Afternoon Update: Medical Cannabis Developments in Colorado, Michigan and Arizona + New MMJ Study

There’s been a flurry of medical marijuana news across the country today, most of it tied to positive developments for a change.

Here’s a summary of what’s going on coupled with MMJ Business Daily’s analysis of what it all means for the medical marijuana industry:

– Colorado: Talk about a shocker. The controversial marijuana DUI bill that appeared headed for the governor’s desk stumbled in the state Senate after a key supporter failed to show up for the vote. It’s an interesting development on an issue that has has gained serious momentum several times but then died unexpectedly.

Analysis: Many MMJ supporters were opposed to this bill, and they were up in arms earlier today when it appeared the measure would become law. The initiative could have caused a ripple effect throughout the MMJ industry and led to a dip in the number of patients with marijuana cards. While cannabis advocates can celebrate this victory, the party might not last long, as this issue is sure to come up again at some point.

– Michigan: As lawmakers debate how to restructure the state’s MMJ program, marijuana advocates gathered at the state Capitol today to promote an effort to legalize cannabis. The effort – spearheaded by a group of cannabis supporters – aims to get a measure on the fall ballot that would allow adults to possess and use marijuana for whatever reasons they choose. The group behind the drive has a long way to go: They’ve gathered just a fraction of the signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot. They now have less than two months to get an additional 300,000 valid signatures.

Analysis: This effort is dead in the water unless the group can raise a substantial amount of money to fund a high-profile signature drive. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Cannabis advocates need to come together and help the state sort out its MMJ issues first before pushing for the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

– Arizona: And so it begins. After a long delay, Arizona finally – and officially – is moving forward with its dispensary program. The state began receiving applications for dispensaries as planned. Arizona has received nearly two dozen applications as of this afternoon. Expect dozens more to pour in over the next 10 days during the application period.

Analysis: Local cannabis professionals won’ breathe easy until dispensaries are actually open, given all the setbacks and letdowns so far. But this is the clearest sign yet that Arizona will actually allow medical marijuana centers to open. Not much stands in the way at this point, and it seems the state governor will no longer interfere. A whole new market (to the tune of 35,000 patients, and counting) is now set to open up for MMJ entrepreneurs, industry vendors and existing cannabis businesses looking to expand into new states.

– National: A research study detailing a promising link between marijuana use and multiple sclerosis is making headlines today. The study found that smoking cannabis can help reduce pain and ease muscle spasm for MS patients considerably.

Analysis: This is one of the first credible, in-depth experiments on whether marijuana can help patients with MS, and it could help spur further research. For now, it represents another weapon in the MMJ arsenal that can be used to promote the merits of medical cannabis.