Marijuana News in Arizona and World

DUI Medical Marijuana

The Arizona Supreme Court is going to review a lower court’s ruling that said drivers who are medical marijuana patients can be prosecuted by laws against driving under the influence while having marijuana in their system.

The Supreme Court justices agreed to review the ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals that was issued last November.

Previously, two defendants that were cardholding Arizona medical marijuana patients had pointed to a medical marijuana law provision that provides a partial legal shield for medical marijuana patients.

However, an Arizona Court of Appeals panel ruled the medical marijuana law doesn’t provide immunity for defendants – including medical marijuana patients – charged with driving while having marijuana in their systems.

View Arizona marijuana laws

Veterans Marijuana

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a historic bipartisan amendment that would allow veterans access to medical marijuana. If it becomes law it would allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their veteran patients.

“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor and use it if it’s medically necessary,” said a spokesperson for the Drug Policy Alliance. “They have served this country valiantly, so the least we can do is allow them to have full and open discussions with their doctors.”

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was added to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, and still faces more votes in Congress before it comes close to becoming law. But the amendment’s approval is a significant victory for marijuana policy reformers, coming less than a month after a similar amendment narrowly failed in the House. The same House amendment was also killed last year. The Senate amendment marks the first time in history Congress’ upper chamber has voted positively on marijuana reform legislation.

“Elected officials are finally starting to wake up to the fact that endorsing marijuana reform is good politics instead of the dangerous third rail they’ve long viewed it as, and that means a lot more victories are on the way soon,” said the chairman of Marijuana Majority.

Marijuana Stress

Research has indicated that repeated stress can create and intensify cognitive impairment in memory and learning. But recent research reveals that cannabinoid (naturally occurring chemicals found in marijuana) treatments have been successful in preventing such effects. Because of this, researchers from the University of Haifa in Israel investigated the same interaction, but with chronic stress.

The two-week study used rats and a technique called chronic restraint stress in which researchers kept the rats from moving, which causes a stress reaction. After this daily process, half the rats (experimental group) were treated with a full agonist that activates the CB1 receptor of the cannabinoid system. The remaining rats represented the control group.

Data from the study reveals the many issues caused by chronic stress. These issues are not only expressed through a person’s mood; stress also seems to place a burden on a number of biological processes, such as impairing neuron functioning, which leads to difficulties with learning through reinforcement and with memory recall.

Thirty days after the treatment period, data suggested that the activation of the cannabinoid system prevented the cognitive deficits caused by chronic stress. The experimental group also performed better with object recognition. They were able to identify an object based on its physical properties more readily than the control group.

Marijuana Science

National Geographic’s June issue features an in-depth look at the science and medicine of marijuana that will certainly enlighten many minds.

NatGeo met with the discoverer of THC, Raphael Mechoulam, who reports: “We have just scratched the surface…we may well discover that cannabinoids are involved in some way in all human diseases.”

The magazine also went inside a 20,000-plant grow in Denver, and interviewed a biochemist who is studying the plant’s anti-tumor properties:

“‘…tumors in a third of the rats were eradicated and in another third, reduced. ‘The problem is,’ he says, ‘mice are not humans. We do not know if this can be extrapolated to humans at all.’”

The article concludes with a geneticist assembling the raw, unsorted code of cannabis DNA into its proper order:

“‘…with this cannabis work, the science will not be incremental. It will be transformative. Transformative not just in our understanding of the plant but also of ourselves—our brains, our neurology, our psychology. Transformative in terms of the biochemistry of its compounds. Transformative in terms of its impact across several different industries, including medicine, agriculture, and biofuels. It may even transform part of our diet—hemp seed is known to be a ready source of a very healthy, protein-rich oil.’”

Read the National Geographic article here

Coffee Marijuana

Scientists believe they’ve discovered why caffeine and marijuana go so well together while researching how marijuana interacts with other drugs in the brain. Researchers found that caffeine reinforces THC’s effects, potentially making it more pleasurable.

To study THC and caffeine, researchers gave monkeys the ability to get high from marijuana with the pull of a lever, which triggered an intravenous release of THC from a surgically implanted device.

After familiarizing the monkeys with the consequences of pulling the lever, they gave them doses of MSX-3, a water-soluble analog of caffeine. With 1 mg/kg of MSX-3 (equivalent to less than half a cup of coffee for the average person) the monkeys pulled the lever less often than they did without MSX-3. When given 3 mg/kg (equivalent to one or more cups of coffee) of MSX-3 the monkeys pulled the lever even less. The caffeine-analog made it so that the monkeys desired less THC, presumably implying that caffeine enhanced the effects from THC.

It appears that two natural substances (caffeine and THC) that humans have consumed for eons are not only reasonably safe, but actually compliment each other too.

Marijuana THC CBD

According to the results of a new test, the marijuana available today can be more than twice as potent as marijuana cultivated in the past.

THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, can contain about 10% THC or up to 30%; whereas, average THC levels from a few decades ago ranged at 10% or less.

Although, the most important recent findings in marijuana show that CBD (cannabidiol) is the real medicinal powerhouse found in marijuana. But, this powerhouse needs THC to fully provide all possible medicinal benefits.

“Cannabinoids are a single component of what is active in the medicinal properties of [the marijuana] plants,” said Anthony Fabrizio, a marijuana chemistry expert. Multiple other compounds contribute to these properties, working “synergistically together, almost like a football team,” he noted.

Most dispensaries provide a large array of marijuana, often times carrying over 40 marijuana strains in order to provide for all customers’ needs.

Drug Abuse

According to a research study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, persons using medical marijuana along with prescription pain medication do not appear to have a higher risk of drug or alcohol abuse.

The study used nearly 300 medical marijuana patients as participants and more than 60% of them had used prescription pain medication within the past month.

The study revealed that there was only a slight difference in use of alcohol or other drugs — such as cocaine, non-prescription opioids like heroin, sedatives, and amphetamines — between medical marijuana patients who used prescription pain medication and those who did not.

“We expected that persons receiving both cannabis and prescription opioids would have greater levels of involvement with alcohol and other drugs,” stated study coauthor Brian Perron, PhD, of the University of Michigan School of Social Work in Ann Arbor. “However, that wasn’t the case — although persons who were receiving both medical cannabis and prescription opioids reported higher levels of pain, they showed very few differences in their use of alcohol and other drugs compared to those receiving medical cannabis only.”

Read the research study

Marijuana Taxes

Should state-legal marijuana businesses pay tax on net profits or gross profits? Basically every business in every country pays tax on net profits (after expenses). But the cockeyed and discriminatory rules for the marijuana industry seem to defy logic.

Colorado was the first state to legalize and regulate the production and sale of marijuana. They have a 2.9% sales tax and a 10% marijuana sales tax. Plus, there is a 15% excise tax on the average market rate of retail marijuana. It adds up to 27.9%. The state of Colorado collected sales tax on medical marijuana and various fees for a total of about $76 million, and about $44 million for recreational marijuana.

IRS tax code denies even legal dispensaries tax deductions because marijuana remains a federally controlled substance. The IRS says it has no choice but to enforce the tax code.

2013′s proposed Marijuana Tax Equity Act would end the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow it to be taxed–at a whopping 50%. The bill would impose a 50% excise tax on marijuana sales, plus an annual occupational tax on employees in the marijuana industry.

All these taxes lead to one outcome: higher prices for marijuana.

Morgan Freeman Marijuana

In a recent interview, Morgan Freeman, the 77-year-old Oscar winner, spoke candidly about his marijuana use and his stance on legalization.

“Marijuana has many useful uses,” stated Freeman. “I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana. They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’”

In addition to touting all the medical benefits of marijuana, Freeman also pointed out that negative effects of marijuana are rare and other legal substances are much more dangerous to society.

“Now, the thrust is understanding that alcohol has no real medicinal use,” Freeman said. “Maybe if you have one drink it’ll quiet you down, but two or three and you’re fucked. Look at Woodstock 1969. They said, ‘We’re not going to bother them or say anything about smoking marijuana,’ and not one problem or fight. Then look at what happened in ’99.”

The actor’s own experience with marijuana dates back to 2008, when a car accident left him with shattered bones in his arm. He found that marijuana effectively alleviated his pain and has since been an outspoken advocate of legalization.

“They used to say, ‘You smoke that stuff, boy, you get hooked!’” Freeman chuckled. “My first wife got me into it many years ago. How do I take it? However it comes! I’ll eat it, drink it, smoke, snort it!”

Sheila Polk
In a pursuit to stop marijuana legalization in Arizona, a drug war task force has donated tens of thousands of dollars collected from the civil asset forfeiture program in order to fight marijuana legalization in Arizona via propaganda.

An investigative report has revealed that Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT), a law enforcement organization designed to catch drug offenders, recently provided a check for $50,000 to MATFORCE, a group combating substance abuse. This collaboration to fight marijuana legalization in Arizona with public funds took place shortly after the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) declared it was going to help create a ballot initiative in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use in Arizona.

It also appears that additional public funding will probably be used to fight marijuana legalization in Arizona. Last week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich released a decision in regards to a question posed by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk (pictured), who is a leading board member for both PANT and MATFORCE and the culprit behind the $50,000 donation that supposedly went towards educating the public on the alleged dangers of marijuana, which essentially asked whether public finances could be used to protest marijuana.

Brnovich wrote: “To the extent you use public resources to communicate, your efforts may lawfully continue… so long as they do not unambiguously urge the electorate to cast a vote for or against the [marijuana] measure.” Basically, Brnovich is allowing the use of public resources to fight the marijuana ballot measure.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, a pro-marijuana organization in Arizona, argues that money generated from state and local taxes should not be utilized by public officials to fund propaganda tactics.

Legal experts, like attorney Angela Poliquin, believe that allowing the use of public resources to influence voter response spawns “political mischief,” a practice that is not only wrong, but also a detriment to the concept of democracy. In other words, governments should not be permitted to grease the wheels of organizations in an effort to control the opinion of the citizens for which they serve.

Anti-legalization groups should be held to the same financial trials and tribulations as everyone else when pushing an agenda, and public funds should be off-limits to those who either support or oppose a particular voter initiative. Governments should not be subliminally manipulating their citizens.