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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Arizona Medical Marijuana Program

A new report by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) found that Arizona has one of the nation’s best medical marijuana programs.

The ASA’s report evaluated items such as patient rights, civil protections, access to medicine, product safety, cultivation, dispensaries, lab testing, product labeling and overall program functionality.

Arizona scored a B-, putting it in the top echelon along with states like Colorado (B), Hawaii (B), Illinois (B+), Maine (B-), Massachusetts (B), Nevada (B), New Mexico (B+), Oregon (B), and Washington (B).

For most issues — arrest protections, affirmative defense, number of dispensaries, cultivation –- Arizona scored very well, and poorly on just a few -– required lab testing for marijuana, expensive fees, recall protocols and reporting.

View the report: ASA’s Medical Marijuana Access Report 2016

New Orleans Marijuana Law

Two major discussions are taking place in New Orleans this week to discuss easing up on marijuana-related penalties in Orleans Parish. An ordinance is being proposed by District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry that would make penalties for marijuana use and possession more lenient than getting a traffic ticket.

Penalties under the new law would be:

  • Verbal warning for the first offense of possession of a small amount of marijuana
  • $50 fine for the second offense
  • $100 fine for third and additional offenses

The new law would give police officers more discretion when confronting individuals and finding that they are in possession of marijuana. According to WDSU, the Councilwoman says that too many people are being jailed for simple marijuana possession. It clogs up the jails and is taking up valuable police resources.

Councilwoman Guidry says, “To see a situation where they feel like they should just give a warning and they can do that and then see another situation where they know they’re dealing with a bad actor and what they’ve got on them at that point.”

In terms of the crime versus the consequences, Guidry says, “They can’t bond out and they wind up losing their job then they get out and they are really in desperate circumstances and really it makes the severity of the punishment much more than the severity of the crime.”

Guidry introduced a law in 2010 giving police officers the discretion to give a warning or complete an arrest on a first offense of marijuana possession. Since then, she reports that there have been 5,000 fewer arrests for marijuana possession in New Orleans.

Statistics in New Orleans show that in 70-percent of cases police officers are writing court summons instead of making arrests for marijuana possession. Police officers are able to concentrate their time on prosecuting murders, armed robberies and rapes.

The first scheduled meeting to discuss this new proposal is on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 with the Criminal Justice Committee. The second meeting is scheduled with the City Council on Thursday, January 28, 2016.

Oregon Recreational Marijuana Dispensary

Oregon is taking an organized approach in terms of launching its recreational marijuana program. As of January 2016, those interested in operating a retail marijuana location can submit an application to become a grower, testing laboratory or wholesaler. Dispensary retailers will be the last to have their applications approved.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) will oversee the program. The commission does not expect to approve any retail applications until the 4th quarter of 2016, according to OPB.org.

Oregon has taken lessons from other recreational marijuana states like Washington where supply shortages have been reported. OLCC spokesperson, Mark Pettinger says that, “The idea right now is to focus on the outdoor grow applicants because they’ll need to get the crops in the ground soon. As opposed to indoor grow operations, which are going to have multiple cycles to grow throughout the year.”

Some of the rules associated with Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry include:

  • Recreational sales at medical marijuana dispensaries stop on January 1, 2017
  • Recreational locations will be permitted to sell edibles, oils and other forms of marijuana
  • Other forms of marijuana will have lower potency, which may require a delay in allowing them for sale to create guidelines for these products
  • Recreational and medical marijuana locations operated by the same company must have separate store fronts

Growers face some changes as well. Medical marijuana growers cannot grow for both industries. The only way that a medical marijuana grower can grow for recreational markets is to gain permission from the cardholders he/she serves to sell excess to recreational markets. The other is to relinquish their medical marijuana growing license and apply for a recreational growing license.

Oregon is implementing a tracking system for seed-to-sale tracking for recreational marijuana sales. This is designed to prevent profits from being misused. An RFID tag will be used for all immature plants. These tags will stay with the plant through the entire process of cultivation to sales.

Cities and counties that have opted out of recreational marijuana sales by placing bans on production, processing, retail sales and wholesale sales will not receive tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales.

Marijuana Brain Scan Potbot

A simple brain scan, using electroencephalogram (EEG) technology can help medical marijuana patients to know what strains will be the most beneficial for their medical conditions.

PotBotics, founded in 2014 by David and Baruch Goldstein, has developed technology using two tools called BrainBot and PotBot, according to reports at NY Daily News.

BrainBot collects data from a wireless EEG (electroencephalography) helmet and is delivered to PotBot which provides marijuana strain and cannabinoid recommendations based upon the data. BrainBot measures brain reactions to varying levels of cannabinoids. PotBot determines what strain has the ideal combination of cannabinoids for a patient’s specific needs.

The process requires multiple visits. David Goldstein expands on the need for multiple visits by saying, “Usually it takes between three and four visits to get the range that is best for a patient. You can give only one medicinal dose to a patient in one setting.”

No actual marijuana smoking takes place during testing. A non-combustion inhaler system using concentrates is implemented.

PotBotics states that, “We see the future of cannabis as being not what strain is best for you but what cannabinoids are best for you.”

By May 2016, devices will be available for commercial use in doctor offices. The company says that devices for home use are expected to be available by the end of 2016. California is the targeted market with plans to expand to New York and other states in the near future.

Marijuana Pesticides

Organic marijuana is uncommon given that no laws force marijuana to be grown organically and demand for it is still low. But Democratic lawmakers in Colorado have introduced HB16-1079, a bill that would allow for marijuana growers in Colorado using organic or pesticide-free growing practices to label their products as such.

Head of cultivation at The Farm in Boulder, Devin Liles, tells The Denver Post that, “As (the bill) is written, it runs the risk of perpetuating the common misconception that organic is synonymous with pesticide-free. There are organic pesticides that are comprised of essential oils that are perfectly safe to use, not necessarily in (marijuana) flower development.”

It was reported in September 2015, that an investigation was underway regarding some marijuana products being listed as organic, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s office. Much of the concern lies with consumer confusion regarding the difference between organic and pesticide-free growing processes.

Should HB16-1079 be passed, marijuana businesses would be required to include special labeling on products certifying pesticide-free status. The labeling would have to be visible on each package. Simple signage within the business would not be sufficient.

Liles also says that, “I’m all for a certification that ensures to consumers that the final product they’ve purchased truly is pesticide-free.”

NBA Marijuana

The former NBA star for the Portland Trailblazers, Cliff Robinson, has plans to start a recreational marijuana grow operation in Oregon. Robinson plans to offer dry flower as well as marijuana-infused topicals and rubs.

Robinson is an advocate for marijuana and is scheduled as a featured speaker at the 2016 Cannabis Collaborative Conference that will be held February 3rd and 4th, according to Oregon Live. His plans are to deliver a message about the healing benefits from marijuana.

Robinson stated: “Cannabis is definitely a more positive alternative to pharmaceuticals at the end of the day.” He continued by saying, “Those are synthetics. I’m talking about something that’s natural that can bring the outcomes you’re looking for, be it for muscle tension or relaxation or preparedness. There are a whole lot of different things that are beneficial.”

The former NBA star has a team of partners in place to begin his grow operations. He plans to have products ready by the end of next year. He said that, “It’s an opportunity for me to get out there and tell people a little bit about myself outside of basketball. People in Oregon know me as a basketball player, but I want to distill the stigma around cannabis, the misperception that athletes and cannabis are incompatible.”

Cliff Robinson is arguably the highest-profile athlete to endorse marijuana use. He is in agreement that athletes playing contact sports, such as football and basketball, could really benefit from using marijuana to treat pain from injuries instead of prescription drugs.

(Photo c/o The Oregonian)

Arizona Medical Marijuana Program

UPDATE: At 11:41am on January 22, 2016, Rep. Jay Lawrence killed HCR2019 via Twitter, stating: “Bill dealing with medical marijuana withdrawn. People convinced me that proper care is being taken before a prescription is written.” Continue to take a stand for your rights by joining the rally on Wed., January 27th at 10am at the Arizona State Capitol building.

State legislators continuously attempt to undermine the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) that voters passed in 2010. But a current attempt by Rep. Jay Lawrence via bill HCR2019 would ultimately decimate Arizona’s medical marijuana program.

HCR2019 proposes two crucial problems:

  • Medical marijuana cards would have to be renewed every six months instead of annually, thus doubling the cost for patients
  • Many of the doctors that can recommend medical marijuana would no longer be permitted by the state to do so, thus making it practically impossible for qualifying patients to find a doctor that will recommend medical marijuana

The state fee for an Arizona medical marijuana card is $150 and medical marijuana doctor offices typically charge $100 per visit. If HCR2019 passes, patients will have to pay approximately $500 per year for their two cards and two visits to the doctor.

If HCR2019 removes naturopathic (ND) and homeopathic (HMD) doctors from being permitted to make medical marijuana recommendations in Arizona, it’d leave only doctors of medicine (MDs) and osteopathic doctors (DOs) to be permitted by the state to make recommendations. But because the Controlled Substance Act does not federally permit for MDs and DOs to recommend marijuana since it is still a Schedule I Controlled Substance, these doctors risk losing their medical license by recommending medical marijuana for patients, and therefore rarely make recommendations.

In 2015, a state report shows that naturopaths and homeopaths recommended nearly 88 percent of all medical marijuana patients in Arizona, while MDs and DOs–in violation of federal law–recommended just 12 percent. As soon as Arizona’s MDs and DOs learn that they can’t legally recommend medical marijuana they will cease making recommendations.

If the Arizona medical marijuana industry were to lose 88 percent of its patients, or even 50 percent, a vast majority of Arizona dispensaries would not be able to continue operating. Arizonans seeking relief from health ailments would be forced to return to the black market to purchase marijuana from cartels. Ultimately, Arizona’s medical marijuana program would be completely destroyed.

It is up to the citizens of Arizona to take action today and demand that its politicians throw out HCR2019 immediately.

Please contact Rep. Jay Lawrence today and tell him to throw out bill HCR2019.

Also, please contact your local representative today and tell him/her to support you by helping to throw out Rep. Jay Lawrence‘s bill, HCR2019.

Marijuana IQ

The conclusion of a recent study conducted via University of Southern California has proven that there is no significant link to teen marijuana use and a lower IQ. The study, conducted on sets of identical twins that either used or abstained from marijuana use for a period of 10 years concludes these findings.

According to University of Southern California statistician, Nicholas Jackson, it is impossible to decipher which came first, the marijuana use or poor cognitive skills. He says, “It’s a classic chicken-egg scenario,” reports ScienceMag.org.

The study was conducted over a 10 year period with participants between the initial ages of 9 and 11. The groups of twins were located in Minnesota and California. During the study period, confidential marijuana use surveys and a series of 5 intelligence tests were completed.

Additional study findings include:

  • Marijuana use of 6 months or longer did not show any change in IQ in comparison to teens that used marijuana 30 times or less
  • Surveys inquiring about additional substance use were given
  • Studying identical DNA-sharers provided ideal information regarding changing IQs

A total of 789 pairs of twins were studied. The results indicate that the twins using marijuana lost roughly 4 IQ points, and the twins who did not use marijuana, lost the same number of IQ points. This indicates that there is another piece to the puzzle, such as stress and family life.

At the conclusion of the study, Jackson went on to say, “Our findings lead us to believe that this ‘something else’ is related to something about the shared environment of the twins, which would include home, school, and peers.”

Researchers involved in the study agree that more in-depth research needs to be conducted to further the conclusion of their findings on a larger scale.

Marijuana Office Break

Flowhub, a marijuana tech company that provides seed-to-sale software for marijuana dispensaries, allows marijuana breaks during working hours. Kyle Sherman, a co-founder of Flowhub, says that marijuana use at work has proven to improve productivity for the tech company.

Employees are allowed to use marijuana-infused edibles and vaporizers to their office. Flowhub is not the only business in Colorado that allows marijuana consumption at work. MassRoots and High There!, both marijuana-related apps, also allow the consumption of edibles during work hours.

MassRoots founder, Isaac Dietrich says, “I thought up MassRoots when I was smoking weed in my college friend’s apartment. Our general philosophy is that we need to be as productive and creative as possible, every day. If cannabis facilitates that, then we’re allowing it.”

High There! co-founder, Darren Roberts also allows marijuana use on company time as he states, “It has led us to breakthrough moments for our business. So yes, it’s been very effective for us.”

Both co-founders of Flowhub use marijuana products while working, usually toward the end of the day and during creative meetings, according to Fox 13 News.

Sherman says that, “Our philosophy at Flowhub is to get s*** done. If it helps our employees get work done, then we don’t care if they consume at work.” He goes on further by saying, “It definitely surfaces new ideas and a fresh take on things.”

Sherman reports no issues with client satisfaction or productivity from employing marijuana consumers.

Marijuana Legalization Support

A new study conducted in December 2015 shows that 52-percent of Americans now support marijuana legalization. This number is up 4-percent from a similar study from March. All age groups, except the 65+ age group, show more than 50-percent support, according to YouGov.

Simple breakdown of support percentage by age group:

  • 18 – 29 is 56%
  • 30 – 44 is 54%
  • 45 – 64 is 56%
  • 65+ is 39%

The numbers can be further broken down by political party. Only 36-percent of Republicans support legalization. This differs from the Democratic Party, which shows 66-percent support. In terms of liberals, 51-percent support legalization.

When researching the cost of marijuana enforcement, 86-percent of those surveyed agree that enforcing marijuana laws costs more than its worth. Even those that are not in support of legalization agree, by 42-percent, that the cost to enforce marijuana laws is not worth the cost.