregivers. Once approved, the patient receives a medical marijuana card that allows them to purchase the allotted amount at a dispensary.
Now, a new legal battle over marijuana has arisen. It concerns the definition of medical marijuana versus cannabis derivatives. Edible products made from the cannabis plant are at the heart of the controversy.
The Legal Case – State vs. Rodney Christopher Jones.
The case began in 2013. Rodney Jones, a qualified medical marijuana user, was arrested in Yavapai County for possessing a jar containing 0.05 ounces of hashish. The Yavapai County Attorney’s office prosecuted the case. Jones was found guilty of possessing a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. (They considered the jar to be paraphernalia). He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for the hashish and a concurrent 1-year sentence for the jar.
Jones and his many supporters were outraged. They take the position that hashish is covered by the Marijuana Act and therefore legal for qualified users. Jones appealed his conviction. On June 26, 2018, Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals handed down its decision upholding the conviction. A divided Court held that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) does not include extracts from the cannabis plant. The majority held extracts are not covered because they are cannabis based and not marijuana based. The dissenting judge argued that the ruling violated the spirit and intent of the AMMA, which in his view included resins and extracts. Critics of the decision argue that the cannabis based versus marijuana based argument creates a distinction without a difference.
How are Hashish, Marijuana, and THC Extract Related?
What is the difference between hashish, THC extract, and the marijuana plant? That question forms the crux of the legal dispute. All three come from the cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana (also called weed, pot, and ganja) usually refers to dried portions of the plant, mainly the flower buds. Hashish is a paste formed from the resin or sap of the plant. Hashish has more intense psychoactive properties than marijuana. THC extracts are made by several different methods designed to concentrate the oil of the plant. THC extracts also have more intense psychoactive properties.
The Court of Appeals Decision does state that CBD oils continue to be legal. Cannabidiol, commonly called CBD oil, is one of the 104 compounds that can be derived from the marijuana plant. CBD oils have been found to provide effective pain relief for many chronic pain sufferers. However, CBD oils do not have any psychoactive effects on the user.
Is the Court of Appeals Decision Final?
It is probably not. This ruling has created panic in marijuana patients all over the state. They are fearful that the most effective products for controlling pain, the nausea of chemotherapy, glaucoma and other ailments will be taken away from them. The Arizona Department of Health is reviewing the rules for medical marijuana dispensaries to evaluate their compliance with the appellate court decision.
Medical marijuana proponents have mobilized to file amicus briefs for Jones’ appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. Because the decision has state wide significance, the Court will likely agree to hear the case. The battle lines are drawn. The State Attorney General’s office wants medical marijuana limited to portions of the marijuana plant that can be smoked or eaten. The medical marijuana industry, patients and some medical practitioners believe the Court of Appeals ruling undercuts the basis and purpose of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. They argue many patients are too ill to smoke marijuana and unable to consume it in plant form. They contend that extracts, oils and resins made from the plant are better suited as therapies.
What will the Arizona Supreme Court decide? No one knows. There are strong legal arguments on both sides. Stay tuned to see what happens.
I have a court date for shoplifting 34 dollars from a Safeway and have no use what to expect. I have no priors, and this was just a lapse in judgment, even a mistake. Can I ask for a divergent program myself in order not to have this go on my record, or do I have to give a plea? I'm embarrassed, ashamed, nervous and scared. I don't want to say the wrong thing, and i have no idea what's going to happen. Please advise
Is there a 3 day release from jail if not charged rule? But if the jail lists charges on the inmate, doesn't that mean that they have been charged? And if the preliminary hearing is scheduled, doesn't that mean that they have been charged, but not necessarily indicted? On major methamphetamine trafficking charges, isn't it unlikely someone would get out on the above-mentioned 3 day "rule"? Without a bond? Just turned loose?
What rights do I have while on Supervised Probation? It's been a year with no violations and I still have to call into TASK and I am unable to commit to my field of work because I would be leaving for work in Date land or further at 5 in the morning, and the earliest you can call in is 6. I'm on my third PO, and my first told me six months with TASk and I would be taken off. Then she disappeared for Two months with me calling 1 to 3 times a day. My cousin was killed in a car accident in CA and I wanted to go to the services, so I just went down there and she was there but still refused to see
My step-son was arrested by Phoenix PD on 2 counts of agg. assalt w/deadly weapon. He was protecting his mother from a drunk neighbor who was about to beat his mother up at their front door. He had picked up his rifle and had it in his left hand when he open ed the door to get his mother inside their apartment and away from the drunk. My question is why was he even charged? As an ex-law enforcement officer I would see this a self-defense. The state is now wanting to give him up 25yrs per count. Is there any case histories that a ruling would apply this case to self-defense.
What do I do if I have received a death threat in my phone's voicemail?
Am i suppose to get a lawyer appointed to me by the court for a criminal offense such as racing.
Yes I need to see a judge to get a warrant taken care of for a state mandated class that I did not attend as I did not have the funds to pay $2300.00 for the class. What do I need to do to appear before a judge? Thank you for your help.
Relative on parole & will not listen. He is not forthcoming with details but was stopped in Mohave county & now has a criminal case in their court system. He lives in Yavapai County. He never showed for court and has failed to pay fines for a different case from 2 months ago. He is saying he is going to flee to another state. When he flees & WHEN he is caught - what kind of additional time is he looking at for purposely leaving the state to avoid going back to prison. The last entry in the Mohave court system is 8/17/15. Today is 9/1 - How long does will it take for a new warrant to be issued?
In Arizona what is the typical difference in sentencing between a Class 6 Felony and a Class 1 Misdemeanor?
does Arizona have a three strikes law.
- Let us know how we are doing! Please take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey.
- Please select your county of residence below.
State Bar of Arizona
Maricopa County Bar
Referral number 602-257-4434
Pima County Bar
Referral number 520-623-4625
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
- Community Information and Referral Services
View full description
- Quilt Modest Means Program
View full description
- Community Legal Services - San Luis - Yuma County
View full description
- DES Division of Child Support Enforcement - Phoenix
View full description
- Arizona Corporation Commission
View full description