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AZ Marijuana Ballot Initiative

Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego announced today that he is endorsing the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, an initiative poised for the November ballot.

The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana, establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol, and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales. A majority of the tax revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.

“Forcing sales of this plant into the underground market has resulted in billions of dollars flowing into the hands of drug cartels and other criminals,” said Rep. Gallego. “We will be far better off if we shift the production and sale of marijuana to taxpaying Arizona businesses that are subject to strict regulations. It will also allow the state to direct law enforcement resources toward reducing violence and other more serious crimes.”

Gallego, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 7th congressional district (comprising of central and south Phoenix as well as western Maricopa County communities), announced his endorsement at a news conference on the House Lawn of the Arizona State Capitol. He was joined by leaders of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) in Arizona, a group that is supporting the initiative.

“I am proud to support this initiative, as it represents a far more sensible approach to marijuana for our state,” mentioned Gallego. “It will make Arizona communities safer, while also generating some much-needed tax revenue for our schools.”

The campaign is wrapping up its petition drive in support of the initiative and will be submitting its signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office prior to the July 7 deadline.

Marijuana Jobs

The legalized marijuana industry in the United States is booming. In 2015, legal sales reached $5.7 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2014. And demand is expected to continue through 2016 as the industry is projected to grow to $7.1 billion.

All this growth means that jobs are in high demand, and the best place to find jobs in the legal U.S. marijuana industry is at 420careers.com, the marijuana industry’s leading job listing site. The website just released a list of the 8 most popular marijuana industry jobs in the U.S., and a list of the 5 most popular auxiliary marijuana industry jobs in the U.S.

“Many employers in the legalized marijuana industry don’t require previous work experience at a marijuana company, so almost anyone 18 or older with a high school degree can obtain a job in the industry,” a spokesperson for 420careers.com stated.

The 8 most popular marijuana jobs in the U.S.:

  1. Budtenders – assist dispensary customers with purchasing marijuana
  2. Sales Reps – sell products (vapes, technology, edibles, etc.) to dispensaries
  3. Extraction Technicians – make marijuana concentrates
  4. Edibles Makers – make marijuana-infused foods and drinks
  5. Dispensary Security – patrol dispensaries for illegal activity
  6. Marijuana Growers – cultivate marijuana for dispensaries
  7. Trimmers – trim and package marijuana flowers for dispensaries
  8. Dispensary Managers – manage all or various aspects of dispensaries

The 5 most popular auxiliary jobs in the U.S. marijuana industry:

  1. Consultants (cultivation, business management, etc.)
  2. Lawyers
  3. Accountants
  4. Marketing
  5. Web Developers/Designers

Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Arizona

A group of Arizona parents that formed a coalition to support the initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona is launching a pro-marijuana Father’s Day billboard in Phoenix.

Parents for Responsible Regulation (PRR) is a group of concerned parents that was created for the purpose of highlighting the benefits of regulating marijuana to protect teenagers. Their Father’s Day-themed billboard launches on Thursday, June 16. Upon launching, a news conference will be held in front of the billboard in downtown Phoenix (two blocks south of Chase Field on the southwest corner of 7th St. and Lincoln St.) at 10 a.m. MST.

Marijuana Billboard Arizona

“Our current system of marijuana prohibition has failed to keep marijuana out of the hands of teens. It forces marijuana sales into the underground market, where customers are never asked for ID and often exposed to other illegal products. In a regulated system, checks for proof of age would be mandatory and strictly enforced. I would do everything in my power to protect my children, and that’s why I am speaking out in support of regulating marijuana like alcohol,” mentioned PRR co-chair Sonia Martinez, an attorney and mother of two children, ages 9 and 10.

PRR co-chair Ryan Tracy, owner of C4 Labs and father of two children, ages 3 and 6, said, “The growing and selling of marijuana are currently being relegated to criminal enterprises, oftentimes including cartels and gangs. In an illegal market, suppliers cannot count on law enforcement officials to step in when business-related disputes occur, so they resort to violence. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are spending time arresting and prosecuting adults for simple marijuana possession that would be better spent addressing more serious crimes.”

CDC Marijuana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is a federal government institution, has again discovered via their Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) survey that marijuana prohibition laws lead to an increase in teen marijuana use.

The CDC’s latest YRBSS survey report reveals that the rate of current marijuana use among U.S. high school students decreased from 2013 to 2015, even though states throughout the U.S. have continued to reform marijuana laws over those years.

Fewer high students used marijuana in 2015 than in previous years; yet, in 2015, recreational marijuana use was legal for adults in four states and medical marijuana use legal in more than 20 states.

The YRBSS also revealed that 21.7% of U.S. high school students claimed to have used marijuana in the past 30 days, which is down from 23.4% in 2013 and 26.2% in 1997. California, in 1997, was the first state to implement a medical marijuana law.

Initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults are expected to on the November ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and possibly a few other states. Florida will be voting on an initiative to legalize medical marijuana.

(Photo: ibtimes.com)

Marijuana TV Shows

There is no question that classic stoner comedy is timeless and brilliant. Cheech & Chong took the world by storm as one of the first mainstream crossover forms of stoner expression, and you don’t have to be high to crack up at their antics when re-watching their films. But let’s face it – they put a few stereotypes in place that ran rampant in stoner TV portrayals for years. All stoners are guys, losers, with no jobs, who hang out all day and just happen into crazy adventures. Dude, Where’s My Car? used almost exactly the same formula years later.

Now, however, what many are calling the golden era of television is yielding all kinds of awesome new takes on the tried-and-true stoner stereotypes we know and love. Smokers are women, they are old, they are successful – or maybe they borrow from the tropes of stoner comedy, but don’t advocate for substance use at all. Here are a few of the exciting new ways that so-called stoner comedy is branching out:

Broad City

This show has been groundbreaking in so many ways – finally, there’s a “girly” show on TV that depicts women just hanging out and making fools of themselves instead of constantly getting dolled up or having catty fights. This show definitely follows the “stoner comedy” formula to a degree – you have two best buds who do everything together but seem to always be getting into trouble – but it takes things to a whole new level. For one thing, it shows women smoking, not just with their boyfriend or as part of a crowd, but on their own, getting their own weed and making their own decisions about how to imbibe. It also portrays cannabis use in a healthy way – both ladies are still active and functioning even though they are constantly puffing the ganja – while still making a few jokes at the expense of stoners. (The episode where Ilana has weed hidden all over her apartment is priceless.)

Workaholics

This new hit show is definitely guilty of following some of the old stoner standard tropes – you’ve got three best buds instead of two, but they are totally dumb and definitely come off as losers. They even have a drug dealer who lives in a van (even though they are based in California, where they could easily get med cards.) But it can be argued that this show picks up where comedians like Cheech & Chong left off and took the stoner comedy thing to the most extreme level possible. Some of the completely disgusting and utterly stupid situations in this show leave you scratching your head about their portrayal of cannabis, until you realize it is all very self-aware and meant to point out how exaggerated these stereotypes really are. Plus, major props to Adam DeVine’s character on the show for making “smoke weed about it” part of every stoner’s phraseology.

Franke & Grace

Possibly the most groundbreaking new show to talk about weed out today, this funny, heartwarming comedy brings up a lot of issues many would rather sweep under the rug. From menopause and older women feeling unattractive to the perils of masturbation for older women and the stress faced by those who lived their whole lives in the closet and came out as senior citizens, Frankie & Grace has screamed that although it’s a super-cute feel good rom-com, it is about to boldly go where no show has gone before. One of the many issues it breaches is cannabis use in older women – eccentric hippie Frankie (Lily Tomlin), the foil to starchy, conservative Grace (Jane Fonda), is an avid cannabis user. At one point she is having trouble passing her driving test – until she realizes she gets stoned while she studies, so she has to take the test high, too. She is always lighting up a joint or hitting a bong. While this is part of her charm and meant to be a bit funny, it also highlights that older women can use cannabis for pain and medication, and still be awesome mothers, grandmothers, and professional women. Plus, the stoner comedy dynamic between Fonda and Tomlin is good enough to make the entire show.

Trailer Park Boys

Everybody loves this ridiculously dumb Canadian comedy, but sometimes this show is so low-brow that it’s easy to miss some of the deeper messages. However, as they clearly point out in the film Illegalize It, the cannabis industry can, and is, potentially hurting the poor who have always sold cannabis illegally because of felons being kept out of the business, and rich, privileged people taking over. Plus, as silly as Ricky’s dialogue is, and as often as he refers to cannabis as “dope,” he slips in some pretty good points about how marijuana is a safe and harmless substitute to harder drugs.

Regular Show

The most innocent of the stoner comedies, this show is actually aimed at kids, although it is still funny to young adults, teens, and adults. The best part about this show? It is stoner comedy for sure – two dumb guys keep having misadventures and being lazy on the job, preferring video games to work – but the characters are cartoon animals who only imbibe pizza and soda, no beer, no weed, no drugs. However, they still party incredibly hard: late nights with pizza and soda lead to hangovers the next day, wings lead to making bad life choices, and going into the wrong sandwich shop leads to an epic battle. Hands down, this show proves that the tried and true formula of high humor is so good that you can be totally sober to create and appreciate it.

(Photo: denofgeek.us)