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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Arizona Recreational Marijuana Act

Article by Jeffrey S. Kaufman for AZmarijuana.com.

I just received a copy of the Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona’s draft for the 2016 Arizona Recreational Marijuana Act. The proposed initiative will decriminalize marijuana (in limited quantities) and allow its possession and growth by everyone over 21 years of age.

Here is my take on it, from the point of view of various segments of society:

Consumers: Can grow 6 plants and don’t need a special card to purchase recreational marijuana. Consumers don’t even have to be a state resident to get high in two totally different ways over the Grand Canyon (aside from the federal land issue). Consumers can possess up to 1 ounce at a time, including up to 5 grams of extracts, waxes, etc. Tinctures and edibles are treated fairly. Consumers can still only consume marijuana on private property, with permission of the property owner. The DUI standards are clarified to just and only require proof that the driver was actually “impaired” in order to be convicted, rather than basing charges on the presence of metabolites of THC in one’s system.

The tax rate is 15%, plus the usual sales taxes. No need to by a card. Marijuana must be tested, which will raise the price, but make it safer, at least theoretically.

The penalty of possession of more than 1 oz., but less than 2.5 oz is a “petty offense,” like littering, subject to a fine of no more than $300.00.

Businesses: For those that are already in or want to get into the marijuana business, there will be two Gold Rushes. Some existing licensees (licensed dispensaries) and their board members will have the exclusive right to become recreational marijuana cultivators and licensed retail recreational marijuana shops, until July 1, 2019. It makes sense on many levels. Unless you are willing to wait until July 2, 2019, if you are not already a board member of a medical marijuana dispensary when the Act passes in November, 2016, you won’t be happy.

On the other hand, subject to rules to be adopted by ADHS, you can still become a licensed “marijuana distributor” (wholesaler and/or delivery service) of a licensed “marijuana cultivator.” You can even become a licensed wholesale “marijuana product manufacturer” of edibles, tinctures, wax, etc., without owning a dispensary or cultivation site.

The cost of getting into recreational business is “grandormous,” presumably to discourage the timid or weak. Dispensaries: $20,000 the first year; $6,600.00 thereafter. Cultivators: $30,000.00 the first year; $10,000 thereafter. Product Manufacturers, infusers, kitchens: $10,000 plus the cost of government compliance; $3,300.00 thereafter. “Marijuana distributors,” delivery services and wholesalers of licensed recreational cultivation and/or maybe dispensary supplied medicine: $15,000 the first year; $5,000 thereafter. Testing facilities: $15,000, plus the cost of government compliance; $5,000.00 thereafter.

Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you that the recreational program, including the millions it expects to raise, is going to be run by the Arizona Department of Gaming, not the Arizona Department of Health Services. Perhaps we will be seeing advertisements that say something like: “You’ll benefit more by using marijuana legally, than playing the lottery.”

Jeffrey S. Kaufman, Esq.
5725 N. Scottsdale Road, Ste. 190
Scottsdale, AZ 85254.
Ph: 480-994-8000
Fax: 480-994-8129
jeff@kaufmanesq.com
www.jeffkaufmanlaw.com
www.arizonamarijuanalawyers.com

Vivek Murthy Marijuana

The nation’s new surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, stated that marijuana “can be helpful” for certain medical conditions, and that he wants science to dictate policy on the federally banned substance.

“We have some preliminary data that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful,” Murthy mentioned in an interview with “CBS This Morning” in response to a question about his position on marijuana legalization in the U.S.

Murthy didn’t use the opportunity to endorse marijuana legalization for medical or recreational purposes, but he did note that he believes U.S. marijuana policy should be driven by scientific research and what it reveals about the efficacy of using the cannabis plant for medical reasons.

“I think we’re going to get a lot more data about that,” Murthy stated. “I’m very interested to see where that takes us.”

Murthy was not the first surgeon general to question U.S. drug policies. In 1993, Joycelyn Elders, the surgeon general under President Bill Clinton, stated that she believed that legalizing drugs in the U.S. would “markedly reduce our crime rate.” Not long ago, in 2010, Elders called for the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.

Veterans Marijuana

A new bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would allow doctors employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend marijuana as means of medical treatment to veterans that suffer from certain medical conditions, such as: serious physical injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.

Do to federal laws current VA policy prohibits doctors from recommending marijuana for medical use.

Nearly 20% of veterans returning from the Middle East are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or PTSD; all of which are notoriously difficult conditions to treat. A study published recently in the Annals of Epidemiology found that the suicide rate among these veterans is 50% greater than the national average.

Last year a study was published in the American Journal of Public Health which found that in states that passed medical marijuana laws there was a statistically significant reduction in suicide rates.

“The men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have made tremendous sacrifices for our country,” stated a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project. “They deserve every option available to treat their wounds, both visible and hidden. If VA doctors are confident that medical marijuana would improve their patients’ quality of life, they should be able to recommend it to them in states where it’s legal.”

New Mexico Recreational Marijuana

A New Mexico legislative committee voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico. The 5-4 vote for Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) narrowly passed in the Senate Rules Committee, and its passing will put it on the 2016 ballot where citizens will vote to decide if recreational marijuana will be legalized in New Mexico.

SJR2 would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by anyone 21 years of age and older and for the regulation of the production, sale and taxation of marijuana for recreational use in New Mexico.

“Today’s vote sets in motion the process to put the issue on a 2016 statewide ballot for voters,” said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico’s director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Marijuana prohibition in New Mexico has clearly failed. It hasn’t reduced use and instead has resulted in the criminalization of people, gross racial disparities, and enormous fiscal waste. Senator Ortiz y Pino’s resolution will allow our legislature rethink how we can enhance the health and safety of all New Mexicans through sensible reforms.”

A statewide poll taken in 2013 found that a majority of New Mexico’s registered voters (52 percent) say they support legalizing marijuana for adult use.

Vaporizers 2015

Long gone are the days of the wooden box vaporizers that left you wondering if you were high. Marijuana vaporizers are getting smaller, sleeker and now deliver surprisingly big vape clouds. Whether you’re new to vaping or are looking to upgrade, 2015 is looking like a great year for you! Here are 4 vaporizers to watch out for in 2015:

The Grasshopper

The Grasshopper has been teasing us for about a year and a half now, ever since they started their IndieGoGo campaign in November, 2013. If you haven’t heard, essentially what Grasshopper wants to do is release a sleek and sexy herbal vaporizer pen. Not a big old marker like the G Pro, but a real pen that delivers thick vape clouds. They also claim that it will have decent battery life, variable temperature, and a lifetime warranty.

The consumers who have invested/bought a pre-order Grasshopper through the IndieGoGo campaign have had to wait patiently. Fortunately, in January they released the below video which shows the Grasshopper in action. It looks promising and our fingers are crossed that they start shipping this year. You can join the waitlist on their website: GrasshopperVape.com.

Pax 2.0

The uber-popular Pax has taken the vaporizer world by storm since its release in 2012. It’s positioned itself as the “iPod of vapes” and is the perfect pocket size. But if they really want to be the Apple of vaporizers they’re going to have to hurry up and release a Pax 2.

Nothing official has been released, but word on the street is a new model may be released soon with power-through charging so you can use it while it’s plugged in. Maybe they’ll even include a built in stir tool. View the original Pax at: Ploom.com

Pax Vaporizer 2

Vapium SUMMIT

The Vapium SUMMIT was just released and looks like a promising vaporizer. It features a rugged exterior that can definitely handle a few drops, eight temperature settings, and Haptic feedback (which means it vibrates when it’s ready to use). It looks like the perfect vape for the outdoorsman as it’s been tested in extreme cold. At only $150 the SUMMIT looks like a great buy. Check out the SUMMIT at: Vapium.com

Vapium Summit

The Steezy Vape

With a cryptic website without much information (VapeSteezy.com), the Steezy is still a big question mark. The CEO claims that they’re going to release a pen-style vaporizer with variable temperature control that delivers huge clouds, all for $100. Their release date is May, 2015, so we’ll have to wait and see!

Steezy Vape

2015 is looking to be a huge year for the marijuana industry as a whole, and specifically for vaporizers.

There are now more options than ever which is great for consumers. To see a list of the vaporizers available check out the top 50 vaporizer list.

Are you excited about any new vaporizer releases? Let us know in the comments below!

Native American Marijuana

Over 100 Native American tribes have contacted FoxBarry Farms, a management firm building the nation’s first marijuana cultivation facility on tribal land, expressing interest in the marijuana industry.

There has been a huge surge of interest since the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement in 2014 stating that tribes are free to cultivate and sell marijuana on their lands as long as they adhere to certain guidelines.

“Tribes want what any government wants for its people, and that’s financial independence,” stated an industry insider. “They want to earn their own money, provide education, health care and housing. This new industry allows them to be more economically independent.”

Two companies recently signed a contract to build a large medical marijuana cultivation center on the Pinoleville Pomo Nation’s ranch in Northern California. The $10 million, 2.5-acre facility is said to include spaces for cultivating, processing and selling products under the name United Cannabis. The operation create 50 to 100 jobs, and provide preference to tribe members.

Many Native American tribes throughout the U.S. are expected to implement marijuana cultivation and distribution ventures. Many western states – Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington – that already have marijuana industries as well as large Native American tribal lands will likely see Native American marijuana industries popping up.

Most Harmful Drugs

As the U.S. considers drug policy reforms and marijuana legalization, there’s one part of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: the most harmful drugs in the U.S. are legal.

Available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that tobacco, alcohol, and opioid-based prescription painkillers are responsible for more direct fatalities than any other drug in 2011.

When it comes to deadliness, tobacco leads the way – by far. Fewer Americans die from reported drug overdoses, traffic accidents, and homicides combined than tobacco-related health problems like lung cancer and heart disease. Cigarette smoking is attributed to one in five deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. Furthermore, nearly 42,000 of the 480,000 deaths are caused by secondhand smoke.

Alcohol-related health problems, such as liver disease, caused more than 26,000 deaths in 2011. When including other alcohol-related causes of death like drunk driving and other accidents, the death toll rises to 88,000 per year.

Opioid-related prescription painkillers have been associated with an increase in overdose deaths since 1999. The deaths frequently involve multiple drugs. The CDC found 31 percent of prescription painkiller-related overdose deaths in 2011 were also related to benzodiazepines, a legal anti-anxiety drug.

Arizona Marijuana

Arizona Marijuana Industry Facts

Arizona’s medical marijuana industry has seen significant growth over the last few years, and it is predicted to continue to grow at a very rapid rate. Listed below are 7 Arizona marijuana industry statistics from 2014:

1. 85 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries were operating in Arizona as of Dec. 31, 2014.

2. Nearly $112 million of revenue was generated by Arizona’s medical marijuana industry (based on a steep estimate that the average dispensary price for medical marijuana was $350 an ounce).

3. There are more than 61,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona.

4. Eleven cards were revoked, which included caregivers with multiple cards.

5. Female qualifying patients and caregivers were usually older than male qualifying patients and caregivers.

6. 18-30 year olds had the most dispensary transactions followed by 31-40 year olds and then 51-60
year olds.

7. 1,563 (approximately 2.5%) of the medical marijuana qualifying patients and 371 (approximately 58%) of caregivers were authorized to cultivate marijuana.

Learn how to get an Arizona medical marijuana card here.

View all Arizona dispensaries here.

Israel Marijuana

Israel is a world leader in science for the medical uses of marijuana. And they now have a marijuana strain that does not cause a “high,” or psychoactive effect, for use with epileptic children.

“Israel is truly at the forefront of medical marijuana,” said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington.

U.S. laws make clinical research on marijuana nearly impossible. Israel, on the other hand, began marijuana research nearly 50 years ago and studies its potential medical uses in its developing public health program. Israel offers citizens marijuana for medical uses but has not legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Israel’s cultivators may become major exporters of medical marijuana in the future because of their unique marijuana strains. But so far, the Israeli government has allowed them to only export their knowledge and not any marijuana.

Marijuana Tobacco Lungs

The inhalation of one marijuana cigarette (aka joint) per day over a 20-year period of time is not associated with adverse changes in lung health, according to a study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society journal.

Researchers assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large sample of U.S. adults, ages 18 to 59. They reported that marijuana exposure was not associated with FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) decline or with any deleterious change in spirometric values of small airways disease.

The researchers noted, “The pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use” and that “In a large representative sample of US adults, ongoing use of marijuana is associated with increased respiratory symptoms of bronchitis without a significant functional abnormality in spirometry, and cumulative marijuana use under 20 joint-years is not associated with significant effects on lung function.”

The study is the largest cross-sectional analysis to date that examined the relationship between marijuana use and spirometric parameters of lung health.

A different study published in 2012 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported similar findings: cumulative marijuana smoke exposure over a period of up to 7 years (the equivalent of up to one marijuana cigarette per day for seven years) had no associated adverse effects on pulmonary function.

In a 2013 study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, they acknowledged that marijuana smoke exposure was not associated with the development of lung cancer, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or bullous lung disease. The study concluded: “Habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use. … Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”