An Arizona appellate court has ruled that a 2012 state law prohibiting the use of medical cannabis on college campuses is unconstitutional. Lifetime NORML Legal Committee member Tom Dean represented the patient-defendant in the case pro bono.
Arizona voters in 2010 narrowly approved a statewide initiative, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), permitting qualified patients to possess and use medicinal cannabis. The Court determined that the legislature’s decision to later amend the law in order to restrict medical marijuana use on college campuses does not “further the purpose” of the 2010 law and therefore must be struck down.
“By enacting A.R.S. § 15-108(A), the Legislature modified the AMMA to re-criminalize cardholders’ marijuana possession on college and university campuses,” the Court opined. “The statute does not further the purposes of the AMMA; to the contrary, it eliminates some of its protections.”
The Court argued that campuses and university possess the authority to enact their own individual policies restricting medical cannabis use, but that lawmakers can not do so.
The decision overturned a medical-marijuana card holder’s 2015 felony conviction for the possession of a small quantity of cannabis while attending Arizona State University.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has not yet publicly stated whether they intend to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.