Capital Media Services: “State lawmakers are moving to keep medical marijuana dispensaries in rural areas of the state from moving to cities. On a 5-4 vote Monday, the House Committee on Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs approved legislation saying those who were the first to open marijuana stores following the 2010 voter approval of medical marijuana sales cannot move outside the areas where they first opened.”
The Marijuana Times: “There is no doubt that 2016 will be the biggest year in the short history of the marijuana law reform movement. Five states will have recreational cannabis legalization on the statewide ballot for their citizens to vote on in November. We here at The Marijuana Times are going to take a closer look at all 5, and we’re going to start with Proposition 205 in Arizona. Prop 205 is similar to the legalization initiatives that will be appearing in other states. Here are some of the highlights of what Prop 205 would do if passed by the voters:”
Read the full text of Arizona Proposition 205 entitled the “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.” The proposition is sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project.
The Act: (1) establishes a 15% tax on retail marijuana sales, from which the revenue will be allocated to public health and education; (2) allows adults twenty-one years of age and older to possess and to privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana; (3) creates a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana; (4) establishes a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana; and (5) provides local governments with the authority to regulate and limit marijuana businesses.
Tucson.com: “Unable to qualify for the ballot this year, organizers of one of the initiatives to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Arizona are now trying to defeat the remaining measure. Arizonans for Mindful Regulation has quietly shelved its plans to put its proposal on the November ballot. . . . Medar and his allies are forming a political committee to try to persuade voters to reject the other initiative. That measure, pushed under the banner of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, is virtually certain to make the ballot.”
Phoenix New Times: “An alternative Arizona marijuana-legalization campaign made up of passionate cannabis users is aiming sky-high with its permissive proposal, but would voters really go for it? Arizonans for Mindful Regulation, a grassroots organization that has a small army of volunteers but little money, is making a final push to make the ballot this November with its initiative that would allow up to 1,500 retail-shop licenses statewide to be issued by the end of next year. It would ban limits on cultivation or distribution licenses. Colorado, by comparison, now has about 950 medical-marijuana and recreational marijuana retail outlets.
Eastern Arizona Courier: “Medical marijuana dispensary owner J.P. Holyoak debated Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles over legalizing marijuana for recreational use at an event at Victory Theater, sponsored by the Graham County Tea Party and Graham County Republican Women Club, on Feb. 19. Holyoak called himself an “unapologetic conservative Republican” who also happens to be the chairman of the Marijuana Policy Project-sponsored initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Holyoak was previously against marijuana but, after seeing how the plant improved the quality of life for his ill daughter, Reese, he thrust himself into its advocacy.
Arizona House Bill 2410 sponsored by Republicans Vince Leach, Bob Thorpe, Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern and David Livingston would require that all medical marijuana grown by Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries be grown inside enclosed facilities. The propose law would modify Arizona Revised Statutes Section 36-2801.6 as follows:
“Enclosed, locked facility” means a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed, roofed area that has a hardened covering and that is equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.”
The proposed change in the statute is indicated above in text that is bold and red.
Phoenix New Times: “League of Arizona Cities and Towns says cities won’t be able to ban home cultivation under the CRMLA. . . . Does a marijuana-legalization initiative expected to be on the ballot in November allow cities and towns to ban adults from growing their own marijuana? Under the initiative, adults 21 and older could grow up to six plants, with a 12-plant-per-household maximum.”
Phoenix New Times: “State Representative Jay Lawrence (R-Fountain Hills) has withdrawn his bill that could have destroyed Arizona’s medical-marijuana program. Lawrence’s bill, HCR 2019, would have stripped naturopaths and homeopaths of the right to recommend medical marijuana, even though those doctors write nearly 90 percent of the recommendations. His plan also called for patients to renew their cards every six months instead of every year, paying double the annual fees.”
KTAR News: “Republican lawmakers are trying to amend Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act to make it more difficult for patients to access medication. Their proposals include limiting which types of doctors can issue medical marijuana referrals, tightening restrictions on who can receive referrals and requiring patients to get new referrals more often. But the proposals could conflict with the Arizona Constitution, which prevents the Legislature from altering voter-approved initiatives such as the Medical Marijuana Act, which has nearly 88,000 qualified patients.”
Phoenix New Times: “A right-wing Sedona group advertises what promises to be the throwdown of the year: A debate on the merits of marijuana legalization between staunch pot prohibitionist Sheila Polk on one side and fellow anti-marijuana activist Seth Leibsohn on the other. Yes, you read that right: The group says Leibsohn will take a pro-legalization stance in the debate. Leibsohn, a conservative AM-radio talk-show host, is the chair ofArizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group formed to combat an adult-use legalization measure expected to be on the 2016 Arizona ballot. Yavapai County Attorney Polk is the group’s vice chair.”
Marijuana Politics: “MPP’s Arizona marijuana legalization initiative, which has banked 100,000 signatures so far, about two-thirds of the goal. The complete text with hyperlinks and my notations (as my math teacher would say, “show your work”) is available as a PDF download. Here are the highlights:
Phoenix New Times: “Arizona voters are split nearly 50-50 on adult-use marijuana legalization, according to a new poll showing the need for supporters to work together if they want to end pot prohibition next year. Overall, 49 percent of voters support and 51 percent oppose the idea of “recreational” marijuana legalization, says the poll released on Tuesday by the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.”
Tucson Weekly: “While marijuana advocates look to legalize in Arizona, concerns remain about medical marijuana program. When Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in 2010, the traditionally conservative state did so tentatively. . . . State officials now call Arizona’s system a model for other states, and members of the pro-legalization campaign deem the system a big success. . . . However, opponents of marijuana legalization said the system is ‘cloaked in secrecy’ and questioned whether Arizona is a model state, pointing to factors like its high number of medical marijuana cardholders. They also raise concerns about a lack of transparency and question whether the system has hindered drug cartels as supporters claimed it would.”
Eastern Arizona Courier: “The backers of an initiative to regulate and tax cannabis (marijuana) like alcohol in Arizona announced Thursday that it has surpassed 75,000 registered voter signatures. The initiative needs 150,642 valid signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot, but organizers have set a goal of obtaining 230,000 signatures.
Arizona Republic: “Second marijuana initiative filed . . . The Campaign to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana filed paperwork last week for a competing effort to legalize marijuana, potentially jeopardizing any effort to legalize the drug in 2016. Like the first initiative, the group seeks to let adults carry up to an ounce of marijuana and proposes a 15 percent tax to help fund public education. However, those who carry more than 8 ounces of marijuana could be slapped with a misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony, as the first initiative proposes.”
Phoenix New Times: “A law-enforcement task force in Yavapai County cut a $50,000 check from RICO funds to a substance-abuse group dedicated to fighting marijuana legalization in Arizona, New Times has learned. The deal between the Yavapai County-based Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) task force and MATFORCE was made soon after the Marijuana Policy Project announced it would launch a 2016 legalization campaign in Arizona — and more public funding against legalization could be on the way. Last week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an opinion, based on a question by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, that public resources could continue to “educate” the public about the alleged evils of marijuana legalization.”
Arizona Daily Star: “For years, supporters of legalizing marijuana for recreational use have been looking to 2016 as the year they would take their initiative to Arizona voters and win. Now they are split in a way that endangers the prospects for legalization. The division is pitting many of Arizona medical-marijuana dispensary owners against the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization that is responsible for its industry’s existence, having drafted our state’s 2010 medical-marijuana law and funded the campaign. . . . On March 29, the national policy project’s executive director, Rob Kampia, threatened in an email to ruin the dispensary business of Phoenix-area physician Gina Berman, who is leading the breakaway group. ‘If you file a competing initiative with the Secretary of State anyway, we will specifically launch a series of actions to harm your business . . . . I’m already budgeting $10,000 . . . to pay people . . . to distribute literature outside of your front door, and the literature will not portray you in a kind way. We will not target any other dispensaries; we will only target you.'”
Arizona Republic: “The guy who’s heading up an effort to throw open Arizona’s doors to recreational marijuana is sounding like he might need to light up a little more often. On Sunday, Rob Kampia, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, fired off a threatening email to an Arizona doctor who hopes to put a more incremental measure on the 2016 ballot.”
Tucson Weekly: “Language allowing people to grow recreational marijuana at their homes was completely scratched from a new draft of the citizens’ initiative we might see on the 2016 ballot, making the months-long collaboration between Safer Arizona and the Marijuana Policy Project a bit rusty in recent days. Up until this draft, dated Feb. 25, cultivation rights were considered. Ten days prior, the initiative said a person could grow up to six plants and a household a total of 12. Some dispensaries were concerned this might affect their business, and, according to members of Safer Arizona and other like-minded pot advocates, this might have been a reason for removing that section.”
Phoenix New Times: “A few Republican lawmakers are trying to sneak past the Voter Protection Act with a draconian DUI bill that targets the state’s medical-marijuana users. State Representative Sonny Borrelli, R-Kingman, is the prime sponsor of HB 2273, a bill that could result in DUI convictions for medical-cannabis users who aren’t impaired while driving. Borrelli’s bill would reverse an Arizona Supreme Court ruling in April 2014 that prohibits DUI convictions based solely on the presence in the bloodstream of a marijuana compound known to be incapable of causing impairment.”
The Cannabist: “Arizona lawmakers introduced a bill in April to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Thirteen state representatives sponsored HB 2558, but it didn’t go far. After reading it into the record, leadership referred it to the House Rules Committee, where it languished. The bill’s status on Legiscan, a legislation tracking website, lists the measure as “died in committee.” Before that happened, however, lawmakers ordered a study of retail marijuana revenue projections. . . . Jeremy Gunderson, a fiscal analyst for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, estimates in the report . . . that legalization would bring $48.3 million to state coffers in 2016.“
Arizona Republic: “Three of Arizona’s top prosecutors are calling for support from political and civic leaders to oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery are demanding that state leaders “stand on the side of decreasing drug use among youth,” according to a statement released Thursday by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.”
Arizona Republic: “Now that Arizona’s once-rosy budget outlook has evaporated, a state lawmaker wants to decriminalize and tax marijuana as a way to raise revenue. After seeing Colorado’s experience with legalization, Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, said Friday that lawmakers should get creative about how they’re going to confront the state’s dim finances when the Legislature convenes in January.”
Arizona Republic: “Supporters of an effort to legalize marijuana in Arizona this year see their chances fading, an organizer told The Arizona Republic last week, even as thousands of Colorado residents lined up to buy pot from the nation’s first recreational-marijuana shops. Many Arizona marijuana advocates hope to replicate Colorado’s model of regulated pot for recreational use, but it likely won’t happen in 2014 as organizers had hoped. The real effort, some say, will come in 2016, when an influential group is expected to substantially fund an initiative.”
Phoenix New Times: “The national Marijuana Policy Project, bolstered by federal approval of state pot-freedom laws, plans to put a Colorado-style legalization initiative on Arizona’s ballot for 2016. It’s part of a master plan to pass similar legalization laws in 10 states by 2017.
East Vally Tribune: “Gov. Jan Brewer has cleared one hurdle for new research on the possible medical benefits of marijuana. Without comment the governor on Tuesday signed legislation to permit possession of the drug on college and university campuses. The measure takes effect later this year.”
Today’s New-Herald: “Lawmakers voted Wednesday to pave the way for research at state universities that eventually could allow doctors in Arizona to recommend marijuana to treat more conditions. On a 37-19 margin the House approved SB 1443 to alter last year’s law banning marijuana from college and university campuses to allow federally approved research. The only other requirement would be for the applicable review boards at each school to give their blessing. The Senate already has voted for the measure. And an aide to Gov. Jan Brewer indicated she’s open to the idea.”
Arizona Republic: “The complexity of the legal debate over whether federal law trumps the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has prompted the state’s prosecuting-attorneys association to withdraw its support of legislation their members had helped craft to protect children from accidentally eating medical cannabis. A bill to enforce bland wrapping on candy containing marijuana will likely die, as attorneys say that it’s too difficult to keep legislating medical marijuana in an atmosphere of legal challenges and that the issue needs to be decided in the courts.”
Arizona Republic: “Sen. Kimberly Yee has become the go-to legislator for bills involving Arizona’s medical-marijuana law. The Phoenix Republican is the primary sponsor of three measures this session that would tighten what members in the law-enforcement community have identified as loopholes in the 2010 voter-mandated law as well as pave the way for university researchers to study the effects of medical marijuana. . . . We recently spoke with Yee about her work involving the medical-marijuana act. Here’s an edited excerpt: