The Arizona Court of Appeals, in their recent ruling in State v. Jones, No. 1 CA-CR 16-0703 has held that “hashish” is not covered as “marijuana” under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”). Hashish is a resin extracted from marijuana plant. The case arose from the criminal conviction of Rodney Jones in March 2013, when Jones was found in possession of a jar containing .05 ounces of hashish. Jones was a registered qualifying patient under the AMMA. Jones was indicted on one count each of possession of the drug cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia- the jar containing the cannabis. Jones moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that his valid AMMA card provided an absolute defense. The Superior Court denied his motion, convicting Jones in September 2016 to 3.5 years’ imprisonment.
The AMMA defines marijuana as the “dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof…”  (Emphasis added). Lawyers for Jones argued that hashish is a preparation of the marijuana plant, and thus allowed under the AMMA. The Court of Appeals disagreed and sided with the State, finding that hashish is not a “preparation” of the marijuana plant, but an extracted resin, and thus distinct from marijuana allowed under the AMMA. The Court cited to a 1978 case, State v. Floyd, which notes the “great potency” of hashish, rendering it “susceptible to serious and extensive abuse.”
Judge Kenton Jones wrote a dissenting opinion, arguing that the AMMA’s definition of marijuana “clearly encompasses all forms of the marijuana plant, including its resin” and advocated for an interpretation that is consistent with the “spirit and purpose of the AMMA.”
This case will no doubt have wide implications on the medical marijuana industry. It’s estimated that 40 percent of dispensary sales are made up of “concentrates” such as hashish and resins.
If you have questions regarding this recent ruling, contact Jeff Matura, Tabitha Myers, or Melissa England at 602-792-5705.
Learn more about the Barrett | Matura Cannabis Law Practice Group.
You can read the Court's Full Decision here.
 A.R.S. Sec. 36-2801(15).
 120 Ariz. 358, 360 (App. 1978)