A Pima County Superior Court judge has thrown out charges against a man who sold cannabis plants to undercover cops posing as patients, ruling that the distribution of cannabis from one patient to the next isn’t illegal based on the wording of a 2010 voter-approved initiative. The ruling, though expected to be challenged and brought to the state’s Supreme Court, paves the way for patients to legally sell cannabis to other patients.
The case came as Jeremy Matlock, a qualified medical cannabis patient in Arizona, challenged cannabis distribution charges placed against him, arguing that the initiative which legalized medical cannabis doesn’t necessarily make it illegal for a patient to sell cannabis to another patient. Matlock drew the attention of law enforcement when he made a Craiglist post offering cannabis plants to qualified patients for a $25 fee.
Judge Richard Fields agreed with Matlock’s interpretation of the law – that his actions weren’t illegal – saying that the law is poorly written and subject to interpretation; “The fact of the matter is that the statute is very poorly drafted and needs a lot of work,’ said Judge Fields. “This court finds that the statute is ambiguous, does not give a person of ordinary intelligence notice as to how it can be violated, and therefore the indictment is insufficient as a matter of law.”
Kellie Johnson, chief criminal deputy for the Pima County Attorney’s Office, says they plan to appeal the ruling, which should lead it quickly to the Arizona Supreme Court.