Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

June 26, 2018

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
RODNEY CHRISTOPHER JONES, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Yavapai County No. P1300CR201400328 The Honorable Tina R. Ainley, Judge

          Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Michael Valenzuela, Dominic Emil Draye Counsel for Appellee.

          Craig Williams, Attorney at Law, PLLC, Prescott Valley By Craig Williams Counsel for Appellant.

          Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice By Sarah L. Mayhew Amicus Curiae.

          Judge Jon W. Thompson delivered the Opinion of the Court, in which Judge Thomas C. Kleinschmidt [1] joined, and to which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones dissented.

          OPINION

          THOMPSON, JUDGE.

         ¶1 Rodney Jones appeals his convictions and sentences for one count each of possession of the narcotic drug cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones asserts the trial court erred in denying his pretrial motion to dismiss after determining he was not immune from prosecution under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), Ariz. Rev. Stat. (A.R.S.) §§ 36-2801 to -2819 (2014). We hold that AMMA does not immunize Jones from prosecution for the use and possession of cannabis under the circumstances presented here, and affirm Jones's convictions and sentences.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2 The relevant facts are undisputed. In March 2013, Jones was found in possession of a jar containing 0.050 ounces of hashish. At the time, Jones was a registered qualifying patient using marijuana for medicinal purposes. Jones was later indicted on one count each of possession of the narcotic drug cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia - the jar containing the cannabis. He moved to dismiss the charges, arguing the indictment was deficient as a matter of law because his valid AMMA card provided an absolute defense. The motion was denied following an evidentiary hearing.

         ¶3 Jones waived his right to a jury trial and, in September 2016, was convicted as charged. The following month, Jones was sentenced as a non-dangerous, non-repetitive offender to concurrent presumptive terms of 2.5 years' imprisonment for possession of a narcotic drug and one year for possession of drug paraphernalia and given credit for 366 days' presentence incarceration. Jones timely appealed, and this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 12-120.21(A)(1) (2018), 13-4031 (2010), and 13-4033(A)(1) (2010).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶4 Jones appeals the trial court's order denying his motion to dismiss. We review an order denying a motion to dismiss criminal charges for an abuse of discretion and will reverse if the court "misapplies the law or exercises its discretion based on incorrect legal principles." State v. Smith, 242 Ariz. 98, 104, ¶ 22 (App. 2017) (citing State v. Mangum, 214 Ariz. 165, 167, ¶ 6 (App. 2007)) (quoting State v. Slover, 220 Ariz. 239, 242, ¶ 4 (App. 2009)). We review the interpretation and application of statutes de novo. State v. Nixon, 242 Ariz. 242, 243, ¶ 5 (App. 2017) (citing State v. Carver, 227 Ariz. 438, 441, ¶ 8 (App. 2011)). Because AMMA was voter-initiated, our primary objective is "to give effect to the intent of the electorate." Reed-Kaliher v. Hoggatt, 237 Ariz. 119, 122, ¶ 6 (2015) (quoting State v. Gomez, 212 Ariz. 55, 57, ¶ 11 (2006)); see also Pedersen v. Bennett, 230 Ariz. 556, 558, ¶ 7 (2012) ("[C]ourts liberally construe initiative requirements and do not interfere with the people's right to initiate laws 'unless the Constitution expressly and explicitly makes any departure from initiative filing requirements fatal.'") (quoting Kromko v. Superior Court, 168 Ariz. 51, 58 (1991)).

         ¶5 In construing a statute, we read its words in context and will ascribe a meaning that gives effect to all relevant provisions and avoids an unconstitutional result. See Stambaugh v. Killian, 242 Ariz. 508, 509, ¶ 7 (2017) (citing David C. v. Alexis S., 240 Ariz. 53, 55, ¶ 9 (2016); J.D. v. Hegyi, 236 Ariz. 39, 40-41, ¶ 6 (2014)); State v. Lindner, 227 Ariz. 69, 70, ¶ 6 (App. 2010). "If the statute is subject to only one reasonable interpretation, we apply it without further analysis." Stambaugh, 242 Ariz. at 509, ¶ 7 (quoting Wade v. Ariz. State Ret. Sys., 241 Ariz. 559, 561, ¶ 10 (2017)).

         ¶6 The parties agree hashish is a form of cannabis distinguishable from the green leafy substance commonly referred to as marijuana.[2] They likewise agree cannabis is classified as a narcotic drug and that its possession is generally prohibited under Arizona's criminal code. See A.R.S. §§ 13-3401(20)(w) (classifying cannabis as a narcotic drug); -3408(A)-(B) (proscribing the knowing possession or use of a narcotic drug as a class four felony); Bollander, 110 Ariz. at 87. The parties also acknowledge AMMA generally protects a registered qualifying patient from arrest, prosecution, or penalty arising out of the medical use of "marijuana" if that patient does not possess more than the allowable amount - 2.5 ounces of "usable marijuana." See A.R.S. ยงยง 36-2801(1)(a)(i), (8), -2811(B)(1). Useable marijuana ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.