Things That Matter

An Arizona Medical Marijuana Farm Turned The Sky Purple And People Were Left Wondering What Was Going On

A Navajo County medical marijuana farm in Snowflake, Arizona filled the sky with a strange purple haze that illuminated the horizon. Local residents took photos of the electric violet fog that enveloped them on an early Friday morning last week. 

Copperstate Farms is the largest medical marijuana wholesaler in Arizona, according to CNN. The farm has 40 acres of greenhouses (totaling the size of 30 football fields). The greenhouses use red and blue lights at night to boost the plants’ growth. Anyone who paid attention during the color theory section of art class knows red and blue make purple, but the lights don’t look like this every day in Navajo County. 

So why was the sky filled with a purple haze?

❄ The snow wasn't the only gift the skies had in store for us this morning. ????This photo taken from Snowflake, AZ early…

Posted by Navajo County on Friday, January 10, 2020

“The purple lights are always there but don’t usually light up the sky like this,” Cara Smith, who took the viral photo at 6:30 AM on her way to work, told CNN. “It had snowed that morning and was still very foggy and cloudy.”

While the lights can sometimes look a little purple from afar, the weather conditions magnified the violet hue. According to KTLA, water droplets from a particularly low fog reflected the growth lights which made the purple color spread across the dark sky. 

“The snow wasn’t the only gift the skies had in store for us this morning. This photo taken from Snowflake, AZ early this morning showcased purple glow for miles! Huge shout out to resident Cara Smith for sharing her photo.
The purple glow is a result of LED grow lights from nearby medical marijuana farm Copperstate Farms and the snow clouds overhead,” the official Navajo County Facebook page wrote. 

Copperstate Farms has been growing crops for three years with 70 cannabis strains in production and another 40 in development. 

With more states legalizing marijuana, a purple haze could be coming to you.

While Arizona legalized medical use in 2010, it has struggled to legalize it for recreational use. In fact, in 2016 a ballot initiative to legalize it recreationally failed with 48.7 percent of the vote. Nevertheless, in just four short years the state has a new initiative on the ballot that is facing little opposition. 

“With over $1.6 million in funding, the political action committee formed to push the ballot initiative is the best-funded PAC in the state, according to campaign finance filings. What is surprising is the seeming lack of any opposition in a state that, just four years ago, narrowly struck down a similar bill,” according to the Phoenix New Times.

In 2016, Arizona may have suffered from a 6.4 million anti-cannabis movement but there is little resistance this time. There have been changing attitudes around marijuana use with 33 states making it medically legal and 11 making it recreationally legal. 

Here are the states we can expect expanded access to marijuana use from in 2020.

According to Newsweek, over a dozen states are posturing towards ballot initiatives for recreational cannabis use in 2020. States like these include Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, South Dakota, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and North Dakota and Rhode Island. 

States in the beginning process are working to garner local and public support, while others, further along, are figuring out implementation processes. For example, Minnesota Democrats are trying to establish the best practices before drafting the bill. 

“It just is manifestly unfair to say ‘Okay, well, now that we think [marijuana] is good and we’re going to make money, let’s make it a corporate, whites-dominated industry,'” Minnesota state house majority leader Ryan Winkler told Newsweek. “We may not be able to stop that, but we’re going to try.”

Marijuana legalization has largely become a criminal justice issue with Black and Brown people incarcerated at much higher rates for usage despite racial groups using cannabis at the same rates. 

Illinois may be the model to follow, after passing a bill to legalize recreational use, the state plans to expunge criminal records for related low-level offenses. It has allocated $30 million in special low-interest loans so that communities, largely of color, affected the most by the so-called War on Drugs can lead the way as cannabis entrepreneurs. 

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Luis Gerardo Méndez Explores The Time Mexico Legalized Drugs In New Podcast

Entertainment

Luis Gerardo Méndez Explores The Time Mexico Legalized Drugs In New Podcast

Courtesy of Sonoro

In the 1940s, one doctor had the idea of curing addiction by legalizing drugs in Mexico. After six months, and some success, the entire project was abandoned. Luis Gerardo Méndez is digging into where the idea came from and why it was abandoned in a new podcast.

Luis Gerardo Méndez and his friends are exploring the time when Mexico legalized drugs.

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It was 1940 and the Mexican government legalized all drugs. Doctors were able to prescribe their patients drugs in a methodical way to slowly get addicts off of drugs. Dr. Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra is credited with creating the program that showed success during the short time that it was allowed to be.

Gerardo learned about Dr. Salazar only recently and is excited to be able to tell the story of the Mexican doctor. The actor is a little shocked that more people do not know about the doctor who could have changed the course of history had he been allowed to proceed.

“I was immediately hooked on the story because I had no idea that that happened. To be honest with you, 99 percent of the people that I know in Mexico have no idea that drugs were legal in the ‘40s,” Gerardo admits. “It was really interesting for me, not just for the story but I was really intrigued about why we don’t know about this. Why didn’t anyone that I know know about this doctor and the incredible work that he did 80 years ago? He was a doctor who was 80 years ahead of his time and the world.”

Gerardo promises, without revealing spoilers, just how the U.S. managed to undercut the medical program.

The U.S. was not happy with Mexico experimenting with this kind of legaliztion. The host hints at talking about Harry Anslinger, the First Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He held the position from 1930 to 1962 and, according to Gerardo, he placed some pressure on Mexico to re-evaluate the program.

“You, as the audience, in a way, realize that the legalization in Mexico ended because of the pressure from the U.S.,” Gerardo says. “The U.S. was putting a lot of pressure on Mexico telling them that they can’t do this about the legalization effort. Now, marijuana is legal in the U.S. and in Mexico we are still having this conversation. I’m pissed. Its not cool. I think it is really important to talk about these things.”

Despite the president supporting the measure, it was rolled back after six months.

The program was helping people get medical attention for their addiction issues and started to curb criminal activity around drugs. The cartels were losing business because addicts and drug users could seek proper medical attention from doctors to get their drugs for free.

Part of the program involved slowly weening people off of their drug addiction. It got people back into a healthier lifestyle while getting them back into the job market.

While Gerardo stops short of endorsing legalizing marijuana today, he is interested in showing people all sides of the conversation. The host splits his time between Mexico City and LA and has seen the marijuana industry take off in the U.S. but not in Mexico. He feels frustrated that the conversation in Mexico hasn’t advanced to the same place where the U.S. is.

“The same people doing that work in Mexico are criminals because someone behind a desk is saying what it legal and what’s not. Especially when this system proves that it works in the U.S. It is making millions of dollars in taxes for schools, for public health, and in Mexico we are still thinking about it,” Gerardo says about the difference in the U.S. and Mexico round marijuana legalization. “I think, again, I’m not saying whether I am in favor or not. I’m just saying that it is really important for me to expose these points of view and open a conversation for the mainstream.”

For Gerardo, telling the story is a point of pride in his Mexican heritage.

“The other thing is that sometimes in the world, we have an idea of all of these progressive ideas come from Europe or they come from the U.S.,” Gerardo says. “Yet, this Mexican doctor had this idea, this really really interesting and strong point of view 80 years ago and no one listened. No one listened to him. For me, I feel really proud to share the story of this man because I think he, in a way, is a hero. He was pretty close to stopping the drug cartel war.”

Dr. Salazar was a visionary of his time. His work to legalize drugs and work to treat drug addiction like a mental and physical health issue was promising. We have seen this same stance done in Portugal decades after Mexico tried it with the same positive results.

“It’s so incredible that we are hearing about this doctor, now, 80 years after this extraordinary things. He was one of the most polemic figures in Mexico and in the United Nations because of his way of thinking,” Gerardo says. “What I thought was really interesting and sad is that we are hearing about this guy 80 years later. He made some really powerful people really pissed and they erased him from the story.”

READ: The Controversy Behind Delta-8 THC And Why Shoppers Are Buying It Up

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The Controversy Behind Delta-8 THC And Why Shoppers Are Buying It Up

Things That Matter

The Controversy Behind Delta-8 THC And Why Shoppers Are Buying It Up

Luke Dray/Getty Images

There’s a new cannabis product that we need to talk about since it’s exploding in popularity across the country – especially in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal.

Delta 8 buds look, smell and taste (when smoked) like traditional marijuana, and it even contains a type of THC. Yet it is seemingly legal to buy and consume even in many states where recreational marijuana remains against the law.

What is Delta 8 and does it get you high?

Before getting too far into it, though, readers should be cautioned that products containing it have not been FDA-tested or FDA-approved. Delta 8, which is most commonly sold as an edible, is extremely similar to what we think of as typical THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main ingredient in cannabis); the only chemical difference is the location of a certain double bond. The effects are also super similar, the main difference being that the high from delta 8 is a little less intense, and reportedly gives you more energy than a typical delta-9 high. 

Many people stated they felt more of a “body high” with fewer mental effects. Many folks enjoy using it as a means of alleviating their anxiety and pain while still being able to think clearly.  

In most states, yes, Delta-8 is legal. There are 11 states that forbid it: Delaware, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah.

These companies place a leaflet into the boxes indicating why it is legal as per the 2018 Farm Bill in case packages are inspected by the government or the Postal Service.

Whether or not Delta-8 is legal in your state has nothing to do with actual cannabis legality. For example, cannabis is legal recreationally in Arizona and Colorado, but not Delta-8. 

While CBD and Delta-9 THC (usually just referred to as THC) are undoubtedly the most well-known cannabinoids, Delta 8 suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, became immensely popular within the last year. 

Retailers who specialized in CBD before introducing Delta 8 in 2020 reported a drastic spike in sales to Newsweek, which they partly attributed to its supposed anxiety-relieving properties helping people cope with pandemic-related stress.

Anyone using Delta-8 THC should be aware it will turn up on a drug test as regular THC, and thus could cause one to fail the test should it exceed the accepted limit.

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