US (AZ): Supreme Court decision boosts MMJ industry

Cannabis-laced massage oils, vaping products and brownies and other edibles likely will emerge as the future of the multimillion-dollar medical cannabis industry in Arizona, thanks to a court decision last month, industry representatives say.

Concentrates, or extracts of the active ingredients in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, are considered legal under an Arizona Supreme Court ruling in May. The case involved a Yavapai County man who was arrested and convicted several years ago after purchasing a small amount of hashish from a licensed dispensary. Prosecutors claimed hash was not legal under the law voters approved in 2010, which legalized medical cannabis but left recreational cannabis illegal in the state.

Medical cannabis advocates hailed the Supreme Court’s decision. “People think that we’re getting doped up on this stuff, but essentially, we’re making ourselves feel better,” said Javier Torres, patient consultant for Giving Tree, a cannabis dispensary in north Phoenix.

The court decision is expected to be a boon for Arizona’s medical cannabis industry and could attract outside investment from national brands. While experts differ on whether the dried plant matter of the cannabis flower, which is mostly smoked, is better for health than extracts, some say extracts deliver a more precise dosage than smoking and appear more socially acceptable than smoking pot.

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