Marijuana News in Arizona and World

High School Marijuana
New data reveals that fewer high school students are using marijuana than in the past, even though more and more pro-marijuana laws are being implemented and marijuana as a medical and recreational substance is becoming more accepted in the U.S.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s report reveals that marijuana use among American high school students is lower today than it was 15 years ago. They found that only 40% of teens in 2013 admitted trying marijuana, a decrease from 47% in 1999.

“People have been very quick to say that marijuana use is going up and up and up in this country, particularly now that marijuana has become more normalized,” said the lead researcher. “What we are seeing is that since 1999, three years after medical marijuana was first approved, the rates of marijuana use have actually fallen. But we will be watching those states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized to see if that leads to increased use among teens.”

The researchers will closely be watching the recreational marijuana states – Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Washington and the District of Columbia – in order to get data on youth usage rates in states that have legalized marijuana.

CEO Marijuana

Business professionals around the globe are admitting to using marijuana. For some it was a one-time experience in their youth while for others a life-long passion.

Here is a list of some CEOs that have used or still use marijuana:

1. Hugh Hefner – Playboy

– “I don’t think there’s any question that marijuana should be legalized because to not legalize it, we’re paying the same price we paid for prohibition.”
– “In other words, it is a medical concern and it should be handled that way.”

2. George Zimmer – Men’s Wearhouse

– Said he’s “been smoking marijuana on a regular basis for about 50 years.”

3. Richard Branson – Virgin Group

– Told Piers Morgan that he smoked marijuana with his adult son while on vacation.

4. Oprah Winfrey – Oprah Winfrey Network

– Has admitted two times on national television to having smoked marijuana when she was younger.

5. Michael Bloomberg – Bloomberg Media Company

– When asked by a New York magazine if he’s smoked marijuana: “You bet I did. And I enjoyed it.”

6. John Sperling – Former CEO of the University of Phoenix

– Said that smoking marijuana helped him manage the side effects of cancer treatment.

7. Mark Johnson – Descartes Labs

– He told a news company that he smoked marijuana day in and day out, and that marijuana use was so widespread among Silicon Valley tech workers that it simply isn’t an issue.
– “Pot is an extremely functional drug,” he said. “Coders can code on it, writers can write on it.”

8. Peter Lewis – Former CEO of Progressive Insurance Company

– Used marijuana to combat chronic pain from a leg amputation.
– “I’m supporting the [marijuana] campaign because I support common-sense reform of the nation’s drug laws.”

Baby Boomers Marijuana

Sue Taylor, a retired Catholic school principle and Baby Boomer, has started informing Baby Boomers about the medical benefits of marijuana. California has certified Taylor to teach the state’s medical marijuana program to senior care facility nurses and managers looking to continue their education credits.

“When I go in to any senior facility and I give the presentation to any seniors themselves, they resonate with me right away — number one, because I am a senior, and number two I tell them you don’t have to smoke it and the high is gone, and they become very interested,” stated Taylor.

Taylor is one of six finalists for a permit to open a dispensary in Berkeley. If awarded a dispensary permit, Taylor’s dispensary would likely be the first in history to be owned and operated by a senior female African-American.

Baby Boomers are a big swing vote for medical and recreational marijuana legalization. Typical senior-related ailments make them candidates for medical marijuana and likely to be pro-marijuana. Currently, only a small percentage of medical marijuana users are seniors, but that number is expanding as more and more retire. In the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65 years old every day.

Celebrity Marijuana
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the former 3rd Rock from the Sun star turned successful leading man, opened up about marijuana for an upcoming Playboy issue where he expresses how he hopes that the negative stigma behind smoking marijuana will soon end.

“Even though the tide is turning, I think marijuana is overly demonized in our culture,” said Gordon-Levitt to Playboy. “I do know people who let it get out of control and let it play a part in their lives that’s not beneficial. There’s definitely an addictive quality, but it’s psychological. It’s not physically addictive in the way cigarettes or alcohol are physically addictive.”

Gordon-Levitt credits marijuana for part of his creative process, especially when he’s coming up with new ideas and making unique connections for movies. “Sometimes those connections are ludicrous, but sometimes they’re great. You’re like, ‘Oh sh*t, I might not have thought of that,’ and it actually makes sense in the morning.”

Gordon-Levitt is one of many celebrities beginning to publicly praise the positive (and lack of negative) aspects of marijuana use.

UFC Marijuana Nick Diaz

Kirik Jenness, the Association of Boxing Commissions’ official record keeper for the sport of MMA, has spoken out against the commission’s decision to ban UFC fighter Nick Diaz for 5 years for testing positive for marijuana.

“I’m part of the regulation process. I’m the record keeper for the sport, and I’m very, very proud of that. I’ve defended commissions hundreds, probably thousands of times in different circumstances. This is one of the very first times I was embarrassed by a commission,” said Jenness. He continued by stating that: “It was unjust. It’s just not justifiable any way you look at it. They have new guidelines for marijuana that are stricter than the ones they had before, and the third marijuana failure is three years. [For Nick Diaz] they made it five years pretty much arbitrarily because they didn’t like Nick Diaz’s attitude.”

The ban originated from earlier in 2015 when Nick Diaz was drug tested three times within a few hours on a fight night. Diaz passed two drug tests conducted by WADA-accredited labs, but a third test was conducted by a less-reputable lab, with proper protocol not followed, and the result produced a sudden and extraordinarily high level of a marijuana metabolite.

Jenness thinks that, like Nevada’s recent lifetime ban of Wanderlei Silva, which was subsequently struck down by an actual court, the commission’s suspension of Diaz will not last.

Oregona Marijuana Legalization

More than 275 medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon have been approved by the state to sell recreational marijuana beginning Thursday, October 1.

Dispensaries will be able to sell limited amounts and types of marijuana during 2015. In January of 2016, Oregon’s entire recreational marijuana law will go into effect. Recreational marijuana sales will be tax-free until January 2016, when a 25% tax on retail sales will be added.

Adults 21 and older can buy up to a quarter ounce of marijuana for recreational use every day, but cannot purchase edibles or concentrates. Also beginning on Oct. 1, adults will be able to share or give away marijuana to other adults for recreational use.

“It’s going to be a surprise for everybody, we’re hoping it’s really busy,” said a Portland dispensary employee. “It’s very important for everyone to really read the rules, and follow the law to a T.”

MA Marijuana Law

The Massachusetts attorney general approved ballot initiatives from two marijuana advocacy groups in Massachusetts.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and the Bay State Repeal both believe that legalizing marijuana will improve regulation, prevent minors from accessing it, and stimulate the state’s economy.

The advocacy groups must collect and file signatures from more than 64,000 voters by Dec. 2 to get on the ballot in the November 2016 election. If passed by voters the proposal would become a state statute.

53% of Massachusetts voters told a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll in 2015 that they favor legalizing marijuana, whereas just 37% opposed.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol proposes a 3.75% excise tax, optional local taxes, and the creation of a new state group to regulate the drug.

The Bay State Repeal group proposes no additional taxes on marijuana and argues it should be treated like other products sold to adults 21 years or older.

Chronic Pain Marijuana

A new study, Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study (COMPASS), is being published in the Journal of Pain and found that patients who used marijuana daily for one-year reported reduced discomfort and increased quality of life.

The study also found that patients do not experience an increased risk of serious side effects, and that patients who used marijuana had a reduced sense of pain when compared to a control group, as well as reduced anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

The researchers discovered that daily marijuana consumers possessed no greater risk to experience “serious adverse events” than non-users. In particular, the researchers did not find any significant adverse changes in consumers’ cognitive skills, pulmonary function, or blood work following one-year of daily marijuana use.

“The sensory component of pain was reduced over one year in cannabis users compared to controls” and “quality-controlled herbal cannabis, when used by cannabis-experienced patients as part of a monitored treatment program over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile,” concluded the study’s researchers.

NY Marijuana

According to The New York Times, New York City’s first dispensary, Columbia Care, will open in January 2016. Columbia Care was one of five New York companies to be awarded a medical marijuana license.

Other New York dispensary owners are planning for their grand openings throughout the city.

43 entrepreneurs across the U.S. filed applications to be awarded one of the five licenses. Those fortunate enough to be awarded a New York State marijuana license will be allowed to operate one cultivation center and four dispensaries within New York.

Columbia Care said they would invest “double-digit millions” in their business and that “just like any other pharmaceutical product, there has to be consistency.”

Marijuana Study

A recent study in Arizona found that medical marijuana cardholders reduced their consumption of pharmaceuticals with marijuana. The study was published online in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Researchers associated with the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Mesa surveyed 367 Arizona medical marijuana patients. A majority of the surveyed group consisted of males in their mid-40s that are daily marijuana users.

Patients typically stated that marijuana provided “a lot of relief” or “almost complete relief” of their medical symptoms and that its efficacy was greater than that of pharmaceuticals.

Over 70% of respondents reported using other medications “a little less frequently” or “much less frequently.”

In July, a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research said that “[S]tates permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”