Date: July 2nd, 2018
Location: 14040 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ
Concentrates Meeting Notes:
Mikel Weisser opened the meeting, educating everyone on the history that lead us here, starting with the illicit drug statue in the Nixon era that defined marijuana and hashish as separate illicit drug scheduling, this was known as ARS133401.
MPP – prop 203
In 2014 a child named Xander Welton had a case regarding the ability to use concentrates which were life saving for his medical condition(s). The case was successful, thus concentrates were allowed and establish, however being that it was a civil case, not a criminal one, no case law was established. 2017 a man named Jake Ruther was prosecuted for 9 grams of concentrate, the local authorities and judge charged with narcotics possession because they didn’t understand what it was. Doctor Hope Jones testified on why concentrated cannabis is still cannabis, thus the judge reversed cannabis charges. The case didn’t go through trial, so no acquittal or verdict, thus no case law established. In 2013 Rodney Jones was arrested, one of the charges he was facing being possession of hash for a .5g of concentrated cannabis he had on him at the time. He appealed —> they ruled cannabis not protected under AMMA due to ARS122401, thus the conviction was upheld.
Unfortunately this means the earliest to expect complete resolution (From the Arizona Supreme Court) is next year.
Lawyers and Dispensary Association representatives spoke next.
Tom Dean stated that concentrates being illegal became law as of last week. Resin (aka hashish) is according to the opinion of the court of appeals not allowed under the medical marijuana act – legal – class 4 felony possession or manufacturing or selling of a narcotic drug.
He proposed we unite and come up with a strategy to move forward, including assembling a league of attorneys to address the supreme court in this issue.
Court of appeals is the law. He clarified that yes the Arizona Supreme Court ruling on it is a year away, if they even accept case. He expects unfortunately many more persecuted for concentrates this year. He emphasized he could not and would not advise us to break the law, but if we do choose to, to know our constitutional rights such as the 4th amendment: plain view items can be seized and used as evidence such as vape pens, however, if not in plain view, they cannot find without consent or probable cause. We should not speak to everyone, and should reply with “I don’t want to answer questions until I have an attorney present.” He encouraged us to Empower ourselves by asserting and standing on our constitutional rights. He said there is room for argument that it is not resin or hashish, but to not try to make said argument at time of arrest nor to make any statements in general. He reminded us to be careful, don’t get busted, be quiet, ask for attorney, and not to be intimidated by officers trained in interrogation techniques.
He said it’s essential to gather multiple legitimate perspectives from first and foremost patients, and that the ACLU likely involved in this case, as well as Arizona Cannabis Bar Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and Industry members, the more perspectives the better.
On a positive note he added that this unjust ruling is an opportunity to bridge the gap between patient and industry divide to rally together, especially because 2020 passes if consumer and industry side are together.
Gary Smith, president of the AZ Cannabis Bar Association, spoke next. He said that in appellate cases such as that of Jones, there is a 3 judge panel, 1 of three in this case issued written dissent, which greatly increases likelihood supreme court of Arizona (no obligation to take cases) to review the case. He assured that multiple groups are coming together and assembling pallets. Jones appealing is essential. He also stated that policy enforcement is based on the court of appeals definition, and is NOT trumped by AMMA’s statutory definition. However the extremely vague design of the desicion leaves gaping questions on what it was they were announcing to be criminal. As of now, illegal concentrate is any mechanical and/or chemical separation of cannabis. He assured there are numerous good defenses raised for when people get busted. He informed that AZDHS no authority of court of appeals, statutes are supreme subject only to court interpretation, but DHS creates rules under certain set of conditions, and
Reminded when MMA passed, marijuana wasn’t legal, just could no longer be prosecuted under medical marijuana act if said act was followed justly.
President Dispensary Association, Mark Steinbeck spoke next. He explained the Dispensary Association was formed by a group of dispensaries who wanted a patient advocacy group.
Micheal Colberg also spoke, he said we need to ban together dispensary ownership to pull resources and hire lawyers, which also means working hand in hand with NORML and other groups.
They also said we need to ban together and fight this unified with clear and concise strategies , and that they have reached out to numerous places (such as AZDHS and law enforcement) to find out if they’re changing, currently said nothing is different but said they will let know if there are changes. In response the dispensary association created a legal defense fund. They also said that AZDHS is not pulling concentrates off the shelf as of now and said to keep reporting and selling.
Jen Gote spoke next about the Protect the Patients Program, which also raises money for defense cases such as Jake Ruther’s in order to protect patients criminalized for cannabis possession. She reminded everyone of ways to keep safe:
Be aware of your surroundings
Be clear on terms of lease
Don’t smoke and drive
If pulled over, don’t show patient card
Dont give information they don’t need
Call norml hotline
She also reminded us to register to Vote if we want to vote these people out i.e. get rid of Jill Polk and Bill Montgomery
It was then time for open commentary and questions. Dimitri Downing, MITA founder announced that at the July 18 Mita meeting every penny raised will go to patient defense fund, and will allow people make direct commitments.
During a question concerning if the Arizona Supreme Court will even hear the case, the lawyers explained they really believed it would be seen, citing that they unanimously struck down a decision to criminally prosecute medical marijuana possession on college campuses.
At the end of the meeting we recieved news that Will Humble will be helping with appeal.