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Marijuana News in Arizona and World
Canada is starting what it projects will be a $1.3 billion medical marijuana free market this week to replace homegrown marijuana production with large-scale quality-controlled marijuana production.
According to government estimates, the new medical marijuana free market could eventually serve upwards of 450,000 Canadians.
“Large indoor marijuana farms [certified by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and health inspectors will produce, package and distribute a range of standardized weed, all of it sold for whatever price the market will bear,” reported Canadian newspaper. “The first sales are expected in the next few weeks, delivered directly by secure courier.”
Large-scale cultivators have begun applying for operation licenses to produce marijuana. One Ontario company hopes to grow marijuana in an old Hershey’s chocolate plant. At least two large-scale cultivators have already received operation licenses. Canada’s large cultivation centers will be similar to thecultivation centers in the United States.
The medical marijuana free market in Canada is expected to establish a price of around $7.60 per gram of dried marijuana.
A large medical marijuana cultivation facility east of Willcox was recently approved by the Cochise County Planning and Zoning Commission.
West Edge LLC plans to use the 187,944-square-foot Willcox-area greenhouse to operate a legal medical marijuana cultivation andinfusion (kitchen) operation.
The facility would distribute medical marijuana and edibles to licensedthroughout Arizona.
Once West Edge receives the permit it must quickly show progress towards its completion of applicable standards within the first year, or the permit may be returned to the Planning Commission to request revocation. But the zoning administrator could grant an extension if development progress has been made.
Currently no appeals have been filed.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP.org) is attempting to get marijuana legalized for adults in Arizona.
Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project stated, “Marijuana prohibition has proven to be just as huge a failure as alcohol prohibition.”
Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice, Senator John McCain, and former Mexican president Vicente Fox have all begun to support the legalization of marijuana for adults.
“The department of justice has made it clear that states like Arizona and Colorado can adopt these, and they will respect them,” Tvert added.
In April, a Pew Research Center poll found that 52 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for adults. And in May, a behavioral research center poll found that 56 percent of Arizonans favor the legalization of possession of marijuana in small amounts.
Tvert, an Arizona resident, knows those numbers don’t lie and that “It would be more sensible to regulate marijuana and start treating it like alcohol.”
But Maricopa CountyBill Montgomery is still against the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and will do everything in his power to fight the Marijuana Policy Project’s attempts to legalize marijuana for adults in Arizona. Montgomery has been openly and overly strict on medical marijuana growers, sellers, patients, and consumers, even though they are abiding Arizona’s medical marijuana laws.
Apparently Mr. Montgomery has never heard the axiom: “The Will of the People is the Law of the Land.”
Last week at a town hall meeting in Tucson, Sen. John McCain (R) noted that he is receptive to legalizing marijuana.
McCain’s comments came one week after the Obama administration stated that it would not interfere with taxed and regulated marijuana distribution in Washington and Colorado.
“Maybe we should legalize,” McCain said, according to an Arizona Star columnist. “We’re certainly moving that way as far as marijuana is concerned. I respect the will of the people.”
Arizonans appear to be in favor of marijuanareform. In May, a Behavior Research Center poll found that 56% in Arizonans favored the legalization “of small amounts for personal use,” and only 37% opposed. Whereas the majorities of Democrats (61%) and independents (72%) favored decriminalization, so did a noticeable amount of Republicans (41%).
Arizonans–whether medical marijuana patients or not–and tourists should know the restrictions and protections that come with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. These medical marijuana, much like alcohol laws, help keep citizens safer.
Certain Arizona medical marijuana laws apply to all Arizonans (and tourists). In section 36-2811 D.2 of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, it states that no person can be arrested, prosecuted, or penalized for simply being near a medical marijuana patient using medical marijuana. (The patient must have a valid Arizona medical marijuana card and be obeying the.) Furthermore, a person can only assist a medical marijuana patient in using medical marijuana if the person is the patient’s authorized caregiver and has their caregiver card in their possession.
In section 36-2811 H, it states that if a person applies for or has a registry identification card it does not mean there is probable cause or reasonable suspicion for law enforcement to search that person or their property. But this does not mean a person or their property can never be searched. If law enforcement has probable cause, they are allowed to perform a search. A registry identification card does not protect persons in these cases. Arizona’s law only states that an application or medical marijuana card alone is not enough evidence to claim probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
More Arizona Medical Marijuana Act information can be found here: www.azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/rules
An autistic 5-year-old boy in Mesa, Arizona, named Zander is set to become one of the youngest patients in the country to be given a medical marijuana card. The card will allow the boy (with a parent) to purchase medical marijuana from. Currently the child suffers from crippling seizures that stop his breathing, and because of a genetic brain defect, the boy has already undergone two major related surgeries. His parents hope marijuana will help ease the seizures.
The parents said they are willing to try anything that may ease their child’s suffering. “I wouldn’t even be thinking about this if it wouldn’t do something beneficial,” his mom stated. “I don’t want him stoned; I want him better.”
Zander’s parents have been certified as caregivers so that they can buy the medicine for their son. The marijuana treatment is expected to be significantly less than their $5,000-a-month pharmaceutical bill, which is currently picked up by the state of Arizona.
In a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide on Thursday, James M. Cole, the deputygeneral, stated that the Justice Department would not sue to block marijuana enacted in the 20 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. Until now there has been a lot of uncertainty about how the government would respond to state laws making it legal to use marijuana for medical or recreational use.
The memo also made it clear that the Justice Department expects all states to create and enforce regulations aimed at preventing medical marijuana sales to minors, interstate trafficking of marijuana, illegal cartel and gang activity, and violence and accidents involving the drug.
If federal prosecutors believe that a state’s controls are inadequate, “the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself in addition to continuing to bring individual enforcement actions, including criminal prosecutions,” Mr. Cole wrote. “A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice.”
The decision on Thursday follows Mr. Holder’s announcement in August that federal prosecutors would no longer seek federal mandatory minimum sentences for certain low-level nonviolent drug offenders.
Currently 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Washington and Colorado legalized the possession and consumption of marijuana for recreational use.
Two Arizona men have filed a lawsuit with Maricopa County Superior Court claiming that the state cannot require that medical marijuana patients only be able to obtain their medicine from a state licensed if they live within 25 miles of a dispensary.
Theirargues that the language in the Arizona Constitution prohibits any that requires anyone to “participate in any health care system.” The men are claiming it’s a matter of free choice.
If the men win the lawsuit it would mean the nearly 95 percent of the 40,000+ medical marijuana cardholders who now live within 25 miles of a dispensary would not be forced to buy their medicine from. Instead, patients could grow up to 12 plants for their own use or purchase medicine from a caregiver who grows for patients.
If the lawsuit passes, many dispensaries will be in financial ruin because most of their patients will turn to cultivating marijuana or buying marijuana from a caregiver because prices from these two sources will be cheaper than purchasing from dispensaries that have higher medicine prices due to business expenses such as taxes, security systems, licenses, insurance, lab testing all medicine, and payroll.
Arizona medical marijuana cardholders are in a battle to get the on their side; If they don’t, many cardholders will eventually be charged with a DUI.
Andrew Myers is the campaign manager for the organization which helped get the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act on the ballot in 2010. “You could medicate on a Friday and get pulled over on a Monday two weeks later. It’s that ridiculous — it would absolutely preclude any medical marijuana cardholder from operating a motor vehicle at any time if they were an active patient. And that’s ridiculously onerous and it’s not reflective of reality for a person who medicates.”
Myers stated that law enforcement should proposeto establish a legal measure of impairment. “Until that point, I think the law needs to favor the citizenry,” he said.
Arizona prosecutors say that any trace of marijuana in a driver’s bloodstream is enough to charge a motorist with driving under the influence of drugs, and that a card authorizing the use of medical marijuana is not a defense.
Advocates of the medical marijuana program argue that the presence of marijuana in a person’s bloodstream is not grounds for charging drivers who are legally allowed to use marijuana.
The issue at hand is deciding what blood level of marijuana makes a driver impaired – similar to the way blood alcohol levels determine when a person is driving drunk.
Confusion over the interpretation of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act began at its inception because police anddid not have the opportunity to weigh-in before the Act went to voters back in 2010.
Arizona prosecutors say the law allows motorists who are not impaired to drive with prescription drugs in their system if they are using them under a doctor’s orders. The same argument can be made for medical marijuana.
But the main issue for medical marijuana cardholders is that marijuana can’t be prescribed, only recommended by a doctor, and this offers no legal grounds for a motorist to drive with even a trace amount of marijuana in their system, according to prosecutors.
For most DUI-marijuana cases, the marijuana charge is secondary to the charge of driving while impaired. Arizona’s DUI laws have three parts: driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, and driving while impaired to the slightest degree.
Arizona medical marijuana cardholders will need to become activists in order to help change the minds of lawmakers in Arizona. Otherwise, they could be faced with a DUI charge every time they drive a vehicle.
This week a new list of operating and licensed medical marijuana in Arizona was released.
View the Dispensary List to read about all the dispensaries in Arizona.
View the Dispensary Map to see all open dispensaries in Arizona.
The list reveals all dispensaries that are open and licensed by the Arizona Department of Health. It is current up to July 31, 2013.
There are almost 50 dispensaries currently open in Arizona. Phoenix is currently home to five dispensaries and many other dispensaries are in Phoenix’s surrounding cities such as Glendale, Tempe, and Mesa. Tucson is currently home to the most dispensaries in Arizona with seven.