ACLU Files Suit To Allow Medical Cannabis Extracts

October 29, 2013

A civil liberties group wants to make sure cannabis extracts are a legal form of medical marijuana in Arizona.

Monday, the ACLU filed suit against state officials on behalf of Zander Welton's parents. The ACLU says the 5-year-old has a rare brain disease that causes autism and epilepsy.

Zander's parents say they have successfully treated his seizures with a cannabis extract. But Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who opposes medical marijuana, has warned those extracts are illegal.

"It appears that Montgomery is putting his ideological interest above the interests of patients and above his respect for the law," said ACLU attorney Emma Andersson.

She said Zander has been treated with an extract high in the chemical CBD, "which has no psychoactive effect, but does have the effect of stopping his seizures."

Andersson said Montgomery's reading of the law goes against what voters wanted. "They intended for sick people like Zander to have access to this medication in forms like extracts that are easier to ingest and that can be more accurately dosed than simple plant material," she said.

The county attorney's office declined to comment on this case. State health officials had hoped to release guidance on marijuana extracts this month, but a spokeswoman says that's not happening, and this lawsuit may change how they proceed.

Updated 10-29-13 1:09 p.m.