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Written by Sheena Beronio

A 2020 cannabis case in the 9th circuit federal court will lay down the proper legal definition of concentrated cannabis products.

The case started from a raid made in 2016 in a cannabis extraction location. The main argument of feds stemmed from the fact that some cannabis extracts like RSO and shatter aren’t infused with pure cannabis. The products were contaminated instead with Hashish, a substance that’s not included in the state’s cannabis program.     

So far, the argument of the feds remains solid as inferred in the court, but the defendants are still on appeal. The defendants’ last appeal would reach the 9th circuit court of appeals in 2020. This will be the defendants’ final chance to prove their point before the Supreme Court.

If in the ruling, the feds argument’s win, cannabis edibles, tincture, and concentrates will be further chained within the legal grey zone. This means a headache for cannabis businesses, as this would mean stricter protocols and uncertainty on the legal status of cannabis concentrates. 

The risk that the cannabis industry faces in this legal battle would affect everyone within the cannabis umbrella, so don’t count yourself as immune. It would mean an arrest for anyone caught in possession with illegal cannabis concentrates, manufacturers, producers, salesmen, advertisers of cannabis concentrates.

Although some states already have approved laws on cannabis about infused and extracted cannabis products, a judge from the 9th district still ruled that cannabis extracts and cannabis concentrates are not cannabis. The judge’s decision will greatly unsettle the future of the cannabis industry in the country because the decision can either change or not change the definition of cannabis.

There was a similar case made in the Supreme Court of Arizona, where the argument was about how the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act means dried flower only and not derivatives from marijuana, which includes concentrates. In this case, the federal court referred to the formulations on extracted cannabis as “hashish,” a term that defines all cannabis extracts. This leads to the separation of dried cannabis flowers from its extracted derivatives.

If the Supreme Court decides to change the definition of cannabis concentrates on “hashish,” there will be an imminent movement that illegalizes cannabis concentrates on edibles, vape pens, ointments, tinctures, and other medicinal preparations.