By Elizabeth Whitman | Phoenix New Times
Several Arizona Supreme Court justices appeared to favor medical-marijuana extracts during oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that could determine the future of medical marijuana in this state.
The case, State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher Jones, questions the scope of the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and the issue of whether it includes products containing resin extracted from the marijuana plant.
In a packed auditorium at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, each side presented divergent interpretations of what voters intended as the definition of marijuana when they enacted the medical-marijuana law via ballot initiative nine years ago. They also hashed out the finer points of how marijuana is prepared or consumed so that a patient can reap its medicinal benefits.
Through their questioning, most justices appeared to agree with the broader interpretation of the 2010 law presented by Robert Mandel, representing the petitioner, rather than the stricter interpretation offered by Benjamin Kreutzberg, representing Yavapai County, whose county attorney, Sheila Polk, is notoriously harsh on marijuana.
“State v. Jones asks whether marijuana concentrates are protected under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision on this pivotal case will have an enormous impact on Arizona’s medical marijuana program and the rights of our patients. In its fight for moral high ground, the state is willing to thwart the will of the voters. To uphold Rodney Jones’ conviction for the possession of a marijuana extract is to take medical decision making out of the hands of patients and healthcare providers. My hope is our state’s highest court will see this for the incredible miscarriage of justice it is and uphold the voter-mandated MMJ Program that allows patients to determine their method of consumption based on their medical treatment and needs.”