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Marijuana News in Colorado and World

Attorney General Marijuana

At the first day of her confirmation hearings for attorney general, nominee Loretta Lynch clearly stated that she does not support marijuana legalization. In fact, she adamantly opposes it.

During her confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Lynch was asked by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) if she supports marijuana legalization. Lynch responded, “No I do not.”

Lynch added, “I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor will it be the position should I be confirmed as attorney general.”

Lynch was asked about a January 2014 interview in the New Yorker in which President Obama stated that he did not think marijuana was any more dangerous than alcohol, referencing his youth marijuana use.

When Lynch was asked if she agreed with Obama’s statement, she replied, “I certainly don’t hold that view, and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance. I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion — neither of which I am able to share.”

Lynch’s stance counters rapidly growing support for marijuana legalization nationwide. If she gets confirmation as Attorney General there will likely be a return of federal raids against state-legalized marijuana businesses.

Watch video clip of Lynch’s remarks on C-SPAN

Marijuana

Americans’ attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift over recent years. A recent survey found that many more Americans now favor marijuana and shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are 6 facts about marijuana and public opinion in the U.S.:

1. Support for marijuana legalization is quickly outpacing the opposition. A majority (52%) of Americans say marijuana should be made legal, compared with 45% who want it to remain illegal. In 1969, a Gallup pole revealed that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Between 2010 and 2013 support for marijuana legalization rose 11 points. 76% of people surveyed said people convicted of minor marijuana possession should not serve time in jail.

2. Not everyone supports legalization. 31% of Republicans do. Most whites and blacks say marijuana should be legalized, while only 39% of Hispanics agree. 63% of Millennials say marijuana should be legalized while only 27% of the Silent Generation (those 69 to 86 years old) agree.

3. 69% of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to health than marijuana. 15% picked marijuana as being worse and 14% said both or neither. If marijuana became as widely available as alcohol in the U.S., 63% still believe alcohol to be more harmful to society.

4. 63% of Americans don’t want people to smoke marijuana in public. 54% of people surveyed think that legalizing marijuana would lead to more underage people using it. Whereas 57% of the people surveyed said they would be okay with a store legally selling marijuana in their neighborhood.

5. 47% of Americans say they have tried using marijuana. 11% said they tried marijuana within the past year, which the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health says is the most used illicit drug in the U.S.

6. Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – and the Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use. 14 states have decriminalized certain amounts of marijuana possession. Including those five recreational marijuana locations, nearly half of U.S. states (23 and Washington D.C.) have legalized medical marijuana use.

United States Marijuana

The legal marijuana industry (medical and recreational) is the fastest growing industry in the United States and if the legalization trend continues to spread throughout the country, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry, according to a recent report.

The ArcView Group, a marijuana industry investment and research firm, found that the U.S.’s legal marijuana market grew 74 percent in 2014 to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013.

“In the last year, the rise of the cannabis industry went from an interesting cocktail conversation to being taken seriously as the fastest growing industry in America,” stated Troy Dayton, CEO of The ArcView Group. “At this point, it’s hard to imagine that any serious businessperson who is paying attention hasn’t spent some time thinking about the possibilities in this market.”

The report also projects a strong year for legalized marijuana in 2015 and projects 32 percent growth in the industry. Dayton noted that that places “cannabis in the top spot” when compared with other fast growing industries.

The report also reveals some interesting marijuana trends: California has the largest legal marijuana market in the U.S., at $1.3 billion. Arizona has the fastest growing marijuana market in 2014, expanding to $155 million, up more than $120 million from the previous year. Medical marijuana is already legalized in Arizona and California and recreational legalization measures are expected to appear on 2016 ballots in both states.

Over the next five years, the marijuana industry is expected to continue to grow. Research firms have predicted that 14 more states will legalize recreational marijuana and at least two more states will legalize medical marijuana. There are about 10 states already considering legalizing recreational marijuana in the next two years through state legislatures or ballot measures.

To date, four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — have legalized recreational marijuana use. Washington, D.C. voters also legalized recreational marijuana use, but sales are currently banned. Twenty-three states currently have medical marijuana legalized.

Congress Marijuana

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a comprehensive report that examined the establishing of a wholesale excise tax on the production and sale of marijuana-related products on a federal level.

This comprehensive policy and fiscal report of how marijuana can be taxed and regulated nationally included enforcement concerns, discouraging youth use, choosing the base to tax (such as weight, potency, and price), restrictions, labeling, special tax rates, home production and medical marijuana.

CRS’s economic analysis indicated that marijuana prices would likely fall from current-day prohibition-influenced prices of approximately $200-$300 per ounce to potentially less than $20 per ounce. The economic modeling was based on a $40 billion annual US marijuana market that tested a $50 per ounce federal excise tax price point which would generate nearly $7 billion in federal excise tax.

Alcohol and marijuana’s external costs (i.e. taxation to equate with external costs of the drug use on society) were studied and researchers pegged alcohol’s external costs to the nation at $30 billion annually and marijuana’s at less than $1.6 billion, revealing that the federal government understands that alcohol is a much more harmful substance to society than marijuana.

NORML Executive Director commented on the CRS report:

“This CRS report on the prospects of the federal government taxing and regulating cannabis is another clear indication of the political saliency and fiscal appeal of ending cannabis prohibition at the state, and increasingly at the federal level (replacing the nearly eighty-year old failed federal policy with tax-n-regulate policies that are similar to alcohol and tobacco products). With four states and the District of Columbia since 2012 opting for legalizing cannabis, dozens of members of Congress from both major political parties—from states with legalization and those that pine for it—are getting serious about making sure the federal government does not lose out on hundreds of millions annually in tax revenue from the ever-growing cannabis industry in the United States.”

Marijuana Depression

Researchers from The Netherlands published a study in the European Neuropsychology journal that focused on the effects of THC on humans while processing emotional content. They found that THC decreased brain activity when faced with negative stimuli.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to gauge the study subjects’ brain activity. Subjects were shown faces expressing different emotions and then asked whether the person was happy or fearful. This gauged whether THC would effect how the subjects perceived others’ emotions.

Their findings were quite interesting, to say the least: THC decreased brain activity in response to the negative stimuli, but not for the positive stimuli. One researcher stated that “These results indicate that THC administration reduces the negative bias in emotional processing.”

The “negative bias” refers to when a person gives more weight to negative experiences than positive experiences. For example, it’s common for people to be afraid of all dogs after being attacked by a dog. This fear remains embedded in the subconscious despite the many positive experiences a person has had with a dog(s). This reveals to us that negative emotions may be stronger and have more of an impact on someones long-term psyche than positive emotions.

When a negative bias is prevelant in a person’s everyday interactions, it has been linked to depression. Depressed patients often have this negative bias which causes them to perceive events in more of a negative way than people without depression. This leads to the notion that THC could be very useful in naturally treating depression and PTSD.

Marijuana Investments Stocks

During the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years investments in the legal US marijuana industry (medical and recreational) hit nearly $105 million.

A financial insights company recorded that there were 60 major investment deals involving marijuana-related companies. The largest deal was $75 million raised by a private equity firm based in Seattle. Next was a $20 million investment deal with a company that owns cultivation sites in the Midwest, then $12.4 million in funding for a company that was granted a license to grow and distribute marijuana in Minnesota.

An up-and-coming marijuana industry stock is Northsight Capital, Inc. (OTCBB: NCAP) which owns and operates multiple online marijuana industry business and is based out of Arizona. Two of their biggest sites include 420careers.com, a leading marijuana industry job board, and WeedDepot.com, a new marijuana map directory for legal dispensaries, doctors, head/vape shops, delivery services and more. Northsight Capital, Inc. also owns and is developing other marijuana-related sites, all of which will work together to form a vast advertising platform.

It has been predicted that the legal US marijuana industry will expand to over a $10 billion industry by 2018. With recent recreational marijuana laws passing in multiple states, and other states expected to follow next year, the industry will likely exceed $10 billion by 2018.

AZ Dispensary

There are currently over 63,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona, and a new report by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) revealed that more than 10 tons of marijuana was purchased at dispensaries over the last year.

That statistics averages out to the equivalent of one joint per patient per day. But, as with any medication, some patients consume less than others.

If we estimate the price for an ounce of marijuana from a dispensary at $350, that means Arizonans spent about $112 million on medical marijuana over the last year. Furthermore, the ADHS charges $150 per year per medical marijuana card issued, which means the state made over $9 million last year from issuing cards.

The recent Arizona Department of Health Services report also found:

– 85 medical marijuana dispensaries were operating last year.
– Over two-thirds of medical marijuana patients are male.
– The average medical marijuana patient made 17 transactions at dispensaries during the last year.
– Fridays and Saturdays are the two busiest days of the week for dispensaries.

These statistics reveal that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry is steadily growing.

If marijuana gets legalized in Arizona for recreational use in 2016, marijuana sales would likely increase to upwards of $400 million per year.

Hemp

A bill has been filed in the United States Senate (with bi-partisan support) that could legalize industrial hemp cultivation and production throughout the country.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 bill would remove any federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill would also remove hemp from being a Schedule I controlled substance and would define it as a non-drug, as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“The U.S. ban on hemp farming is an outrageous restriction on free enterprise and does nothing but hurt economic growth and job creation,” stated Sen. Wyden. “Our bipartisan, common-sense bill is pro-environment, pro-business, and pro-farmer. Congress must act to empower farmers and boost economic activity across the country. As I’ve always said, if you can buy it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon.”

Hemp products, such as food and clothing, are legal to sell in the United States, but must be grown in other countries and imported into the United States.

Farmers worldwide grow hemp for commercial purposes, such as for fiber, seed, and oil, which are used in a variety of industrial and consumer products. The United States is the only developed nation that does not cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.

More than thirty countries worldwide produce industrial hemp, including: Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, England, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, among others.

Benefits of Vaporizing

When it comes to consuming marijuana there are many methods of consumption available. Along with rolling a joint, there is a wide selection of pipes and bongs available on the market. Recently, edibles, tinctures and vaporizers have become the latest and greatest method for consuming marijuana. This article discusses why vaporizers are the ideal device when consuming marijuana via inhalation.

Vaporizers are prevalent in many countries; for example, in Isreal, vaporizers can be found in hospitals and senior homes. As well, the well-known Volcano Vaporizer is actually an approved medical device in Canada and the EU.

Here are some reasons why vaporizers have become so popular among medical professionals and patients:

Health

Smoking marijuana has not been proven to cause lung cancer, but the combustion of marijuana can still produce toxins that can irritate the lungs. Vaporizers were mainly designed to overcome this problem. Vaporizers heat marijuana at a lower temperature than combustion. They produce an inhalable vapor that still contains the active and beneficial marijuana ingredients (cannabinoids), but without the harmful by-products that combustion creates.

Potency

A study conducted in California found that vaporizers convert around 46% of available THC in marijuana into vapor; whereas the average joint converted less than 25% of the marijuana’s THC.

When it comes to using lungs to consume marijuana, it appears that vaporizers are the ideal method.

Opioid Marijuana

An internal medicine study performed by UPenn researchers found a startlingly clear correlation between states with implemented medical marijuana laws and the lowering of opioid death rates. Simply put, states that allow medical marijuana had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate than states that don’t have medical marijuana available as a medicine.

“Approximately 60 percent of all deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses occur in patients who have legitimate prescriptions,” stated Dr. Bachhuber. Moreover, it’s clearly evident that states that offer medical marijuana have a lower rate of opioid deaths and see a favorable decrease in opioid deaths over time.

The statistics show that: year 1 (-19.9%; 95% CI, -30.6% to -7.7%; P?=?.002), year 2 (-25.2%; 95% CI, -40.6% to -5.9%; P?=?.01), year 3 (-23.6%; 95% CI, -41.1% to -1.0%; P?=?.04), year 4 (-20.2%; 95% CI, -33.6% to -4.0%; P?=?.02), year 5 (-33.7%; 95% CI, -50.9% to -10.4%; P?=?.008), and year 6 (-33.3%; 95% CI, -44.7% to -19.6%; P?<?.001).

This study clearly shows that mortality death rates decrease and continue to decrease over time in states with medical marijuana.