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Ruling allows for use of medical marijuana extracts in sodas, candies and lollipops

Mar 25, 2014

East Valley Tribune

I am kind of surprised on this, the court actually interpreted the law correctly and told the oikuce they had to stop falsely arresting medical marijuana patients who use use hashish and other concentrated forms of marijuana.

Of course the next issue that must be addressed is the issues of the police arresting medical marijuana patients for DUI who have marijuana metabolites in their body, despite the fact that Prop 203 says marijuana metabolites can NOT be used to convict a medical marijuana patient of DWI or DUI.

Let's hope we get a judge who has the same common sense on that case as Judge Katherine Cooper has in this case.

But don't count on it. The state of Arizona literally raises millions of dollars a year in revenue shaking down people with bogus DUI or DWI tickets.

Ruling allows for use of medical marijuana extracts in sodas, candies and lollipops

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:15 am | Updated: 12:17 pm, Mon Mar 24, 2014.

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Using extracts to make medical marijuana sodas, candies and lollipops is legal, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has decided.

In an extensive ruling, Judge Katherine Cooper rejected the view of state Health Director Will Humble [and his boss Jan Brewer who probably ordered him to take that view] that the 2010 voter-approved law allows patients to smoke or otherwise consume only pieces of the actual plant. Cooper said nothing in the initiative backs that contention.

The ruling, released late Friday, is most immediately a victory for the parents of Zander Welton, a 5-year-old Mesa boy who has a doctor's permission to use medical marijuana to treat his seizures.

Jacob and Jennifer Welton had been giving him a liquid tincture with marijuana extract until Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said it was illegal to sell or possess extracts. They said it was difficult to get the boy to swallow things like applesauce with crushed marijuana leaves, much less to determine he was getting the correct dosage.

But Cooper's ruling, unless overturned, sets the stage for the state's 45,000 other medical marijuana patients to be able to obtain other products made not with the plant's leaves but with extracts.

“It is undisputed that medical marijuana is intended to be used by patients to treat chronic, debilitation, and/or painful conditions,” the judge wrote, listing conditions in the 2010 law ranging from cancer and hepatitis to nausea, seizures and severe and chronic pain.

“It makes no sense to interpret the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act as allow people with these conditions to use medical marijuana but only if they take it in one particular form,” Cooper said. “Such an interpretation reduces, if not eliminates, medical marijuana as a treatment option for those who cannot take it in plant form, or could receive a greater benefit from an alternative form.”

Montgomery had argued the 2010 law allowed the use only of “marijuana.” [when anybody who doesn't make their living throwing people in prison for the victimless crime of using marijuana would say means any part of the marijuana plant, including concentrated marijuana]

It specifically allows those with a doctor's permission to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks, and it defines “usable marijuana” as the dried flowers of the plan “and any mixture or preparation thereof.”

[Health Director Will Humble and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery] He said extracts technically fall under the separate legal definition of “cannabis” which was not part of what voters approved and therefore remain prohibited.

Pima County prosecutors have taken the same position.

Cooper, however, said that ignores what is in the initiative.

“The court finds no such prohibition in the statute,” she said.

Cooper also pointed out the measure specifically allows the use of marijuana “and any mixture or preparation thereof.”

“These words expand the allowable manipulation of the plant,”' Cooper said. “To conclude that patients can only use unmanipulated plant material would render the phrase meaningless.”

Potentially more significant, the judge pointed out the voter-approved statute says marijuana can be prepared “for consumption as food or drink.”

She said extracts not only ensure proper doses but also can make it easier for patients who cannot consume the plant itself.

“The language of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and its ballot materials make clear the proponents and voters intended (the law) to provide access to medicine for debilitating medical conditions without fear of criminal prosecution,” Cooper said. And she said the statute “does not limit the form in which that medicine can be administered.”

Montgomery said Saturday he fears that once products start being made of extracts it will become more difficult, if not impossible, to restrict the program for strictly medical purposes. [Translation Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery would prefer to continue hunting down and sending people to prison who commit the victimless crime of using or smoking marijuana, it's a lot safer and easier then hunting down real criminals who are often dangerous]

He said there has been no decision whether to appeal [I don't believe that. Prosecutors and the police will do anything to continue their lucrative war on drugs], but he said Cooper may have to clarify whether the 2 1/2-ounce limit applies to the original plant material or what's left after the extraction process. [The law says stems and seeds don't count towards your 2.5 ounces, so I would assume the law will allow patients to have 2.5 ounces of hashish if they want, but the cops in an effort to keep their insane war on drugs going will certainly argue against that and come up with any lame excuse to arrest medical marijuana patients who use hashish]

At a hearing last month, Emma Andersson, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said using an extract – as opposed to grinding up the plant into Zander's food – is more than a question of convenience.

“What Zander is not getting by using only plant material is an accurate dose of his medicine that is consistent every single time and the amount of cannabidiol he is supposed to be getting,” she told the judge. That refers to a non-psychoactive element of marijuana that Zander's parents say helps control his seizures.

When Montgomery made his initial determination that extracts are illegal, that left the couple trying to feed Zander dried marijuana leaves, which they could still legally obtain, crushing it up into the child's food. But his father told Capitol Media Services that's not a real option.

“It's a real fibrous material,” he said. “That's kind of like taking hay and chopping it up into applesauce to him.”

And Zander, being a 5-year-old, figures out quickly what he doesn't want.

“He starts to filter it through his teeth,” his father said.

His mother said other forms of administration, like smoking or even creating a tea, are unacceptable, at least in part because heating the plant releases the psychoactive properties of marijuana that would make the child “high.”

“That's the part that we're trying to stay away from,” she said.