Court Provides More Clarity Regarding Marijuana Extracts

March 23rd, 2014 by Will Humble Leave a reply »

Judge Cooper from Maricopa County Superior Court ruled on Friday that: “The language of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and its ballot materials make clear that proponents and votes intended the Act to provide access to medicine for debilitating medical conditions without fear of criminal prosecution.  The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act does not limit the form in which that medicine can be administered.  Nor does it prohibit the use of extracts, such as CBD oil.”

 

This ruling provides some clarity regarding how we’ll regulate the sale of edibles that contain extracts from the marijuana plant.  Here’s a summary of the issue addressed by the Court:
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act provides registry identification card holders and dispensaries a number of legal protections for their medical use of Marijuana pursuant to the Act.  Interestingly, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) differs from the Arizona Criminal Code’s (“Criminal Code”) definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 13-3401(19).  The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act makes a distinction between “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana.” A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) and (15).  The definition of “Marijuana” in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is “… all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.”  The definition of “Usable Marijuana” is  “…  the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant and does not include the weight of any non-marijuana ingredients combined with marijuana and prepared for consumption as food or drink.”  The “allowable amount of marijuana” for a qualifying patient and a designated caregiver includes “two-and-one half ounces of usable marijuana.”  A.R.S. § 36-2801(1).

 

The definition of “Marijuana” in the Criminal Code is “… all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis, from which the resin has not been extracted, whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.”   “Cannabis” (a narcotic drug under the Criminal Code) is defined as: “… the following substances under whatever names they may be designated: (a) The resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin.  Cannabis does not include oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any fiber, compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks of such plant except the resin extracted from the stalks or any fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination; and (b) Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such resin or tetrahydrocannabinol.” A.R.S. § 13-3401(4) and (20)(w).

 

An issue the Department had been wrestling with for some time is how the definition of “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana” in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and the definition of “Cannabis” and “Marijuana” in the Criminal Code fit together. In other words, prior to this ruling it had appeared as though registered identification card holders and dispensaries could have been exposed to criminal prosecution under the Criminal Code for possessing a narcotic drug if the card holder or dispensary possesses resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis or an edible containing resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis.

 

At least for now, it appears that forms of marijuana that include extracts from the plant are provided the same level of protection (for patients and dispensaries) as the actual dried marijuana plants under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

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36 comments

  1. Arlin Troutt says:

    Mr. Humble as you may know 5 yr. Old Zander had a court hearing on February 14, 2014 also in front of Judge Katherine Cooper. Zander’s parents were being threatened with arrest by County Attorney Bill Montgomery if they gave Zander the marijuana oil he needs for his seizures. Judge Cooper ruled on that issue this morning in Zander’s favor. She also set up the perfect storm of litigation to hold you accountable for your outrageous and destructive interpretations of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) The pain, suffering, death and other damages that have occurred as a result of these continuing incoherent interpretations of the AMMA language will require accountability. You and Mr. Montgomery have been warned repeatedly by the courts about playing games with the language of this law yet you continue down the same path as if you don’t understand the damage you are doing or the laws you are ignoring and violating.
    I am preparing a lawsuit that will not be like the others. You have an opportunity to talk to me about this and save the taxpayers a lot of legal fees and serious legal problems for yourself. You have stepped outside your ream of authority and found yourself on the wrong side of the science, medicine, law, history and the citizens of Arizona. I’m giving you the opportunity to talk to people that know a lot about marijuana. You needs some really good advice to help you get on the right side of the humanity.

    • Will Humble says:

      Let’s be clear. As the Agency Director I have absolutely no authority to criminally prosecute anybody for anything. Our job is to issue the cards, regulate the dispensaries, and do some administration of the system.

      The discrepancy between the Title 36 and 13 definitions of Cannabis and Marijuana had been a problem in that patients could have left dispensaries with edibles or extracts that they bought and been prosecuted for possession under Title 13 (not by me). It would have been up to a jury on whether to convict or not.

      I believe that it would have been irresponsible for me to not make patients aware that there are 2 different definitions and that prosecution was a possibility. You disagee. Fine.

      At least now we have some legal interpretation and case law on this issue. Have a nice day.

      • C Alonzo says:

        Mr. Humble, I really disagree with your coy logic and “act” like you care about the public welfare. Your biased and disregard for people in need is clearly clouded by your reservations and prejudice “against” marijuana as a medicine. I really don’t believe a person like you should hold the position in charge of the states “Arizona Department of Health Services.” It is a mockery of our system. You show no clue or conscience for the well being of your fellow human. I can only hope and pray you someday wake up. Marijuana is a viable and safe option from your big pharma meds you allow dispensed that “kill” people faster and more often than marijuana ever will.

  2. Arlin Troutt says:

    Additionally, Judge Cooper was very clear that the patient’s obligation was only to establish a medical need for marijuana and your authority was restricted to regulating dispensaries and not the needs of medical marijuana patients. Please read this ruling carefully and get with the program. People are needlessly suffering and dying because you have interpreted and intimidated patients and doctors to death.

    • Will Humble says:

      I agree. Our job is to issue the cards, regulate the dispensaries, and do some administration of the system in accordance with the voter approved language.

  3. Arlin Troutt says:

    Again Mr. Humble your interpretations of Judge Cooper’s rulings are similar to your problem with the language of the 25-mile clause in the AMMA. I have explained they we have the right to an English interpreter if this recalcitrance continues. You are on the edge of malice. (Sic)

    • Will Humble says:

      I, my legal counsel, and the courts agree that that the voter approved language in AMMA does not allow the Department to issue cards that authorize self-cultivation when a patient lives within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.

      I understand that you disagree with that interpretation- and you’re entitled to your opinion.

      See the disposition of Hayes v. State of Arizona

      • Bill Hayes says:

        might want to wait for round 2 on that one Will although I am now flattered you are using the case to help educate ;)

        I had the winning argument the first time however the case was theoretic as I had yet to be denied cultivation rights, but that has all changed according to the official registry. That is why it was dismissed, not because Honorable Judge Bolton sided with AZDHS or the State.
        At least, that is what myself and the lawyers sitting next to me read.

        we’ll all find out soon enough ;) Once and for all.

    • Arlin Troutt says:

      Judge Cooper: “The Court is solely concerned with the interpretation of the AMMA as written. The language of the AMMA and its ballot materials make clear that proponents and votes intended the AMMA to provide access to medicine for debilitating medical conditions without fear of criminal prosecution. The AMMA does not limit the form in which that medicine can be administered.

  4. Phil says:

    At least for now, it appears?! Was the judges order not clear enough?! Like we’ve been saying all along and not just ‘for now’ the AMMA covers extracts. THEY ARE LEGAL. You know it. Montgomery knows it. Everyone who has read the AMMA knows it. What has happened here with the word games and politics should literally be a crime. These are peoples – and childrens – lives that are being messed with.

    • Will Humble says:

      By writing “at least for now” I’m referring to the fact that this is a Maricopa County Superior Court ruling- and the Defendants may decide to appeal. The ADHS is not a party to the suit (we are no longer a Defendant) and we will not be involved in that decision.

  5. Bill Hayes says:

    “It is hereby ordered that the AMMA authorizes qualifying patients to use extracts, including CBD oil, prepared from the plant.”

    period. not “for now”, with all due respect.

    If you are referring to Bill M. and his thoughts that “One superior court judge’s rationale is not “controlling” on another superior court judge. ” and in regards to Cooper’s decision that “A lawyer could bring it up, yes, but the judge does not have to give it any weight and it does not direct a judge to rule in a similar way.” (these are direct quotes from facebook) let us all just go ahead and laugh now because we know how much “merit” these statements hold in the real world.

    AZDHS and Bill M just need to do their respective jobs and quit playing politics before you tick off the wrong person and the lawsuits become ridiculous.

    And since it has only been brought up and discussed in passing, let me go ahead and make a formal request that AZDHS INCLUDE my lawsuit against them, along with all the others, on their website and other AZDHS authorized materials regarding the “lawsuits”.

    Why is it NOT being displayed Will?

    I am pretty sure I filed it, I am pretty sure it was valid and got a response from the State, two in fact. I am pretty sure Judge Bolton did respond and dismiss the case, as well as sealing the dismissal from “publication” so I am aware you cannot post THAT portion, however you could show me the same respect you have showed everyone else that has brought a lawsuit against your department and display the case and the portions you are authorized to display publicly.

    I had the winning argument then, and I will have it again (only stronger now) when myself and the other plaintiffs file in Superior Court to remove the 25-Mile Rule.

    Funny, from the outsider looking in, AZDHS seems to mirror what MPP has on their web page or the other way around. You both have the “insurance rejection” case brought by Walz but NOT my FEDERAL lawsuit.
    You both have a “revenue interest” in keeping that case quiet based on public statements. How odd?!

    in case you forgot:

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/arizona/azdce/2:2012cv00322/678669

    http://www.420patients.com/arizona-dispensary-program-legal-problems-judge-bolten-again-hayes-arizona/

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-749746

    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2012/02/arizona_medical_marijuana_acts.php

    let’s not act like it didn’t happen

    • Will Humble says:

      I’m checking with my team to see if we’ve neglected to post a case that’s not sealed from publication as you’ve suggested.

      • Bill Hayes says:

        thank you sir, thank you.

        MPP won’t post anything related to the case either and we all KNOW you don’t want to be lumped in with them ;)

        all kidding aside, thank you for at least checking in to it Will.

        The only portion that was sealed was her response, so everything other than that can be made public. As you can see from the links above some of it already has.

        Thank You again,

        Bill H

  6. Lauthas says:

    It’s really a shame that your department keeps playing games. These are people’s lives, their families lives. We need safe access, and by safe I don’t mean picking up my meds in a seedy area of town in a high prices dispensary. There are some of us that can not afford to “buy” our meds from a (cough, cough) “non-profit” dispensary, we need cultivation for our well being, not to “sell” but for us to get what works for our individual needs.

    • Will Humble says:

      I, my legal counsel, and the courts agree that that the voter approved language in AMMA does not allow the Department to issue cards that authorize self-cultivation when a patient lives within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.

      I understand that you disagree with that interpretation- and you’re entitled to your opinion.

      The fact of the matter is that the authors of the Initiative included a provision that restricts self-cultivation within 25 miles of a dispensary. I can’t help the fact that this provision was included in the voter approved language. Our Regulations must be consistent with the voter approved language- I’m not authorized to change statute.

  7. Tommy says:

    That blog post was obligatory. You sound pissed you can’t arrest us for that anymore. You also didn’t mention once how oil and extracts is helpful for patients. You are a fraudulent Health Director for REAL

    • Arlin Troutt says:

      Good point Tommy, Mr. Humble should ask Zander’s doctor if he is treating other young patients and how they are doing with cannabis. Has Mr. Humble bothered to talk with Zander’s doctor about the importance of medical cannabis for sick kids? Who is convincing Mr. Humble to offer such adversity instead of embracing the use of this ancient, safe and effective home remedy.

    • Will Humble says:

      As the Agency Director I have absolutely no authority to criminally prosecute anybody for anything. Our job is to issue the cards, regulate the dispensaries, and do some administration of the system.

      We included provisions in our regulations requiring dispensaries to have a medical director. Part of a medical director’s responsibilities are to provide educational materials for their patients.

    • Will Humble says:

      As the Agency Director I have absolutely no authority to criminally prosecute anybody for anything. Our job is to issue the cards, regulate the dispensaries, and do some administration of the system.

      We included provisions in our regulations requiring dispensaries to have a medical director. Part of a medical director’s responsibilities are to provide educational materials for their patients.

  8. Arlin Troutt says:

    Mr. Humble, Judge Cooper’s ruling was about the Webster Dictionary, Bill Montgomery and “your” outrageous and damaging interpretations of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.She was talking about the Crows Forced to Fly in 25-Mile circles to buy expensive marijuana from dispensaries. Judge Cooper ruled in your favor on the 25-mile clause after you and Mr. Hayes agreed to not contest your ADHS interpretation of the language of the 25 mile clause, remember. Judge Cooper only stated that both you and Mr. Hayes agreed with your interpretation of the 25 mile clause. She didn’t say that I did. This is about your interpretation of the law not your agreement with Mr. Hayes to avoid the actually language of the law. The unchanging fact is the AMMA does not say you “can’t cultivate marijuana any place in the language of that law and Judge Cooper is using the dictionary and not your imagination. Judge Cooper said your job was to regulate dispensaries not the needs of medical marijuana patients. This is about your interpretations that leave marijuana cultivation unreliable, and medications expensive and dangerous to get for most patients. We should have had 100,000 people registered for this program. You have done much behind the scenes to confuse and intimidate patients and doctors.
    A good example is my one week old grand-baby and how you hurt him. In your marijuana section of your ADHS blog you published; “Smoking and Stillbirth. My family read your story and realized it had nothing to do with marijuana but the doctors and nurses and Mountain Vista must have just read your Marijuana Headline and not the story.
    My daughter is a MMJ patient for a very good reason. She took every precaution and had a registered naturalistic doctor that knows our family and understands our health and religious practices. It was a perfect delivery and a perfect baby in our home. We had my daughter and grandson transported from the Superstition Mountains to Mountain Vista Hospital for a check up to be on the safe side. When the head nurse at the hospital found out that my daughter had a medical marijuana card and informed the doctor, they took the baby away from his mother and tried to give him a “drug test” They warned my daughter that if she tried to breast feed her baby or leave the hospital with him they would call Child Protective Services. This perfect baby and birth at our home turned into a Will Humble hospital nightmare that ended with a call to Attorney “Craig Mehrens” (thank you Craig). Cannabis has a substantial history of safe and effective use in child birth going back to the Ancient Egyptians. You must realize the damage you are creating with this game you are playing with our health, welfare, safety and lives. This is more than just a disagreement between us on legal opinions. This is not a language game of legal technicalities. People are suffering and dying needlessly. This war on humanity has been lost, the bugle has been blown by the courts and it’s time to surrender and face the music. Have a nice life.

  9. Arlin Troutt says:

    Since Mr. Humble is notorious for erasing my responses on his blog I copied this response and I will keep sending it to my 2.9 million world-wide twitter followers until Mr. Humble acknowledges my response to his comment to me on his blog..

    Mr. Humble, Judge Cooper’s ruling was about the Webster Dictionary, Bill Montgomery and “your” outrageous and damaging interpretations of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. She was talking about the Crows Forced to Fly in 25-Mile circles to buy expensive marijuana from dispensaries. Judge Cooper ruled in your favor on the 25-mile clause after you and Mr. Hayes v. State of Arizona agreed to not contest your ADHS interpretation of the language of the 25- mile cultivation clause, remember. Judge Cooper only stated that both you and Mr. Hayes agreed with your interpretation of the 25-mile clause. She didn’t say that the rest of Arizona and the dictionary did.

    This is about your interpretation of the law not your agreement with Mr. Hayes to avoid the actually language of the law. The unchanging fact is the AMMA does not say you “can’t cultivate marijuana any place in the language of that law and Judge Cooper is using the dictionary and not your imagination. Judge Cooper said your job was to regulate dispensaries not the needs of medical marijuana patients. This is about your interpretations that leave marijuana cultivation unreliable and medications expensive and dangerous to get for most patients. We should have had 100,000 people registered for this program. You have done much behind the scenes to confuse and intimidate patients and doctors.
    A good example is my week old grandbaby and how you hurt him. In the “Marijuana Section” of your ADHS Blog you published; “Smoking and Stillbirth. My family read your story and realized it had nothing to do with marijuana but the doctors and nurses at Mountain Vista must have only read your Marijuana Headline and not the story.
    My daughter is a MMJ patient for a very good reason. She took every precaution and had a registered naturalistic doctor that knows our family and understands our health and religious practices. It was a perfect delivery and a perfect baby in our home. We had my daughter and grandson transported from the Superstition Mountains to Mountain Vista Hospital for a check up to be on the safe side. When the head nurse at the hospital found out that my daughter had a medical marijuana card and informed the doctor, they took the baby away from his mother and tried to give him a “drug test” They warned my daughter that if she tried to breast feed her baby or leave the hospital with him they would call Child Protective Services. This perfect baby and birth at our home turned into a Will Humble hospital nightmare that ended with a call to Attorney “Craig Mehrens” (thank you Craig). Cannabis has a substantial history of safe and effective use in childbirth going back to the Ancient Egyptians. Mr. Humble, you must realize the damage you are creating with this game you are playing with our health, welfare, safety and lives. This is more than just a disagreement between us on legal opinions. This is not a language game of legal technicalities. People are suffering and dying needlessly. This war on humanity has been lost, the courts have blown the bugle and it’s time to surrender and face the music. Have a nice life.

  10. Will Humble says:

    36-2804.04. Registry identification cards

    (Caution: 1998 Prop. 105 applies)

    A. Registry identification cards for qualifying patients and designated caregivers shall contain all of the following:

    7. A clear indication of whether the cardholder has been authorized by this chapter to cultivate marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use.

    C. If the registry identification card of either a qualifying patient or the patient’s designated caregiver does not state that the cardholder is authorized to cultivate marijuana plants, then the department must give written notice to the registered qualifying patient, when the qualifying patient’s registry identification card is issued, of the name and address of all registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.

    36-2804.02. Registration of qualifying patients and designated caregivers

    (Caution: 1998 Prop. 105 applies)

    A. A qualifying patient may apply to the department for a registry identification card by submitting:

    3. An application, including:

    (f) A designation as to who will be allowed to cultivate marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use if a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary is not operating within twenty-five miles of the qualifying patient’s home.

  11. Arlin Troutt says:

    Mr. Humble, the MMJ authors were selling sweetheart deals. MPP is criticized and under scrutiny for the tsunami of litigation they have created in other states and now here in Arizona.
    But they did not include this dispensary sweetheart deal in the “Arizona Ballot Proposition Guide” The law and courts say what the voters read is what they vote on. That’s why the language of the law is so important. Many backdoor deal politicians discuss get erased before the voters get a look. Your 25-mile as the Crow Flies rule appeared to be an extra protection for rural folks to voters and blended with the spirit of the protective mission of the law. There have been so many ruling against you a recalcitrant pattern of malicious and reckless disregard for the pain and suffering of our citizens, especially the young. Again, I would invite you to contact me and consult with individuals that could help you navigate through these troubled waters. Please read and try to interpret the AMMA in the same light the voters used. The Dispensaries are using artificial light. washttp://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/arizona-proposition-203-medical-marijuana.pdf.

    Judge Cooper dismissed the 1st. 25-mile lawsuit against you on technicalities but read her ruling.

    “The 25-mile provision does appear to create two groups of
    AMMA participants based on residence.
    Qualifying patients are free to decide whether they wish to apply for and obtain a registry identification card. The AMMA protects people from criminal prosecution if they choose to use medical marijuana. It does not
    compel people to use medical marijuana or even to obtain a qualifying registry card.

    How do you “interpret” this Judge Coopers ruling Mr. Humble?

  12. Will Humble says:

    I agree with the judge. Nobody is required to apply for a qualified patient registration card.

  13. Time for a change! says:

    Mr. Humble,

    Have your ever considered that your meddling presence has made the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program (once a very promising program) into a very contentious and litigation driven endeavor and that’s not a good thing? Do you really like spending so much money on the lawsuits that are continually filed because you are muddling the waters with your prohibitionist stance towards cannabis?

    Why do you love Big Pharma so much that you put into all the educational materials supplied by AZDHS on medical marijuana Sativex and Marinol. Surely you must know by know that synthetic substitutes for cannabis are not cannabis? If you look under the DNA microscope there is no cannabis products in Marinol and it’s only to be used by severely ill cancer patients that are not tolerating the toxic effects of chemotherapy. You want the medical marijuana patients who suffer from over a thousand different ailments to get with the program and start using your preferred method of drugs — using synthetics.

    Please do the MMJ program a favor and step down as the AZDHS director and take your ethically challenged assistants with you. Your administration will go down as the reign of terror for sick patients and shame on you for being so ignorant about the science!

  14. C Alonzo says:

    It is blatant censorship.

  15. Will Humble says:

    Thanks!

  16. chris says:

    Mr. Humble, I totally agree with “time for a change.”

    But then again, you are an egotistical man with his own agenda and really could care less about seriously sick people who may find comfort and some ease of pain.

    I FIND YOUR BEHAVIOUR TREACHOROUS FOR HUMANKIND.

  17. Alex says:

    With the gray areas that came up with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, it’s good to know, for the time being anyway … that it seems, forms of marijuana that include extracts from the plant have the same kind of protection for patients and hospitals as the dried marijuana types.

  18. Arlin Troutt says:

    Judge Katherine Cooper (November 12, 2013) rulings on the first challenge to the “25 mile provision”. (CV 2013-011447):“Qualifying patients are free to decide whether they wish to apply for and obtain a registry identification card. The AMMA protects people from criminal prosecution if they choose to use medical marijuana. It does not compel people to use medical marijuana or even to obtain a qualifying registry card.

  19. Will Humble says:

    I agree. Nobody is required to apply for a qualified patient registration card.

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