Back in 2018, medical marijuana patient Stephanie Parisi was pulled over on a traffic stop because of a cracked windshield. When the officer who pulled her over learned that she had a marijuana concentrate – purchased from a dispensary – in her car, he confiscated the it, even though Ms. Parisi produced a valid medical marijuana card. She wasn’t arrested, but the officer told her that she might be hearing further from law enforcement.
About a year later, Ms. Parisi received a letter from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office telling her that she would have to enroll in the Treatment Assessment Screening Center (TASC), a controversial drug program that would have cost her almost $3,000. The letter went on to say that failure to do so would expose her to a felony drug charge. She eventually went to the ACLU, which demanded that Montgomery’s office stop threatening medical marijuana patients.
Montgomery has been under fire since last year and has been sued over what has been described as a “questionable” financial relationship between the county attorney’s office and TASC. In the meantime, the issue of whether marijuana extracts are covered under the medical marijuana law is pending before the Arizona Supreme Court.
Montgomery Admits His Office Was Wrong
One of the bases for the lawsuit involving the County Attorney and TASC is that the program’s number one effect appears to some to be an attack on cannabis users who have little or no money to pay the hefty TASC fees. But Montgomery has finally relented, at least in this case, and now admits that Parisi should not have been directed to TASC and has sent a letter saying she would not be prosecuted on marijuana charges.
Unfortunately, the apology in Parisi’s case appears to be the exception rather than the rule, By that we mean that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is still prosecuting medical marijuana users for extracts, even while the issue is pending before the Supreme Court.
During oral argument before the Supreme Court in March, several of the Justices appeared to favor inclusion of extracts in the medical marijuana law. We expect a decision from the court in the not too distant future.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004