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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

Colorado Retail Marijuana

Colorado has reported that sales of recreational marijuana for the month of July have surpassed medical marijuana sales, marking the first time this has happened in the 9 months since recreational marijuana was legalized.

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, customers bought $29.7 million worth of recreational marijuana, while medical marijuana sales came in at $28.9 million. Since retail sales first began, dispensaries have sold roughly $145 million of marijuana.  When combined with medical marijuana sales, the state of Colorado has sold a staggering $350 million worth of marijuana since January 2014.

Over 55% of residents support Colorado’s recreational marijuana movement.

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Oregon Marijuana
A US congressman from Oregon has asked that the White House look into potential finance law violations due to allegations that money to fund the upcoming Oregon marijuana “education tour” about the dangers of legalizing marijuana might have been donated by the federal government.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer referred to the tour as a “smokescreen” put on by anti-marijuana activists on a federal level to deter Oregon residents from voting for legalization. Oregon will join Alaska and the District of Columbia this November to vote on whether or not to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Blumenauer wrote in his letter to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that, “the bias of the speakers selected, the overall one-sided focus of the events and the proximity between these events and the upcoming election are cause for concern.”

Although Oregon fell short of recreational legalization a couple of years ago when Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow it, they are now favored to pass the law come November.

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Gobal Commission Drug Policy
A new report published this week by former world leaders states that drug use should be decriminalized and governments should look into the idea of broad scale legalization.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy’s ideas are also shared by some of the leaders of the countries that have been most affected by the illegal drug market.  They argue, that not only is the war on drugs pointless, it is also the main reason for the crime and violence it was originally set up to prevent.

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general says, “The facts speak for themselves. We need drug policies informed by evidence of what actually works, rather than policies that criminalize drug use while failing to provide access to effective prevention or treatment. This has led not only to overcrowded jails, but also to severe health and social problems.”

A report in 2011 came to a similar conclusion, and even went so far as to suggest some recommendations for the policy currently in place. They feel that drug use and possession in regards to laws that disproportionately affect certain groups or minorities should be decriminalized. The report also suggests that experimental legalization, like in Colorado and Washington, should be done on a much larger scale in other countries. They believe that marijuana is a good place to start, but that it should not be limited there.

They go on to suggest that low level, non-violent drug dealers should not be sent to jail, but instead disciplined in a different and more humane way.  The spokeswoman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Cameron Hardesty, seems to agree on this point. She says, “We agree that we should use science-based approaches, rely on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders, and ensure access to pain medications. Our goals are not so dissimilar from the goals of the Global Commission. However, we disagree that legalization of drugs will make people healthier and communities safer.”

It will be great to see other states in the US following the example set by Colorado and Washington in the upcoming elections in regards to the recreational use of marijuana, as well as to see how Uruguay’s model of nationwide marijuana legalization works out. One thing is for certain - the current policy has to change.

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Painkillers Marijuana
While the majority of Americans are coming around to the idea that marijuana can be valuable, whether it be for recreational or medical purposes, the opposition is looking to a team of researchers in hopes that they can scare and influence policymakers into continuing to believe that marijuana is a dangerous substance.  They claim the lack of testing that has been done on marijuana makes it a risky alternative to modern medicine.

It appears a great number of these researchers are receiving compensation by some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry to remain anti-marijuana.  The main reason being that marijuana could easily take the place of some of these companies’ highest grossing drugs.

Many credible doctors who have spoken publicly about the “dangers” associated with marijuana use are getting paid by large-scale pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Purdue Pharma, creator of the painkiller, OcyContin.

People in the marijuana field feel that some of these doctors’ financial arrangements with big pharmaceutical companies should be considered a conflict of interest.  Studies done on marijuana in association with pain relief have shown that it is a viable replacement for addictive opiates which mimic the effects of heroin.  What they fail to mention, however, is that prescription painkillers are responsible for roughly 16,000 overdose deaths annually, while no one in recorded history has ever overdosed from marijuana use.

Nation magazine ran a story in July which stated that many of the largest anti-marijuana advocacy groups rely on funding from painkiller manufacturing companies such as Purdue Pharma.  While these companies fill the general public’s heads with skewed opinions, they take away from one of the biggest problems facing the US, which is the over-prescribing of painkillers.

Meanwhile these companies pump more and more painkillers into the hands of the unsuspecting American public every single day because the media often tells them that opioids are a safer alternative to using the all-natural remedy, marijuana.

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NFL Marijuana Drug Policy

It appears the NFL will finally be looking towards changing their antiquated and overly severe drug policy.  The NFLPA (NFL Players Association) will soon vote on some proposed changes to the NFL’s current policy.

If the changes are accepted, there would be an increased threshold for any player that tests positive for marijuana.  Nate Jackson, a New York Times contributor, who was also a former NFL tight end, says that he medicated with marijuana for the majority of his career and feels that the way Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Josh Gordon was treated is unfair.

Jackson goes on to say, “Gordon has marijuana in his system.  He broke the rules.  I understand that.  But this is a rule that absurdly equates marijuana with opiates, steroids, and PCP.  The NFL’s threshold for disciplinary action for marijuana is 10 times higher than the one used by the International Olympic Committee.”

This is a long time coming for the NFL to take a look at the way they handle marijuana across the league.  Morgan Fox of the marijuana policy project sums it up best by saying, “The NFL’s harsh marijuana penalties do nothing to promote the health and safety of the players.”

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Tucson Dispensary
The Tucson City Council voted to remove zoning restrictions on medical marijuana cultivation centers. Council members and advocates said the change will greatly benefit the city’s economy.

Vicky Puchi-Saavedra, a Tucson dispensary owner, said the decision will help generate new marijuana industry jobs and improve revenue for the city because cultivation facilities can now be bigger than the previous 3,000 square-feet limit. Many Tucson dispensaries have been purchasing medical marijuana from Phoenix dispensaries, where there are no zoning restrictions, in order to keep up with demand. These Tucson dispensaries were nearly paying retail price, making it impossible to lower costs for their customers.

“It is like trickle down economics. You don’t just hire a grower, you hire bookkeepers, you hire warehouse managers…” said Puchi-Saavedra. “Aside from the sales tax we are paying, city sales tax, so we are helping the city instead of moving our warehouse out of Tucson, back into Phoenix.”

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich stated that Tucson area patients were suffering the consequences of strict marijuana cultivation regulations.

“Most of the product was being cultivated in Maricopa County and in the Phoenix area, which added cost to patients in our area,” stated Uhlich. “And so we are really monitoring what is happening across the state as the law gets implemented and recognizing that being overly restrictive simply ads cost to patients in Tucson.”

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Phoenix Dispensaries
Another free giveaway by AZmarijuana.com has begun. This new giveaway is for a $100 dispensary gift card. As always, our giveaways are free to enter and win.

Click here and enter to win!

Anyone 18 or older can enter to win the gift card. But in order to use the gift card the person must have a valid Arizona medical marijuana card.

The gift card can be used at either of Nature’s AZ Medicines’ two dispensary locations. The gift card user can purchase marijuana, edibles or other products such as a pipe, bong, or vaporizer. View Nature’s AZ Medicines’ menu to see all their current products.

The giveaway ends on Sept. 30. So enter to win today!

Click here and enter to win!

Maine Marijuana

Three cities in Maine will be voting this coming November on adopting a program that would allow adults age 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Law enforcement and local governments have shown strong opposition to this movement, but the initiatives in each city are still gaining momentum.

Lewiston, Maine’s second largest city, was the first to place the initiative on its ballot. They were able to gather many more signatures than needed to get the initiative on the ballot.

The city of South Portland faced unanimous opposition in regards to the initiative, but still managed to turn in more than enough signatures from local supporters.

York, the third city pushing for the legalization of small amounts of marijuana, was also able to gather enough signatures to get the initiative on their town’s ballot despite facing great opposition as well.

Activists in Maine are hoping that this will push their state in a pro-marijuana direction, and that Maine voters will be able to vote for legalized recreational marijuana by 2016.

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Berkeley Dispensaries
The Berkeley City Council in California has decided that medical marijuana dispensaries should give a break to patients who can’t afford to buy their marijuana at dispensaries.

The City Council unanimously voted on a measure that will force medical marijuana dispensaries to donate 2% of their inventory to state-approved medical marijuana patients who pull in less than $32,000 annually.

The program just passed and is expected to be underway by mid-2015.

Low income residents in need of medical marijuana are extremely pleased that this measure passed allowing them to get the relief they so desperately need, but struggle to afford.

California has allowed medical marijuana in the state for over 20 years and many California dispensaries have voluntarily provided medical marijuana to patients in need.

The Berkeley Patients group is a dispensary that has been giving marijuana to its patients for over 10 years. They believe that no one should be turned away based solely on their income.

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Marijuana Travel
According to Denver news reports, marijuana-enjoying tourists leaving the Mile High City have been giving their leftover marijuana to rental car employees because they’re afraid of a shakedown by airport security.

“It happens quite often…every couple of days” said one rental car employee. Another rental car agency employee said departing travelers hand her their leftover marijuana several times per day. “It happens pretty often. More during the weekends. Probably like four times a day,” she stated.

Some workers “just throw it in the trash” while others likely keep the free marijuana because marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older.

This marijuana-ditching phenomenon seems to be a common occurrence at Denver International Airport because tourists are highly aware that transporting marijuana via airplane is a felony and could get them arrested. This is because marijuana is still considered illegal by the federal government and by the Federal Aviation Administration, even though marijuana is legal in Colorado.

Airport officials stated that the few individuals caught with marijuana have simply been asked to throw it away. “We want them to discard it peacefully and carry on with their trip,” said Stacey Stegman, a spokesperson with the airport. “We don’t want to have to issue a citation, we don’t want anyone to get in trouble.”

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