Medical Marijuana: Crummy Case

Polk’s poor cannabis metaphor almost makes you feel bad for her. Almost.


Arguments are a prevalent aspect of our political culture. We typically expect to see poor arguments from anonymous usernames online and good arguments from those deciding our laws.

But Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk defied those expectations with her Arizona Supreme Court filings in State v. Jones. Polk hopes to use the case to outlaw concentrates in Arizona.

In the filing, Polk compared the way the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act legalizes cannabis concentrates to legalizing explosives made from fertilizer.

"A finding that the AMMA protects the narcotic drug cannabis would be akin to a finding that explosives produced from fertilizer are protected by laws allowing the sale of farm products," she wrote in the filing.

That's certainly a perspective that's worth considering... just not for very long.

For one, explosives aren't very useful on a farm. Concentrates, however, are very useful for medicating illnesses approved by the state.

Another difference might be that she seems to imply these hypothetical state-sanctioned explosives would be used to harm or kill people. To my knowledge cannabis concentrates aren't used as terrorist weapons.

But let's give her the benefit of the doubt and boil this statement down to "cannabis concentrates can cause harm."

That's being generous, but it's a much more honest argument. The problem is, it's not likely to convince Supreme Court judges that cannabis should be illegal.

And that's where this one little, poor argument starts to cause trouble for Polk.

Even she must know what poor logic her analogy uses. Yet she decided to include it anyway because being honest about her case could jeopardize her chances of winning it.

Since the Court of Appeals ruling that ignited the controversy over cannabis concentrates, a lot of good arguments have been made as to why it was the wrong decision.

Starting with unusual the assertion that cannabis and marijuana are no longer the same thing, the case never stood on very solid ground.

Toss in that Rodney Jones, the defendant, may have been chosen by Polk because he doesn't elicit as much sympathy as a toddler with seizures; that dispensaries continue to sell and patients continue to consume cannabis despite the ruling; and that Attorney General Mark Brnovich abandoned the case, and Polk's foundation begins to melt.

In the months that it has taken for this case to come to the Supreme Court, Jones has a new team of lawyers and the cannabis industry has put its full weight behind making sure he's not convicted at the highest levels.

As Polk's platform has withered away, the support for her target has bolstered.

The case is set for oral arguments on March 19. The outcome has huge implications for Arizona's cannabis industry, and many are confident in a favorable outcome. But if there's anything politics has taught us in the past few years, it's not to get comfortable.

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