The Week in Weed 7-5-14 Marijuana News

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Cannabis Cheri SicardThis Week’s Marijuana News: IRS Fines Unbaked Dispensaries for Paying Payroll Tax in Cash; Opiate Prescription Pain Reliever Rates Lower in Medical Marijuana States; Florida Medical Marijuana Scams Pose Risks; UA Doctor Fired Over Veterans Medical Marijuana Research; First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Chain Planned; Former NM Governor Gary Johnson Gets Into the Marijuana Biz; 6 Months After Legalization, Two Big Things Have Happened in Colorado; and more.

Medical/Health

Opiate Prescription Pain Reliever Rates Lower in Medical Marijuana States — ” I was looking at the new Center for Disease Control and Preventions  report on opioid prescriptions and I immediately noticed an interesting correlation. States with medical marijuana laws on average had noticeably lower rates of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers than states without medical marijuana.  Since the CDC data was from 2012 I looked at the 16 states plus D.C. which adopted medical marijuana laws before the beginning of 2012. Of these 17 jurisdictions 12 had below average opioid pain reliever prescription rates.

UA Doctor Fired Over Veterans Medical Marijuana Research — Dr. Sue Sisley has been fired from her faculty position at the University of Arizona, the school where she earned her medical degree.  She has been working on a research project to test whether marijuana could be used to help soldiers battle combat disorders. But she said she got caught between the cross hairs of a political battlethat left her without a laboratory to conduct her research.

Politics/Legal

IRS Fines Unbaked Dispensaries for Paying Payroll Tax in Cash  — Legal marijuana businesses without bank accounts are unfairly assessed a 10 percent penalty on federal employee withholding taxes they are required to pay electronically but are forced to pay in cash, according to a lawsuit challenging the practice. That’s because the Internal Revenue Service requires all businesses to pay the quarterly tax by bank wire, an impossibility for hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana shops nationwide that are unable to obtain banking services.

Obama’s Drug Doctor Says Tobacco is Healthier than Cannabis — This is what doubling down on stupid looks like.  Obama’s people stay on message. Even as the erstwhile Choomer in Chief seems to hintmore and more strongly that drug legalization is inevitable and that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all, the people President Barack Obama appointed to set the nation’s policy on law enforcement and health are saying otherwise.

6 Months After Legalization, Two Big Things Have Happened in Colorado — Marijuana-related arrests, which make up 50% of all drug-related crimes, have plummeted in Colorado, freeing up law enforcement to focus on other criminal activity. By removing marijuana penalties, the state saved somewhere between $12 million and $40 million in 2012.

Business

Former NM Governor Gary Johnson Gets Into the Marijuana Biz — A Nevada-based startup that plans on selling medical and recreational marijuana products named former New Mexico governor and U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson as its CEO and president, the company announced Tuesday.

First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Chain Planned — It was bound to happen, and now it has: The first of a planned national chain of medical marijuana dispensaries has opened. The very first Kaya Shack opened Thursday morning in Portland, Oregon, and began sales to licensed medical marijuana cardholders.

States News

MJ Not Causing Problems in Denver but Police Are — We’ve heard a lot of dire predictions from Colorado law enforcement officials about how pot legalization will spark an outbreak of crime, violence, stoned driving and general mayhem. So far, there’s little evidence that any of those problems.  On the contrary, crime in Denver, for example is down. Tax revenue is up. And it’s looking like Denver law enforcement agencies should perhaps spend less time spreading panic about marijuana and more time keeping rogue cops in line.

Berkeley, CA Requires Dispensaries to Provide Free Weed for Low Income Patients —  The city of Berkeley will require medical marijuana dispensaries to give away two percent of the amount of cannabis they sell each year free to low-income patients.  The City Council voted unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting to amend the city’s medical pot rules, which would also allow for a fourth dispensary in Berkeley.

Florida Medical Marijuana Scams Pose Risks —  Medical marijuana is not yet legal in Florida, but you would not know that by the some of the business scams materializing across the state.  You can help make marijuana legal in Florida by voting for Amendment Two this November. It needs 60 percent to pass. If approved, the state Department of Health will be charged with establishing rules and regulations governing the lawful distribution and sale of medical marijuana in Florida.  Nevertheless, misrepresentations of fact and misstatements of law are being sold to the public by people trying to make money off the ensuing ‘Green Rush.’ It’s a scammer’s universe. Beware. You are being sold a false bill of goods.

WA Stops Testing Parolees for Cannabis — In a move that many will find surprising, Washington State’s Department of Corrections has stopped testing parolees for cannabis, effectively allowing the roughly 14,000 individuals on parole in the state to consume cannabis without consequence. The move is made possible by the recent legalization of cannabis in the state, passed by voters in 2012 through a citizen’s initiative.

WA Liquor Control Board Says 200+ Pesticides on Weed OK — The Washington State Liquor Control Board, along with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, on Friday announced that more than 200 pesticides will be allowed for use in the production, processing and handling of marijuana sold through state-licensed stores.

WA Facing Marijuana Shortage As Shops Prepare to Open — It’s been almost a year and a half since Washington state voters approved Initiative 502, the limited marijuana legalization measure, in 2012. But there still isn’t a single state-licensed cannabis store open in the state — and once the shops finally open, presumably next week, Washington could then face a marijuana shortage.

Entertainment

RIP Paul Mazursky, The Man Who Brought Marijuana to Movies — Before “Easy Rider” portrayed marijuana smoking on film, Leigh-Taylor Young’s pot brownies in 1968’s “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!” turned on Peter Sellers. Paul Mazursky, who brought us that film, and so much more, died yesterday at the age of 84.

 

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