Why Do Arizona Prosecutors Treat Cannabis as a Narcotic Drug?



One of the questions I am most frequently asked by clients charged with possession of narcotic drugs for sale or transportation when the “narcotic drug” involved is cannabis is “Why do prosecutors treat cannabis as a narcotic drug?” While the easiest answer would be to say that the Arizona Legislature has listed cannabis as a narcotic rather than straight marijuana, my experience in handling cases involving BHO, Shatter, Wax, and other cannabis extracts gives me a more precise answer which seems to be the prevailing view of both Arizona police and prosecutors.

Some years ago, I was representing a client charged with transportation of narcotic drugs for sale in Southern Arizona. Specifically, my client was transporting a large tincture. For those reading this who do not know what a tincture is, generally speaking, a tincture is a solution of either alcohol or glycerin in which marijuana is placed. Over the passage of time, the THC in the marijuana will infuse into the surrounding liquid solution. The marijuana is reduced to green mushy slop while the solution contains the potent THC which can be administered through a dropper or other method.

In the course of defending the case, I interviewed the main criminalist at the Arizona DPS Crime Lab in Tucson. It was explained to me that the position taken by law enforcement is that when the morphology, or physical structure, of the marijuana plant is degraded to a point where the physical characteristics of a plant are no longer discernable under a microscope, marijuana becomes cannabis such that it is treated as a narcotic drug.

To those reading this who might be concerned about their fate if they are charged and convicted with possession of narcotic drugs for sale, as opposed to possession of marijuana for sale, you might want to read up on one of my previous posts Charges for Transportation of Marijuana for Sale. In short, narcotic drug offenses in Arizona will often carry more severe penalties than marijuana offenses.

If you are being charged for an offense involving the possession for sale, transportation for sale, or manufacture of narcotic drugs, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix who really understands this unique area of Arizona drug laws, how these offenses are investigated, and how they are handled by prosecutors. If you find yourself in this situation and are facing charges, a confidential consultation can be set up by calling (602) 663-9100. With the right criminal defense attorney, Shatter doesn’t have to shatter your life.

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