Due to the AZ’s ongoing concentrates crisis, our chapter has been working w the leadership of the Arizona Dispensary Association for the past several months to provide education and legal defense strategies for patient-defendants who have been charged w class four felony narcotics possession charges for cannabis concentrate products purchased from a legal dispensary. As you may recall, or could read further here, on Sept. 10th Robert Mandel filed the Supreme Court appeal in the Jones case. Last week the state responded and called for the Supreme Court to reject hearing the case. PDFs of both Mr. Mandel’s appeal and the state’s response can be read here.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Yavapai, Pinal, Pima, Apache and Navajo Counties have all charged patients with class four narcotics possession felonies in the past month. Among the patients charged, after yet another reversal (due to the Jones case) is Jake Ruether, the original defendant in the Navajo County case, which first brought the concentrates issue to light in 2017. The most common thread among these new arrests has been traffic stops where patients had visible vape pens.

The Arizona Cannabis Bar Association has put out a call to action. Tom Dean, our chapter legal counsel, is working directly w ADA leadership for patient-defendant legal strategies; and, also working w lead counsel Robert Mandel and an amicus committee to create and coordinate amicus briefs filed in the case. In addition to AZ-NORML’s brief, expect filings from the ACLU and the Arizona Association for Criminal Justice. Those briefs are expected to be filed before the end of Oct.

As part of our chapter’s efforts to provide support for prosecuted patients and others around the state, and basic grassroots organizing, our office is reviving our rural contact point network that we had created during the 2016 legalization campaign. Currently, besides our state meetings in PHX and a fine and vibrant chapter in Tucson, AZ-NORML has satellite groups or contact people in Apache, Mohave, Pinal, Yavapai, Yuma Counties and working on Cochise County. In other words, literally all four corners of the state and in the very heart of prohibitionist territory.

These groups are regularly receiving and distributing updates from our state and national offices. If you are live in one of these “rural” areas, rest assured there is an AZ- NORML in your part of the state that you can contact for general info or assistance. If they cannot help you in your area, they can refer you to our office and we can refer you to someone who can try to help. In addition, we are making a list of cannabis criminal lawyers in rural areas. Rural AZ cannabis lawyers include Craig Williams (Prescott Valley) 928-759-0000, Lee Phillips (Flagstaff) 928-779-2900, Jon Saline (Snowflake/Taylor) 928-247-6227, and Andrea Short (Tucson) 602-292-6369.For a complete listing of AZ’s cannabis trained attorneys contact Gary Smith at the AZ Cannabis Bar Association.

AZ-NORML Rural Contact List

Apache County: Mike Ellis (Round Valley) 928-245-6501

Mohave County: Travin Pennington (Kingman) 928-530-1153

Pima County: Jon Gettel (Tucson) 520-247-3457

Pinal County: Jennifer Do (Queen Creek) 602-390-4770

Yavapai County: Jesse Dowling (Cottonwood) 928-300-3743

Yuma County: John Gleason (Fortuna Foothills) 928-388-5614

Statewide Hotline: Mikel Weisser 928-234-5633


More as this develops,