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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Vegas Dispensary
The city of Las Vegas, Nevada has announced the initial number of medical marijuana dispensaries that will be opening. After almost an entire day of hashing out the details, the City Council looked at applications of 50 different dispensary hopefuls and cut it down to 26.

This doesn’t mean that all 26 dispensaries will actually open.  That remains to be decided by Nevada’s health department.  The applicants that have been or will be denied will be permitted to reapply for licenses next year.  Dispensaries were denied for everything ranging from missing paperwork to questions regarding patient security.

The City Council debated for nearly an hour before approving the first dispensary due to opposition from some of the city’s residents.  The neighbors’ apprehension was overtaken by councilmen from the west side of town who granted approval to Las Vegas’s first medical marijuana shop.

One dispensary owner based out of California wasn’t so lucky.  Nuleaf, which is owned and operated out of Las Vegas, had its application denied.  Nuleaf spokesman, Bradley Mayer, said in reference to his company, that they are, “one of the longest-running dispensary operators in the country” and feel that they should have been approved.

Unfortunately for Nuleaf and many other hopefuls, they will just have to wait and try again next year.

A timeline for final approvals on dispensaries has yet to be released.

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Epilepsy Marijuana

A global trial is underway in Houston, Texas at the Texas Children’s Hospital that will test Epidiolex, and CBD-based medicine, in children who have been diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.  The trial will be divided into two parts, the first will decide the dosage, and the second will decide whether or not the drug is efficient and safe to administer to children.

Epidiolex was created by England’s GW Pharmaceuticals and it is primarily composed of a highly concentrated form of CBD which exists only in marijuana plants.  The drug contains zero THC, so there is no risk of the 30 test subjects catching an accidental “high.”

Dr. Angus Wilfong, a pediatric neurologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, was the first one to administer Epidiolex to patients and he is very optimistic.  Wilfong has said that, “Initial trials of Epidiolex have shown promising signs of efficacy in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy and we are excited to be involved in research that will further determine if patients with Dravet syndrome will experience a reduction in their seizures.  There are several extracts available from the cannabis plant that patients are trying, but with this trial, we are especially encouraged that Epidiolex does not contain any hallucinogenic or psychoactive components.”

Dravet syndrome is a terrible and debilitating disease that makes it nearly impossible for children to live an even remotely normal life.  Dr. Gary Clark, the head of neurology at Texas Children’s hospital says, “We are hopeful that in the next year, the results of this trial will show this drug has a positive impact on enrolled patients and also that it will have implications for patients with other forms of intractable epilepsy.”

The introduction of a marijuana-based drug such as Epidiolex could change the future for anyone suffering from seizures.

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PA Marijuana
A Pennsylvania senator has requested that the District Attorney not prosecute any offenders arrested for using medical marijuana.

Democratic Senator, Daylin Leach, wrote in a letter to the District attorneys Association president:  “Given the likelihood that using lifesaving medical cannabis will not be a legal issue in Pennsylvania much longer, I ask that you consider using your prosecutorial discretion.”

A bill was sent to the senate just last month entitled “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act” that would have outlined the way that Pennsylvania would have governed the medical marijuana market in its state had it passed.  Although there was a lot of support behind it, the bill still managed to fall short of making it to the House of Representatives.

Recent polls have shown that 80% of voters in Pennsylvania support legalizing medical marijuana.  With statistics like this, it would be a surprise to everyone if the District Attorney’s office still chooses to prosecute minor marijuana-related charges.

Leach ended the letter by saying, “I ask that you perform an act of compassion.”  In situations where a state is inevitably going to pass some sort of medical marijuana reform law, or it has already been passed, but yet to take effect, it seems like the only right thing to do would be for law enforcement officers and the courts to use their best judgment and not punish someone for trying to improve their quality of life my using small quantities of marijuana for personal use.

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Marijuana Schedule 1 Drug

Marijuana has long been classified by congress as a Schedule 1 substance, which is the worst possible classification it could receive.  The Schedule 1 classification means that the U.S. government believes marijuana has no medicinal benefits what so ever and it also carries with it a high potential for abuse.  This decision was made in 1970, and it has not yet been modified, but, hopefully, that’s all about to change.

Testimony is being heard this week in San Francisco that could change the federal classification of marijuana in what is being called the case of United States v. Pickard.  The defense has put together a team of qualified expert witnesses that will testify that marijuana does not meet the guidelines to be classified as a schedule 1 substance.

Dr. Carl Hart, the Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York has said that, “It is my considered opinion that including marijuana in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act is counter to all the scientific evidence in a society that uses and values empirical evidence.  After two decades of intense scientific inquiry in this area, it has become apparent the current scheduling of cannabis has no footing in the realities of science and neurobiology.”

This will be the first time in a very long time in which a federal judge has allowed a hearing which could potentially change the current classification of marijuana in the United States.  With recreational marijuana now legalized in both Colorado and Washington and medical marijuana legalized in about 23 states, it’s nearly impossible for the general public to truly believe that marijuana is as dangerous as other Schedule 1 substances, such as heroin and LSD.

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Europe Marijuana

The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology recently presented their findings in regards to moderate marijuana use by young people and their IQ level at an event in Berlin, Germany.

Over 2,500 participants had their IQ tested at the age of 8 and again at the age of 15.  The results found by the University College of London showed that there was no correlation between marijuana use and lower IQ in the 15 year old subjects.  The study’s author stated that, “In particular, alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline.  No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”

The lead author of the study was even quoted in the Independent Business Times as saying, “Our findings suggest cannabis may not have a detrimental effect on cognition, once we account for other related factors particularly cigarette and alcohol use.  This may suggest that previous research findings showed poorer cognitive performance in cannabis users may have resulted from the lifestyle, behavior and personal history typically associated with cannabis use, rather than cannabis use itself.”

There is also the argument of whether kids begin doing poorly in school as a result of marijuana use or for other reasons.  Regardless, it appears that marijuana use doesn’t have any long term negative impacts on brain development in adolescents.

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AZ Marijuana Delivery

Tucson dispensary drivers are taking medical marijuana on the road after Tucson and Marana lawmakers voted to allow dispensaries to deliver medical marijuana to patients.

Arizona’s medical marijuana law lets local municipalities regulate if and how medical marijuana dispensary delivery services operate.

Earth’s Healing dispensary in Tucson was the first in the area to begin medical marijuana deliveries. They take orders online and already have patients that regularly use the delivery service.

The regulations put on dispensary’s delivery service require that their security staff inside the dispensary never lose sight of the medical marijuana or the driver, even after they leave the dispensary. Drivers wear a camera and a GPS tracking device so the dispensary staff can record the driver’s every movement at all times.

“We have a lot of patients who are handicapped and some don’t have a car or have difficulty coming in their car to get their medicine,” said Puchi-Saavedra of Earth’s Healing dispensary.

Any medical marijuana cardholder can order delivery of medical marijuana; they do not have to be homebound or handicapped.

Find medical marijuana dispensary delivery services

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Arizona DUI
Arizona’s Court of Appeals just ruled the state’s medical marijuana law does not give drivers immunity from prosecution if marijuana, or its inactive chemical compound, is found in the body.

Inactive marijuana metabolites can stay in the bloodstream for up to 2 or 4 weeks after use. This means that a medical marijuana patient can consume marijuana today and be arrested on DUI charges weeks later, when they are clearly no longer “high” or “under the influence” from using marijuana. It is the equivalent of consuming an alcoholic beverage today and getting a DUI weeks later for consuming that beverage.

There are currently about 50,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona.

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Marijuana Search

For years police officers have gone through extreme lengths to keep drivers detained while awaiting back up in the form of a German Shepherd with a keen nose for marijuana in hopes of finding illegal drugs. There are countless instances of cops pulling over drivers for any number of reasons only to call for K-9 back up at the very last moment.

Luckily for motorists in the US, the Supreme Court has announced that it will review a case which could potentially change how these “routine” traffic stops play out.

The case comes in the form of an instance in Nebraska where a man was pulled over in 2012 for a minor traffic infraction. The kicker was that it took only 21 minutes for the officer to issue Denny Rodriguez the traffic ticket; however, they proceeded to hold him for an additional 6 minutes while waiting for a K-9 unit to arrive.

Once the dog sniffed Rodriguez’s car, it instantly alerted the officers that there were drugs in the car and after searching the vehicle they found a small amount of methamphetamine.

Rodriguez subsequently plead guilty to the drug charges; however, his attorney later filed an appeal because the search occurred after the officer had already issued the ticket which is a direct violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in regards to this case at the beginning of 2015, with a decision being made no earlier than June of 2015. This case is of extreme importance because whatever the Supreme Court decides will ultimately set the standard for how long police officers will be allowed to detain drivers during basic traffic stops.

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Marijuana Edibles

Marijuana edibles makers in Colorado have started creating less potent edibles to appeal to novice marijuana users so that they don’t find themselves ingesting too strong of a dose and having undesirable effects.

Tim Cullen, who owns two dispensaries in the Denver area equated it to the difference between selling beer alongside liquor. He said, “No one buys a handle of JIm Beam and thinks they should drink all of that in one sitting. But people do want to eat an entire cookie, an entire piece of chocolate. So these products allow you to do that and not have a miserable experience.”

A new product lining recreational dispensary shelves is known as the “Rookie Cookie” and only contains 10 milligrams of THC. A dose this small would allow for a novice marijuana user to consume the entire thing and probably still be sober enough to operate a vehicle.

Similarly, Dixie Elixirs has put out a new soda that is 15 times less potent than that of their traditional recipe and is marketed as being “great for those who are new to THC or don’t like to share.”

The Growing Kitchen’s Holden Sprout, maker of the Rookie Cookie, said that, “For a long time, the medical market was a race to the strongest edibles. Now it’s a new market, and people want something that won’t get them so inebriated they’re not functional.”

Marijuana activists are hoping to change the public’s opinion on the dangers of over consuming marijuana as well. It is extremely common to hear a story about someone who “overdid it” and consumed too strong of a dose of an edible and “freaked out.”

It’s important that the newly legal marijuana industry ensure consumers have a safe and enjoyable time when they are inexperienced with marijuana.

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Health Benefits Marijuana

Current research is revealing that marijuana provides many health benefits. 12 health conditions that marijuana can help alleviate are listed here:

Alzheimer’s — Marijuana has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by the Scripps Research Institute.

Anxiety — Harvard Medical School found that marijuana can provide anti-anxiety effects. (Although, high doses can increase anxiety and paranoia.)

Pain — Marijuana can alleviate pain and inflammation.

Arthritis — Marijuana can alleviate pain and inflammation linked to arthritis.

Crohn’s disease — Marijuana was shown to induce “complete remission” for patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease.

Cancer — Research in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics journal found that cannabidiol (CBD), which is a natural chemical found in marijuana, turns off a gene called “Id-1,” which cancer cells use to multiply.

Epilepsy — Marijuana has been shown in Virginia Commonwealth University’s animal studies to stop seizures.

Glaucoma — Researchers are working on developing new marijuana-based treatments for glaucoma pain after learning its effectiveness for treating glaucoma, a condition that increases pressure inside the eyeball and can lead to vision loss.

Lung Health — Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that marijuana is capable of increasing lung capacity.

Multiple Sclerosis — A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc) found in marijuana significantly reduced pain from multiple sclerosis.

Nausea — Marijuana contains a minimum of 60 chemicals known as cannabinoids, of which THC is most widely known (because of its psychoactive effects), and it has been used in the treatment of nausea, including drug- or chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Parkinson’s Disease — Research published in MedPage Today found that marijuana eases tremors and improves fine motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

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