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Archive for December 2010

Phoenix City Council Approves Zoning Guidelines

Last week, the Phoenix City Council approved zoning guidelines that will ultimately govern where different types of marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to operate within the city. Elaborating on the current rules allowing for only 1 marijuana dispensary to every 10 pharmacies which will allow for about 120 dispensaries, the guidelines lay down a comforting set of restrictions on the dispensaries that will keep the state from being overrun with these facilities.

The guidelines suggest that no dispensary can operate outside a commercially zoned property and must be at least 250 feet away from residential areas; 1,320 feet from schools, parks and public community centers; and 500 feet from houses of worship. At least one mile must be between two marijuana dispensaries. Drive-thru services are not permitted and operating hours would be limited to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dispensaries are required to grow their own marijuana or  acquire it from another licensed dispensary. Marijuana growing facilities  for these dispensaries would be confined to areas specifically zoned for agricultural uses, which a 1,000 foot distance requirement from residential areas. These growing facilities would require a permit from the city.

With state fees to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Arizona sitting around $5,000, the facilities will be operated by those who have lived in the state for at least two years. Physicians would oversee each dispensary, providing medical information on the drug as well as safe usage guidelines. Dispensaries selling both marijuana and marijuana-edibles (food infused with marijuana) will be subject to state inspection.

These guidelines provide some comfort for those worrying about the outcome of this Proposition. It should keep the stream of new dispensaries from overtaking everything else.

There are three main categories that marijuana will be divided in to at your local dispensary. First up is your Sativa-dominant strains, which you would describe as a cerebral, head-high. You will then see Indica-dominant strains, which offer a pain-relieving, body-stone. Finally, you have the Hybrid strains, which are a cross-breeding of Indica and Sativa strains.

Sativa-dominant strains are incredibly useful for day-time smoking. They are usually very clear-minded and active strains that will keep you going throughout your day. Treating anxiety and depression is no-problem with Sativas; many patients feel incredibly uplifted and full of energy upon using them. Marijuana buds that are sativa-dominant are characteristically longer, sometimes a bit more airy and less-dense than Indica strains.

Indica strains are recognized as the most medicinally-beneficial type of marijuana because of their pain relieving effects. These strains are great for night time smoking and will put many smokers on the couch, creating a very pleasant sedating effect. They’re perfect for nausea, vomiting, any type of body pain, appetite induction, insomnia — you name it! Indica-dominant strains are great for almost any type of ailment and are the most recommended at  dispensaries. The buds are tight, dense and usually covered in crystals.

Finally, you have the hybrid strains. Hybrid strains are a cross breeding of two different types of marijuana plants, usually Sativa and Indica. This results in a very full type of high, giving you all of the beneficial elements that marijuana has to offer. Hybrids are becoming incredibly popular in the medical marijuana field. Patients enjoy getting the best of both worlds without being put down on the couch from a heavy Indica. These strains will usually be identified with a percentage of sativa vs. indica. You’ll be given something like 60% indica / 40% sativa. This would simply mean that the hybrid is Indica-dominant, resulting in slightly more of a body high. Hybrids are perfect for any time of the day and almost any type of ailment!

In the end, it all comes down to what you’re trying to treat with marijuana. The caregiver at you local dispensary will be able to tell you which of their marijuana strains is right for you. Caregivers work at the dispensaries and are very well versed in the marijuana field. They will be able to answer any questions you might have! Good luck!

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of the small and/or large intestine, with accompanying pain, cramping, tenderness, gas, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. Though usually mild, bleeding may occur and may sometimes be massive. Patients using medical cannabis for the relief of crohn’s disease report that it is very good at relieving painful cramps and also for increasing the appetite that is often lost with patients.

Crohn’s patients find the success with marijuana because it provides muscle-relaxing as well as appetite-inducing properties. It can be extremely effective for those who haven’t found success with prescription medications.


Cancer is a disease that can spread quickly throughout the body unless treatment is begun. The treatments for cancer can be extremely debilitating and cause many unwanted side effects.

Many activists of marijuana say that the plant has anti-bacterial properties and can inhibit tumor growth. Previously, marijuana was only useful in relieving nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. However, new technology and looser laws on the drug have allowed for more testing to be done and cannabinoids found in marijuana have been found to fill a primary role in cancer treatment and prevention.

Prescription “marijuana-pills” have been available for prescription since 1985 under the name Dronabinol. These pills contain a synthetic form of the active ingredient THC, one of the psychoactive elements found in marijuana. They are prescribed for the use of treating nausea and vomiting for AIDS and cancer patients. The medications do not contain all of the cannabinoids found in raw cannabis buds, which is why many patients prefer smoking or eating marijuana instead. Many patients find that medicating with pure THC causes slight paranoia, which is a common side-effect of THC. When marijuana is smoked, the user is effected by not only the THC, but 400 chemical compounds and at least 66 cannabinoids. This causes a very different effect when combined with THC than when ingesting pure THC with the prescription medication pills.

Prop 203 Timeline

With the passing of the new proposition that will allow patients who receive a recommendation from their physicians and are registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services to legally obtain and use marijuana to treat debilitating symptoms associated with their diseases, many people are wondering just when this will happen!

The Arizona Department of Health Services has given an official timeline for the undertaking of Proposition 203:

December 17, 2010: ADHS posts an initial informal draft of the Rules

December 17, 2010 – January 7, 2011: ADHS receives informal (electronic) public comment on the initial informal draft rules

January 31, 2011: ADHS posts official draft Rules for public comment

January 31, 2011 – February 18, 2011: ADHS receive public comment on a revised draft of the Rules

February 15 – 17, 2011: ADHS holds 3 public meetings about the draft Rules:

Phoenix: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm, 250 N 17th Ave

Tucson: Wednesday, February, 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm, 400 W. Congress, Room 222

Phoenix: Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm, 250 N 17th Ave

March 28, 2011: ADHS publishes the final Rules that will be used to implement the Act

April 2011: ADHS begins to accept applications for registry identification cards and for dispensary certificates