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.
Williams, Attorney at Law, PLLC, Prescott Valley By Craig
Williams Counsel for Appellant.
Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice By Sarah L. Mayhew
Jon W. Thompson delivered the Opinion of the Court, in which
Judge Thomas C. Kleinschmidt  joined, and to which Presiding
Judge Kenton D. Jones dissented.
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.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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.
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)
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)).
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)).
The parties agree hashish is a form of cannabis
distinguishable from the green leafy substance commonly
referred to as marijuana. 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. §§ 36-2801(1)(a)(i), (8), -2811(B)(1).
Useable marijuana ...