Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Marijuana Hotel

Denver officially has an openly marijuana-friendly hotel.

Guests are not (yet) taking bong rips in the lobby or passing a blunt at the bar because smoking in public places in Colorado, like parks or inside restaurants, is still illegal under the Clean Air Act. Therefore, guests can only smoke in designated areas in the hotel.

“It’s definitely not a stoner hotel,” said hotel COO Mike Alexander. “I think that in general, marijuana has a stigma attached to it and I think we’re breaking that.”

The hotel also embraces marijuana in other forms. “All of our drinks are actually flavored with flavored cannabidiol and sweetened with Stevia. It’s non-euphoric and non-psychoactive,” said the founder of CanBria, a bar and coffee lounge in the hotel lobby.

So far, Denver officials have left the issue of smoking marijuana inside a hotel up to the owner, but the Clean Indoor Air Act “limits all smoking to at most 25 percent of rooms,” according to Denver’s retail marijuana use guide, which also includes balconies that are visible from any public place.

Marijuana Poll Vote Ballot

According to a recently published nationwide poll by Harris Poll, more than 80% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

81% of poll respondents – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – expressed support for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. The results are an increase from the 74% of respondents that expressed support for medical marijuana in a 2011 poll by Harris Poll.

49% of poll respondents stated they believed marijuana should be legalized for recreational use, which is up from 42% in the 2011 poll. Majorities of Democrats (58%) and Independents (55%) backed marijuana legalization, but only 27% of Republicans.

Several other recent polls, including those commissioned by the Pew Research Center, Fox News, and the General Social Survey, have also shown majority support for the legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults.

A majority of Republicans (51%) acknowledged that marijuana policy should be decided at the state level and not by the federal government. Only 47% of Independents and 37% of Democrats shared this position.

View the Harris Poll

Sell Marijuana
The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona’s medical marijuana patients cannot sell marijuana to other patients.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) states that medical marijuana patients can’t be prosecuted for providing marijuana to other patients as long as “nothing of value is transferred in return.” The law also states that “any [medical marijuana] cardholder who sells marijuana to a person who is not allowed to possess marijuana for medical purposes” will have their card revoked, which implies a patient can donate marijuana to another patient.

This is why Judge Fields wrote in his 2014 ruling that the clause “necessarily implies that a qualifying patient can sell marijuana.”

But the Court of Appeals judges ruled otherwise. They stated that “allowing such patient-to-patient transactions would … create an incentive to embark on a sales enterprise.”

Until another court reviews this issue, medical marijuana patients must adhere to the latest ruling to refrain from breaking the law.

Related article: Arizona Court to Review Marijuana DUI Immunity Ruling

Vegas Marijuana

Nevada dispensaries are in a race to be the first to open for business. Some dispensary owners have even begun turning to medical marijuana patients with home grows in order to stock their shelves with marijuana and open their doors faster.

No cultivation centers are up and running yet, which is why some dispensary licenses are searching for marijuana from medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers, which is allowed under a provision in Nevada’s medical marijuana law.

If successful, dispensaries might be able to open for business within a few weeks.

Nearly 9,000 Nevadans have medical marijuana cards, with the vast majority – 6,500 – residing in or near Las Vegas.

55 dispensaries received provisional licenses, and if a proposed bill passes it will allow more licenses to be granted. Many dispensaries are planning to open this fall and early 2016. Some cultivation centers might be able to harvest their first crop in 2015.

“It’s going to be four or five months before any crops come to fruition, so the only option right now is to buy from existing cardholders,” stated an employee of a soon-to-be Las Vegas area dispensary.

Chicago Marijuana

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will soon be deciding upon legislation that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois.

The Illinois Senate voted 37-19 to make possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana a civil violation punishable by fines between $55 and a $125. Violators would not face jail time.

“There has been much talk this year about criminal justice reform and being smarter on crime,” said Sen. Michael Noland. “With this measure the Senate and House take an important step in the right direction. The benefits we will see from this plan are innumerable.”

Gov. Rauner’s spokeswoman declined to comment if the governor would sign the bill, saying he would “carefully consider any legislation that crosses his desk.”

The vote comes the same day the Senate also approved a measure extending Illinois’ medical marijuana program by two or more years. That also heads to the governor’s office, although Rauner is skeptical of extending the program.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the original sponsor and said the measure isn’t about decriminalization, but addressing racial disparities in enforcing marijuana possession. “This is not, frankly, decriminalizing. This is not legalizing. This is uniform enforcement.”

Recently, more than a dozen states have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

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.