October 29, 2013

ACLU Lawsuit Could Open Door for Sales of Marijuana Extracts, Edibles in Arizona

mmjedibles

Arizona dispensaries could sell marijuana extracts and popular types of edibles without fear of legal repercussions if a lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union is successful.

A favorable court decision would be a major win for the MMJ industry, allowing medical marijuana centers to offer a more diverse lineup of products, boost revenues and cater to a different segment of the market. That, in turn, could convince thousands of additional patients with qualifying medical conditions to apply for MMJ cards.

“This would bring in many new patients that previously haven’t considered MMJ as an option because they have to smoke it, and that would be significant from a business perspective,” said Ingrid Joiya, who runs Pure Bliss Medibles, an upstart edibles company opening next month. Pure Bliss plans to initially use raw cannabis in its products but would begin incorporating extracts if the lawsuit is successful.

Extracts, concentrates (hash, kief, cannabis butters, etc.) and related products – such as edibles and vape pen cartridges – account for a huge chunk of revenues at dispensaries in other MMJ states and are a rapidly growing segment of the industry. Denver Relief in Colorado, for instance, said 50% of its sales are tied to edibles, extracts and concentrates, vs. 10% just two years ago.

In Arizona, however, extracts – as well as edibles made with them – fall in a legal gray area.

nmbcvideo ACLU Lawsuit Could Open Door for Sales of Marijuana Extracts, Edibles in ArizonaA handful of officials, including Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery, have indicated that the state’s criminal laws do not allow for such products, threatening prosecution against both patients and dispensaries. The medical cannabis industry, however, argues that extracts are indeed covered under Arizona’s MMJ act, falling under the catch-all term “useable marijuana.” The law defines that as raw marijuana and “any mixture or preparation” of the flowers.

Given the legal uncertainty, many dispensaries do not offer extracts or concentrates.

“Right now [Arizona] dispensaries are missing out on an opportunity to sell a product that is becoming increasingly popular with patients in other states,” said Kris Krane of the MMJ consultancy 4Front Advisors. “As patients learn the benefits of these products, most of which are not smoked, they are increasingly seeking them out. It is highly likely that this trend would continue in Arizona should dispensaries be cleared to sell extracts without fear of law enforcement interference.”

The ACLU filed the suit in an attempt to shield the parents of a five-year-old boy with severe epilepsy from criminal prosecution for providing their child with cannabis-derived oil. The suit asks the court to officially rule that marijuana-derived extracts are covered under Arizona’s MMJ law.

“When Arizona’s voters said yes to legalizing medical marijuana in 2010, they intended for sick people to have access to this medication in forms like extracts, which are easier to ingest and can be more accurately dosed than simple plant material,” the suit says. The lawsuit also states that the extraction process “allows producers to isolate the most medicinally valuable constituents of the plan and provide them to patients in a form that can be taken in precise doses and has no psychoactive effect.”

Photo credit: Earthworm via Flickr

 


One Comment:

  1. what other states allow extracts or concentrates?

Post Your Comment:


Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As MMJ Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

Black Market Marijuana Dealer Targets Rec Store’s Customers

Although recreational marijuana proponents often argue that legalizing and taxing cannabis will help undercut illegal [click to continue...]

Colorado Banking Co-Op Program Stalls

coloradocannabis

An attempt to ease the lack of banking services for Colorado’s cannabis industry may prove [click to continue...]

Lawsuit Filed Over Florida MMJ Lottery Plan

Should states rely on chance to decide who gets to produce medical cannabis? A Florida [click to continue...]

Legalization Bill on Tap in New York

A Democratic state senator in New York is planning to introduce a bill next year [click to continue...]

IL Lawmaker Defends Secrecy-Shrouded Application Process

illinoismedicalmarijuana

Illinois is keeping information about applicants for medical marijuana business permits completely confidential, ostensibly to [click to continue...]

Florida MMJ Opponents Buy $1.6M in TV Ads

Opponents of the push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida recently announced a $1.6 million [click to continue...]

Politicians Openly Discuss Marijuana Issues

As the 2014 election approaches, politicians are increasingly comfortable addressing marijuana issues as part of [click to continue...]

Oregon Cities Levy Taxes in Hopes of Rec Law Passage

News about medical marijuana, pot shops and cannabis in Oregon

For many voters, a key selling point of recreational cannabis legalization is the possible tax [click to continue...]

Cannabis Industry to Impact Energy Needs of Northwest Region

A 20-year power plan covering the northeast United States is taking into account the sizable [click to continue...]

Illinois MMJ Applicants Scramble for Local Support

As the deadline approaches to submit applications for dispensary and cultivation permits in Illinois, many [click to continue...]

Latest Rec Sales Data: $7M in Washington, $30M in Colorado

dollar

Colorado and Washington have released updated tax data associated with their respective marijuana programs. In [click to continue...]

Chile Latest Country to Make Cannabis Progress

Chile has joined a growing list of countries moving toward legalization of medical or recreational [click to continue...]

New Poll Bolsters Rec Law Efforts

A recent poll spearheaded by NBC News and Marist shows continued support among Colorado residents [click to continue...]

Report: Notable Cannabis Opponents Have Ties to Big Pharma

BigPharma

Several academics and researchers who oppose cannabis have worked with pharmaceutical companies that could take [click to continue...]