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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Big Pharma Marijuana

Before the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, Big Pharma companies like Eli Lilly and Parke-Davis and Squibb of Bristol-Myers Squibb were marketing marijuana medicines – such as extracts and tinctures – labeled as “uniformly effective at dose levels of 10 mg.”

Back then, most medicines had the same universal characteristics, so drug companies had to rely on marketing and brand recognition to sell products.

According to the Antique Cannabis Book, 6% of all manufactured drugs at the time contained marijuana in one form or another, whether in powder, tablets, fluid extracts or tinctures. Some call that period, from the turn of the century to 1937, the “Golden Age of Medical Cannabis” as marijuana products flourished with little to no stigma or legal ramifications.

Then, like now, marijuana was prescribed for a variety of ailments including migraines, epilepsy, stomach worms, mental illnesses and some addictions. It was also used by veterinaries for pets.

While smoking was not very common, tinctures and extracts were developed on a regular basis. The pharmaceutical companies had the benefit of their own expertise in standardizing and establishing dosing and responses. They initially used marijuana grown in India, but soon realized growing their own was more reliable. In doing so, they learned about sinsemilla (seedless) cultivation.

Parke-Davis (now owned by Pfizer) worked with Eli Lilly to create its own plant strain called Cannabis Americana, a domesticated Indica strain.

According to Forbes, Parke-Davis did not stop with weed. It sold various types of cocaine before it became illegal, developed ketamine and held the patent for PCP.

Michele Leonhart DEA

The DEA’s chief administrator, Michele Leonhart, will resign next month. The news prompted cheers from the marijuana industry because she aggressively opposed marijuana legalization and the industry in general.

Leonhart had fallen out of favor with President Barack Obama’s administration long ago for insubordination and mismanagement issues. She became disliked throughout the marijuana industry because she would continually “resist federal rules relaxing enforcement on marijuana as states have moved to legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational use,” stated a recent article.

Her resignation, which is effective in May, could open the door for a more marijuana-friendly replacement.

“From interfering with voter-approved state marijuana laws to mismanaging broader agency scandals, it’s long been time for her to go,” stated a marijuana industry businessman.

Recently, Leonhart has been under fire due to sex party scandals in Colombia involving DEA agents and prostitutes paid for by the cartels.

Alabama Marijuana

Marijuana prohibition is quickly dissolving in the U.S., but it probably won’t vanish all at once. Even if Congress repeals federal marijuana prohibition, certain states will likely ban marijuana on a state level.

If Congress acts, it will probably wait until a majority of states have implemented some type of marijuana legalization law. The legalization process is already well underway and should continue to gain momentum by election day in 2016.

Here is a list of 9 states that will most likely be the last to legalize or possibly never legalize marijuana:

1. Alabama - This Bible Belt state still has several dry (alcohol prohibited) counties and about a third of the counties in the state are either partially dry or have localities that are completely dry.

2. Idaho - This Mormon-influenced state has passed a no-THC/high-CBD law, but campaigners for medical marijuana haven’t been able to qualify a measure for the ballot.

3. Kansas - A Republican dominated state with no initiative process and little support for marijuana legalization.

4. Louisiana - The state has some of the country’s harshest marijuana laws, including up to 20 years in prison for repeat possession offenders and up to life in prison for marijuana possession if the person has a previous felony.

5. North Dakota - The agricultural state has approved industrial hemp production (in part because North Dakota farmers can see their Canadian counterparts just across the border profiting from it), but is unwilling to move even on medical marijuana, let alone legalization.

6. Oklahoma - The state is dominated by Republicans and is one of the most conservative in the country.

7. South Carolina - There is no initiative process here, so it will be up to the legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.

8. South Dakota - The state has the initiative process, but it also has the dubious distinction of being the only state to twice defeat medical marijuana at the polls.

9. Utah - The Mormon heartland, another state where Republicans dominate the government and where the only legislative concession to marijuana law reform has been the passage of a no-THC/high-CBD marijuana oil bill.

Weed 3

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has returned with more revelations about medical marijuana with his latest documentary, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution,” which originally aired on April 19 (and can be viewed below).

The documentary discusses medical marijuana and examines the lives of families that benefit from it. Gupta also gives viewers an insider’s look at the politics behind medical marijuana research.

Weed 3 also focuses on the efforts of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), whose researcher Dr. Sue Sisley is attempting to get federal approval to study marijuana’s effect on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), after a series of bureaucratic setbacks.

Chris Christie Marijuana

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently stated on a syndicated radio show that he would not let America legalize marijuana if he is elected president in 2016.

Christie stated he would “crack down” on the states that have already done so.

“I will crack down and not permit it,” Christie responded when asked by the radio host if he would enforce federal drug laws in Washington, Colorado and other states where voter approved measures are “flaunting federal law by allowing people to sell dope legally,” according to the host.

Christie went on to say that he thinks “marijuana is a gateway drug” and that “we have an enormous addiction problem in this country. And we need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.”

Rand Paul Marijuana

In three key swing states – Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – marijuana legalization is more popular than all the current potential 2016 presidential candidates, according to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University last month.

Results from the survey reveal that over 80% of adults in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania support medical marijuana legalization. 55% of Floridians, 51% of Pennsylvanians, and 52% of Ohioans also support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use, similar to the marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.

These numbers point towards two facts: the continued and rapidly growing support for marijuana legalization, and voters’ doubtfulness surrounding the current presidential candidates for 2016.

Rand Paul is the only candidate so far to take a stand as pro-marijuana. His viewpoints on the issue are from the standpoint of criminal justice reform and fiscal responsibility.

Elections Marijuana

Hemp

Marijuana and hemp are the two most commonly known names for the cannabis plant.

Cannabis has just as much to do with industrial hemp products as it does with the recreational drug better known as marijuana or pot or weed. This begs the question — how is hemp different from marijuana?

1. Genetics
Cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses.

Tall, sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils and textiles, such as rope and fabrics. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.

Other plants were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that we now know as marijuana.

According to Dan Sutton of Tantulus Labs, a Canadian company that specializes in cannabis cultivation technology, “the core agricultural differences between medical cannabis and hemp are largely in their genetic parentage and cultivation environment.”

In fact, scientists believe the early separation of the cannabis gene pool led to two distinct types of cannabis plants. The two species (or subspecies) of cannabis are known as Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.

2. THC Content
Cannabis plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids. Current research has revealed over 60 different cannabinoids so far, but THC is the most well known. THC is credited with causing the marijuana high.

While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. This single difference is what most rely on to distinguish hemp from marijuana. For example, countries like Canada have set the maximum THC content of hemp at 0.3%. Any cannabis with higher THC levels is considered marijuana instead.

In comparison, medical marijuana produces anywhere between 5-20% THC on average, with prize strains tipping the scale at 25-30% THC.

Hemp and marijuana plants contain another important cannabinoid: CBD. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD. Interestingly, research has shown that CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, separating hemp further from marijuana.

3. Cultivation
Hemp and marijuana are grown for different uses, and therefore require different growing conditions.

“Medical cannabis has been selectively bred over generations, and its characteristics are optimized in its cultivation environment to produce female flowering plants that yield budding flowers at the flowering stage of their life cycle,” explains Sutton.

In contrast, Sutton describes hemp plants as “primarily male, without representing flowering buds at any stage in their life cycle.” Instead, centuries of selective breeding have resulted in “relatively low concentrations of THC, and tall, fast growing plants optimized for higher stalk harvests.”

Achieving maximum THC levels in marijuana is tricky and requires close attention to grow-room conditions. Marijuana growers usually aim to maintain stable light, temperature, humidity, CO2 and oxygen levels, among other things.

On the other hand, hemp is usually grown outdoors to maximize its size and yield and less attention is paid to individual plants.

4. Legal Status
As you might already know, all cannabis is illegal to produce in the United States.

Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.
However, outside the U.S., hemp is grown in more than 30 countries. In 2011, the top hemp-producing country was China, followed by Chile and the European Union. Hemp production is also expanding in Canada, with the country’s annual crop reaching a record high of 66,700 acres in 2013.

Interesting enough, it is legal to import hemp products into the United States. According to the Hemp Industry Association, about $500 million worth of hemp product is imported every year.

Marijuana, on the other hand, remains illegal in most countries. A few, such as Israel and Canada, have recently started to regulate marijuana as a medicine. But the legal production of marijuana is subject to stricter rules than hemp, since it is still widely considered a narcotic.

5. Research
The strict laws surrounding both forms of cannabis — hemp and marijuana — makes any research very difficult.

“The political implications of that scheduling, from a research perspective, are limiting,” explains Sutton. “To my knowledge, of the thousands of academic and research bodies in the United States and Canada whom would be equipped to perform agricultural or medical research on this unique species, only around 40 have actual research licenses to study the plant in a limited context.”

Despite these barriers, researchers are making progress in understanding the way medical marijuana works to assist in managing an ever-expanding list of disorders.

What’s more, developments in hemp technology continue to reveal new and intriguing ways that this industrial plant can contribute to society in the future. Recently, researchers at the University of Alberta created a supercapacitor using raw hemp material, making the manufacturing of cheap, fast-charging batteries from hemp a real possibility.

Hemp fibre is also being used to develop new forms of renewable plastic, which has made it a common material in the car parts industry.

But as legalization spreads across the globe, the opportunities to explore the potential of the cannabis grows too. The possibilities are endless, and this is one thing hemp and marijuana have in common.

Arizona Marijuana Legalization

A ballot initiative has been file that – if approved by voters in November 2016 – would legalize marijuana in Arizona for adult recreational use and would regulate and tax marijuana in a similar manner as alcohol.

“It was a long and deliberative drafting process involving a diverse group of stakeholders,” said a member of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the organization that helped get Colorado’s recreational marijuana law implemented. “There were some bumps in the road, but in the end everyone came together to produce the best possible law for Arizona. We are united in this effort to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”

Essentially, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:

– Allow anyone 21 years of age and older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public)
– Establish a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana to adults and establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana in the state
– Provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses
– Establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes

Tax revenue from marijuana sales will be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations and any additional revenue will be allocated to the Department of Education for operating costs, construction, maintenance, and full-day kindergarten programs and to the Department of Health Services for public health efforts.

The full text of the initiative is available on the campaign’s website at www.RegulateMarijuanaInArizona.org.

“Marijuana should be produced and sold by licensed businesses in a regulated market, not violent criminals in the underground market,” stated an Arizona marijuana business owner who helped draft the initiative. “Arizona’s medical marijuana businesses have proven that regulation works. It’s time to take that lesson and apply it to all marijuana sales.”

“We’re looking forward to hitting the streets and starting conversations with voters about the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition in Arizona,” said an activist supporting the initiative. “Marijuana prohibition is an irrational policy that causes far more harm than good. Adults should not be treated like criminals simply for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

The initiative needs signatures from just over 150,000 registered Arizona voters by June 2016 in order for it to get on the November 2016 ballot.

Learn more about the initiative at www.RegulateMarijuanaInArizona.org.

Marijuana Alcohol

Reps. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) and Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) who co-sponsored a bill to legalize and tax recreational marijuana sales in Vermont (but the bill failed to be considered by the state legislature), have filed a new bill which would ban alcohol sales in the state.

Rep. Pearson stated that he does not actually support alcohol prohibition, but filed the bill to make a point that alcohol, a legalized substance, causes more societal problems than marijuana, yet marijuana is (still) illegal.

“This bill proposes to recognize recent scientific studies that demonstrate that alcohol use is significantly more dangerous than marijuana use,” reads House Bill 502.

The bill proposes to ban the “possession, cultivation, distribution and sale” of alcoholic beverages in Vermont. Although, alcohol used for medical purposes would still be permitted; however, as medical marijuana is also allowed in the state.

“Whereas prohibiting the sale and possession of alcohol is a laughable suggestion, the commonsense reaction against this idea should be the same logic we use to consider the continued prohibition of marijuana,” Pearson said.

Under the proposed bill, people 21 or older possessing a “small amount” of alcohol would be issued a civil violation and subject to a fine up to $500 — just like marijuana possession. Possessing larger quantities of alcohol, as well as the cultivation, distribution or sale, would become a criminal offense with penalties ranging from one day to 30 years in prison, and fines of up to $1 million — just like marijuana.

Marijuana Test

The amount of time that your body retains traces of marijuana depends on a number of factors, including how often you smoke and your metabolism rate.

Urine testing, or urinalysis, is the most common way of screening for marijuana use. In the United States, current and future employers will often ask you to undergo a urine test.

But how long will marijuana show up in your urine after you stop smoking? Unfortunately, the only accurate answer is: It depends.

THC vs. THC-COOH

THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and the chemical responsible for the high. However, urine tests detect a different chemical called THC-COOH.

THC-COOH is a metabolite of THC. It is produced when the liver breaks down THC and stays in the body for much longer.

The most common cutoff level for THC-COOH used by drug screening companies is 50 ng/mL. Less common cutoff levels are 20 ng/mL and 100 ng/mL.

Length of Detection Period

No one can really say how long you will test positive for marijuana, since the rate of THC metabolism varies per individual. The amount of marijuana consumed can also alter the window of time that your body retains traces of THC.

Even still, studies provide some insight into how long the average individual will test positive for marijuana.

Occasional Users

Someone who smokes occasionally – or for the first time – will likely test positive for 1-3 days afterward, according to a review by the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI).

But by the end of 4 days, infrequent cannabis users should be safely below the 50 ng/mL threshold.

“For occasional marijuana use (or single event usage), at the 50 ng/mL cutoff level, it would be unusual for the detection of cannabinoids in urine to extend beyond 3-4 days following the smoking episode.”

Frequent Users

Studies suggest someone who smokes often can expect to test positive for around a week following last use. According to the NDCI, after 10 days, most frequent users should pass a urine test at the 50 ng/mL threshold.

“Based upon recent scientific evidence, at the 50 ng/mL cutoff concentration for the detection of cannabinoids in urine, it would be unlikely for a chronic user to produce a positive urine drug test result for longer than 10 days after the last smoking episode.”

However, there’s no guarantee that a heavy cannabis smoker will be free of THC metabolites after 10 days. Studies show it’s possible for some users to test positive for up to a month after last use.

In one extreme case, a person who reported using cannabis heavily for over 10 years managed to test positive (above 20 ng/mL limit) for up to 67 days after last use.