Today, patients who cultivate their own plants are no longer able to do so within 25 miles of a dispensary. And with over 80 dispensaries in Arizona, the pot business is good! Here are just five need-to-know facts about the changing cannabis industry in Arizona:
5 Need-to-Know Facts About Cannabis in Arizona
- We Are Still Fighting for Legalization. Marijuana has been legal for medicinal use since 2011. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is now on the November 2016 ballot as Proposition 205. Under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, anyone over the age of 21 would be able to possess up to one (1) ounce of marijuana and cultivate six (6) plants of their own in a secure area. This initiative would include a 15% retail tax on marijuana sale by licensed businesses that would be allocated directly to the education system. A much needed aid! A recent survey of 500 Arizona voters revealed that 49% of voters would reject legalization for recreational use, 43% would vote “yes,” and around 8% of voters were undecided according to the Arizona Republic.(1)
- Our Growers Are Educated. The Arizona Department of Health Services allows qualifying patients to grow their own medicine. For this reason, many people have acquired a green thumb but that doesn’t mean that the average Arizona resident can maintain 6 healthy cannabis plants. That’s where professionals come in. Colleges across the state including the University of Arizona now offer classes and degree programs to prepare students for the professional and sustainable cultivation of marijuana. The budding industry has help develop thousands of lucrative jobs in research, biology, chemistry, law, horticulture and medical treatment sectors. Now that’s higher education.
- There is a Sense of Community. When medical marijuana co-ops first opened in Arizona, everyone had something different to bring to the table. Menus were loaded with distinctive cannabis-infused items to choose from: homemade baklava, cookies, candy… People were making salad dressings, peanut butter – you name it! The same people that were in those collectives are still creating concoctions and sharing them with the rest of us cardholders. Even with dispensaries, the friendship remains and innovators are still happily incorporating cannabis into their healthy lifestyles. And that’s a great thing!
- Cannabis is an OTC Takeover. You may have already heard that marijuana is safer than pharmaceutical drugs. What you may not know is that many OTC (over the counter drugs) contain acetaminophen. The problem with that is that a staggering amount of people accidentally overdose every year. This added up to over 1,500 deaths in the United States – just between 2001 and 2010! Acetaminophen overdose sends close to 80,000 people to emergency rooms every year and is the leading cause of acute liver failure according to the National Institutes for Health. These shocking statistics pave the way for a not-so-hostile marijuana takeover. If Americans replaced just one NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like Tylenol with marijuana, hundreds of lives could be saved.(2-3)
- We Aren’t Pot Heads. In Arizona, it’s estimated that between 2013 and 2014 there were approximately 52,374 active cardholders. As a legitimate medical patient, I can tell you that we are NOT just sitting around getting high. Chatting with other patients at clinics, I have become accustom to discussing topics including the laboratory data for CBD (non-psychoactive component) content, THC (psychoactive component) content, flavor profiles and sales! Arizona dispensaries provide high-quality medicine to patients, and as we share in this new experience, collectively we are realizing that marijuana is highly effective for treating many different health problems. There are millions of ways to use marijuana, and many of them don’t include a high at all. Just consider topical products and CBD oil!