Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Marijuana Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs in the legal marijuana industry have many difficulties and concerns – finding a bank, credit card processor, landlord – uncommon for typical entrepreneurs. Even the startups that don’t physically touch marijuana are faced with these obstacles because of federal anti-marijuana laws. But these unique obstacles are producing unique incubators that cater specifically to marijuana industry entrepreneurs.

Incubators like Denver-based Green Labs Denver, a nearly 40-desk incubator and co-working office space for marijuana businesses, is helping entrepreneurs to overcome and adapt to industry challenges. A few of Green Labs’s current entrepreneurs are focusing on marijuana apps, tourism, and retail products.

“We’re all facing the same legislative hurdles,” said Green Labs’s co-founder.

Along with providing free office space, business services and guidance for entrepreneurs, Green Labs sometimes makes equity investments of $30,000 to $250,000 for startups with high potential.

Vegas Marijuana

Thanks to Nevada’s liberal medical marijuana reciprocity law, visiting medical marijuana patients can purchase marijuana from Nevada dispensaries.

“Giving patients the ability to legally access medical marijuana when they are visiting a legal medical state just makes sense,” said deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), a trade group for legal marijuana businesses. “And it makes even more sense when you’re talking about a state that has such a huge number of out-of-state visitors. It’s safer for patients and good for Nevada businesses — win-win.”

The Nevada medical marijuana reciprocity law is ideal for the state’s tourism and its tax income because it essentially opens the state’s medical marijuana market up to all medical marijuana patients in the United States – all while helping to further itself as America’s adult playground.

“When you consider that Nevada has fewer than 7,000 medical marijuana patients, it’s not a very large base. But when you factor in MMJ patients from other states who might take advantage of Nevada’s system — another 110,000 from Colorado, 570,000 from California and 100,000 from Washington — suddenly those numbers are looking a lot better,” The Cannabist noted.

Nevada residents will be voting in November 2016 to regulate the retail sale and production of marijuana for adults. The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana obtained over 200,000 signatures from registered Nevada voters which qualified it for the ballot. If it is voted into law, Nevada would allow adults to possess and grow marijuana (up to one ounce and/or six plants) for personal use. The measure would also regulate and tax the retail sale and commercial production of marijuana.


Arizona Marijuana Legalization Campaign

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona (CRMLA) has surpassed 100,000 signatures and is well on its way to qualifying for a spot on Arizona’s November 2016 ballot.

150,642 valid signatures from registered Arizona voters are needed by July 2016. But the campaign is taking precaution and attempting to reach a goal of 230,000 signatures.

Initiative supporters say the momentum in collecting signatures doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. “We get dozens of requests every day on social media and phone calls to the campaign headquarters asking where people can sign petitions,” says Carlos Alfaro, the campaign’s political director, who also noted that voters can sign petitions at many Motor Vehicle Division locations around the state.

In summary, the CRMLA’s initiative, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:

– allow adults 21 or older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public)
– establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana
– create a system in which licensed businesses (i.e., dispensaries) can cultivate and sell marijuana to adults
– 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 the recreational marijuana industry would be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations as well as be allocated to the Department of Education for construction, maintenance, operating costs, and full-day kindergarten programs, and to the Department of Health Services for public health efforts.

Recent polls have found that a majority of Arizona voters favor legalizing marijuana. A June 2015 poll found that 53% of Arizonans support legalization.


Illinois Dispensary

More than 3,000 Illinois medical marijuana patients will soon be able to purchase marijuana legally for the first time in the state.

There are eight Illinois dispensaries that will be opening on Monday, November 9th. This is the first wave of Illinois dispensaries to open, and more are expected to open this year. Of the eight dispensaries, four are located in the Chicago metropolitan area, while four are dispersed throughout the state.

It’s been two years since Illinois enacted its medical marijuana law, and Illinois’s medical marijuana patients have been eagerly waiting for the first dispensaries to open for business.

One highly unusual and restrictive stipulation that Illinois medical marijuana patients must abide by is that they must choose just one dispensary to purchase marijuana from, and they have to register the dispensary of their choosing with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The IDPH website states: “Qualifying patients and caregivers may visit any registered dispensary in the State, but must designate a single dispensary with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in order to make a medical cannabis purchase.”

“It’s a safe industry with a strong infrastructure here in Illinois,” said an employee of The Clininc Mundelein dispensary. “We’re all in touch with local police. There will be no surprises.”


Mexico Marijuana Legalization

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled this week to allow a group to legally use marijuana for recreational purposes, a decision that could potentially lead to nationwide legalization.

The 4-1 decision by the Mexican Supreme Court allows the small group of citizens to cultivate, transport and consume marijuana for recreational use. The court also declared five articles of a health act unconstitutional. The articles had banned the use and cultivation of marijuana.

The group’s representatives successfully claimed in court that the current drug policy has been ineffective and interferes with the private lives of individuals.

The court’s ruling reveals there “exists an excessive, intrusive and unnecessary prohibition” against marijuana, stated a member of a Mexican pro-marijuana group.

Mexico recently decriminalized the possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana and a half gram of cocaine, but production and distribution remain illegal. Meanwhile, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto has consistently opposed the legalization of all drugs, but mentioned via Twitter that he respected and recognized the court’s decision.

A member of the US-based Drug Policy Alliance stated: “This vote by Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: It is being argued on human rights grounds and it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs.”


Bernie Sanders Marijuana Bill

Democratic presidential candidate and senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill this week that would end federal penalties for the possession and cultivation of marijuana and allow each state to establish its own marijuana laws.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015” strikes any reference to marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, but has penalties for transporting marijuana to states where the substance is still illegal.

“Senator Sanders really grabbed the nation’s attention when he became the first major-party presidential candidate to speak out in support of ending marijuana prohibition,” said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. “His actions today speak even louder than his words last month. Hopefully, this legislation will get his colleagues in Congress talking about the need for comprehensive marijuana policy reform.”

Sanders bill is the fourth marijuana policy reform bill to be introduced in the Senate and is the first that proposes ending marijuana prohibition at the federal level.

“The science is clear that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that should be reflected in our nation’s marijuana policy. Sen. Sanders is simply proposing that we treat marijuana similarly to how we treat alcohol at the federal level, leaving most of the details to the states. It is a commonsense proposal that is long overdue in the Senate,” said Tvert.


Sean Parker Marijuana

Sean Parker: cofounder of Napster, former Facebook president, and current billionaire is backing a new recreational use marijuana initiative in California.

The Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act would legalize marijuana for people 21 and older, allow them to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home. California would collect 15% sales tax and tax growers.

“This initiative provides a model for the country,” stated the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It breaks new ground not just with its pragmatic regulatory provisions but also in directing tax revenue to prevention and treatment for young people, environmental protections and job creation in underserved communities.”

“I am pleased that this thoughtful measure is aligned with the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations, and presents California its best opportunity to improve the status quo by making marijuana difficult for kids to access. It is backed by the broadest coalition of supporters to date and I believe that Californians will rally behind this consensus measure, which also serves to strengthen law enforcement, respect local preferences, protect public health and public safety, and restore the environment,” stated California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.


Illinois Dispensary Opens

Illinois medical marijuana patients will begin receiving their marijuana cards within two weeks, and Illinois dispensaries will begin opening at that time to.

There are only a few Illinois dispensaries that are licensed and ready to open.

“We have been working on this for well over a year, probably close to two years,” stated CEO of The Clinic Mundelein dispensary, which will be the first dispensary to open in northern Illinois, just 30 miles north of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. “This is not Cheech and Chong, this is not a head shop, this is a medical facility to help patients who are in need.”

Illinois medical marijuana patients will be able to purchase everything from marijuana-infused topical creams to edibles.


Ohio Marijuana Legalize

Ohioans will be voting on a historic medical and recreational marijuana legalization ballot Tuesday, November 3.

This will be an unprecedented first for voters anywhere in the U.S. because Ohioans will be deciding whether to approve recreational and medical marijuana at the same time, which has never happened before.

Ballot Issue 3 is for legalizing marijuana, whereas ballot Issue 2 is against marijuana legalization. ResponsibleOhio, the advocacy group supporting Issue 3, has been campaigning throughout Ohio with the slogan “vote no on 2 and yes on 3.”

If ballot Issue 3 passes, Ohio residents will be able to grow four marijuana plants for personal consumption, medically or recreationally. Furthermore, there would be only 10 commercial marijuana cultivation farms, which are already owned by the investors who financially backed Issue 3.

If Issue 3 is approved, Ohio would be the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. were the first to legalize recreational marijuana use.

In 2016, voters are expected to vote on marijuana legalization ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and possibly in other states.


Australia Marijuana

Australia is improving its drug laws to allow for the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes.

The new law will remove a major obstacle to the establishment of clinical trials for marijuana.

Amendments are being drafted for the Narcotics Drugs Act which will allow for the controlled cultivation of marijuana, giving patients access to “a safe, legal and sustainable supply of locally produced products for the first time,” said Sussan Ley, the Australian Health Minister.

The Australian government will create a licensing program to regulate and manage the supply and quality of marijuana from the cultivation sites to pharmacy.

“This government is incredibly sympathetic to the suffering of those Australians with debilitating illnesses and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” said Ley. He continued, “Allowing the cultivation of legal medicinal cannabis crops in Australia under strict controls strikes the right balance between patient access, community protection and our international obligations.”