Arizona’s legalization bill qualifies for ballot
A bill to legalize cannabis in Arizona will be included on the November ballot. Arizona’s attorney general recently announced that advocates for The Smart and Safe Arizona initiative have gathered enough signatures for the measure to be voted on in the next election. Prop 207, as it’s known, would legalize the sale, possession, and consumption of one ounce of marijuana (of which 5 grams can be concentrate) for adults at least 21 years old. It also allows home cultivation of up to 6 plants, establishes over 100 recreational marijuana dispensaries, and decriminalizes many marijuana-related offenses.
Also in Arizona, a Maricopa County attorney issued a policy that allows people who have been arrested with cannabis to avoid penalties if they get a medical marijuana card. The policy stipulates that the offense must fall within the guidelines of the 2010 law, which allows patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and related paraphernalia and allows those who live over 25 miles from a dispensary to grow up to 12 plants in their home.
Meanwhile, around the US…
In national news, the House of Representatives included some cannabis-friendly provisions in their COVID-19 relief bill. Earlier this month, the house protected states from having their marijuana laws interfered with by the justice department. They also included provisions to aid cannabis firms’ ability to bank – essentially shielding banks from being punished for serving cannabis clients. Even more – they also voted to prevent universities from losing funding for studying cannabis. We’ll see how it fares in the Senate.
Elsewhere, a group of bipartisan lawmakers blasted the DEA for negatively impacting Americans jobs by slow-walking approvals for cannabis licenses. The lawmakers claim that a years-long delay in issuing permits has blocked essential research and slowed job growth for researchers and scientists who are interested in studying marijuana.
The DEA says it is in the process of approving additional cultivation facilities, but according to Marijuana Moment, it has been over four years since they first announced that applications for more growers would be accepted. Indeed, earlier in the year, the DEA proposed a rule change to allow it to approve these applications, but have yet to grant new licenses or finalize regulations.
The lawmakers claim that the DEAs policy is not only hindering job creation but also impacting vital research:
“Delays in approving grower applications for the manufacturing of research-grade marijuana have had potentially detrimental effects on Americans’ health as untested products are being widely used for numerous medical conditions without safety or efficacy data to support these uses. It has also cost American jobs as other countries around the world such as Israel, the United Kingdom, and Canada, have taken the lead in Cannabis research, reaping the benefits of patents and products derived from this research. Meanwhile, American researchers have resorted to importing cannabis from overseas.”
In other news, medical marijuana proponents plan to educate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the benefits of cannabis at a series of meetings they are hosting on pain management. The meetings come as part of a broader effort to tackle the opioid abuse crisis, and are scheduled in the wake of continuing evidence that states with liberal medical marijuana laws have a lower incidence of opioid use.
On the subject of the opioid crisis…
A first of its kind study by researchers at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center revealed that states with medical cannabis programs saw a 20% drop in prescriptions for certain opioids. The researchers say their findings underscore the importance of finding pain management alternatives. Indeed, drug overdoses remain a leading cause of death in the US, with numbers rising from already record-level highs.
Last but not least
A recent study published in the journal Sexual Medicine reports what many women have anecdotally claimed for years – that cannabis use leads to increased time in the sheets. The study, which asked female marijuana users about their sex lives, found that more frequent cannabis use was associated with heightened arousal, stronger orgasms, and greater sexual satisfaction in general. Definitely worth noting.
Watch this space for more of the latest and greatest from the cannabis world as it happens!