AZ Supreme Court Marijuana Ruling Smacks Down Yavapai Prosecutor

"Reefer Madness" prosecutor Sheila Polk of Yavapai County.

The good news is that medical marijuana users can still legally use marijuana extracts, hashish, and vape pens, according to the Arizona Supreme Court. The better news is that  Sheila Polk, the “reefer madness” Yavapai County Attorney was smacked down, her twisted legal arguments rejected, and her persecution of medical marijuana patients was undone.

And it was all done in an 8-page ruling that explained it to Polk using common-sense word usage and Merriam-Webster definitions so that even a rabid anti-marijuana fanatic like Polk could understand it.

Polk is notorious for being way out of line with prosecutors in Arizona. If you’re convicted of a drug offense in Santa Cruz County, the average sentence is 24.8 months. In Polk’s draconian Yavapai County, it’s 51.5 months — more than double.

The legal question was: are marijuana extracts legal for patients? In baby-talk language the court said:

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”) “defines “marijuana” as “all parts of [the] plant.” The word “all,” one of the most comprehensive words in the English language, means exactly that. “Part” means “an essential portion or integral element,” or, as relevant here, “one of the constituent elements of a plant or animal body.” Part, Merriam-Webster, Taken together, “all parts” refers to all constituent elements of the marijuana plant, and the fact the resin must first be extracted from the plant reflects that it is part of the plant.”

Attempting to justify her reign of terror, Polk argued that AMMA does not apply to resin or its extracts. So that she would understand, the court said, “we disagree.” Continuing, the justices said, ” immunizes the patient’s “medical use” of marijuana, defined to mean “the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, administration, delivery, transfer
or transportation of marijuana…”

Then the court explained what “manufacture” means (it includes extraction). “AMMA anticipates not only that dispensaries will produce marijuana in edible form, see § 36-2801(15) (defining “usable marijuana” to include mixtures or preparations, to be “prepared for consumption as food or drink”), but also that patients will “consume[ marijuana] by a method other than smoking.”

“Taken together, these statutes indicate AMMA’s intent to allow the manufacture and preparation of parts of the marijuana plant for medical use, including extracting the resin.”

Voters approved AMMA on the 2010 ballot as Proposition 203. The accompanying ballot materials stated Proposition 203’s purpose was to “protect patients with debilitating medical conditions . . . from arrest and prosecution” for their “medical use of marijuana.”

So congratulations to Rodney Christopher Jones, whose unfair and preposterous conviction and sentence are vacated. Cheers to Arizona’s 197,000 medical marijuana users. And poop on stone-age prosecutor Sheila Polk.