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Unease and Confusion Loom as Marijuana Extracts Are Ruled Illegal in Arizona

Cannabis States

The recent ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals deeming marijuana extract products illegal has left patients and industry businesses reeling in dismay and unease over the future. Meanwhile, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk spoke out praising the ruling. As usual, her comments are not sitting well with many in the industry.

Polk warned that even people who have medical marijuana cards in Yavapai County (or anywhere in Arizona) are subject to prosecution for possessing extracts, AZ Family reports. She said, anyone with a marijuana extract is “subject to prosecution for being in possession of a narcotic drug, which is class four felony” in Arizona.

This is a “sound interpretation of the [Arizona] Medical Marijuana Act,” said Polk. “I think it’s clear when voters approved marijuana for medical use, they were envisioning the marijuana plant. They weren’t envisioning this sophisticated process of extracting one particular chemical and then making it available in a form that is incredibly potent.” She continued, “This sets the policy that dispensaries can sell marijuana but cannot sell the extracts. What this opinion does is rein in this industry that ran under the umbrella of medical marijuana and started producing some incredibly hard drugs.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is still in the process of reviewing the decision with its legal team. They’re attempting to determine whether any rule changes are necessary.

Some dispensary owners have estimated that extracts account for about 50% of the medical marijuana sales in the state. Many dispensaries and several medical marijuana product manufacturers across the state have stated that they will continue selling medical marijuana extracts.

J.P. Holyoak, a co-owner of Arizona Natural Selections dispensaries, is also speaking out regarding the decision. His daughter has a rare health condition called Aicardi syndrome which causes her to have dozens of seizures per day. But due to her use of marijuana oil, which is an extract, her seizures have decreased to one every few months. Furthermore, she was unable to stand by herself before finding marijuana oil but is now able to play and run like other children.

Holyoak’s daughter has lived beyond other children who’ve been diagnosed with the disorder. The typical lifespan of a child with Aicardi syndrome is age 8. Holyoak’s daughter is 9 and a half.

Holyoak said, “This ruling says she cannot receive cannabis in the only form that she is capable of receiving. So essentially these courts dealt a death sentence to my daughter and other children like her.”

Contact your local dispensary to learn more about this issue.

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