Legal Marijuana in Arizona but Not for The Sellers
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Legal Marijuana in Arizona but Not for The Sellers
Posted by CN Staff on July 23, 2011 at 07:28:57 PT
By Marc Lacey
Source: New York Times
Phoenix -- Marijuana is known to cause red eyes, gales of laughter and the munchies. In Arizona, add another side effect: utter confusion. Voters narrowly approved a ballot initiative last November allowing medical marijuana in the state, but the result has been just the opposite of an orderly system of dispensing cannabis to the truly sick. Rather, police raids, surreptitious money transfers and unofficial pot clubs have followed passage of the new law, creating a chaotic situation not far removed from the black-market system that has always existed.
“There’s confusion,” said Ross Taylor, who owns CannaPatient, a newly formed company that helps patients get the medical certification required to receive state-issued medical marijuana cards. “There are a lot of unsure people, and not just because of what happened to me.” The police raided Mr. Taylor’s home in June, one of several instances in which the authorities in the state have showed signs of resisting carrying out the new law, which took effect at the start of the year. Gov. Jan Brewer — who campaigned against the law, then signed it with reluctance — said in May that the state, which has issued more than 7,500 cards to medical marijuana patients, would delay issuing licenses to marijuana dispensaries, as the law requires. Instead, she filed suit in federal court seeking a ruling on whether the state’s medical marijuana law conflicted with federal prohibitions on marijuana. So the patients have their cards permitting them to buy marijuana in Arizona, but no official place to do so. Arizona is not just another state when it comes to marijuana. More Mexican-grown marijuana enters this state than any other, according to federal government data. On June 8, the authorities recovered more than 1,200 pounds from an S.U.V. that led them on a 20-mile chase through dirt roads near the border. The police operation that took place the next day in Gilbert, a community outside Phoenix, netted a considerably smaller haul: about two ounces. In that case, the police executed a search warrant on Mr. Taylor’s house after getting a tip from the cable man. The officers, Mr. Taylor said, did not appear interested in his medical marijuana card, which permits him to grow up to a dozen marijuana plants in his home or obtain up to 2.5 ounces from a caregiver or a dispensary. The police said they were pursuing those taking advantage of the new marijuana law. The law does not permit the sale of marijuana outside of nonprofit dispensaries. But because the state has yet to approve any such outlets to sell marijuana, other ways of getting the drug are being tried. Last month, the police raided the offices of a group in Tempe that was growing marijuana and selling it to cardholders. Garry Ferguson, founder of the organization, the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group, told reporters that he understood the law to allow the sale of marijuana from one cardholder to another. Unofficial cannabis clubs, not mentioned in the law, are also emerging. They purport to offer free marijuana to cardholders, albeit for a membership fee. For now, they are unregulated. “In lieu of a regulated industry, we’re now creating an environment in which patients are growing their own with limited oversight, and these private clubs of questionable legality are popping up,” said Joe Yuhas of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, which led the medical marijuana campaign. Ms. Brewer, a Republican, recently lamented “the dreadful situation” the state now finds itself in with marijuana legal for some. Marijuana users consider the uncertainty dreadful as well, with some fearful that applying for cards might lead to police scrutiny. “I have friends who are afraid to get cards,” said Brad Scalf, 55, a disabled veteran. “I figured that when I’m smoking out on the back porch and the neighbors complain, I don’t have to worry. It’s like a get out of jail free card.” The state’s legal case has been assigned to the same federal judge who found parts of Arizona’s immigration law to be unconstitutional. In that dispute, Arizona argued against the idea that the state should be hamstrung by federal immigration law. In this instance, the state seems to be seeking a ruling that federal law ought to prevail. “The state has been beating the drum on states’ rights, but all of a sudden it has taken a 180-degree turn,” said Ken Frakes, a lawyer for the Rose Law Group, which represents a number of marijuana dispensary applicants. Ms. Brewer said the decision to go to court was made to protect state employees from prosecution after Dennis K. Burke, the United States attorney for Arizona, sent a letter to state officials warning that the federal government still considered marijuana an illegal drug and would go after those who ran large marijuana production operations. Mr. Burke has subsequently said he had no intention of prosecuting state employees. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey held up carrying out his state’s medical marijuana law, one of 17 across the country, over similar concerns, but he announced this week that he would allow the program to go ahead. In Arizona, some of the cannabis clubs are operating surreptitiously to avoid the notice of law enforcement. But not the 2811 Club, named for the provision of the law allowing state-approved marijuana patients to share marijuana among themselves. Allan Sobol, the club’s marketing manager, has invited reporters in and offered instruction on the ins and outs of the new law to a group of Phoenix police officers. Everyone who enters must have a state-issued card, and no smoking is allowed on the premises, to prevent people from driving under the influence. The dimly lit club offers classes and has computers and books available to research the many plant varieties, and comfortable chairs to enable patients to chat among themselves. It is the marijuana counter, though, that brings people in. Club members, who pay a $25 application fee, also must pay $75 every time they walk through the door. Once inside, they are entitled to about 3 grams of marijuana, which is grown by other cardholders and donated to the club. Those growers, according to the law, can be compensated only for the cost of their supplies. On a recent afternoon, there were a number of varieties available, including Master Kush, Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you come in,” said Mr. Sobol, who has emerged as a spokesman for the embattled industry, but says he tried marijuana for the first time last week when he ate a salad made with marijuana dressing. “We want people to come in with dignity and get this medicine that is now legal.” Mr. Sobol said he is convinced that the club, which is planning to expand throughout the Phoenix area, is on solid legal ground. But the club does not comply with the strict regulatory requirements for dispensaries, which has prompted state officials to order an inquiry. Mr. Sobol said that given the uncertainty surrounding the program, he would be foolhardy not to look over his shoulder. “We have to be concerned,” he said. “I have lawyers on call. They may arrest me, but if that day comes and they come barging through the front door, I’m convinced they’ll never convict me.” A version of this article appeared in print on July 23, 2011, on page A10 of the New York edition. Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Marc LaceyPublished: July 23, 2011Copyright: 2011 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on July 26, 2011 at 20:22:45 PT
thanks afterburner
Coles memo is exhibit A when showing how Gov't laws and 
regs are costing jobs and discouraging legal collection of
taxes needed to fund US.
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on July 26, 2011 at 09:18:20 PT
Recent Article about Michigan's MMJ Challenges
Higher Ground [by John Sinclair].
Pot’s new Cold War.
Obama administration heightens tensions over medical marijuana.
By by John Sinclair.
Published: July 20, 2011 Sinclair includes recent legislation which requires Action on the part of Michiganders.
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on July 26, 2011 at 07:59:08 PT
Pot backers get approval for CA ballot petitions
This time they will argue that pot growers should be treated the same as vineyard owners or microbrewers. Those who grow marijuana for their own use would not be taxed, but those who sell it would be regulated by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on July 25, 2011 at 21:08:06 PT
Storm Crow
Thanks so much. That is important information.Dr. Russo is mentioned in the article at 
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Comment #2 posted by Storm Crow on July 25, 2011 at 02:42:45 PT
A bit OT, but important
As many of you know, I gather MMJ studies from PubMed and medical journals. I came across something important for the medical community, and maybe even for the “recreational stoners”, too! Everyone knows about the circulatory system, and the digestive system- they are pretty obvious to the naked eye. But there is another less obvious system -the cannabinoid receptor system. On the surface of your cells, there are chemical receptors that sort of work like an ignition switch in a car. The right shaped chemical will fit into the receptor’s “key hole” and it “turns on” some action. This could be almost anything- from telling a cancer cell it’s time to die, to activating the suckling instinct in an infant, to soothing your upset stomach to making you feel “just a little bit too good”! (For more info on the cannabinoid receptors and what they do, see (1) for the short FOXNEWS version, or (2) for a real education!)The reason cannabis works, is that our bodies make their own types of cannabinoids, endocannabinoids that “turn on” the receptors, setting off all sorts of reactions. The plant cannabinoids, THC and CBD, happen to fit in our body’s cannabinoid system’s “key holes” and can fill in for a deficiency in the production of your own endocannabinoids. The CB1 receptor is responsible for getting you high, and a lot more. Here’s the abstract I found at PubMed- (Where you see “n-3 PUFAs”, read Omega 3.) “Nutritional omega-3 deficiency abolishes endocannabinoid-mediated neuronal functions.”The corollaries of the obesity epidemic that plagues developed societies are malnutrition and resulting biochemical imbalances. Low levels of essential n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have been linked to neuropsychiatric diseases, but the underlying synaptic alterations are mostly unknown. We found that lifelong n-3 PUFAs dietary insufficiency specifically ablates long-term synaptic depression mediated by endocannabinoids in the prelimbic prefrontal cortex and accumbens. In n-3-deficient mice, presynaptic cannabinoid CB(1) receptors (CB(1)Rs) normally responding to endocannabinoids were uncoupled from their effector G(i/o) proteins. Finally, the dietary-induced reduction of CB(1)R functions in mood-controlling structures was associated with impaired emotional behavior. These findings identify a plausible synaptic substrate for the behavioral alterations caused by the n-3 PUFAs deficiency that is often observed in western diets.For those of you who don't speak "Sci", here's Granny’s translation – “The US diet sucks big time and we are fat, undernourished, and crazy because of it. We get WAY too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3. Not getting enough Omega 3 can make you crazy because without it, the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in your brain aren’t made right- a chunk that is supposed to be attached, isn’t! Broken receptors give you “impaired emotional behavior”. So we think it’s the low Omega 3 diet is making the US totally nuts!” Now, since the CB1 receptors are not working right because of that broken piece, does this also mean that people who have been deficient in Omega 3 for a while are missing out on the full medical benefits- or their maximum high? The two most popular forms of Omega 3 supplements are fish oils and flax seed oil. Fish oil may be contaminated with mercury- so many people prefer flax seed oil. Flax is fine, but has a few minor problems nutritionally- look it up if you are curious.But there is another plant oil that is an even better source of Omega 3 than flax seed oil……….hemp seed oil! (3) The very thing we need to make our CB receptors work at their best is in the hemp plant! Cannabis is the source of the cannabinoids that we need to heal ourselves and the source of the Omega 3 we need for our receptors to do their jobs properly!A loss of CB1 receptors has been shown in Huntington’s Disease, premature birthing, Alzheimer’s, intestinal tumors, Parkinson’s and other conditions. It seems reasonable to assume that defective CB receptors would not replicate as well as normal ones would. We need the Omega 3 to make healthy, functioning CB1 receptors! Some of you by now are thinking “Well, I’m totally up the creek! Never took a fish oil capsule in my life, I hate fish, never even seen hemp seed oil, and I eat at KFC and McDs! My poor old CB receptors must be deformed as heck, and I’ll never get them working right!” Guess what? Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain! (4) So if you were getting enough Omega 3s, it would seem logical that the newly-formed brain cells would be normal and healthy! Omega 3 might just be as good for your “head”, as it is for your heart! But will just popping a few fish or hemp oil caps get you healthier (or higher) tonight? Not right away, but if you keep it up, those neurons with the defective CB1 receptors will be replaced with healthier, working ones! It takes a minimum of 3 weeks for Omega 3’s anti-depressant effects to begin to show, so it seems likely that around a month would be needed for effects to show up medically. For medical users, Omega 3 may make the difference between health and sickness! Without sufficient, working CB1 receptors, cannabis is less efficient at healing us! I think the Omega 3 / CB1 connection is vitally important for not just the medical cannabis community, but the whole medical community! (And the “stoners” just may appreciate it, too!)Granny    
(1)	Are You Cannabis Deficient?    (news - 2010) Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency   (full - 2004)	Nutritional Profile and Benefits of Hemp Seed, Nut, and Oil  (full - 2003)	Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain (news – 2005)
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Comment #1 posted by RevRayGreen on July 24, 2011 at 12:17:43 PT
Brewer will cave like Christie did
per dispensary's. With $200,000 application fee in NJ and 6 locations, it is 1.2 million left on the table, in this economy every dollar counts. On the AZ thing, every county, city alreay has drawn up codes/fees.......but the factt without stores, the 25-mile HALO rule does not apply, culivation is FLOURISHING in Arizona..enjoy these recent two videos, as you will see I had to pay my debt to society for 20 days....6/20-7/8Green Central (sic) Polk County Jail 7/12/11 (13min) Johnny Reeferseed/RevGreen-"Dad What is 420 day" remix featuring Travis 'the Drunk' 7/20/11(8:02min)
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