Medical marijuana laws impact use among sexual minorities differently than heterosexuals

Did you know that? 4 September 2019 | 0 Comments

Bisexual women had higher rates of past-year and daily marijuana use compared to heterosexual women, and gay/lesbian women were also more likely to report daily marijuana use and past year medical marijuana use than heterosexual women. While previous research has explored the association between state-level medical marijuana laws and marijuana use and MU disorder among the general US population, this is among the first to explore this relationship for lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals.

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POTUS: Feds “Allowing States” to Choose Legalization

Generic 4 September 2019 | 0 Comments

The federal government is not standing in the way of states that decide in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana, President Donald Trump stated on Friday in comments first reported by MarijuanaMoment.net.

In response to a reporter’s question regarding whether or not the administration will support a change in federal marijuana policy, President Trump responded: “It’s a very big subject and right now we are allowing states to make that decision. A lot of states are making that decision, but we’re allowing states to make that decision.”

Reacting to the President’s comments, NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said, “The reiteration of a non-enforcement policy from the president is a clear sign that states should continue to defy the federal government when it comes to marijuana prohibition.”

During his Presidential campaign, Trump similarly said that he believed issues surrounding cannabis legalization ought to be decided “state by state.” However, the administration’s first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, rescinded an Obama-administration memorandum which directed the Justice Department not to interfere in state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities.

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Cannabis may hold promise to treat PTSD but evidence lags behind use

Did you know that? 3 September 2019 | 0 Comments

As growing numbers of people are using cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study reports that prescriptions are not backed up by adequate evidence.

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Study: Cannabis Retailers Associated with Drop in Localized Crime

Generic 31 August 2019 | 0 Comments

Marijuana DispensariesThe establishment of regulated cannabis retailers is associated with a decrease in localized criminal activity, according to data published in the journal Regional Science and Urban Economics.

A pair of senior economists affiliated with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia assessed the local effects of retail dispensaries on neighborhood crime in Denver, Colorado. They determined, “[A]n additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period.” The majority of crime reduction is due to a decrease in non-violent criminal activity.

They concluded: “Overall, our results suggest that dispensaries cause an overall reduction in crime in neighborhoods, with no evidence of spillovers to surrounding neighborhoods. … Our results are consistent with theories that predict that marijuana legalization will displace illicit criminal organizations and decrease crime through changes in security behaviors or substitution toward more harmful substances. … Lastly, there is no evidence that increased marijuana use itself results in additional crime.”

The authors’ findings are consistent with those of prior studies concluding that regulating cannabis sales is not associated with upticks in criminal activity and may even play a role in preventing certain crimes, like larceny.

The abstract of the study, “Not in my backyard? Not so fast. The effect of marijuana legalization on neighborhood crime,” is online here.

Surgeon General’s Advisory Highlights Need for Further Cannabis Regulation, Not Criminalization

Generic 30 August 2019 | 0 Comments

Remarks made today by the United States Surgeon General highlighting “the importance of protecting our nation from the health risks of marijuana use in adolescents and during pregnancy” fail to acknowledge the role that a regulated market can play in mitigating the use of cannabis by potentially high-risk populations.

States NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri: “It has long been acknowledged that cannabis is a mood-altering substance with some risk potential. In fact, it is precisely because marijuana use may pose potential risks to certain consumers — for example, adolescents or people with a family history of psychiatric illness — that NORML believes that lawmakers should regulate it accordingly.

“These regulations should include age restrictions, prohibitions on the unlicensed commercial production or retail sale of the plant and rational limits with regard to product marketing.”

He concludes, “A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults but restricts and discourages its use among young people — coupled with a legal environment that fosters open, honest dialogue between parents and children about marijuana’s effects — best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s use or abuse.”

Specifically, federal and state data finds that teen cannabis use has declined in past years – during the same time that many states have legalized and regulated the use of cannabis by adults. According to an August 2019 federal report, 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.

Separate evaluations of marijuana use patterns specifically in cannabis legalization states similarly show little if any change in cannabis use or access by teenagers. In fact, 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.

Added Altieri, “Our current model of federal prohibition represents the utter lack of control over any aspect of marijuana or the marijuana market,” he said. “The Surgeon General’s time would be better spent advocating for a legally and tightly regulated cannabis market – one in which we educate Americans about the potential harms and benefits of cannabis through evidence-based public education campaigns – rather than through fear-mongering.”

For more information on the public health and safety of cannabis, please see NORML’s fact-sheets here.

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