Arizona Supreme Court: Arizona
Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) Protects Possession of Marijuana Extracts
Unanimous decision vacates the Arizona Court of
Appeals ruling in State v. Jones
On May 28, 2019, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled
unanimously that “hashish” is like any other part of the
cannabis plant, thus protecting medical marijuana patients’ access to ointments,
suppositories, edibles, tinctures and other resin-extracted products under the AMMA.
The decision vacates the Arizona Court of Appeals' June
2018 ruling in State v. Jones. The case involved the arrest and
conviction of Rodney Jones, an Arizona medical marijuana card holder, for
possession of 0.005 oz. of hashish. Mr. Jones served two-and-a-half years in
Rodney Jones with Sacks Tierney
paralegal Tina Dancer at a June 19, 2019, meeting of the Arizona
Marijuana Industry Trade Association.
Interpreting the AMMA’s definition of “marijuana,” the
Court referred to the Act itself and dictionaries.
Hashish is widely
recognized as “‘the resin extracted’ from the marijuana plant.”
Pursuant to Arizona’s criminal code, cannabis is defined as “[t]he 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,” and “[e]very compound manufacture, salt,
derivative, mixture or preparation of such resin or tetrahydrocannabinol.”
State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher
Jones | Sacks Tierney's
Marijuana Business Law practice
attorneys Janet Jackim,
Gaye Gould and
Phil Rudd filed an
brief in support of the Supreme
On June 26, 2018, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled
that a card-carrying medical marijuana patient can be prosecuted criminally for
possessing a small amount of hashish.
Citing State v.
the Court of Appeals reminded the parties that the terms “hashish,”
“cannabis” and “marijuana” are afforded different treatments under Arizona
In State v. Jones,
the Court of Appeals ruled that the protections afforded qualifying patients
who possess or use medical marijuana under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act
are limited to a mixture or preparation of the marijuana plant. “Mixture or preparation” means the combining of marijuana with non-marijuana
elements to make “consumables” such as brownies and the like. The Court found that the AMMA does not immunize hashish, nor does it address
In September 2018, attorneys for defendant Rodney Jones
Petition for Review with the Arizona
Supreme Court. In January 2019, the Arizona Supreme Court accepted
review of the appeal.
Sacks Tierney Amicus Curae Brief. On February 20, 2019, Sacks Tierney
attorneys filed the aforementioned amicus curae brief on behalf of doctors Gina Mecagni Merman, M.D., Jeffrey A.
Singer, M.D., The Society of Cannabis Clinicians, David J. Casarett, M.D., M.A.,
and James B. Adams, Ph.D., who, among other evidence, advised the Supreme Court
that scientific and medical studies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
already establish that cannabis and cannabinoids benefit patients dealing with a
variety of illnesses and symptoms.
The medicinal effect, these doctors stated,
is in the cannabinoids of the resin, which must be extracted from the plant. By
excluding resin from the immunity provisions of the AMMA, the lower Court
erroneously limited the use of medical marijuana to smoking dried flowers which,
for many patients, is an inappropriate treatment application.
 A.R.S. § 13-3401(4)
 110 Ariz. 84, 87 (1973)
 A.R.S. §§ 36-2801
 A.R.S. § 36-2801(15)
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