Arizona governor allows industrial hemp

Arizona is the latest state to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday signed legislation that funds a pilot program for growing hemp. The fiber form of marijuana can be used to create a variety of products like building materials, food, paper and textiles.

Ducey’s office says at least 34 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp, and that the product will benefit Arizona’s economy.

The new law says hemp grown here cannot contain more than .3 percent THC, which is the psychoactive element of marijuana.

Growers, harvesters, processors and transporters will be required to get a license from the state agriculture department. The legislation also spells out penalties for anyone who violates the licensing requirements.


Cannabis cultivation will be a race to the bottom

The current “green rush” has brought with it an intense focus on large-scale cannabis cultivation. Across the United States and around the globe, we routinely hear stories of companies building larger and larger cannabis farms.

In Arizona, Colorado, California, and Oregon, cannabis is being cultivated in greenhouses in excess of 250,000 sq. ft. that are capable of yielding more than 50,000 pounds of flower. While large-scale Canadian producers are building greenhouses in the millions of square feet and building similar-sized facilities in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.


Arizona: Could money for teacher pay raises come from legalized marijuana?

Governor Doug Ducey has promised Arizona teachers a raise, and he has called on state lawmakers to make it happen, as part of a new budget.

The question is: where will the money come from?

One idea being floated is potential tax revenue from the legalization of recreational marijuana. A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state was all but dead in the State Legislature this session, but it might be getting new life.

"It's not going to solve the entire issue," said State Rep. Mark Cardenas (D-Phoenix). "I think it's $680 million that we need to come up with, and this would take care of 150 of that, but this is a significant portion."


House kills bill to allow eye tests for pot impairment

Unwilling to trust untested technology, state lawmakers voted Wednesday to block employers from firing workers based on their eye movements.

Current state labor law spells out the kinds of tests that companies can use to determine if current or prospective employees are impaired or under the influence of certain chemicals or alcohol. That includes testing urine, saliva, blood, breath, hair or “other substances from the person being tested.”

SB 1199 would amend that to include “eye movement data collected using software on an electronic device.”


Arizona lawmakers fail to put cannabis legalization on ballot

A bipartisan bill to put recreational marijuana on Arizona's November ballot has died in the statehouse, writes Calvin Hughes.

One of the bill's primary sponsors, Representative Todd Clodfelter (R), thinks the Arizona legislature is only making things harder for themselves by not dealing with the issue now before Arizona residents repeal cannabis prohibition through a ballot initiative.


California medical marijuana recommendation provides legal immunity in Arizona

An Arizona Court of Appeals ruling says a man's medical marijuana recommendation letter obtained from a physician under California's medical marijuana law provides the same legal immunity as registry cards issued by Arizona authorities.

The three-judge panel's decision Thursday upholds a La Paz County Superior Court judge's dismissal of drug possession charges stemming from a 2016 traffic stop of Stanley Kemmish Jr.

Prosecutors argued that the physician's letter saying Kemmish would benefit from marijuana medical usage wasn't the equivalent of Arizona's state-issued cards, but the Court of Appeals said having the letter meant Kemmish was a "visiting qualifying patient" under the Arizona law.


4 reasons why recreational marijuana has a shot in Arizona

Arizona voters may have another shot at legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes if Rep. Mark Cardenas and Rep. Todd Clodfelter have their way.

They're proposing House Concurrent Resolution 2037, which would refer a ballot measure to voters that would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six plants.

And this time, the bipartisan effort may work, though there are significant hurdles as well.  


Arizona: State to test regulated marijuana for mold, disease before sale

Sometime next year medical marijuana users will get a guarantee of sorts that the drugs they are buying is both as good as they’ve been promised.

And they’ll know if it’s got mold, disease-causing bacteria or other adulterants.

With only three lawmakers in dissent, the Senate voted Thursday to require the state Department of Agriculture to test what’s being sold at the state-regulated dispensaries around the state. SB 1420 now goes to the House.

But two other measures dealing with medical marijuana met a different fate.


Arizona: Lawmakers want to charge doctors who prescribe cannabis with a felony

State legislators in Arizona are looking to crack down on pre-existing medical marijuana laws with a bold, albeit harsh, set of regulations.

In order to further regulate the plant amongst its medical patients, lawmakers want to charge doctors who prescribe cannabis with a felony.

A Harsh Punishment

On Thursday, Arizona’s House Health Committee voted 6-3 for HB 2067, a bill that would take aim at doctors that fail to conduct a full medical exam before recommending cannabis to their patients. Doctors could face up to a year in prison if they neglect to do their due diligence.


Phoenix company working on 'Marijuana Mecca' in California desert

A Phoenix-based company is trying to take hospitality to a higher level. They’re investing millions on an experiment in the California desert. It all revolves around one thing: cannabis.

When you travel to the edge of the Mohave Desert, about an hour’s drive west of Bullhead City, you reach a tiny, windswept town: Nipton, California.

Population? Depends whom you ask. But everyone agrees less than 40.

“It's like Neverland, you know? You're in your own time zone,” said Cody Benson, who has lived in Nipton since he was 5.

“I've known it to have about three different owners and it hasn't changed much through that time,” Benson said.


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