If Arizona legalizes recreational marijuana, it should regulate its potency

The medical marijuana industry is reportedly gearing up for another initiative to legalize recreational pot in Arizona.

This will rekindle familiar arguments. But there is one new issue that should take center stage in this debate: the regulation of the potency of recreational marijuana.

The observation is frequently made that today’s marijuana isn’t the marijuana familiar to aging boomers from their college days. It’s far more potent.

And there is growing medical evidence linking high-potency pot with a substantially higher risk of psychosis.


Arizona Governor signs Law mandating quality control testing for medical cannabis products

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation into law amending the state’s medical cannabis access program.

Senate Bill 1494 requires that all medical marijuana products sold in licensed dispensaries be independently lab tested by November 1, 2020. Testing labs must be accredited and must have no financial relationship with any dispensaries. The measure also reduces application fees for medical cannabis card holders.


Arizona Court rules to include extracts & concentrates in medical marijuana program

In a unanimous ruling, the Arizona Supreme Court on May 28 found that cannabis resins and extracts are protected by the state’s voter-approved 2010 medical marijuana law. 

Writing for the court in State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher Jones, Vice Chief Justice Robert Brutinel stated that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) “defines marijuana as including ‘all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not.’ Consistent with this language, we hold that AMMA’s definition of marijuana includes both its dried-leaf/flower form and extracted resin, including hashish.”


Arizona Supreme Court decides cannabis extracts are legal

The Arizona Supreme Court decided unanimously on Tuesday that cannabis extracts including concentrates, vape cartridges as well as infused beverages and food, are now legal and can be sold in dispensaries.

“We hold that [the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s] definition of marijuana includes both its dried-leaf/flower form and extracted resin, including hashish,” the court wrote in its decision.


ACLU demands Arizona Court stops prosecutions of medical marijuana patients

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona. There are state-licensed dispensaries, physicians and patients. But across the state, and most intensely in Maricopa County under the leadership of Attorney General Bill Montgomery, law enforcement is going after people who legally obtain and use medical cannabis extracts. Patients are facing arrest, prosecution and the threat of prosecution, and some have already served time in prison. While the state Supreme Court reviews the legality of medical cannabis extracts, the ACLU of Arizona is taking aim at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.


How the government's single licensed cannabis supplier is sabotaging research

With marijuana illegal under federal law, the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles facing American scientists who aim to study cannabis render the task nearly impossible, writes Madison Margolin. Some, however, like Dr. Sue Sisley from Scottsdale, Arizona, have persevered nonetheless, coming as far as to — almost — reschedule cannabis flower as a prescription medication for patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In partnership with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Sisley has secured the FDA's blessing to pursue clinical research on veteran PTSD patients, who smoke cannabis to mitigate their symptoms.


First clinical trial of cannabis for PTSD in veterans is now complete

After a decade of working on the first FDA-approved trial examining the effects of THC and CBD on the symptoms of PTSD in war veterans, a team of researchers has declared their clinical trial complete. The process, however, was not simple.

“We are proud to have persevered through these regulatory hurdles independently of hospitals, universities, or the VA system,” commented site principal investigator Dr. Sue Sisley in a press release.


House panel OKs bill to legalize extracts under medical marijuana law

A House committee voted Wednesday to ensure that edible forms of marijuana remain available for sale in Arizona, no matter what the Arizona Supreme Court eventually decides.

HB 2149 would spell out that the 2010 voter-approved law that allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes also legalized anything made from the resins. That can include something as simple as a tincture that a parent can give a sick child or more complex and commercial products like gummy bears and chocolate bars containing tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive elements of marijuana.

The 5-2 vote by the House Committee on Public Safety came over the objections of Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.


Prosecutor in Arizona compares marijuana to explosives

An Arizona prosecutor has made one of the most ridiculous comparisons imaginable in a legal brief about keeping certain marijuana products illegal, writes Joseph Misulonas.


Medical marijuana laws in Arizona: What is legal and illegal?

Marijuana has grown to become a $400 million industry in Arizona, but nine years after medical marijuana was legalized in our state, there is still confusion about how the law treats pot in Arizona.


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