California: Hospitalizations Linked to Use of Unregulated Vapor Cartridges

Generic 23 August 2019 | 0 Comments

VaporizerCalifornia health officials have identified a link between the use of unregulated vapor cartridges and patients seeking hospitalization for respiratory distress. In each of the cases, patients presented symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and possessed a history of consuming either THC or CBD extracts via the use of unlicensed vapor cartridges.

The incidents highlight the potential risks associated with the use of certain unregulated cannabis products, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. He acknowledged that NORML has previously expressed concerns regarding the identification of adulterants and heavy metals in some unregulated cannabis extract products.

“Unregulated illicit market cannabis products, like products in any unregulated marketplace, are of variable quality and may put some consumers at risk,” he said. “These incidents linked to the use of unregulated, illicit market vapor cartridges reinforce the need for greater market regulation, standardization, and oversight — principles which NORML has consistently called for in the cannabis space. Consumers must also be aware that not all products are created equal; quality control testing is critical and only exists in the legally regulated marketplace.”

Lab testing of vapor cartridge products have flagged various products in the past for impurities, leading to their removal from the marketplace.

A press release issued by the City of Hanford, Department of Public Health advises, “[I]f you are going to use cannabis or CBD oil or a combination of both, be cautious, and only purchase from a licensed retailer.”

The US Centers for Disease Control has identified other possible cases in other states linked to the use of unregulated vapor cartridges or e-cigarette devices. But the agency advises: “Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar presentations. … Investigators have not identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all cases.”

Continuing coverage of this story appears on Leafly.com.

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Federal Report: Youth Marijuana Use Steadily Declining

Generic 21 August 2019 | 0 Comments

The self-reported use of marijuana by teenagers continues to decline nationally, according to federal data reported by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The agency’s 2018 report finds that past-year marijuana use by those ages 12 to 17 has fallen consistently since 2002, from 15.8 percent to 12.5 percent. Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to regulate adult use access, past-year youth use has fallen eight percent.

By contrast, self-reported cannabis use by older Americans has risen during this same time period.

The federal data also reports a consistent year-over-year decline in the prevalence of so-called “marijuana use disorder” among teens – a finding that is consistent with other studies.

Commenting on the data, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “Regulation and education is a more effective and a more preferable tool to discourage youth use and access than is criminalization.” He added: “A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults but restricts its use among young people – coupled with a legal environment that fosters open, honest dialogue between parents and children about cannabis’ potential harms – best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s use or abuse. By contrast, advocating for the marijuana’s continued criminalization only compounds them.”

Separate evaluations of marijuana use patterns specifically in cannabis legalization states show little if any change in cannabis use or access by teenagers. Data published online in JAMA Pediatrics in July reported that states with “recreational marijuana laws were associated with an eight percent decrease in the odds of marijuana use and a nine percent decrease in the odds of frequent marijuana use” among teens.

For more information, see the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”

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Cannabis flower is an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain

Did you know that? 21 August 2019 | 0 Comments

Using the largest database of real-time recordings of the effects of common and commercially available cannabis products in the United States, researchers found strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption.

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Arizona NORML, Partners File 2020 Statewide Legalization Initiative

Generic 20 August 2019 | 0 Comments

A coalition of activist groups, including Arizona NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the state chapter of the ACLU, have filed language with the Secretary of State seeking to legalize the adult use and dispensing of cannabis.

The Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which was drafted with input from Arizona NORML State Director Michael Weisser, permits those age 21 and over to legally possess, purchase, and grow personal use amounts of cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products. The proposed measure also allows those with marijuana convictions to petition the court for an expungement of their records, among other legal and regulatory changes.

“Since the failure of 2016 another 30,000 Arizonans have been arrested for cannabis possession,” Weisser acknowledged. “I committed myself and Arizona NORML to making ourselves as central as possible to any 2020 campaign to make sure our values were protected.”

A 2016 statewide initiative effort in Arizona failed by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent.

Advocates must collect 237,645 valid signatures from voters by July 2, 2020 in order to place the Smart and Safe Arizona Act on the November 2020 ballot.

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Spending on illicit drugs in US nears $150 billion annually

Did you know that? 20 August 2019 | 0 Comments

Spending on cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine fluctuated between $120 billion and $145 billion each year from 2006 to 2016, rivaling what Americans spend each year on alcohol, according to a new study.

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