Marijuana News in Arizona and World
In November, voters in Denver will have two marijuana measures to vote for to allow marijuana use within designated locations. One group wishes to open private marijuana consumption clubs, similar to “coffee shops” in Amsterdam. The second initiative would allow certain businesses to create a consumption area for marijuana use.
If the second initiative passes, approval from neighborhood groups and other businesses must sign off on the outdoor spaces used for marijuana consumption, according to The Denver Post, and only those 21 and older would be permitted to use marijuana in those areas.
NORML has a bit of a head start on its initiative to open private marijuana clubs. The initiative gaining the most attention is The Neighborhood Approved Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, which is backed by Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). The pilot project would be in-effect for 4 years for evaluation purposes.
NORML does not intend to withdraw its initiative, despite the opposition saying that private clubs would segregate marijuana users from society rather than integrating the industry into society.
NORML executive director Jordan Person said, “We have no reason to withdraw when we’ve made it so far. That would be ridiculous.”
Person’s initiative requires 4,800 validated signatures to gain approval for the November ballot.
Advocating with MPP, Kayvan Khalatbari said, in regards to isolated clubs versus smaller designated consumption areas that, “I just think it’s more considerate of all the things we’ve learned in the cannabis industry here in the last six months or a year, with all the stakeholders and their input.”
Neighborhood groups and business improvement district entities would set specific conditions for outdoor consumption. Annual permits would be required. Businesses with designated consumption areas would not provide marijuana to their patrons; it would be a BYOM situation.
Businesses already in the marijuana industry would be excluded from having outdoor consumption areas as it violates state law.
It is not clear as to which initiative has the advantage as both seem rather equal out of the starting gate.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was supposed to make a decision on whether to reschedule marijuana within the first half of 2016. But they are nowhere to be found during their self-imposed deadline.
A letter from the DEA in April read that it “hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” according to The Denver Post. Last week a Denver Post representative was told by a DEA spokesperson that an update from the administration’s status on rescheduling was not available.
Russell Baer, DEA spokesperson said, “We aren’t holding ourselves to any artificial time frame.”
Once the DEA does present a decision, months of deliberations, reviews, and litigation could still take place.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to the DEA at the end of June asking, “that you [the DEA] take immediate action to remove ‘cannabis’ and ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ from Schedule I.”
Rescheduling marijuana would also require a rescheduling of Marinol and other FDA-approved syntheticproducts.
Objecting pharmaceutical companies composed a letter saying, “By proposing that natural generic equivalents be rescheduled to Schedule III, the DEA acknowledged that this substance has a medical use, regardless of whether it is synthetically made or natural.”
Netflix has made a 20-episode series order for Disjointed, a marijuana-themed workplace comedy starring award-winning actress Kathy Bates.
Producer Chuck Lorre and writer David Javerbaum are writing and producing the series in which a lifelong advocate for marijuana legalization finally gets to live her dream as the owner of a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary, Deadline reports.
In the series, Bates’ character is joined by three dispensary budtenders, her twentysomething son, and a crazy security guard. And, for the most part, everyone is constantly stoned.
Chuck Lorre Productions is the enterprise behind hit CBS comedies Two and A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike & Molly. On board with Lorre is David Javerbaum, an award-winning writer known for his stint on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
The new marijuana series will begin filming soon and is anticipated to air in 2016.
Phoenix-based DispensaryPermits.com is a nationally recognized medical marijuana consulting firm that is currently offering Arizona Dispensary Application Template Packages for people pursuing the 31 newly issued Arizona medical marijuana dispensary licenses.
Marijuana industry expert and DispensaryPermits.com CEO Sara Gullickson, provides valuable tools and services to people wanting to submit a competitive and complete dispensary application to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Applications are due by July 29.
DispensaryPermits.com has a proven track record in dispensary and cultivation operations, marijuana industry business plans, and licensing.
The firm utilizes comprehensive industry knowledge and market expertise to navigate the industry’s complex rules and regulations. With success in nine states, Gullickson recently secured one of eight coveted Hawaii dispensary licenses for a client.
The firm’s Dispensary Template Packages are tailored to state-specific medical marijuana programs and provide a roadmap to success. The Arizona template includes:
- CHAA Map and Analysis
- All necessary State Documentation including: Application, State Forms, Attestations, and Rules & Regulations
- Policy and Procedure Templates
- Inventory Control Plan
- Patient Education Plan
- Security Plan
- Patient Record Keeping Plan
- Articles of Organization Template
- Interactive Financial Pro Forma
- Sample Bylaws
- Example letters of zoning
Claims that the 38-page initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol is legally flawed has resulted in the filing of a lawsuit against the initiative. The chief complaint in the suit outlines that the petition does not inform voters of every item of the measure. The suit claims that the language is “misleading voters as to cause a fraud on the electorate.”
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, is one of the plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit, KJZZ reports. Arizona law only requires the organizers of an initiative to provide 100 words for a summary of an initiative. Previous rulings in Arizona courts state that each provision in a measure is not required to be included in the summary.
Montgomery said, “If your summary can’t fairly encompass everything you’ve thrown into an initiative, it’s probably your first indication that your initiative is not going to meet constitutional or statutory muster.”
The County Attorney also claims that parts of the initiative are unconstitutional, such as the use of the Gift Clause allowing medical marijuana dispensaries the first opportunity to obtain recreational marijuana business licenses.
He said, “You can’t pass a law that gives special advantages to just a particular corporation or group or individuals.”
While dispensaries already in legal operating status would be an advantage, legislator fail to realize that these businesses are already equipped for the industry. Dispensaries are already following regulatory statutes and would be better prepared for a recreational marijuana market than a brand new business may be.
Campaign Chairman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, JP Holyoak, prepared the following statement: “Our opponents have demonstrated that they are willing to do and say just about anything to maintain the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. This lawsuit is simply a desperate attempt to deprive Arizona voters of the right to vote on this ballot question.”
A hearing on the matter is set for July 19 in Maricopa County Superior Court. Further commentary from pro-legalization supporters and campaign representatives will not be made without further examination of the legal issues of concern.
The Democratic Party is supporting the downgrading of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. The party endorsed the “reasonable pathway to future legalization” of marijuana. Bernie Sanders supporters received a victory in achieving democratic endorsements of changing marijuana policies.
The drafting committee approved language during the meeting calling for “policies that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without certainty.”
Following several arguments surrounding the language, the marijuana amendment text reads, “Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from it list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”
During the committee meeting there were concerns regarding language in an amendment that may remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act, The Washington Post reports. Some members are concerned that state-by-state decriminalization studies and other state-regulated efforts could be undermined if marijuana were removed completely from the controlled substances list. Before the arguments became heated, a discussion to change some of the language was proposed.
A vote took place to agree or disagree to send the written language for consideration. During the voting process, a bit of debate took place regarding who was permitted to vote and who was restricted. In the end, the vote was called with 81 of the 187 committee members approving the downgrade amendment, while only 80 opposed it.
The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can obtain a search warrant simply because the aroma of marijuana is noticed. This comes as unfortunate news for the 90,000 or so medical marijuana patients in Arizona.
This ruling came after one trial judge’s decision to allow marijuana seized via search to be used as provable evidence, 12 News reports. The marijuana seized led to the discovery of a large marijuana grow operation.
Legal expert, Monica Lindstrom said, “The smell of marijuana, the odor of marijuana is enough for an officer to call a judge and get a search warrant.”
One medical marijuana patient, Rebecca Calloway, said, “A lot of patients feel they are being harassed by cops with nothing better to do.” Calloway has her medical marijuana card for chronic back pain from playing high school sports and works at an Arizona dispensary.
Simply having a medical marijuana card does not make any single patient safe or exempt from a search. Medical marijuana cardholders may be able to calmly contend the validity of a search because of being legally permitted to possess medical marijuana. Officers would likely have to be overwhelmed by the aroma of marijuana to request a search of a medical marijuana patient.
If Nevada residents vote to approve recreational marijuana in November, the state could rake in $630 million in marijuana sales by 2020, forecasts suggest.
The state’s ballot initiative would regulate marijuana like alcohol. Currently, Nevada is one of the few states where out-of-state medical marijuana patients can use their medical marijuana card at Nevada dispensaries.
Nevada hosted over 55 million tourists in 2015, according to Yahoo! Finance. Tourism is expected to increase along with the economic potential for new businesses and more jobs which would help the state’s economy even more. Nevada expects a vast majority of its revenue from recreational marijuana sales to come from tourists.
New Frontier founder and CEO, Giadha DeCarcer said, “If Nevada legalizes adult use cannabis, we will witness an unprecedented socio-economic impact in a state already shaped and fueled by tourism and entertainment. The scale of the impact is expected to be massive – by 2020, adult use markets are projected to add an additional $484.3 million in annual sales, and account for almost three quarters of the total legal cannabis market in Nevada.”
The Arcview Group CEO, Troy Dayton said, “2016 is poised to be the tipping point for the cannabis industry. Nevada is just the beginning of significant opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs that lay ahead in the sector, especially given its top tourist destination rank.”
Recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington in 2014. Since then, sales have exceeded $1 billion, and the state has received more than $250 million in marijuana sales excise taxes.
June 2016 was reportedly the month with the largest amount of sales, with the total being approximately $86.7 million, according to The Washington Times. From those sales alone, $20 million in taxes were generated. Reports show double the amount of sales from those in June 2015.
It is estimated that the domestic marijuana industry in the U.S. is worth approximately $7.2 billion. The recreational marijuana market in Washington is thriving, continuing to prove that the marijuana industry can be a positive impact on the society and economy. Increased tourism to the state following recreational legalization is also a large factor in the sales numbers.
The Arizona Dispensary Network, Arizona’s oldest and largest marijuana industry trade association, has announced that its July, August and September meetings will be open to all new dispensary applicants attempting to obtain an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary license.
Applicants are encouraged to attend the meetings to start learning about the industry they may soon be joining as well as about resources currently available to them.
The meetings are at no cost and open to all dispensary principals (directors and officers), dispensary agents, and invitees of dispensary principals.
July’s meeting will be held Wednesday, July 27th from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix.
5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Registration and Networking
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Meeting
8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (or later, the restaurant is open until 10:00 p.m.)
For more information and to RSVP, contact: