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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

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.”

IL Marijuana Licenses

Medical marijuana will soon be growing in Illinois and patients will likely be able to purchase medical marijuana by late summer or early fall because Governor Bruce Rauner has awarded permits for medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries to begin operations.

Last week, the Governor’s office said no licenses would be issued until a legal review of the process that began under former Gov. Pat Quinn was completed.

18 licences to cultivate medical marijuana were issued and 52 dispensary licences to sell medical marijuana were issued. Three additional cultivation centers and five additional dispensaries may be approved in the future, as the Rauner administration continues reviewing the selection process set in place by the Quinn administration.

A spokesman for former Governor Pat Quinn stated that licenses were not approved before he left office because he “felt the process was incomplete” and he “refused to rush the licenses out the door.”

The state will be sending formal letters of approval to those awarded licenses. Owners of those medical marijuana industry businesses will have 48 hours to accept the provisional licences. Final approval requires the businesses to pay all related fees, register their employees with the state’s medical marijuana program, and prove operators have enough money to build and run their facilities.

Once final approval has been issued, cultivation centers can begin growing medical marijuana in Illinois. Patients will likely have access to medical marijuana in late summer or early fall. Patients will need to qualify and be approved by a medical marijuana doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card.

View the list of medical marijuana businesses awarded cultivation and dispensary licenses here.

Marijuana States Legalization

The latest ArcView Market Research report reveals a prediction that 18 states will legalize recreational marijuana within the next five years. The report was devised to assist investors in the marijuana industry in charting a course for the future. Their data indicates the end of America’s marijuana prohibition may be well within reach.

“The continued success of the state markets has created the public perception that nationwide legalization is inevitable. This trend—compounded with the loss of big-name political donors, such as Peter Lewis and John Sperling—has created a political funding crisis,” noted the report’s authors.

“Winning full legalization the old-fashioned way—by getting it approved by a majority of the legislature and signed by the governor—would be an enormous political achievement that would open up the possibility of legalization in the balance of those states that do not offer a voter initiative,” stated a marijuana industry non-profit spokesperson.

ArcView’s analysts predict that recreational marijuana will be legalized within the next two years in eight states, including Arizona, California, Maine, and Nevada. It also appears that California is destined to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, by passing initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

Attorney General Marijuana

At the first day of her confirmation hearings for attorney general, nominee Loretta Lynch clearly stated that she does not support marijuana legalization. In fact, she adamantly opposes it.

During her confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Lynch was asked by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) if she supports marijuana legalization. Lynch responded, “No I do not.”

Lynch added, “I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor will it be the position should I be confirmed as attorney general.”

Lynch was asked about a January 2014 interview in the New Yorker in which President Obama stated that he did not think marijuana was any more dangerous than alcohol, referencing his youth marijuana use.

When Lynch was asked if she agreed with Obama’s statement, she replied, “I certainly don’t hold that view, and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance. I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion — neither of which I am able to share.”

Lynch’s stance counters rapidly growing support for marijuana legalization nationwide. If she gets confirmation as Attorney General there will likely be a return of federal raids against state-legalized marijuana businesses.

Watch video clip of Lynch’s remarks on C-SPAN


Americans’ attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift over recent years. A recent survey found that many more Americans now favor marijuana and shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are 6 facts about marijuana and public opinion in the U.S.:

1. Support for marijuana legalization is quickly outpacing the opposition. A majority (52%) of Americans say marijuana should be made legal, compared with 45% who want it to remain illegal. In 1969, a Gallup pole revealed that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Between 2010 and 2013 support for marijuana legalization rose 11 points. 76% of people surveyed said people convicted of minor marijuana possession should not serve time in jail.

2. Not everyone supports legalization. 31% of Republicans do. Most whites and blacks say marijuana should be legalized, while only 39% of Hispanics agree. 63% of Millennials say marijuana should be legalized while only 27% of the Silent Generation (those 69 to 86 years old) agree.

3. 69% of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to health than marijuana. 15% picked marijuana as being worse and 14% said both or neither. If marijuana became as widely available as alcohol in the U.S., 63% still believe alcohol to be more harmful to society.

4. 63% of Americans don’t want people to smoke marijuana in public. 54% of people surveyed think that legalizing marijuana would lead to more underage people using it. Whereas 57% of the people surveyed said they would be okay with a store legally selling marijuana in their neighborhood.

5. 47% of Americans say they have tried using marijuana. 11% said they tried marijuana within the past year, which the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health says is the most used illicit drug in the U.S.

6. Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – and the Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use. 14 states have decriminalized certain amounts of marijuana possession. Including those five recreational marijuana locations, nearly half of U.S. states (23 and Washington D.C.) have legalized medical marijuana use.

United States Marijuana

The legal marijuana industry (medical and recreational) is the fastest growing industry in the United States and if the legalization trend continues to spread throughout the country, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry, according to a recent report.

The ArcView Group, a marijuana industry investment and research firm, found that the U.S.’s legal marijuana market grew 74 percent in 2014 to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013.

“In the last year, the rise of the cannabis industry went from an interesting cocktail conversation to being taken seriously as the fastest growing industry in America,” stated Troy Dayton, CEO of The ArcView Group. “At this point, it’s hard to imagine that any serious businessperson who is paying attention hasn’t spent some time thinking about the possibilities in this market.”

The report also projects a strong year for legalized marijuana in 2015 and projects 32 percent growth in the industry. Dayton noted that that places “cannabis in the top spot” when compared with other fast growing industries.

The report also reveals some interesting marijuana trends: California has the largest legal marijuana market in the U.S., at $1.3 billion. Arizona has the fastest growing marijuana market in 2014, expanding to $155 million, up more than $120 million from the previous year. Medical marijuana is already legalized in Arizona and California and recreational legalization measures are expected to appear on 2016 ballots in both states.

Over the next five years, the marijuana industry is expected to continue to grow. Research firms have predicted that 14 more states will legalize recreational marijuana and at least two more states will legalize medical marijuana. There are about 10 states already considering legalizing recreational marijuana in the next two years through state legislatures or ballot measures.

To date, four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — have legalized recreational marijuana use. Washington, D.C. voters also legalized recreational marijuana use, but sales are currently banned. Twenty-three states currently have medical marijuana legalized.

Congress Marijuana

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a comprehensive report that examined the establishing of a wholesale excise tax on the production and sale of marijuana-related products on a federal level.

This comprehensive policy and fiscal report of how marijuana can be taxed and regulated nationally included enforcement concerns, discouraging youth use, choosing the base to tax (such as weight, potency, and price), restrictions, labeling, special tax rates, home production and medical marijuana.

CRS’s economic analysis indicated that marijuana prices would likely fall from current-day prohibition-influenced prices of approximately $200-$300 per ounce to potentially less than $20 per ounce. The economic modeling was based on a $40 billion annual US marijuana market that tested a $50 per ounce federal excise tax price point which would generate nearly $7 billion in federal excise tax.

Alcohol and marijuana’s external costs (i.e. taxation to equate with external costs of the drug use on society) were studied and researchers pegged alcohol’s external costs to the nation at $30 billion annually and marijuana’s at less than $1.6 billion, revealing that the federal government understands that alcohol is a much more harmful substance to society than marijuana.

NORML Executive Director commented on the CRS report:

“This CRS report on the prospects of the federal government taxing and regulating cannabis is another clear indication of the political saliency and fiscal appeal of ending cannabis prohibition at the state, and increasingly at the federal level (replacing the nearly eighty-year old failed federal policy with tax-n-regulate policies that are similar to alcohol and tobacco products). With four states and the District of Columbia since 2012 opting for legalizing cannabis, dozens of members of Congress from both major political parties—from states with legalization and those that pine for it—are getting serious about making sure the federal government does not lose out on hundreds of millions annually in tax revenue from the ever-growing cannabis industry in the United States.”

Marijuana Depression

Researchers from The Netherlands published a study in the European Neuropsychology journal that focused on the effects of THC on humans while processing emotional content. They found that THC decreased brain activity when faced with negative stimuli.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to gauge the study subjects’ brain activity. Subjects were shown faces expressing different emotions and then asked whether the person was happy or fearful. This gauged whether THC would effect how the subjects perceived others’ emotions.

Their findings were quite interesting, to say the least: THC decreased brain activity in response to the negative stimuli, but not for the positive stimuli. One researcher stated that “These results indicate that THC administration reduces the negative bias in emotional processing.”

The “negative bias” refers to when a person gives more weight to negative experiences than positive experiences. For example, it’s common for people to be afraid of all dogs after being attacked by a dog. This fear remains embedded in the subconscious despite the many positive experiences a person has had with a dog(s). This reveals to us that negative emotions may be stronger and have more of an impact on someones long-term psyche than positive emotions.

When a negative bias is prevelant in a person’s everyday interactions, it has been linked to depression. Depressed patients often have this negative bias which causes them to perceive events in more of a negative way than people without depression. This leads to the notion that THC could be very useful in naturally treating depression and PTSD.

Marijuana Investments Stocks

During the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years investments in the legal US marijuana industry (medical and recreational) hit nearly $105 million.

A financial insights company recorded that there were 60 major investment deals involving marijuana-related companies. The largest deal was $75 million raised by a private equity firm based in Seattle. Next was a $20 million investment deal with a company that owns cultivation sites in the Midwest, then $12.4 million in funding for a company that was granted a license to grow and distribute marijuana in Minnesota.

An up-and-coming marijuana industry stock is Northsight Capital, Inc. (OTCBB: NCAP) which owns and operates multiple online marijuana industry business and is based out of Arizona. Two of their biggest sites include, a leading marijuana industry job board, and, a new marijuana map directory for legal dispensaries, doctors, head/vape shops, delivery services and more. Northsight Capital, Inc. also owns and is developing other marijuana-related sites, all of which will work together to form a vast advertising platform.

It has been predicted that the legal US marijuana industry will expand to over a $10 billion industry by 2018. With recent recreational marijuana laws passing in multiple states, and other states expected to follow next year, the industry will likely exceed $10 billion by 2018.

AZ Dispensary

There are currently over 63,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona, and a new report by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) revealed that more than 10 tons of marijuana was purchased at dispensaries over the last year.

That statistics averages out to the equivalent of one joint per patient per day. But, as with any medication, some patients consume less than others.

If we estimate the price for an ounce of marijuana from a dispensary at $350, that means Arizonans spent about $112 million on medical marijuana over the last year. Furthermore, the ADHS charges $150 per year per medical marijuana card issued, which means the state made over $9 million last year from issuing cards.

The recent Arizona Department of Health Services report also found:

– 85 medical marijuana dispensaries were operating last year.
– Over two-thirds of medical marijuana patients are male.
– The average medical marijuana patient made 17 transactions at dispensaries during the last year.
– Fridays and Saturdays are the two busiest days of the week for dispensaries.

These statistics reveal that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry is steadily growing.

If marijuana gets legalized in Arizona for recreational use in 2016, marijuana sales would likely increase to upwards of $400 million per year.