medical marijuana

Recreational Marijuana Tax Revenues Get Off to a Disappointing Start in Colorado

Colorado lawmakers are reviewing recreational marijuana taxes after sales from the past fiscal year did not meet early predictions.

The official estimated revenue that recreational marijuana was predicted to bring in $33.5 million through the fiscal year, which ended this summer.

Tax collections from Colorado reveal that the actual amount came in 60 percent lower than predicted, at a little over $12 million, according to The Denver Post.

Lawmakers, such as State Rep. Dan Pabon, the leader of a special legislative committee on marijuana revenue, say that existing medical marijuana tax laws, which are lower than that of recreational pot, may be a part of why recreational tax revenue didn’t meet expectations.

David Blake of the Colorado attorney general’s office suggests that medical marijuana’s continued success and recreational marijuana’s disappointing revenues are driven by the avoidance these higher taxes, The Denver Post said.Recreational Marijuana in Colorado

Despite the presence of recreational marijuana dispensaries, which are popping up all around the state, medical marijuana sales continue to hold a top place in the marijuana market.

It seems as though recreational marijuana hasn’t taken consumers away from medical marijuana businesses but instead has appealed to tourists and others who may have previously purchased pot illegally.

However, recreational tax revenues are projected to increase as the field grows and matures over time.

Some are especially optimistic, such as Dorinda Floyd from the Department of Revenue, who believes recreational pot will eventually surpass medical sales, The Denver Post reports.

In Arizona, medical marijuana is just getting settled in the market as Proposition 203, The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, was passed by voters in 2010.

Medical marijuana sales in Arizona are expected to have a significant place in the state’s economy as dispensaries continue to receive licenses and open.

A total of approximately 126 dispensaries are anticipated to exist in the state since 2012, give or take a few depending on the number of traditional pharmacies existing in Arizona at any given time.

For reference, one dispensary may open in accordance with every 10 pharmacies in the state the Arizona Department of Health Services explains explains.

A study published by Arizona State University Professor Timothy Hogan predicts that dispensaries will support 1,500 full-time jobs and pay out $74 million a year in wages in 2016.

After including additional businesses and spending as a result of direct wages, those numbers increase to 6,500 jobs for Arizona workers, $315 million in income payments and $990 million in overall economic activity, the Phoenix Business Journal reports.

Arizona Supreme Court Overturns Vague Marijuana DUI Laws

In April, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that drivers with traces of marijuana found in the body after a drug test can not receive DUI charges if the existing chemical compounds do not cause impairment.

This overturned the Court of Appeals decision from last year that gave prosecutors the right to charge marijuana users with DUIs without proof that they were physically impaired at the time of arrest.

Attention to this issue was brought to the higher court when an Arizona man was pulled over by police for speeding and unsafe lane changes. He admitted to smoking marijuana the night before and consented to a drug test where marijuana metabolites were later detected.

Chemical compounds left in the man’s body from previous marijuana intake were carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, or carboxy-THC, a non-impairing metabolite of marijuana that can remain in the body for up to 30 days after marijuana use, the Huffington Post reports.

The man was charged with two counts of DUI for driving while impaired and for driving with drugs in his system although the marijuana metabolites were non-impairing, the Arizona Department of Health Services said.

His case was appealed and the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the Arizona DUI law,A.R.S. 28-1381 that says it is unlawful to operate a vehicle while there is marijuana and its metabolite in the body, is too ambiguous because it does not distinguish between the different marijuana metabolites.

“We do not believe that the legislature contemplated penalizing the presence of a metabolite that is not impairing,” the court said of the DUI offense according to the AZDHS Medical Marijuana Program newsletter.

With states like Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana is legal, and 23 other states including DC that have legalized medicinal marijuana, including Arizona in 2010, legislation concerning DUI charges and how they should be applied to marijuana users are topics worth discussion.

For example, the Arizona Supreme Court ruling affects the 40,000 medical marijuana users in Arizona and out of state visitors who use marijuana by protecting them from wrongful DUI charges, the Arizona Capitol Times said.

Now, medical marijuana users in Arizona can drive without their legal actions being criminalized by law enforcement, however it is always important to understand your DUI laws and rights.

The Arizona DUI defense attorneys at Corso Law Group do everything in their power to protect defendants and advocate for their rights. They have the experience and expertise to deal with DUI charges in Arizona and will fight to get the charges dismissed.

Usable Marijuana Requirements in Arizona

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) opened the door to medical marijuana years ago, but will not budge on opening it any more in 2014.

ADHS rejected a proposed expansion – adding illnesses to the list of approved marijuana-treated conditions – of the state’s medical marijuana program more than 3 years after approving the Act which allows the use of medical marijuana, with a 50.13 percent approval.Recreational Marijuana in Colorado

The state’s current policy on medical marijuana is protected by Proposition 203, which was passed in November 2010 and put into effect in April 2011. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act removes state-level criminal penalties on the use of marijuana for qualifying patients who have received “written certification” from their physician to alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions and illnesses.

Among these illnesses, include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease; any medical condition producing cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, and severe nausea or seizures.

A recent petition in 2014 suggested adding post traumatic stress disorder, migraines and depression to the list of medical marijuana approved conditions, but it was shot down by the state’s Department of Health Services Director, Will Humble.

Current medical marijuana cardholders are permitted to purchase, and have on their person, up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana in a 14 day period.

According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, usable marijuana consists of “the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant and does not include the weight of any non-marijuana ingredients combined with marijuana and prepared for consumption as food or drink.”

Although the qualifying patients are protected under Arizona law, they must adhere to the rules set by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The law prohibits driving or operating a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft while under the influence, ingesting marijuana in a public place or on public transportation, and cultivation of more than 12 marijuana plants in a “locked and enclosed facility” only if the patient is not within 25 miles of a dispensary.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act does not require employers or landowners to allow the ingestion of marijuana in the workplace on on their private property, but it does protect against discriminatory acts that affect the hiring, leasing or treatment of a qualifying patient.