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- Happy Halloween Arizona! October 30, 2014
Marijuana News in Arizona and World
A state lawmaker in Arizona is looking into legalizing and taxing marijuana in an attempt to increase revenue for the state.
Ethan Orr, a Republican from Tuscon, took a look at the amount of money Colorado has been pulling in via their recent marijuana legalization, and the numbers are hard to ignore. Revenue projections reveal that Arizona will end this budget year roughly $520 million in the hole, and that number could double by 2016.
Orr went on to say, “Given the massive budget shortfall we’re facing, we need to look at revenue and think this is a logical place we need to look. I think it’s time to have an intelligent conversation about it [legalization].”
The Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona plans to model their initiative on the recreational marijuana program already underway in Colorado which has allowed adults age 21 and older to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a regulated amount of retail shops.
The Legislative Council in Colorado suggests that the state will bring in close to $175 million before the fiscal year in 2017 comes to an end.
Orr hopes that he will gain some support from his fellow colleagues, but he is also preparing for the worst. He says that, “If I don’t think I’ll have the votes, I won’t take it forward.”
Marijuana is already legal in Arizona on a medicinal level, and just over 50,000 residents are enrolled in the program.
Orr also worries that there will be opposition not just fromenforcement officials in regards to legalizing marijuana recreationally, but also from owners of medical marijuana who have put in a lot of time and money into modeling their businesses around the state’s medical marijuana .
Maryland’s new marijuana decriminalizationhas begun. The new bill will allow for citizens in possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana to receive a simple fine.
The law originally stated that anyone found in possession of any amount of marijuana can be arrested and serve up to a 90 day prison sentence. But as of October 1, violators will instead be issued a ticket. The first ticket will be for $100, the second for $250 and then $500 for any tickets thereafter.
A strange amendment to the law has made it still illegal to possess any and all marijuana paraphernalia. This includes everything from a 3 foot glassto a rolling paper. So someone caught smoking a could technically be arrested for the rolling paper, but not the marijuana itself.
However, as a result from public outcry by marijuana activists in Maryland, lawmakers have said that they will look into the idea of doing away with this law in the next year.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Maryland since June 1, 2014, and patients are allowed to carry paraphernalia worry free.
Arizona Department of Health Services’ (ADHS) Director, Will Humble, wants to make adding new qualifying medical conditions to Arizona’s medical marijuana program more difficult.
Humble rejected all prior efforts to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying medical conditions, saying there was no credible scientific evidence that PTSD can be helped by marijuana use. But a hearing officer has officially ruled that anecdotal evidence could be considered in this circumstance, and Humble relented. Now, he wants to re-draft Arizona’s medical marijuana rules to say that future changes can come only with peer-reviewed studies that show clear and convincing evidence the marijuana helps.
Humble stated: “So that’s just my intent in making it clear, as I thought it already was, but to make it even more crystal clear that future decisions, or any decisions I continue make in this job, will need to be based on evidence and data.”
ButJeffrey Kaufman noted the change ignores a major key factor, that “The governments have constructed a complex and impossible program and maze for anyone to get medical marijuana studies funding.”
As Colorado’s recreational marijuana market expands, a surge of entrepreneurs are stepping up their game to get a piece of the marijuana pie.
One innovative business, the Scarlet Theater, is planning to open a marijuana-friendly movie theater for tourists and Denver area marijuana-users to hang out, get high, and watch awesome movies.
The Scarlet Theater is currently in development, but they have big plans. The theater will require patrons pay a membership fee to enter and enjoy the club, but it sounds well worth it. The theater plans on featuring a world-class restaurant and a BYOC (bring your own cannabis) policy.
Proprietor Kelly McGonigal describes some key differences that make the Scarlet Theater stand out from other social clubs in the Denver area: “Offering more things to do than just smoke and socialize — which are great in and of themselves, but sometimes people want to toke up, and maybe talk with people for a while, but then they want to go off and do their own thing. People who want to do that can go to the movie theater, they can go to the restaurant. And since they’re all operated by us, patrons will know they’ll be in a supportive, understanding environment.”
The Scarlet Theater is scheduled to open for business on April 20, 2015.
The Justice Minster of Jamaica recently announced that legislation is under way to decriminalize marijuana.
The majority of the world views Jamaica as a place where marijuana is widely used and accepted, but that is far from the case. Jamaica has prohibited the use of marijuana for the last 100 years.
Justice Minister, Mark Golding, has suggested to lawmakers that they should make possession of 2 ounces or less a simple ticket before year’s end. He also hopes that marijuana use for religious purposes will be legalized as well. The Rastafarian religion, which views marijuana as a “holy herb,” smokes marijuana in a ceremonial fashion on a regular basis. Golding believes that they should be permitted to partake as they please.
Golding also believes that Jamaican scientists may hold the key to unlocking some of the vast therapeutic benefits of marijuana. Jamaican researchers even came up with a medication made from marijuana to help treat glaucoma over 20 years ago that has received little to no attention from the medical world.
In the midst of the legalization movement, Golding stresses that the government will continue to battle drug trafficking, organized crime, and keeping marijuana out of the hands of the youth.
Golding mentioned that while they do not plan on setting a maximum plant number on marijuana growing operations, the government wants to make sure that all small scale farmers “are not excluded and it does not just become something exclusively for major capital-intensive investors.”
The leader of the Drug Policy Alliance said of Golding’s legislation that it is “both noteworthy in that Jamaica is reforming policies on possession, religious use and medical use at more or less the same time, and politically important to providing leadership in the Caribbean.”
New Arizona medical marijuanahave opened in Arizona within the last 30 days!
See if any of the dispensaries opened near you:
The New York Times has endorsed the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. in their editorial released on October 5.
This is the second time this year that The New York Times has publicly stated their support for marijuana reform in the United States.
In an excerpt from the Times’ recent editorial, “Yes to Marijuana Ballot Measures: Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia Should Legalize Pot,” they repeatedly touch on the argument that marijuana is still “far less dangerous than alcohol” and that medical marijuana is now available in nearly half the states in the US.
The editorial said in regards to the legalization in Colorado: “Opponents of legalization warn that states are embarking on a risky experiment. But the sky over Colorado has not fallen, and prohibition has proved to be a complete failure. It’s time to bring the marijuana market out into the open and end the injustice of arrests and convictions that have devastated communities.”
In closing, the editorial stated, “Ideally, the federal government would repeal the ban on marijuana, so states could set their own policies without worrying about the possibility of a crackdown on citizens violating federal. Even though a majority of Americans favor legalization, Congress shows no sign of budging. So it’s better for the states to take the lead than to wait for an epiphany on Capitol Hill that may never come.”
A broad study looking into the effectiveness of medical marijuana on patients in California has come back with very positive results; 92% of patients polled said that using marijuana helped to alleviate their symptoms, which ranged from chronic pain stemming from migraines and arthritis to cancer.
The California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s data concluded that 5% of adults in California admitted to using medical marijuana in order to treat a serious medical condition.
The study’s author noted that, “The most common reasons for [marijuana] use include medical conditions for which mainstream treatments may not exist, such as for migraines, or may not be effective, including for chronic pain and cancer.”
The author of the study also mentioned: “Our study’s results lend support to the idea that medical marijuana is used equally by many groups of people and is not exclusively used by any one specific group.”
Even with medical marijuana being legal in 23 states in the US there are still a large number of hurdles to overcome. One political hurdle comes from former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who has referred to marijuana as “one of the greatest hoaxes of all time.”
It seems like listening to patients, the people actually living with these chronic ailments every day, are the ones with the most valid input, not the politicians.
The anti-marijuana legalization movement seems to always come back to one argument which they believe helps their cause: that emergency room visits involving marijuana have risen over 175% since the mid 1990s.
The DEA even went so far as to state that nearly half a million emergency room visits in 2011 were a direct result of marijuana, with cocaine being the only drug responsible for more. But one large problem with this data is that there are roughly 70 times more marijuana users than cocaine users in the US, which would certainly result in more hospital visits for marijuana users. On a “per-user basis” marijuana causes drastically less emergency room visits than cocaine, and even less than alcohol.
Because the Drug Abuse Warning Network does not provide any information on emergency room visits related to alcohol, we will instead have to take a look at those numbers from a National Institutes of Health report which shows all alcohol-related emergency room trips. The report clearly reveals that marijuana is much less likely to end in a hospital visit than heroin, cocaine, meth, prescription drugs or alcohol.
The report goes on to show that for every thousand people who consume alcohol regularly, there are eight more trips to the hospital than when compared with marijuana.
These numbers were taken directly from the federal government’s records and they clearly prove that marijuana is a much safer substance than alcohol and other drugs.
Arizona has the potential to have a $303 million recreational marijuana market that would produce as much as $70 million in tax revenue. NerdWallet Inc., a financial research firm, examined Arizona’s potential recreational marijuana market size and tax revenue generated to establish these projections.
NerdWallet estimated that there are over 228,000 adult marijuana users in Arizona, which accounts for 5% of the totatal population over the age of 25.
Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist, estimates that the U.S. marijuana market is valued at $14 billion and legalization would reduce prison and police department costs by nearly $7.7 billion annually.
Arizona will likely have a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in 2016.