On Oct 22, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich withdrew his argument asking the Arizona Supreme Court to deem hashish illegal. His reasoning, as he stated, was fear that it would have unintended consequences for children and other patients in need of the concentrated form of marijuana. He asked the justices of the Supreme Court to ignore his previous filing.
This move comes as a surprise to many as the original filing asked the court to refuse the arguments of Rodney Jones, Tucson.com reports. Jones was convicted of a felony for possession of 0.05 oz. of hashish. Brnovich may, however, be more concerned with the language used by his office when filing the argument.
Brnovich’s spokesperson, Ryan Anderson, said, “The last thing the attorney general wants is to deny medicine to legitimate patients that may be ingesting their marijuana in an extract or a tincture-type of a form.”
Many children, elderly and severely ill patients in Arizona are unable to smoke marijuana flower, so they must have access to their medicine in an alternative form, such as tinctures or edibles.
While the Attorney General’s office does have a responsibility to back up the convictions obtained by county attorneys, the office is unsure which direction it will go in moving forward on the issue. All filings through the AG’s office have the name of the AG on them, whether the AG gave instruction or approval for the filings.
Anderson noted that the law may, in fact, include extracts and other forms of medical marijuana – regardless of other court rulings.
Anderson said, “The attorney general has a responsibility to uphold the will of Arizona voters.”
It was reported by Capitol Media Services that Brnovich’s office has requested that a narrower version of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is adopted. Mixtures and preparations of marijuana are included in the 2010 voter-approved law’s language.
Yanavpai County attorney Sheila Polk argued that hashish is not part of the law and was able to get a Yavapai County judge to agree with her.
Anderson hinted that Brnovich may take a more neutral position regarding the forms of medical marijuana that dispensaries can sell and what patients can possess. It may come down to a final decision by the Arizona Supreme Court to determine what products can be made and sold to patients.
Clarification of the law could also be worked out through the Legislature.
For now, Brnovich has retracted his argument, but it remains unknown what will happen regarding the status of marijuana extracts and products falling into the hashish category.
Brnovich is running for reelection on Nov 6 against January Contreras, which may have something to do him stopping his (unnecessary) crusade against Arizona’s medical marijuana industry.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren