arizona republic

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Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Backers Outraged By Erroneous Op-Ed On Tax Revenue

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Backers of a plan to legalize marijuana in Arizona are outraged over an unsigned editorial in the Arizona Republic published on August 21 using inaccurate tax revenue figures to back its claim that campaign leaders are lying.

After being notified of the error by the Phoenix New Times, the Republic later issued a correction, reports Ray Stern.

The op-ed was responding to a claim made by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol's message from August 19 at the state Capitol that its planned November 2016 ballot measure, if passed, could bring in $40 million or more annually to Arizona public schools.

The measure in question would create a system of retail cannabis stores where adults 21 and older would pay a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales. After taking the money needed to run a new bureaucracy to oversee that system, 80 percent of the remaining tax revenue would go to funding kindgartens and public schools.

The unsigned editorial claims the legalization campaign's figure is a "lie," suggesting that backers of the measure might be so high on weed that they'd try to deposit the fake check they used for a prop.

Arizona Supreme Court Says State May Not Deny Medical Marijuana To Felons On Probation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday issued two rulings barring courts and prosecutors from denying medical marijuana use as a term of probation, if the convicted felons in question have valid medicinal cannabis authorizations.

In the first case, a Cochise County man convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to sell was forbidden from using medical marijuana by a probation officer after his release from prison, reports Michael Kiefer at The Arizona Republic. In the second, a woman pleading guilty to DUI in Yavapai County refused to abstain from using medicinal cannabis as a term of her probation, prompting the prosecution to withdraw the plea agreement. Both had valid Arizona medical marijuana cards.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that both probationers had the right to use marijuana for their medical conditions under state law, and that prosecutors and courts couldn't take that away from them as a term of probation.

"The Supreme Court is recognizing what the people decided when they passed the initiative: You can use your medicine," said David Euchner, assistant Pima County public defender. Euchner argued in both cases as a member of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

The court ruled, however, that the Yavapai County Attorney's Office had the right to withdraw from the offered plea deal because it had not yet been accepted by a judge.

Arizona: Surprise, Surprise - Law Enforcement Opposes Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a bit of news that surprises absolutely no one, a majority of Arizona's sheriff's and county attorneys officially oppose the legalization of marijuana. Just to make sure we know that, they helpfully approved a resolution by voice vote at their annual meeting.

The resolution came as marijuana advocates have selected Arizona for a legalization drive for 2016, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at the Arizona Republic. The Marijuana Policy Project plans to pursue full recreational legalization through a voter initiative in the state.

The resolution adopted by a voice vote of the Arizona County Attorney & Sheriff's Association meeting includes nearly two dozen whiney points outlining why the group refuses to join the 21st Century. It includes such fanciful Reefer Madness claims as marijuana being harmful to teen IQ (it actually grows brain cells) and pot use "leading to risky behavior."

The exercise in futility, I mean the law enforcement resolution, cites more than two pages of references to support its outlandish statements.

Graphic: 420 Petition

Arizona Supreme Court Rules Drivers Can't Be Charged With DUI For Inactive Marijuana Traces

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Drivers who have used cannabis cannot be charged with driving under its influence merely on that basis, even if some traces of it are still detected in their bloodstream, according to the Arizona Supreme Court, which made the ruling on April 22.

The state Supreme Court justices didn’t buy the arguments of the Maricopa County Attorney Office, which argued before the court back in November that drivers whose blood tests reveal the presence of an inactive metabolite of cannabis called carboxy-THC can be prosecuted for impaired driving, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at the Arizona Republic.

The prosecutor was unable to convince the Arizona Supreme Court that the mere presence of the marijuana metabolite – which can remain in the bloodstream for more than 30 days – is valid evidence of actual impairment.

Marijuana users break Arizona law when the drive while “impaired to the slightest degree,” and if they are discovered with metabolites in their blood that are known to impair. But drivers cannot be convicted “based merely on the presence of a non-impairing metabolite that may reflect prior usage of marijuana,” wrote Justice Robert Brutinel.

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