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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

AZ Dispensary Cultivation
An Arizona dispensary is constructing a large medical marijuana cultivation center that is expected to create at least 20 jobs within the next few months.

Natural Herbal Remedies operates the only dispensary in Holbrook, Arizona. It will also own and operate the only medical marijuana cultivation center in Holbrook. The Natural Herbal Remedies dispensary is going to remain in its existing location.

City Manager Ray Alley has been working with Natural Herbal Remedies to help them acquire the proper building permits for remodeling the inside of the warehouse. Alley noted that multiple rooms are being constructed inside the warehouse for the cultivation of various strains of marijuana.

Natural Herbal Remedies mentioned that the cultivation center is expected to become operational in about three months and a minimum of 20 jobs will be created to run the center.

According to Natural Herbal Remedies the warehouse has been unoccupied for about eight years. Alley noted that he is pleased to see the warehouse become occupied, and that the dispensary and its cultivation center will be providing jobs as well as revenue for the city.

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Marijuana Violence
A study released last week in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors has stated that married couples who use marijuana together are less likely to get into physical altercations. Over 600 couples were taken into assessment by prestigious universities such as Yale and Rutgers, where they learned the following:

“In this community sample of newly married couples, more frequent marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV [intimate partner violence] perpetration, for both men and women, over the first 9 years of marriage.  Moderation analyses provided evidence that couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently were at the lowest risk for IPV perpetration, regardless of the perpetrator’s gender.”

A similar study where marijuana was replaced with alcohol was conducted at the beginning of the year in the journal Addictive Behaviors, where it was concluded that frequent alcohol use is responsible for more frequent violence amongst couples where heavy drinking was the norm.

Researchers have thus come to the conclusion that “marijuana use did not increase the odds of any type of aggression.”

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AZ Marijuana Doctors
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) won’t officially become a medical marijuana qualifying condition in Arizona until Jan. 1, 2015. But Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center (SWMMEC) is already set to help expedite PTSD candidates’ medical marijuana evaluation process which will allow the qualifying candidates to get their medical marijuana cards as soon as it is legally possible.

SWMMEC has three valley locations that are pre-qualifying PTSD candidates for medical marijuana cards for free. Candidates can also pre-pay for an appointment with SWMMEC in the first week of January, when the doctor will finalize the paperwork needed to make the PTSD candidates medical marijuana patients.

PTSD candidates will receive a discount for pre-paying and scheduling their January 2015 appointment at SWMMEC. Typically, medical marijuana evaluations cost $125 at SWMMEC, but pre-paying will only cost $60.

The Arizona marijuana advocacy group, Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, is appealing the Arizona Department of Health Services’ terms and delays to implement PTSD as a qualifying condition. So it is possible that the Department of Health Services will be forced to make PTSD a qualifying condition before January 2015.

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Marijuana and Opiods Overdose
Overdose deaths from pharmaceutical opioids, such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin, have nearly tripled since 1991. Every day 46 people die from such overdoses in the United States.

In the 13 states that passed legislation allowing for the use of medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010, 25% fewer people died from opioid overdoses annually. Currently, 35 states have passed laws to allow qualifying patients access to marijuana for medical purposes.

In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers hypothesized that in the states where medical marijuana is legal, patients may be using marijuana to treat pain by either replacing their prescription opiates or mixing the two; either way, the patients would likely be lowering their typical opiate dosage making it less likely to lead to a fatality.

“The difference is quite striking,” said study co-author Colleen Barry, a health policy researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. She told Newsweek that the shift showed up quite quickly and became visible the year after medical marijuana was legalized in each state.

It is a fact that marijuana is much less toxic than opiates like Percocet or morphine, and that it is basically impossible to overdose with marijuana, noted Barry.

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AZ Marijuana PTSD
The Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, an Arizona medical marijuana advocacy group, is appealing the Arizona Department of Health Services’ terms and delay to implement post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana for treatment in Arizona.

Lawyer Ken Sobel is representing the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association. Sobel stated, “I will be putting in a request for a hearing to get an order from the court that orders the department to immediately implement PTSD as a debilitating condition, and to strike everything after…all that surplus language that involves delaying the implementation.”

Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, stated last July that medical marijuana could only be used for “palliative care,” meaning to temporarily relieve PTSD symptoms and not treat PTSD as a primary treatment. He also stated that the date chosen (January 2015) for PTSD implementation as a medical marijuana qualifying condition is to give doctors and dispensaries enough time to “develop policies, procedures and educational materials required” before distributing medical marijuana to PTSD patients.

Sobel said he and the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association have attempted to meet with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Will Humble to help them with such policies, procedures and materials, but the department has “rejected” their help.

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Marijuana Concentrates Safety
Marijuana concentrates (hash, oils, waxes, etc) are becoming a very popular method of medicating for medical marijuana patients across the country. But risks are involved because of the possible toxins created by the extraction processes used to make the marijuana concentrates.

Marijuana concentrates are comprised of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc) and terpenes extracted from marijuana by means of chemical solvents or gas (butane, CO2, etc). Most marijuana concentrates contain 60-90% THC; whereas, marijuana strains found in dispensaries typically contain 12-22% THC.

Higher levels of cannabinoids help many medical marijuana patients treat their illnesses without having to use marijuana as frequently.

The effectiveness of marijuana concentrates is determined by the quality of the marijuana used to create it, as well as the safety and accuracy of the extraction process. Concentrates can be rather safe when they are produced using the proper methods. But if an extraction method is not up to par, residual toxic solvents can be left behind in the final product. Inhalation or consumption of these solvents can be very harmful.

Currently, the Arizona Department of Health Services does not require dispensaries or caregivers to have their marijuana tested by a lab for traces of toxic substances, but many dispensaries and caregivers do get their marijuana tested anyways. Therefore, when looking to purchase marijuana concentrates be sure to ask the dispensary’s employees if their concentrates are safe for consumption and are free of toxic contaminants.

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Marijuana Events

Many marijuana events are taking place this weekend and in the coming weekends.

Hempcon, one of America’s largest cannabis industry health, lifestyle and culture events, will be held in San Francisco from August 22-24. The following Saturday, MMJ for Tucson, a medical marijuana event that is open to the public will be held in Tucson. It will feature dispensaries, marijuana doctors, and more.

The High Times Cannabis Cup will be held in Seattle in early September. Other marijuana industry events such as trade shows and conventions are also happening in the near future. Check out the marijuana events calendar to see all upcoming events.

Reoccurring Arizona medical marijuana events are also listed in the marijuana events calendar.

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Teen Marijuana Use
A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research – a non-partisan research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts – found that adolescents are not more likely to use marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Journal of Adolescent Health’s study on adolescents and marijuana use came to a similar conclusion: “This study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to [the] legalization of medical marijuana.”

In another study, investigators from the University of Colorado at Denver, Montana State University, and the University of Oregon analyzed federal data on adolescent marijuana use and treatment episodes during the years of 1993 to 2011, when 16 states authorized medical marijuana use, and the investigators concluded that “Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students.”

Findings such as these help to confirm that the legalization of marijuana for medical use does not mean that adolescents are more likely to use marijuana, a common concern among lawmakers.

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Marijuana Legalize
66 percent of Americans surveyed believe that adults should be able to legally use marijuana in the privacy of one’s own home, according to a recent nationwide HuffingtonPost/YouGov survey.

59 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Independents said marijuana should be legalized.

Republican poll respondents did not support private consumption by a margin of 57 percent to 31 percent.

A majority of poll respondents, 55 percent, support state-wide laws seeking to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana for adults, such as those recently enacted in Colorado and Washington.

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Arizona Marijuana Grow
Some medical marijuana patients outside Arizona’s metro areas should soon regain the right to grow their own marijuana.

The Arizona medical marijuana law currently states that if a medical marijuana patient lives within 25 miles of a dispensary they cannot obtain the right to grow their own marijuana. Almost all of the 56,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona are within 25 miles of a dispensary.

Last week, judge Tammy Eigenheer rejected arguments by a Gold Canyon resident that he should be exempt from this law because while a dispensary was 8 miles as the crow flies, it was 26 miles by road. Eigenheer said that is the way the law is written. But, Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said this isn’t the first time this issue has been raised.

“I actually agree with them. And so we’re [the Arizona Department of Health Services] in the process right now of revising our regulations. And in those new revised regulations were going to change that definition of 25 miles to by road,” said Humble.

Humble also stated that the 25-mile rule, however measured, is justified because it honors the intent of the voters who voted for a system which requires marijuana to be handled by regulated dispensaries, complete with reporting requirements; rather than a free-for-all industry where patients can grow what they want and distribute it to others.

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