BY ALLISON STEIN
When cannabis attorney Tom Dean’s office hosted an Arizona NORML meeting discussing the Smart and Safe Arizona initiative on Wednesday, Aug 14, Dean announced yet another new issue arising from the notorious “Jones Case.” According to Dean, legal counsel to Arizona NORML, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO) is now running their own extraction processing lab.
In a follow-up interview Dean explained, “According to official reports, there is a state-of-the-art extraction lab at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and they have been doing extractions of all kinds, including the use of butane and other solvents, for several months now.”
According to the report, a Detective Shay of the Phoenix Police Department is running the sheriff’s office extraction department. Shay’s state of-the-art extraction lab has been assembled from the underground market’s confiscated processing equipment, and powered by the same source, black market flower.
Wait, why is the sheriff’s dept. blasting BHO, you may ask?
According to Dean, it’s to go after medical marijuana patients for possessing over 2.5 ounces of dry flower’s worth in concentrates. Remember, according to the Supreme Court ruling in the Jones Case, while patients can possess up to 70 grams of flower at any time, they may only possess the amount of concentrates that could be made from those 70 grams.
How much concentrate is that? It appears MCSO is going to find out.
Dean added, “It’s no surprise that we are seeing both the department and law enforcement scrambling to figure out how to enforce the standard that was established by the Supreme Court in Jones. What is somewhat surprising is that there does not appear to be any coordination between the AZDHS and law enforcement. Both are doing their own research to determine what they believe is the appropriate flower-to-extract ratio.”
But are the AZDHS and MCSO extraction forces finding the same results?
According to Dean, no. As dean alluded to on Wednesday, it’s rumored that the department is willing to accept ratio that is pretty close to 1: 1. This will favor patients. Law enforcement, on the other hand, is leaning a different direction.
When Tim Sultan of the Arizona Dispensaries Association (ADA) was questioned in regard to patient allotments at the AZ-NORML meeting Wednesday night, Sultan said “[Everyone] is very hopeful that this temporary problem with patient allotments will go away”.
Sultan continued, mentioning that it’s expected that the Department of Health should have an announcement regarding the topic within 2 to 3 weeks.
What does that mean for patients?
Dean states, “While patients will be able to purchase more oil under the department’s allotment ratio, when pulled over by the police, they will be subject to the more restrictive law enforcement policy.”
If it sounds confusing – it is.
It seems that the contradiction between the two agencies could result in going over the amount you are legally allowed to possess, which might lead to some legal issues down the road.
Patients are advised to only carry a minimal amount of extracts with you. If making a bulk purchase, go directly home after. Also, remember to put your medicine in the trunk and do not remove the receipt and staple until you are in a safe spot (home).
Keep watching Arizona Cannabis News for the announcement by AZDHS.
—Allison Stein writes for Arizona Cannabis News and Arizona NORML