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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Marijuana Mice

In a study about morphine dependence, researchers deprived lab rats of their mothers at a young age, putting them in a stressful situation which makes them more susceptible to becoming addicted to opiates later in life.

Researchers carried out a study at the Laboratory for Physiopathology of Diseases of the Central Nervous System in France to study the effects of dronabinol, or THC, on morphine addiction in the lab rats.

Major neurological development occurs just after birth, and depriving an animal of its mother during that time makes it much more vulnerable to opiate addiction. Maternally-deprived lab rats that were given large doses of THC during adolescence were less likely to become dependent on morphine as adults. The rats were given 5 mg/kg of THC intravenously (for a person that weighs 150 lbs, that’s the equivalent to 340 mg of THC). The lab rats that were not deprived of their mothers showed average rates of morphine dependence.

This study, among others, may one day lead to an addiction treatment program that involves the use of THC. Or perhaps THC will be administered as a preventative measure to persons who are prescribed opiates in order to help prevent opiod addiction.

CO Marijuana Guns

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use and sales, and now the state’s voters might have an opportunity – via a ballot measure – to allow marijuana users to carry a concealed firearm.

The “Colorado Campaign for Equal Gun Rights” is attemping to put a question on the November 2016 ballot that is aksing Colorado lawmakers to basically ignore guidelines from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about possessing a firearm and marijuana.

The measure would change state law preventing authorities from denying concealed carry permits because of a person’s marijuana use. This is a new frontier in the marijuana-rights wars, and one that has gun-rights activists divided.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said a campaign organizer who argues that firearms aren’t banned from alcohol drinkers. “Somebody can get extremely drunk – Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and all week if they want – and they can still get a concealed carry permit.”

Marijuana Concentrates

A California state appellate court ruled that marijuana concentrates are protected under California’s 1996 medical marijuana law.

The appellate judges determined that when marijuana “was approved by voters” in California it was defined as “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.”

The court proceedings stemmed from a case where a medical marijuana patient was charged with unlawful possession of concentrated marijuana in 2013, a misdemeanor which caused him to violate his probation due to a failure “to obey all laws.”


Marijuana Depression

According to longitudinal data published in the online version of the Journal of Affective Disorders, marijuana use is found to not be associated with increased incidences of major depression.

A team of investigators from Israel and Canada studied the association between marijuana use, major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BPD) during a three-year prospective study and determined that future incidences of MDD were no higher among marijuana users than when compared to nonusers. The authors reported, “Our results show no significant association between cannabis use and the incidence of major depression.”

Contrarily, MDD was associated with increased incidences of marijuana use. The authors concluded, “Our results do not support a longitudinal association between cannabis use and increased incidence of MDD; rather, they indicate an inverse relationship between the two, which may be attributed to self-medication factors.”

The full study, “The association between cannabis use and mood disorders: A longitudinal study,” can be found online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.


Hawaii Marijuana

An official report released by Hawaii’s state auditor recommends implementing dispensaries in the state. Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000 but currently the law does not allow dispensaries and limits caregivers to grow for only one patient.

A bill was introduced in the 2014 legislative session that would permit dispensaries, but it failed to pass in the House of Representatives. The state auditor’s recent report recommends changes to House Bill 1587 and includes allowing the state’s health department to determine the total number of dispensaries and to be licensed and strictly regulated.

The report acknowledges the issues that Hawaii’s medical marijuana patients have been dealing with, such as there currently is no way to legally purchase marijuana in the state. This is forcing patients to either grow their own marijuana or turn to the black market. Dispensaries would allow for quality control methods that include gauging potency and eliminating contaminants in the marijuana sold in the state. “For this overriding reason, we conclude that regulation of dispensaries is needed to protect the public from potential harm,” the auditor’s report reads.

The auditor further advises that the state provide some start up money to get the dispensary program implemented. Eventually the state would establish dispensary application and licensing fees similar to other medical marijuana states.

teens marijuana statistics

A national survey released Tuesday found that marijuana use among teens has declined over 2014 even though Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use this year. The news may come as a surprise to critics of marijuana legalization.

The Monitoring the Future study surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide and is conducted by the University of Michigan. The survey is now in its 40th year and polls the use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes among teens.

Here are a few interesting marijuana figures from the study:

  • Marijuana use by students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades declined slightly, from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2014.
  • One in 17 high school seniors, or 5.8%, say they use marijuana almost daily this year, down from 6.5% in 2013.
  • Students in 10th and 12th grades reported that marijuana is less available than it once was.

Terra Tech Marijuana Public Company

Last week Terra Tech Corp., based in Irvine, California, won approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $6.8 million to build and operate medical marijuana operations in Nevada. This would make Terra Tech first publicly traded company that cultivates, distributes and sells marijuana.

“We were nervous, not knowing if they would run us around in circles or just say `No, find other sources of financing. In the end they kind of told us that, statutorily, they can’t tell us what to do in the space we’re in, their job is to make sure investors are aware of every risk.”

“I firmly believe this industry will be regulated like alcohol. If all goes well, I’m optimistic the federal government could end its prohibition in five to 10 years.” Peterson, Terra Tech’s CEO said in an interview.

There are other marijuana-related companies that are currently publicly traded such as Medical Marijuana Inc and Northsight Capital, as well as a number of others including WeedMaps Media Inc., PotBotics and GrowBox USA that are in various stages of IPO-planning. However there currently aren’t any public companies that grow marijuana. Terra Tech will be the first of its kind.

According to a report by ArcView Group, legal marijuana sales in the U.S. this year will total about $2.3 billion. By 2018, ArcView expects sales to exceed $10 billion.

Marijuana Native Americans

New federal policy will allow Native American tribes interested in cultivating and selling marijuana to do so, as long as they maintain “robust and effective regulatory systems,” said the U.S. attorney for Colorado, John Walsh.

Tribes will need to avoid certain enforcement triggers that also apply to state-regulated marijuana markets, including a prohibition on sales to minors and the diversion of marijuana trafficking to states where marijuana remains illegal under local law.

It is currently unclear how many tribes will take advantage of the new policy directive. Certain tribes are well-known for using their special legal status to host casinos and/or sell untaxed tobacco.

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs there are 326 federally recognized Native American reservations. Many reservations are in states that don’t allow medical or recreational marijuana use, such as Oklahoma and the Dakotas. Many others are located near major East Coast cities.

“The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” stated Timothy Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota and chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.

The Department of Justice said U.S. attorneys can review tribes’ marijuana policies on a case-by-case basis and that prosecutors retain the ability to enforce federal law.

Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Native American tribal leaders “will have a tremendous opportunity to improve public health and safety, as well as benefit economically” by legalizing marijuana use. Tvert also stated that “Regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol would ensure the product is controlled, and it would bring significant revenue and new jobs to these communities…studies have consistently found above-average rates of alcohol abuse and related problems among Native American communities, so it would be incredibly beneficial to provide adults with a safer recreational alternative.”


Congress Marijuana Federal Spending Bill 2014

State operated medical marijuana programs and legal hemp cultivation may have just got historic support from Congress. The proposed federal spending bill on Tuesday included amendments that prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to go after state medical marijuana operations. In addition it blocks the Drug Enforcement Administration from using its funds to interfere with state-legal industrial hemp research. If it passes, the bill will protect programs in the states that have legalized marijuana and CBD oils for medical purposes as well as those operations that research industrial hemp.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who a introduced the amendment with co-sponsor Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), told Huffington Post:

“The enactment of this legislation will mark the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana and has instead taken an approach to respect the many states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana to some degree. This is a victory for so many, including scores of our wounded veterans, who have found marijuana to be an important medicine for some of the ailments they suffer, such as PTSD, epilepsy and MS.”

Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance stated: “For the first time, Congress is letting states set their own medical marijuana and hemp policies, a huge step forward for sensible drug policy. States will continue to reform their marijuana laws and Congress will be forced to accommodate them. It’s not a question of if, but when, federal marijuana prohibition will be repealed.”

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Legalize Marijuana USA

The marijuana movement is quickly expanding throughout the United States. Many states are discussing and/or implementing plans to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Here are the nine states most likely to legalize marijuana next:

Arizona: Efforts by local groups and major non-profits are expected to help get a recreational marijuana legalization law, similar to Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws, onto the November 2016 ballot.

New Mexico: Support for marijuana decriminalization has been strong and the issue of a regulated and taxed marijuana market is expected to go before state lawmakers in 2015.

California: Already has a medical marijuana program and will likely legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in 2016 with the help of marijuana advocating non-profits.

New York: The governor signed the Compassionate Care Act earlier this year and New York City has officially decriminalized marijuana (less than 25 grams). Recreational marijuana could be coming soon.

Florida: Amendment 2 missed by two percent in the 2014 general election, but the marijuana movement is expected to come back strong.

Maine: Measures to decriminalize marijuana were successful in recent years and supporters think the state could be the next to legalize for recreational use.

Massachusetts: Supporters are drafting an initiative just in case lawmakers do not make an effort to legalize marijuana in 2016.

Michigan: With decriminalization efforts successful, some believe the state could be the first Midwestern state to establish a recreational marijuana market.

Minnesota: The state has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation, but many supporters predict changes will be introduced soon.

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