Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Does Not Allow Possession of Resin Extracted from Cannibis in Food Products

On August 30, 2013, Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote a detailed article that concludes with the following statement:

“registered identification card holders and dispensaries may be exposed to criminal prosecution under the Criminal Code for possessing a narcotic drug if the card holder or dispensary possesses resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis or an edible containing resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis.’

Read also “Marijuana regulations might not cover all food products.”  The full text of the article is below.

“Are Marijuana and Cannabis the same thing when it comes to Arizona Law?  The short answer is no- and the distinction may be  an important one for Qualified Patients.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act provides registry identification card holders and dispensaries a number of legal protections for their medical use of Marijuana pursuant to the Act.  Interestingly, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) differs from the Arizona Criminal Code’s (“Criminal Code”) definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 13-3401(19). In addition, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act makes a distinction between “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana.” A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) and (15).

The definition of “Marijuana” in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is “… all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.”  The definition of “Usable Marijuana” is  “…  the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant and does not include the weight of any non-marijuana ingredients combined with marijuana and prepared for consumption as food or drink.”  The “allowable amount of marijuana” for a qualifying patient and a designated caregiver includes “two-and-one half ounces of usable marijuana.”  A.R.S. § 36-2801(1).

The definition of “Marijuana” in the Criminal Code is “… all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis, from which the resin has not been extracted, whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.”   “Cannabis” (a narcotic drug under the Criminal Code) is defined as: “… the following substances under whatever names they may be designated: (a) The resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin.  Cannabis does not include oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any fiber, compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks of such plant except the resin extracted from the stalks or any fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination; and (b) Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such resin or tetrahydrocannabinol.A.R.S. § 13-3401(4) and (20)(w).

An issue the Department has been wrestling with for some time is how the definition of “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana” in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and the definition of “Cannabis” and “Marijuana” in the Criminal Code fit together.  This confusion, which appears to be shared by dispensaries and registered identification card holders alike, is not easy to clear up and has resulted in the Department receiving numerous questions regarding the interplay between the protections in A.R.S. § 36-2811 and the Criminal Code.  While we can’t provide legal advice as to whether a certain conduct is punishable under the Criminal Code (only an individual’s or entity’s legal counsel can do this), “Cannabis” is defined as the “resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis” and “Cannabis” is listed as a narcotic drug according to the Criminal Code in A.R.S. § 13-3401(4) and (20)(w).

In other words, registered identification card holders and dispensaries may be exposed to criminal prosecution under the Criminal Code for possessing a narcotic drug if the card holder or dispensary possesses resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis or an edible containing resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis.  If you’re concerned that your conduct may expose you to criminal prosecution, you may wish to consult an attorney.  We’ll be providing some specific guidance for dispensaries licensed by the ADHS next week.

Big Practical Problem:  How would a card carrying patient or a dispensary employee know if a food or beverage product contained resin extracted from a cannabis plant?

By |2017-02-11T20:47:07-07:00August 31st, 2013|Legal Issues, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Does Not Allow Possession of Resin Extracted from Cannibis in Food Products

Vallejo Police Return Pot to California Dispensary Owner 18 Months after Raid

KTVU.com:  “A Vallejo man who once ran a successful marijuana dispensary had pot seized during a 2012 investigation returned to him on Thursday, but the move comes too late to save his business.  Matt Shotwell was the founder of the Greenwell Collective, a profitable Vallejo medical marijuana dispensary with 9,000 clients before the police investigation shut down the business 18 months ago.  The case against him has since collapsed.”

By |2015-04-06T18:57:48-07:00August 31st, 2013|California News, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Vallejo Police Return Pot to California Dispensary Owner 18 Months after Raid

Obama Administration will not Block State Marijuana Laws if Distribution is Regulated

Washington Post:  “The Obama administration said Thursday that it would not challenge laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington state as long as those states maintain strict rules involving the sale and distribution of the drug.  In a memo to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said the Justice Department is ‘committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats in the most effective, consistent and rational way.’ He stressed that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

See also LA Times‘ “Marijuana advocates cheer Obama administration stand” that says “Dale Gieringer, a leading marijuana advocate in California, said he is encouraged by the new U.S. Justice Department memo, but he notes he has been encouraged by past memos only to see federal enforcement increase.”

Phoenix New Times‘ Ray Stern’s article “Arizona’s Medical-Marijuana Law Safe From Federal Action, For Now, in New Obama Policy” that looks at the story from the Arizona and Maricopa County perspective.  He quotes Maricopa Attorney Bill Montgomery’s take on the new memo:

The new policy “has no impact on the White Mountain case and any suggestions to the contrary are a pipe dream. . . . we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out.”

By |2013-08-30T07:31:48-07:00August 30th, 2013|Colorado News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Obama Administration will not Block State Marijuana Laws if Distribution is Regulated

Arizona Could Be First To OK Marijuana For Depression

Modern Times:  “Arizona would become the first state in the U.S. to approve marijuana use for depression if a petition requesting its addition to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program is approved later this summer, according to Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.”

By |2013-08-29T08:10:17-07:00August 29th, 2013|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Arizona Could Be First To OK Marijuana For Depression

Marijuana Advertising: The Federal Tax Stalemate

Huffington Post:  “‘Marijuana Industry Eager to Pay Taxes — and Cash in on Deductions’ says a recent McClatchy headline. There’s a conundrum: The state-legal marijuana industry (1) understands that a new federal excise tax would give it legitimacy, but (2) seeks repeal of the discriminatory Reagan-era statute saying that taxpayers ‘trafficking’ in ‘narcotics’ cannot deduct ordinary business expenses on their Federal income tax returns.  But that current no-tax-deduction rule makes marijuana advertising nondeductible – and that probably makes sense. For most proponents of marijuana legalization, advertising is a frill, not an essential. But for opponents of legalization, marijuana advertising is anathema.

By |2014-05-20T10:38:06-07:00August 25th, 2013|Stories & Articles, Tax Issues|Comments Off on Marijuana Advertising: The Federal Tax Stalemate

MedBox’ July 2013 S-1 Filed with the SEC

MedBox, Inc., filed its S-1 Form with the Securities & Exchange Commission as of July 17, 2013.  The S-1 says MedBox intends to raise as much as $98,000,000 from its securities offering.  Here are some statements made in the S-1:

Medbox, Inc. is a Nevada corporation. We currently operate through seven wholly-owned subsidiaries:

Prescription Vending Machines, Inc., a California corporation, dba Medicine Dispensing Systems in the State of California (“MDS”), which distributes our Medbox™ product and provides related consulting services;

Vaporfection International, Inc., a Florida corporation through which we distribute our medical vaporizing products and accessories pursuant to a recent acquisition;

Medicine Dispensing Systems, Inc., an Arizona corporation, which provides our consulting services in Arizona;

Mini-Storage Solutions, Inc., a California corporation that produces and will market our Safe Access Storage Locker product;

Medbox Rx, Inc., a California corporation that produces and will market our Rx product line including Lockbox Rx and Sample-Safe;

Medbox, Inc., a California corporation that is currently inactive and which has the same name as the Company; and

Medbox Leasing, Inc., a California corporation that is currently inactive. . . .

We expect to receive net proceeds from this offering of approximately $75 million . . . . We intend to use the net proceeds of the offering: (i) to expand the marketing of our existing products and services; (ii) to expand our product lines, including further development and marketing of our new products, initially our Rx line of products and acquiring additional licenses to enhance our existing products or develop new products; (iii) for research and development, including the development of new products; and (iv) for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including purchasing inventory. . . .

If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.  In such case, the value and trading price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

  • Our continued success is dependent on additional states legalizing medical marijuana and additional counties in California passing legislation to allow dispensaries. . . .
  •  The alternative medicine industry faces strong opposition. . . .
  •  Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. . . .
  • Our clients may have difficulty accessing the service of banks, which may make it difficult for them to purchase our products and services. . . .
  • We have a limited operating history and may not succeed. . . .
  • We may require additional capital to finance our operations in the future, but that capital may not be available when it is needed and could be dilutive to existing stockholders. . . .
  • Our financial statements may not be comparable to those of other companies. . . .
  •  The success of our new and existing products and services is uncertain. . . .
  • Our business is dependent upon continued market acceptance by consumers. . . .
  • If we are able to expand our operations, we may be unable to successfully manage our future growth. . . .
  •  We primarily depend on a single product for our revenue. . . .
  •  We may be unable to adequately protect or enforce our patents and proprietary rights. . . .
  • We do not have and independent board of directors which could create a conflict of interests and pose a risk from a corporate governance perspective. . . .
  •  We depend upon key personnel, the loss of which could seriously harm our business. . . .
  • Our management controls a large block of our common stock that will allow them to control us. . . .
  • We do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. . . .

Our revenues increased a modest 2.4%, to $3.53 million, during the year ended December 31, 2012 . . . . (more…)

By |2014-04-27T11:18:17-07:00August 23rd, 2013|Medbox, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on MedBox’ July 2013 S-1 Filed with the SEC

1st Pothead Opposed to Legalizing Marijuana

Huffington Post:  “President Barack Obama does not support changes to the legal classification of marijuana, the White House said Wednesday, despite growing evidence of its medical benefits.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked for the second day in a row if CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s recent reversal on medical marijuana use and apology for misleading the public had had any bearing on Obama’s position on the issue.

Here’s what the White House said:

“The administration’s position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now, that while the prosecution of drug trafficking remains an important priority, the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources. I looked it up and the president last talked about this in an interview he had with Barbara Walters in December when she asked a similar question. The president acknowledged that the priority, in terms of the dedication of law enforcement resources, should be targeted toward drug kingpins, traffickers, and others who perpetrate violence in the conduct of the drug trade … that that is the best use of our law enforcement resources. But at the same time, the president does not at this point advocate a change in the law.”

By |2013-08-23T08:06:37-07:00August 23rd, 2013|Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on 1st Pothead Opposed to Legalizing Marijuana

MedBox Machines – Helpful or Hype?

Toke of the Town:  “MedBox is a publicly traded company (MDBX) that specializes in the development, sales and service of automated, biometrically-controlled dispensing systems for medicine and merchandise. They claim to currently have over 150 pieces of technology out in the field. . . . [MedBox has] gone so far as to publicly lobby against the placement of public marijuana vending machines . . . . Critics of MedBox seem to be growing louder by the day, voicing complaints not just about the technology itself and what it means for the medical marijuana industry”

MedBox news:

  • “Medbox Supports an Outright Ban on Marijuana Vending Machines in San Diego”
  • “Medbox Posts 2nd Quarter Results”

See also “MedBox’ July 2013 S-1 Filed with the SEC.”

By |2019-06-18T19:57:10-07:00August 23rd, 2013|Medbox, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on MedBox Machines – Helpful or Hype?

New Jersey’s Failed Medical Marijuana Law

philly.com:  “New Jersey’s medical marijuana program is a failed experiment but one that Delaware and other states seem enthusiastic to repeat. The reality is that after years of delays and harsh over-regulation, NJ residents with serious illnesses and even state-issued marijuana ID cards continue to be arrested. Limited or no access is the issue.”

There is only one operational medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey and it is not open on a regular basis.  The dispensary is GreenLeaf Compassion Center in Montclair, New Jersey.  Patients cannot grow marijuana so any card-caring patient who possesses pot not purchased from GreenLeaf Compassion Center is subject to criminal arrest.`

By |2015-04-06T18:56:52-07:00August 23rd, 2013|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on New Jersey’s Failed Medical Marijuana Law

Is Medical Marijuana OK for Children?

Some parents want the drug legalized and say it’s helped their children immensely – NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports

“Controversial medical issue prescribing medical marijuana to children. The Governor  of New Jersey agreed to expand a medical marijuana program, using a conditional veto. A  modification of the bill was made to allow more variations of the plant to be produced for medical needs, including edible marijuana for children. Parents of qualifying minors will need the approval of 2 doctors, a pediatrician  and psychiatrist.”

By |2013-08-23T07:00:10-07:00August 23rd, 2013|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Is Medical Marijuana OK for Children?

Arizona Medical Marijuana Card Holders Sue to Grow within 25 Miles of a Dispensary

Court House News Service:  “Medical marijuana advocates claim in court that Arizona unconstitutionally bars some patients from growing the drug at home if they live less than 25 miles from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.  Plaintiffs Keith Floyd and Daniel Cassidy claim the Arizona Department of Health Services denied them cultivation rights when they applied for renewal of their Arizona Medical Marijuana registry cards.  They sued Arizona and DHS Director Will Humble, in Maricopa County Court.”

The case is Maricopa County Superior Court case number CV2013-011447, Keith Floyd and Daniel Cassidy v. State of Arizona and Will Humble.  Read the Notice of Claim, Summons, and Complaint.

Update:  See “Suit argues measure allows for growing of own medicinal marijuana.”

By |2017-10-07T09:56:01-07:00August 22nd, 2013|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Arizona Medical Marijuana Card Holders Sue to Grow within 25 Miles of a Dispensary