In order to fix a sophisticated IT problem on a network that affects thousands of users, you wouldn't rely on an instruction manual for a Commodore 64 computer. Yet this is what the Arizona Court of Appeals seemingly did last week when it determined that cannabis, as opposed to flower marijauna, is not covered under the AMMA.
A Mohave County, Arizona man appealed his conviction for possession of hashish, a narcotic drug under Arizona law, after the trial judge determined that its possession was not covered under the AMMA. A sharply divided appellate court agreed.
Legal mumbo jumbo aside, two judges used quotes from a case written in 1973 - when the country was still mourning the loss of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin (to put the date in context) - to define what hashish is. Using this strict, limited, and, frankly, archane definition, two judges split hairs as to the precise language of the AMMA to find that it did not cover and allow patients to possess gummy bears, tinctures, BHO, and the like. In order to come to this conclusion, the court essentially found that hashish and cannabis are one and the same. A third judge interpreted the statute to find that it did, in fact, allow for the legal possession of cannabis and other derivatives of the marijuana plant. Disagreements aside, it was interesting to see that the conservative majority referred to the flowers of the marijuana plant as "relatively benign."
This said, don't go flushing your extracts, oils, and shatter just yet. Anyone, including other criminal defense attorneys, who calls for panic is just stirring the pot (no pun intended) and is being ridiculous. Patients can continue to possess, and dispensaries can continue to sell cannabis. The Court of Appeals' decision is subject to review by the Arizona Supreme Court. It is likely that the Supreme Court will take up this novel issue of statewide importance, and that it will interpret the AMMA based upon a number of legal factors, including the intent of the voters. A decision from the Supreme Court likely won't be handed down for more than a year. In the meantime, last week's decision will not be enforced and is (not yet) the law of the state.
While this issue hits home for many Arizonans, the reality is that it's just like any other legal issue working it's way through the courts. It will take time; a long time to resolve. So be patient and stay calm. Smoke'm if you got got'em. In the mean time, at least we can be sure that flower is legal no matter what.