PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Arizona Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that marijuana extracts are legal.
The ruling means that cardholders who use marijuana extracts like oils, vape pens and edibles are protected from criminal prosecution.
Jordyn Pinkowski, 3, is one of the people who could benefit most from Tuesday's ruiling.
She was diagnosed with debilitating condition that causes seizures and has been taking two different extracts to stay well.
"When you see your child suffering, you will do anything, anything, to make it stop," said Bethany Pinkowski, Jordyn's mother.
The case centers on the 2013 arrest of medical marijuana card holder Rodney Jones at a Prescott hotel on charges of possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.
Police say Jones had 0.05 ounces of hashish in a jar.
He was convicted and later sentenced to two years in prison.
Last summer, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against Jones and found medical marijuana patients still face arrest for hashish possession because the drug wasn't mentioned or included by name in the state's 2010 voter-approved medical pot law.
The court concluded hashish is recognized under state law as a narcotic distinct from marijuana by the Legislature because of its potency levels.
Challengers said the 2010 law didn't cover things like vapes and oils.
"The high court said no. That's not what this law is about. This law extends that protection to all Valley cardholders everywhere in the state," said Joshua Carden, a lawyer.
The Supreme Court has ruled that marijuana extracts are legal.
Tuesday's court ruling states: "We hold that the definition of marijuana... includes resin, and by extension hashish, and that... immunizes the use of such marijuana consistent with AMMA."
Following Tuesday's decision, the ACLU tweeted: "The court got it right. Today's ruling means that qualifying patients no longer have to fear being prosecuted for using their medicine in the form most helpful. This is what voters intended when they passed the AZ Medical Marijuana Act. "
According to some estimates, extracts account for nearly half of the sales at Arizona dispensaries. Because they can be highly concentrated, they are particularly popular with the most ill patients.
On Tuesday afternoon, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk released the following statement about the ruling:
"The consequences of today’s Arizona Supreme Court decision allowing the sale of high-potency drugs are troubling. The Court’s conclusion that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act protects hashish (legally termed cannabis) is akin to finding that explosives produced from fertilizer are protected by laws allowing the sale of farm products.
Since 2010 when Arizona voters approved the use of medical marijuana, the potency and variety of products have soared. Smoked marijuana has potency levels averaging 5% to 15% THC, the mind-altering chemical in the marijuana plant. Manmade hashish products, derived from the concentrated resin from the marijuana plant, have potency levels of 70% to 90% THC.
This is the difference between Advil and morphine, and it’s why the Arizona Court of Appeals found that hashish is “susceptible to serious and extensive abuse.”
Sadly, the Supreme Court rejected the Arizona Appeals Court’s common-sense reasoning and its sound conclusion that hashish is a form of cannabis, which state law defines as distinct from the dried marijuana leaves.
Indeed, it’s a difference that dispensaries promote. Their websites advertise “mind-blowing shatter,” “Papa’s OG shatter,” and “mob moss” wax. These are medicines?
Additionally, today’s ruling did not address the fact that any use of marijuana in Arizona continues to be illegal under federal law. The United States Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress controls what is medicine in the U.S., and today the Arizona Supreme Court declined to resolve the continuing conflict between Arizona and federal law.
A plethora of recent peer-reviewed studies document the link between high potency THC and mental health, specifically psychosis. Today’s ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court gives a green light to an industry constantly seeking to market and sell more potent, and thus more addictive and dangerous, products.
Communities across Arizona will suffer the consequences of this ruling long into the future."
*NEW* The court got it right. Today's ruling means that qualifying patients no longer have to fear being prosecuted for using their medicine in the form most helpful. This is what voters intended when they passed the AZ Medical Marijuana Act. Read more: https://t.co/LdallCzhux— ACLU of Arizona (@ACLUaz) May 28, 2019