Arizona state law states that there is a difference between marijuana and cannabis. When Arizona residents voted for instating a medical marijuana program, the term “marijuana” referred to the medicine in flower form “and any mixture or preparation thereof.” Lawmakers wrote the definition of “cannabis,” however, in the criminal code before 1960. Cannabis is viewed as a narcotic derived from marijuana.

The law specifically focuses on the resin that can be pressed out of the flower. It extends to all of the products made from the resin, the vape pen cartridges and concentrates. However, the resin that is legally called cannabis, is somehow not marijuana. Earlier in the month, Arizona courts ruled that Medical Marijuana Act did not cover extracts because the law considers them “cannabis.” The extracts in question include wax, resin, oil, and tinctures.

Many problems have occurred for medical marijuana patients in Arizona. Due to the criminal code definition, a lot of forms of medical marijuana are technically illegal. Even CBD extracts, which are used to treat seizure disorders, remain in a grey area. Regardless of the legal technicality, dispensaries in Arizona sell medical marijuana products made from “cannabis.” These product include the typical vape pens, tinctures, oils and concentrates that you would expect a dispensary to sell. As of now, there’s no indication that Arizona medical dispensaries will stop selling these products.

The law mostly affects medical card holders, like the people who rely on medicinal weed to alleviate their various ailments. If the police pull over an Arizona resident with a valid medical card, if the card-holder posses a vape pen, wax or any other “cannabis” product, the police could arrest them and file charges.

The ruling in Arizona is worrying, not because it will likely shut down dispensaries and take products off the shelves, but because it indicates that in the state of Arizona, the criminal code does not accurately reflect scientific advancements and studies. Appeals courts and cannabis lawyers have mostly had success in individual cases pertaining to concentrates and extracts. The fact remains that in order to actually protect people, the state will need to update the law better to reflect current terminology and facts.

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