Are Cannabis Extracts Like Explosives?

In Arizona, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has raised eyebrows with a recent filing in a case under review by the state’s Supreme Court in which she compared products that contain cannabis extracts with “explosives.”

The case in question is State of Arizona vs. Rodney Christopher Jones, in which medical cannabis patient Jones was arrested and charged for being in possession 0.05 g of hashish.

Concentrates such as hashish, resin, shatter, many edibles, and other forms are not covered by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), which was approved by voters in 2010.

In a 2-1 decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled last June that Jones did, in fact, deserve to serve time in prison for the possession of hashish.

Polk, who has been notoriously anti-cannabis throughout her five terms as County Attorney, also claims that cannabis extracts are not “parts of the plant.”

In her Supreme Court filing, Polk writes:

“The AMMA defines ‘marijuana’ as ‘all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.’ … That non-specific definition does not mean that every conceivable chemical compound extracted from the plant is protected by the AMMA. Such chemicals are not ‘parts’ of the plant, but entirely different substances. A finding that the AMMA protects the narcotic drug cannabis would be akin to a finding that explosives produced from fertilizer are protected by laws allowing the sale of farm products.”

When asked about Polk’s depiction of the alleged dangers of cannabis extracts, Mandel told Phoenix New Times, “By resorting to hyperbole like that, Yavapai reveals that it has little faith in its legal arguments or in Arizona’s voters, who declared that patients may use any part of the cannabis plant as well as mixtures or preparations of marijuana to benefit from its medicinal resin.”

If the state Supreme Court doesn’t reverse the Court of Appeal’s ruling that concentrates are protected substances under the AMMA, Arizona’s cannabis shops will be forced to pull products like resin, edibles and vape-pen cartridges from shelves, leaving patients who rely on those products in a difficult spot.

Further arguments are scheduled on March 19.