Welton v. State of Arizona
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona filed a lawsuit to protect five-year-old Zander Welton's parents from criminal prosecution for giving him a medical marijuana extract in the form of an oil. Zander has severe epilepsy and has suffered from debilitating seizures for most of his life. The oil containing the marijuana extract, in combination with dried marijuana, had reduced Zander's seizures dramatically, resulting in an unprecedented period of sustained relief.
Zander's progress is now in jeopardy. Despite the fact that the Arizona Department of Health services approved Zander's medical marijuana application and he has a state-issued patient ID card, and despite the fact that Arizona voters approved the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) in 2010, law enforcement agencies, led by Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery, have indicated that they believe the AMMA does not allow patients like Zander to use marijuana extracts and that patients who do so will be criminally prosecuted.
When Arizona's voters said yes to legalizing medical marijuana in 2010, they intended for sick people to have access to this medication in forms like extracts, which are easier to ingest and can be more accurately dosed than simple plant material. Casting a cloud of criminality over medical marijuana extracts is wrong and cruel. After seeing not one but two brain surgeries fail to help their son, Zander's parents finally found an effective treatment in a medical marijuana extract and they should not be scared off from giving Zander the best medicine available to him.
Through this lawsuit, Zander's parents are asking the court to clarify that the AMMA's decriminalization of medical marijuana includes medicines, like extracts, that are derived from marijuana. Zander's parents are also asking the court to bar law enforcement officials from taking any adverse action against them for treating their son with a medical marijuana extract.