Court ruling could have cooling effect on AZ’s $425M medical cannabis market

Arizona marijuana extracts ruling, Court ruling could have cooling effect on AZ’s $425M medical cannabis market

Cannabis extracts, which account for almost half of Arizona’s medical marijuana sales, are illegal, according to the state’s Court of Appeals.

The court’s 2-1 ruling is a blow to one of the nation’s largest, fastest-growing MMJ markets, alt-weekly Phoenix New Times reported.

Upwards of 40% of Arizona’s medical cannabis sales come from concentrates and infused products, Mikel Weisser, executive director of the state’s NORML chapter, told Marijuana Business Daily.

He said the court’s decision on cannabis extracts could have a chilling effect on Arizona’s industry. MMJ sales in the state are expected to grow to $425 million-$475 million this year, according to estimates in the Marijuana Business Factbook 2018.

The issue, which arose because of a conviction in a criminal possession case, is complicated:
  • The ruling relies heavily on a separate Arizona law that makes it illegal to possess “cannabis, a narcotic drug.”
  • The law defines cannabis as the resin extracted from marijuana, according to Phoenix New Times.
  • The resin also is called hashish, which the Arizona Supreme Court classified separately from marijuana in 1978.

“By not specifically including extracted resin within its description of immunized marijuana, (the 2010 voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) adopts the ‘preexisting law distinguishing between cannabis and marijuana,'” Judge Jon. W. Thompson wrote for the court’s majority opinion.

“According to our Supreme Court, hashish is ‘the resin extracted’ from the marijuana plant,” criminalized as cannabis, a narcotic drug, and distinct from marijuana.”

The Court of Appeals’ ruling upholds the conviction of Rodney Jones, who was arrested for possession of hashish and charged with possession of 1.43 grams of “cannabis” in 2013.

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6 comments on “Court ruling could have cooling effect on AZ’s $425M medical cannabis market
  1. C Kortum on

    Duh!!!! Cannabis is marijuana and vice versa! This is absurd!! Any way the DEA and the courts can come up with a negative towards an herbal plant, they will!!! We need to get Cannabis/Marijuana/Pot, etc. ..should be taken off Schedule 1 status. Enough reefer madness!!!

  2. Darwin Long on

    This ruling should be taken before the AZ Supreme Court, with emphasis that the people have made this substance legal and that the differences between the extracts and the plant must be proven in order for the differences to be of legal consequence.

  3. bluesman on

    That’s right, tell them.
    Plus all the money that will be lost to Az. All on a way out dated law from (1978). What’s with that??

  4. Peggy Shaner on

    The people who make these ridiculous laws, are just uneducated in this field. They’ve not used the product themselves and use unsubstantiated urban myths to base their judgments on. If they were educated in this product, they’d know there is no distinction between the extracts and the plant. It’s likened to legalizing a lemon, but outlawing lemonade! Just Stupid….Here’s Your Sign!!

  5. MikeD on

    Much abo about nothing. The opinion is very specific and narrow in its applicability to concentrates. Not to mention it got that wrong which will be overturned easily. Business as usual. Also, nowhere near 40% of the market. Flower is still king

    • Michael Walz on

      I beg to differ with much of the above. MPP drafted the legislation and intentionally omitted any mention of cannabis or resin. This was because if it was learned by the voting public that we were allowing a drug rather than just a plant it would have cost votes. Because the election results were so close (4,500) if the AMMA had contained a cannabis/hash/concentrates clause it surely would have been defeated and medical marijuana patients would have received nothing.

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