Taxation and regulation of marijuana has reaped almost $30 million in revenue for the state of Colorado in the first half of 2014. June was the best month so far for recreational pot sales, with an increase of 19 percent over May’s totals. Experts believe the increase is primarily due to more retail outlets opening up, leading to almost $25 million in sales. Recreational pot sales are closing in on medical pot sales as well in terms of tax revenue produced. While medical pot is taxed at only the 2.9% state sales tax, recreational pot pays that tax plus 15% excise and 10% special sales tax. Still, in January medical pot raised twice as much in tax revenue thanks to greater sales volume. But in June, medical tax revenues were only 20% greater than recreational tax revenues. It appears as though Colorado is on pace to meet the estimate of $70 million a year in recreational pot taxes.
Researchers presenting at the convention of the American Psychological Association stressed that once a week marijuana use by people under age 25 “is not safe”. Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain-imaging and neuropsychology lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, told attendees that weekly marijuana users under age 25 show cognitive decline, poor attention and memory and decreased IQ. Dr. Alan Budney, a rehab specialist, warned that “much of what we know from earlier research is based on smoking marijuana with much lower doses of THC than are commonly used today,” and that “It is just as hard to treat cannabis addiction as it is to treat alcohol addiction.” Dr. Budney says in addition to addiction, car accidents, chronic bronchitis, and decreased life achievement are the most likely among the potential consequences of teenage marijuana consumption.
The legal costs of the city of Riverside, California, to enact and maintain its ban on medical marijuana facilities have topped $800,000. Riverside was the plaintiff in a case that went before the California Supreme Court in 2013 that affirmed the right of California localities to ban dispensaries through zoning codes. Most Inland Empire cities ban dispensaries except for Palm Springs. The legal fight since 2010 involved two firms charging the city $805,000 and the city anticipates it can collect about half of that amount in court judgments against more than 80 dispensaries shut down by the city.
A mother in Portland Oregon is upset that Oregon Health Sciences University required her to sign a waiver when she insisted on breastfeeding her child. At issue is her participation in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and OHSU doctors’ recommendation that she not nurse her child with marijuana in her system. “We do understand the benefits of mothers’ milk,” the hospital said. “We also don’t want to be caught in a situation where a mother continues to use and says that we never gave her information on it, never informed about the risks, and so it’s really a way of documenting that the parents acknowledge the risks. And we can’t stop her from using it.”
The state of Utah has issued the first eleven cards allowing people to possess cannabidiol oil smuggled in from out-of-state. The Beehive State was the first among eleven states now that permit the use of cannabis oil high in CBD and almost non-existent in THC for people suffering with intractable epilepsy. The registration cost for the cards was dropped from $400 to $200 recently when officials realized they’d over-estimated the program start-up costs. Cardholders cannot get the CBD-oil in Utah but must instead acquire it from neighboring Colorado. Taking it out of Colorado is against Colorado law and transporting it into Utah is against federal law, but Utah will not prosecute cardholders over CBD-oil, which can cost up to $900 for a month’s supply.