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Marijuana News in Arizona and World
A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research – a non-partisan research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts – found that adolescents are not more likely to use marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal.
The Journal of Adolescent Health’s study on adolescents and marijuana use came to a similar conclusion: “This study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to [the] legalization of medical marijuana.”
In another study, investigators from the University of Colorado at Denver, Montana State University, and the University of Oregon analyzed federal data on adolescent marijuana use and treatment episodes during the years of 1993 to 2011, when 16 states authorized medical marijuana use, and the investigators concluded that “Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students.”
Findings such as these help to confirm that the legalization of marijuana for medical use does not mean that adolescents are more likely to use marijuana, a common concern among lawmakers.
66 percent of Americans surveyed believe that adults should be able to legally use marijuana in the privacy of one’s own home, according to a recent nationwide HuffingtonPost/YouGov survey.
59 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Independents said marijuana should be legalized.
Republican poll respondents did not support private consumption by a margin of 57 percent to 31 percent.
A majority of poll respondents, 55 percent, support state-wideseeking to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana for adults, such as those recently enacted in Colorado and Washington.
Some medical marijuana patients outside Arizona’s metro areas should soon regain the right to grow their own marijuana.
The Arizona medical marijuanacurrently states that if a medical marijuana patient lives within 25 miles of a they cannot obtain the right to grow their own marijuana. Almost all of the 56,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona are within 25 miles of a dispensary.
Last week, judge Tammy Eigenheer rejected arguments by a Gold Canyon resident that he should be exempt from this law because while a dispensary was 8 miles as the crow flies, it was 26 miles by road. Eigenheer said that is the way the law is written. But, Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said this isn’t the first time this issue has been raised.
“I actually agree with them. And so we’re [the Arizona Department of Health Services] in the process right now of revising our regulations. And in those new revised regulations were going to change that definition of 25 miles to by road,” said Humble.
Humble also stated that the 25-mile rule, however measured, is justified because it honors the intent of the voters who voted for a system which requires marijuana to be handled by regulated, complete with reporting requirements; rather than a free-for-all industry where patients can grow what they want and distribute it to others.
Over 100 US financial institutions are now working directly with marijuana-related businesses in states that have legal marijuana markets, according to the US Department of Treasury.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery acknowledged that US financial institutions have filed over 1,000 reports with the Treasury Department in regards to businesses engaged in the sale of marijuana and marijuana-related goods and services.
“Currently 105 individual financial institutions from states in more than one third of the country engaged in banking relationships with marijuana-related businesses,” stated Calvery.
The Treasury Department and the Justice Department issued two memos in February providing limited guidance to financial institutions that wish to engage in transactions with state-sanctioned marijuana businesses.
In July, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation restricting the Treasury Department’s ability to take punitive actions against financial institutions that provide assistance to state-authorized marijuana businesses.
However, the US Senate has yet to take any action on the measure.
Authorities in Nevada are working on a plan that would allow medical marijuana patients from other states, including Arizona, to purchase medical marijuana at Nevada , which will be opening in early 2015.
The bureau chief of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health said that Nevada’s new medical marijuana program will allow Arizona residents to shop at dispensaries if they are part of the medical marijuana program in Arizona.
Brian Sandoval, the governor of Nevada, has officially said that up to 66 dispensaries will open all over the state, with the first expected to open in Las Vegas at the beginning of 2015.
According to state, Nevada dispensaries can choose to honor out of state medical marijuana cardholders as long as the state that issued their license has an electronic database of patients that “allows the Division and medical marijuana dispensaries in (Nevada) to access the database.”
This measure would obviously need to first be approved by authorities in Arizona. Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, is hesitant to believe that this law would ever work out in conjunction with Arizona cardholders because the system in which medical marijuana is sold and regulated is specific to Arizona dispensaries. However, Nevada authorities are confident that once the organized system is functioning by early 2015, their dispensaries won’t even need to access the database in Arizona, and that onsiteagents will be able to validate the out-of-towners’ licenses.
There are more than a few details that need ironing out, but if all goes according to plan, Arizona medical marijuana cardholders and other states will have a few more reasons to visit Las Vegas next year.
The District of Columbia Board of Elections agreed to put an initiative on this November’s ballot that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in the district. This prompted an interesting question: Will Congress be allowed to use marijuana recreationally?
If passed, Initiative 71 will allow D.C. residents over the age of 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, cultivate up to six plants, and transfer (not sell) up to 1 ounce. All members of Congress who live in D.C. are adults, so technically they will be permitted to use marijuana at their leisure.
Marijuana possession is still illegal on federal property. So until marijuana is removed from the Schedule I substance list, it will not be allowed on federal property. Members of Congress won’t be able to light up at work, but they can at home – if they live in the district. “Possessing marijuana in their [Congress members’] own home would be legal under D.C., as it would be for anybody else,” said Bill Piper, the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.
And Initiative 71 does not include any additional provisions related to Congress either. A subsection addresses the professional workplace, but states that agencies, employers, and officers will not be required to allow their employees to use marijuana off the job. Basically, employers will still be allowed to enact their own drug-testing policies; but fortunately for members of Congress, their workplace doesn’t have one.
Currently, 35 states in America have reformed their via legislation or voter ballot initiatives to allow qualifying patients access to marijuana and/or marijuana-infused products for medical purposes.
This time last year, 21 states and the District of Columbia had medical marijuana laws – a sixty percent increase in one year.
A majority of these medical marijuana states allow for certain persons to grow marijuana and/or forto sell marijuana. A few states have limited medical marijuana programs where patients are only allowed to purchase and use marijuana-infused or -only products, such as oils or concentrates, which can be vaporized or consumed.
A few of the current medical marijuana states will be voting this November to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Many other states are looking into legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in the near future.
The first food safety course for manufacturers and retailers of marijuana-infused foods, or , has launched. There is also an additional course offered for “budtenders”, the customer service staff who work behind the counters of .
Figuring out exactly how to properly label and produce infused edibles has proven to be one of the most difficult aspects to regulate since marijuana became legal in Colorado. Producers want to ensure that uninformed consumers are not accidentally ingesting too much.
With the interest in marijuana-infused foods increasing daily, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), wants to make sure manufacturers and retailers are providing buyers with safe products. NCIA deputy director Taylor West says, “We know our industry is under a microscope, and we want to make sure cannabis product-makers continue developing the highest quality and safest products possible.”
Marijuana edibles have proved to be the most profitable aspect of the new recreational marijuana industry in Colorado, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the entire market.
Albuquerque is attempting to do away with jail time for anyone who is caught with an ounce or less of marijuana within the city limits. If the measure proposed by city council member Rey Garduno passes then jail time will be replaced with a small fine.
Garduno says that his proposition has the potential to save the city upwards of $5 million in legal fees alone. Thecurrently states that anyone caught with marijuana will be issued a $50 ticket and have to spend up to 15 days in jail, but if Garduno’s measure is approved this will simply be reduced to a $25 ticket.
The petition put together by Garduno has already gathered over 16,000 signatures from residents of Albuquerque who would like to see this measure put on the November ballot.
“This is directed at young people who may find themselves arrested and how it could affect their lives in the future,” said Garduno. “We’re treating people as criminals when alcohol and even tobacco may even be worse.”
There has been no word yet from city officials, as the mayor’s office said that they “do not comment on pending legislation.”
Residents of Washington D.C. will vote this November on whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Marijuana advocates gathered more than 22,000 signatures in order to get the initiative on the ballot and the D.C. Board of elections unanimously voted in favor of the measure.
Mayor Vincent Gray signed into effect a decriminalization act in D.C. that as of last month allows residents to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on them with only the fear of a $25 fine and a civil offense.
Proponents of the legalization bill are confident that the House will not be able to block their initiative; however, there have been recent instances where residents have voted in favor of a measure that the mayor has chosen not to enforce. It happened last year when voters approved an amendment that would have given the district the ability to spend local tax money without Congress’s approval, but it was declined by the mayor.
Congress was even able to delay the medical marijuana program in D.C. by ten whole years after it was approved by voters.
If the initiative is approved in November, residents would be allowed to grow 6 marijuana plants at their home and possess up to 2 ounces. The sale of marijuana has yet to be addressed.