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Arizona House Refuses to Bite on Cannabis Edibles Legislation

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Arizona Republicans turned away from legislation that would have permanently established the legality of medical cannabis-infused edibles in the state.

A split vote of 29-29 denied the chance to add the word “edible” to the state’s medical cannabis laws. The proposal was introduced by Rep. Randall Friese, a doctor, and would have expanded the current cannabis laws to include resins, extracts and concentrates. Currently, the issue of whether or not medical cannabis legislation included those options is being debated in the state’s Supreme Court.

The proposal came swiftly after a Yavapai County prosecutor contended in the state’s Supreme Court that Arizona residents never meant to legalize anything besides cannabis flower for medical treatment. Authorities in Yavapai County have been arresting medical cannabis patients for the possession of cannabis extracts. “People are buying these marijuana derivatives, the concentrates and the edibles legally, and paying taxes, but in certain counties in Arizona they’re being arrested for these things that they bought legally,” said Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley.

Friese had hoped the expansion of the legislation would benefit patients, who currently are allowed up to two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis every two weeks. Medical cannabis laws in Arizona include recommending cannabis for children who suffer from seizures. “It would be easier for them to get the medication if we allowed the edibles,” said Friese.

Friese hoped his proposal could have made the decision in the state legislature rather than wait for the court’s opinion. “I’m trying to propose to this body that we make our own decision,” he said.

Rep. Regina Cobb said that in other states, cannabis edibles pose a risk of children mistaking them for candy – and that overdosing is a risk for users and children. “So some people take it and then take another one because after the first response they don’t get a response,” she said. “And then they’re starting to overdose on those also.”

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