In 2014 the State of Arizona voted to allow medical marijuana to be obtained by qualified patients. At the time it was assumed this included Extracts, Distillates, Hash, Medibles and Vape pens. As it turns out, those are not included in Arizona’s medical program. This has caused a huge dilemma for patients.
Here you obtain a card by going to a doctor and complaining of a backache. It doesn’t matter if you have Cancer or MS or PTSD or any of the numerous ailments people use cannabis for (not anxiety, not eating disorders…just one thing: back pain). I wasn’t sure the failed doctor that wrote my recommendation wasn’t going to commit suicide on spot for being such a failure at his career. Sitting in a 3×3 office making people bend back and forth faking, ‘Ouch! The pain is a 10’. I’m sure this was not what he pictured in Med school. It was a total turn off and a disappointment to say the least.
So, now you have your med card and you can shop at one of the 100’s of Marijuana dispensaries. You can pick up flowers in many forms and many grades including pre-rolls and joints covered in extracts and kief, but last week someone challenged the fact that Cannabis is not listed and a judge ruled that all forms of Cannabis are illegal other than Flowers (or Marijuana as they called it).
This resulted in the famous 710 Errl Cup having no extracts at the event. Patients are worried they will be arrested leaving the dispensaries with products they purchase in a legal store and shops are using this scare to sell even more products by telling customers to get it while they have it in stock. Meanwhile everything is still for sale and nothing has changed. A few patient rights groups raised enough ruckus that the county of Maricopa put out a PSA saying that the police will NOT arrest patients for possessing extracts. Just ignore the law, they say, and we won’t arrest you….tell that to Billybob. Remember, Maricopa County was home to the famous Tent City with Pink Underwear -opinions don’t change that fast and I don’t want to be telling this story to a traffic cop that sees an extract pipe in my car.
One thing that really troubles me is the fact that the Federal Government has said that it will not go after anyone following state law. Now that all the shops are in violation of local laws this opens the door for the Feds to swoop in and take out some large producer just to make a show of power. This can and has happened in other places. Don’t think because we had the right to use the products it can’t be taken away. Look to Washington State where I can’t even sell seeds now – a state I literally owned as far as sales go for over 4 years.
One area of impact not seen or talked about is the private sector. Here some of the best growers and extractors don’t have the permits required to sell in the local shops or law allows a caregiver to donate his overages. It’s not outright sales but a suggested donation. This is legal and it is also much cheaper to get your Cannabis products through this unregulated market. These people skirt under the laws by hosting private events where you can donate for extracts and medibles and flowers. The quality can be some of the best but due to this new ruling people are scared to possess extracts for sale. There is a statewide shortage now of quality diamonds and quality sugar waxes. You see extracts here made in California as well as weed grown under the California Sun that can be sold for much more here than in California’s messed up markets.
Do I still buy extracts? You bet! The stores are all full of all kind of extracts and sauces but I see a huge drop in quality across the board. It seems shops put anything in a jar and call it a product: Tug and Pull, Wax, Budder, Jelly, Diamonds in Sauce, Sauce with one Diamond it is all over the board. These products are made in hidden areas with little oversight. I know of two explosions that have occurred including one that happened when a local producer, Venom Extracts, blew up a production lab and injured employees and destroyed the grow located adjacently. The Supreme Court will rule on the case of Marijuana and Cannabis in 2019, but until then patients are in limbo. One rogue cop only needs to come along and charges could be filed. I asked a local beat cop what he thought about it and he was unaware you could even buy extracts at all.
Someone will get busted, someone’s life will be ruined and it seems the Drug War is still having lasting effects. So, are we entering the regulated Marijuana Market…or is it Cannabis? That is up to a Judge to decide, but I personally take a note from Ed Rosenthal and call it what it really is: Cannabis – a plant that can heal the nations….if we allow it.
For now, we remain Lost Without Concentrates.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine issue 137