The Arizona Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 19 in the case of Rodney Jones, a registered medical marijuana patient who was convicted of possession of hashish. The court in Jones’ original trial found that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), passed by voters in 2010, does not protect cannabis concentrates including hash or hash oil. Jones was convicted and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in a 2-1 decision in June of last year.
In the majority opinion, Judge Jon W. Thompson ruled that since hashish is illegal under criminal law and the AMMA does not specifically legalize cannabis extracts, Jones’ conviction should stand.
“AMMA is silent as to hashish,” Thompson wrote. “Prior understanding of the pertinent words strongly indicates that AMMA in no way immunizes the possession or use of hashish. That AMMA immunizes medical use of a mixture or preparation of the marijuana plant does not immunize hashish.”
Jones has the support of the American Civil Liberties Union in his appeal, which argues that the intent and language of AMMA allow for marijuana in multiple forms. Jared Keenan, an attorney with the ACLU, noted that cannabis concentrates are sold openly in Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries.