PHOENIX—The Arizona Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act “extends to manufactured marijuana products using extracted resin,” the position the ACLU of Arizona argued for before the justices.
The Court determined that under AMMA, “qualifying patients are allowed two-and-one-half ounces of dried flowers, or mixtures or preparations made from two-and-one-half ounces of dried flowers.”
Since AMMA passed in 2010, some anti-marijuana prosecutors, including Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, have pursued criminal charges against Arizona medical marijuana cardholders who obtained marijuana extracts at licensed dispensaries.
The ACLU of Arizona filed an amicus brief in the case, State v. Jones. Rodney Jones was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison after being prosecuted by Polk for possessing hashish he received from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
ACLU of Arizona Criminal Justice Staff Attorney Jared Keenan made the following statement about ruling:
“The court got it right. This ruling means that qualifying patients will no longer have to fear being prosecuted for using their medicine in the most helpful form. This is what voters intended when they overwhelmingly passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
“It is a shame anti-marijuana prosecutors, including Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, were able to undermine the will of the voters for so long and throw qualifying patients in prison just because of their own aversion to and misunderstanding of a legal medicine.
“This is the second time Polk has been unanimously shot down by the Arizona Supreme Court related to her interpretation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The courts have also stopped attempts by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to undermine the intent of the Act.
“Lawmakers and our governor rely on Polk and Montgomery when making critical decisions about criminal justice reform legislation, but it is clear these prosecutors whose word holds so much value at the Legislature are simply not getting it right.
“Any medical marijuana patient in jail or prison, or being prosecuted for possessing marijuana extracts, must be immediately released and any charges must be dismissed.”
The Arizona Supreme Court opinion in State v. Jones is available here: https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/state_v._jones_opinion.final_.pdf