Medical-Marijuana Tincture Makers Sue State Over Definition of "Cannabis"
Image: http://www.gofundme.com/k5v98 The makers of Soccer Mom's Tinctures, a medical-marijuana product, are suing the state in a bid to avoid prosecution and clarify state law.
The makers of marijuana-infused "Soccer Mom's Tinctures & Candy" are suing the state in hopes of clarifying what "cannabis" means under the law.
Back in March, cops raided the Phoenix home of Doug Arfa and Charise Voss on suspicion that the pair was selling "narcotic" drugs, a search warrant shows.
"Extracted resin and cannabis which is now in solution" were among the items being sought by Phoenix police in the warrant.
Arfa and Voss were never charged following the raid, but still could be.
One aim of their lawsuit is to prevent them or anyone else covered under Arizona's medical-pot law from being prosecuted for possession of marijuana extract or concentrates.
Image: Linked In Doug Arfa
As we've covered in previous stories, the state has an illogical law (ARS 12-3401) on the books that defines "cannabis" as something other than marijuana, which it isn't. Hashish, tinctures and other "cannabis" products, which are composed of nothing but marijuana, merit higher penalties under the law's unscientific definition.
This definition should have been rendered obsolete by the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, at least when it comes to medical-pot patients and caregivers.
Yet it's clear that some prosecutors are salivating at the thought of busting people under the more serious, "narcotic" felony charge.
Prosecutors in Yavapai County have hit Zonka Bar maker Chris Martin with the "narcotic" charge, even though Zonka bars allegedly had no other active ingredient besides pot. As we were researching for our recent article about the Zonka case, Yavapai County prosecutor Jack Fields told us that marijuana extracts would be legal under the 2010 medical-pot law -- but that Martin and the other defendants in that case were acting "outside" the 2010 law, and thus were eligible to be charged under the "narcotic" definition.
Fields alleges that the Zonka defendants were selling their products in violation of the 2010 law, which allows only dispensaries to sell weed to patients.
Of course, there are no dispensaries, because Governor Jan Brewer -- in a big, "screw-you" to voters -- managed to delay their opening for more than a year. In May, the state Department of Health Services approved dozens of businesses for potential dispensaries, but the stores have yet to open. Will Humble, DHS director, tells New Times that only one shop -- a Tucson business -- has applied for a final inspection with the state, but that the inspection hasn't yet occurred because the dispensary operators haven't completed all the necessary paperwork.
As mentioned, Arfa and Voss have yet to be charged with anything, much less a felony for possessing the "narcotic" cannabis. But their lawsuit also asks a judge to prohibit authorities from prosecuting them or anyone other medical-marijuana patient or caregiver on the older "cannabis" definition.