Arizona Supreme Court rules hashish OK for medical marijuana patients
PHOENIX – Patients with Arizona medical marijuana cards can’t be arrested for possession of hashish and other cannabis extracts, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
The unanimous ruling reversed a lower-court decision that found cardholders faced arrest for hashish possession because the drug isn’t named in the state’s 2010 voter-approved medical pot law.
“The Supreme Court ruled the Arizona medical marijuana act includes all parts of the cannabis plant, including the dried leaf, flower form and resin, which includes hashish,” KTAR News 92.3 FM legal expert Monica Lindstrom said.
The court’s interpretation lets medical marijuana patients use the drug to treat debilitating medical conditions in whatever form best suits them.
“It is implausible that voters intended to allow patients with these conditions to use marijuana only if they could consume it in dried-leaf/flower form,” the Supreme Court wrote. “Such an interpretation would preclude the use of marijuana as an option for those for whom smoking or consuming those parts of the marijuana plants would be ineffective or impossible.”
The case centered on the 2013 arrest of medical marijuana card holder Rodney Jones at a Prescott hotel on charges of possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Police say Jones had 0.05 ounces of hashish in a jar. He was convicted and later sentenced to two years in prison.
“Jones appealed, arguing the Arizona medical marijuana act includes all parts of the cannabis plant, including hashish,” Lindstrom said.
In a ruling last summer, the Arizona Court of Appeals said the medical marijuana law “is silent” on hashish and that if voters wanted to protect patients who use hashish from prosecution, they should have written the law that way.
The Supreme Court threw out Jones’ conviction and sentence.
A medical marijuana cardholder is allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.