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Arizona Judge Rules Medical Cannabis Extracts Are Illegal

Now that an Arizona judge rules medical cannabis extracts are illegal, we’re forced to confront antiquated laws and criminal codes.

Arizona Judge Rules Medical Cannabis Extracts Are Illegal
Justin Cannabis/High Times

We’ve gotten reports that an Arizona judge has ruled that medical cannabis extracts are illegal. We have also just learned that in Arizona, there is a legal difference between marijuana and cannabis. Even though they are literally the same plant.

Wait, what?

Cannabis vs. Marijuana

According to Arizona state law, there is a difference between marijuana and cannabis.

In 2010, when Arizona residents voted in favor of instating a medical marijuana program, the term “marijuana” referred to the medicine in flower form “and any mixture or preparation thereof.” Lawmakers wrote the definition of “cannabis,” however, in the criminal code before 1960.

Arizona law views cannabis as a narcotic derived from marijuana.

Basically, the resin that can be pressed out of the flower. This extends to all of the products made from the resin, like vape pen cartridges and concentrates. But the resin, legally called cannabis, is somehow not marijuana.

Confused? You’re not alone.

A Sticky, Icky Situation

Earlier this month, Arizona courts ruled that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act did not cover extracts because the law considers them “cannabis.” The extracts in question include wax, resin, oil and tinctures.

This presents a multitude of problems for medical marijuana patients in the state.

It seems that by the criminal code definition, at least, a lot of forms of medical marijuana are technically illegal. It would seem that even CBD extracts, which can be used to treat seizure disorders, remain in a grey area.

Despite this legal technicality, most dispensaries in Arizona sell medical marijuana products made from “cannabis.” You know, the typical vape pens, tinctures, oils and concentrates that you would expect a dispensary to sell. And as of now, there’s no indication that Arizona medical dispensaries will stop selling these products.

As you may expect, this law mostly affects medical card holders. You know, the people who rely on medicinal weed to alleviate their various ailments.

Since this Arizona judge ruled medical cannabis extracts are illegal in the state, it could make things difficult for patients in a number of ways.

For example, let’s say the police pull over an Arizona resident with a valid medical card. If the card-holder possesses a vape pen, wax or any other “cannabis” product, the police could arrest them and file charges. If it sounds nonsensical, that’s because it is. And yet, it’s been happening in the state.

Final Hit: Arizona Judge Rules Medical Cannabis Extracts Are Illegal

The fact that an Arizona judge rules medical cannabis extracts are illegal is worrying. Not because the ruling is likely to shut down dispensaries or take products off the shelves. But because it indicates that in the state of Arizona, the criminal code does not accurately reflect scientific advancements and studies. Appeals courts and cannabis lawyers have mostly had success in individual cases pertaining to concentrates and extracts. But the fact remains that in order to actually protect people, the state needs to update the law to better reflect current terminology and facts.

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