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Arizona Court Rules Medical Marijuana Extracts Are Illegal

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On June 26, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that medical marijuana extracts are illegal. Extracts are deemed as any resin extracted from marijuana, such as concentrates used for vaporizing, dabbing and in most edibles (foods and drinks).

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) does not include hashish, or hash, the “resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin,” within its language, which led the appeals court to their 2-1 vote on Tuesday, according to the Phoenix New Times. Despite the ruling products aren’t expected to be pulled from dispensary shelves just yet.

Judge Jon W. Thompson wrote in a portion of the majority opinion that the “AMMA is silent as to hashish. Prior understanding of the pertinent words strongly indicates that AMMA in no way immunizes the possession or use of hashish.”

The AMMA, approved by voters in 2010, does not specify the use of resin found in marijuana. The law simply states, “usable marijuana,” defined as “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.”

The judges stated that “’mixture or preparation’ means the combining of marijuana with non-marijuana elements to make ‘consumables’ such as brownies and the like. Hashish, by contrast, is processed from the separated or extracted resin [from marijuana].”

The judges continued to speak against the AMMA’s authors for not being entirely clear by saying, “If the drafters wanted to immunize the possession of hashish they should have said so… We cannot speculate that the voters, in allowing the limited use of marijuana to ameliorate patients’ suffering and distress, would, if they also intended to similarly immunize the use of hashish, have allowed the same quantity of narcotics as of the relatively benign flowers of the marijuana plant.”

Mikel Weisser of Arizona NORML said, “I expect an uproar. You can guestimate that about 40% of the market is based on some kind of concentrate; Vape pens, wax, topicals, edibles – it’s all concentrated marijuana. The bottom line of the industry is threatened.”

Under this ruling, CBD would also be illegal as it is an extract from the cannabis plant.

A final ruling is still expected from the Arizona Supreme Court, and so is an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court regarding this recent ruling. But, until then, marijuana extracts (concentrates) are illegal for anyone to possess in Arizona.

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