In a Tuesday decision, The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that medical cannabis patients can be arrested if they are found in possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, vape pens, concentrates and hashish, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program. The ruling, Arizona v. Jones, determines that Rodney Jones, who holds a state medical cannabis card, can be arrested for possession of hashish.
Arizona in particular is exceptionally harsh on people who are caught with hashish or concentrate, and they can face up to 3.75 years in jail for simple possession. The sale, manufacture or trafficking of concentrates can yield a sentence of up to 12.75 years in jail.
In March 2013, Jones was caught with 0.05 ounces of hashish, and he spent a year in jail over it. He then waived his right to a jury and consequently was convicted and sent to jail for an additional two years, which he appealed. Most recently, Jones’ appeal was denied by the court by a vote of 2-1.
“If the drafters wanted to immunize the possession of hashish they should have said so,” the ruling reads. “We cannot conclude that Arizona voters intended to do so.”
The Arizona medical cannabis law allows for cannabis or “any mixture or preparation thereof,” but the latest ruling determines that the phrase only describes edibles, and not concentrates.
Some believe that the ruling makes no sense, given that some edibles or flower strains can be equally or nearly as potent as concentrates. The ruling flies in the face of the fact that Arizona voters intended to allow medical cannabis in all of its forms for patients seeking relief.
In all likelihood the case will be appealed in the state’s supreme court, according to reports. The case is far from over.