Arizona's Week in Weed: Springerville Dispensary Raided, Phoenix Attacks Pot, and More

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* Arizonans celebrated 4/20, poll shows legalization initiative could fail:

What did you do for 4/20? 

Dispensaries and other businesses across the state offered discounts, put out balloons, or otherwise tried to capitalize on the unofficial holiday.

Then the prohibitionists tried to crash the party with a poll they commissioned — and released on Wednesday — showing that Arizona's potential legalization initiative expected to be on the ballot this November could fail.

* Phoenix City Council votes to screw over voters and patients on legal marijuana:

The Phoenix City Council voted 8-0, with Sal DiCiccio not voting, to thwart patients and future, potential customers of adult-use marijuana stores with new restrictions that limit where medical-marijuana dispensaries could be located. Some on the council would have made the rules stricter, if they could have, the Arizona Republic's Brenna Goth reported.

The council members, to be fair, apparently believe they're helping Phoenicians who don't want to be near a marijuana business. In reality, they're preventing patients from having easy access to medicine and thwarting the wishes of voters who may legalize marijuana in Arizona this November. Rather than preparing for the possibility of legalization by expanding the dispensary system, the council members let cannabis prohibition rule the day.

The tables could turn on the council if voters approve the initiative likely to be on November's ballot. At that point, thousands of Phoenix residents who want to buy cannabis will be asking the council members why they're hating on what would then be a legal substance in Arizona.

* DEA approves cannabis PTSD study with MAPS and Arizona's Dr. Sue Sisley:

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced that after nearly seven years of trying to study how cannabis can benefit sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder, it's finally got the green light to move ahead thanks to approval by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

The DEA was needed to clear the transport and use of marijuana from the University of Mississippi, which has the only federally legal marijuana farm in the country. Dr. Sue Sisley, who achieved near-legendary status after she was fired from the University of Arizona because of efforts to study the effects of cannabis on veterans with PTSD, will be a co-investigator at an undisclosed study location in Phoenix.

Trials with 72 veterans in Arizona and Maryland are expected to begin as soon as June.

* State of Colorado releases anticipated report on impacts of legalizing marijuana:
A new 144-page report from Colorado shows a few potential problems with the state's 2012 experiment in legalizing marijuana, like increased emergency-room visits. But the report also notes that gathering data on the effects of legalization is a work in progress, and that people may feel increasingly freer to, for example, mention marijuana while checking into a hospital ER.

According to the above-mentioned poll, a significant portion of likely voters are undecided on the question of legalization in Arizona. These people, as well as voters who already have made up their minds, may want to spend a few minutes looking through the interesting stats in this report.

The report's bottom line on cannabis is unstated, but glaring nonetheless: Legalization has not caused any big problems or crises in Colorado, despite the propaganda of those who would keep marijuana a felony in Arizona.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern