Maker of deadly painkillers is bankrolling the opposition to legal marijuana in Arizona

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** Maker of deadly painkillers is bankrolling the opposition to legal marijuana in Arizona ( -

The Washington Post

The campaign against marijuana legalization in Arizona received a major infusion of cash last week from a synthetic cannabis drugmaker that has been investigated for alleged improper marketing of a highly addictive prescription painkiller, according to campaign finance reports ( .

The $500,000 donation from Insys Therapeutics ( , based in Chandler, Ariz., amounts to more than one-third of all money raised by Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy ( , the group opposing legalization. It's one of the largest single contributions to any anti-legalization campaign ever, according to campaign finance records ( maintained by

** Cannabis Industry Expected to Be Worth $50 Billion by 2026 ( - Bloomberg News

The legal cannabis industry in the U.S. may grow to $50 billion in the next decade, expanding to more than eight times its current size, as lawful pot purveyors gain new customers and win over users from the illicit market, according to a new report.

Legalizing recreational use in California, where the drug is already medically permitted, is on the ballot in November, and approval of that measure alone would triple the size of the nation’s current $6 billion legal industry, according to a report from 10 Cowen & Co. analysts released on Monday. In all, voters in nine states will vote on weed-related initiatives this November -- five to legalize the drug for all adults and four to allow for medical use.

Pot already is legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia, and is medically permitted in 25 states. Cowen’s forecast assumes federal legalization of the drug, a measure that has more than 50 percent popular support.

“Cannabis prohibition has been in place for 80-plus years, but the tides are clearly turning,” the analysts said.

** California's history with recreational marijuana — and why this time may be different (

On Nov. 8, California voters will have the opportunity to legalize recreational use of marijuana. It won't be the first time.

We've put together a timeline of the Golden State's history with cannabis, which stretches back more than a century to the Poison Act of 1907.

1913: Addendum to the Poison Act

California became the first state to prohibit marijuana in an addendum to the Poison Act of 1907. The Poison Act made it illegal to sell or use cocaine or opiates such as opium and morphine without a prescription. In 1913, the law was amended to include cannabis.

1937: The Marihuana Tax Act

This federal act prohibited cannabis in the United States except for industrial and medicinal uses.

Following the Mexican Revolution in 1910, many Mexicans immigrated to the U.S., prompting an outcry about the effects of immigration. Anti-Mexican sentiment surfaced in public fears of “marihuana,” which some believed came across the border with the immigrants and turned users into raging violent lunatics.

The Marihuana Tax Act had other contributing causes, including William Randolph Hearst’s campaign against hemp as an alternative to using wood pulp for paper and reports from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics about the dangers of cannabis smoking.

1970: Controlled Substances Act

This act repealed the Marihuana Tax Act and replaced it with a more stringent anti-drug law that outlawed many narcotics, including cannabis.

The previous year, a report by the Field Poll — an independent nonpartisan statewide public opinion survey — found that only 3% of state residents ( supported complete marijuana legalization. Another 10% felt it should be legalized but treated similarly to alcohol, including limiting it to consumers by age.

1972: Proposition 19, marijuana legalization

Proposition 19 marked the first time California tried to independently legalize pot. The measure would have decriminalized marijuana possession and cultivation for people 18 and older, and was championed by Bay Area attorney Leo Paoli.

The final vote was 33.5% for and 66.5% against.

1975: California Senate Bill 95

Moscone introduced this bill in Sacramento in response to his committee’s study, which found that 90% of marijuana arrests were for simple possession and were costing the state $100 million annually. This bill downgraded possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a possible felony to a misdemeanor with “a traffic-style citation and a maximum fine of $100,” according to a Times article on the bill from July 10, 1975. An editorial that ran the next day called the new law “sensible and humane.”

Jerry Brown signed the bill into law during his first term as governor. The bill was considered controversial, with critics saying it effectively legalized marijuana. Brown released a statement at the time underscoring that marijuana was still illegal and that “severe penalties still remain” for possession by minors and for selling or cultivating the drug.

1996: Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative

With this ballot measure, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Arizona passed a medical marijuana bill the same year, but the state suspended its implementation until the Food and Drug Administration approved cannabis for medical use, which essentially nullified it.

California’s proposition was one of the most significant pieces of marijuana legislation in modern history. Marijuana had been outlawed everywhere in every form for nearly 60 years.

The proposition passed with 55.58% of Californians voting for it and 44.42% against it.

2003: Senate Bill 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act

This bill clarified a few things in the California medical marijuana law passed by voters, including the scope of the law and which government agencies were in charge of enforcing it. It also created the voluntary ID card system to identify verified medical marijuana patients.

The following year, the Field Poll found that nearly three-fourths of all state residents ( supported the existing medical marijuana legislation.

2010: Senate Bill 1449

Just before leaving office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill ( that downgraded possession of up to an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction — the same as a traffic violation.

"In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket,” he said in a statement that accompanied the signing.

2010: Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative

This ballot measure sought to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.

In April of 2010, 56% of poll respondents said they were in favor of the initiative. But that number dropped steadily leading up to the election. Ultimately, the final vote was 53.5% against and 46.5% for.

2012: Marijuana is legalized for recreational use in two states — but not California

In 2012, Colorado and Washington voters elected to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Since then, state legislators across the country have been keeping an eye on what this has meant for crime rates, drug use and new taxes.

The following year, the Field Poll found that 55% of Californians ( supported marijuana legalization.

2015: The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation is established

Last year, California lawmakers sent a slate of bills to Brown’s desk to create new statewide medical marijuana regulations. The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation was created to dictate how cannabis is grown and sold in the state, and to set fees and licensing standards for marijuana-related businesses. Marijuana growers must also now adhere to the laws and regulations other types of farmers are subject to.

In early 2016, Brown appointed the Bureau’s first “pot czar,” Lori Ajax ( . The bills also laid the groundwork for marijuana distribution and regulation if voters choose to legalize it for recreational use.

2016: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act

This year’s shot at legalizing pot has a number of differences from the 2010 initiative.

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a group dedicated to reforming the state’s marijuana laws, said a number of legalization efforts cropped up this year, but thanks to former Facebook President Sean Parker’s hefty investment ( , this is the one that rose to the top.

Gieringer said the bill’s organizers did a good job of getting key endorsements in place early from the California Medical Assn., Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Democratic Party. The bill also very clearly lays out how taxation will work, said Gieringer, who was the author of the 1996 law that legalized medical marijuana.

** New Polling has Florida Medical Cannabis Initiative at 70% Support (

New polling released by Public Policy Polling has found that 70% of voters in Florida support Amendment 2 ( to legalize medical cannabis, with just 23% opposed; 7% remain undecided. The poll comes roughly two months before the November 8th election.

“Poll after poll has us winning this race in November and finally allowing Florida’s doctors to make the recommendations they feel are best for thousands and thousands of suffering patients in Florida”, says Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager forUnited for Care, the group behind Amendment 2. “Still, the No On 2 Campaign is doing everything it can to provoke fear and obstruct this important access. And they have a lot of money to do it.”

According to Pollara, they know from their 2014 campaign that “things can change very quickly when you’re out spent”. As such, the group is continuing to build their advertising fund to “make sure we have enough to adequately communicate the truth to undecided (or easily swayed) voters.”

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