Research, Tax and Regulate

Maine Marijuana Initiative Officially Approved for November Ballot

April 28th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.ME Release Header - NEW

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People’s Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it. The full results are available at here.

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Medical Marijuana, Research

DEA Approves Study on Treating PTSD With Marijuana

April 22nd, 2016 1 Comment Morgan Fox

On Thursday, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced in a press release that they had received approval to study the effects of marijuana on treating PTSD in veterans.q4g89gcyl385qpt0vmeo

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has formally approved the first-ever randomized controlled trial of whole plant medical marijuana (cannabis) as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in U.S. veterans. The DEA’s approval marks the first time a clinical trial intended to develop smoked botanical marijuana into a legal prescription drug has received full approval from U.S. regulatory agencies, including the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study will test the safety and efficacy of botanical marijuana in 76 U.S. military veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD. The study is funded by a $2.156 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to the California-based non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is sponsoring the research.

The trial will gather safety and efficacy data on four potencies of smoked marijuana with varying ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). By exploring the effectiveness of a variety of marijuana strains, the study seeks to generate naturalistic data comparable to how many veterans in medical marijuana states currently use marijuana. Results will provide vital information on marijuana dosing, composition, side effects, and areas of benefit to clinicians and legislators considering marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.

Congratulations and thanks go to Dr. Sue Sisley, who has long been the foremost champion of studying the effects of marijuana on PTSD, and the rest of the staff at MAPS for working so diligently in this area.

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Prohibition, Research

Prominent Doctors Launch Group to End Marijuana Prohibition

April 15th, 2016 3 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Some of the country’s most prominent physicians have teamed up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.DRCR-LOGO-WEB-colors-small

Washington Post reports:

The group — which is announcing its formation Monday, under the name Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) — is endorsing the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use, a break from the position of the American Medical Association, the largest organization of doctors in the country. DFCR argues that the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana use does more harm to the public than good. Citing hundreds of thousands of annual marijuana arrests, racial and economic disparities in marijuana enforcement, and the role of prohibition in keeping marijuana prices high and lucrative to violent drug dealers, the physicians say that creating a legal and regulated marijuana market is the best way to ensure public safety, combat the illicit drug trade and roll back the negative consequences of strict enforcement policies on disadvantaged communities.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Research

Survey Shows Record Support for Making Marijuana Legal

March 25th, 2016 8 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Friday, even more evidence that most Americans no longer support marijuana prohibition was released.

Washington Post reports:

A new survey released today by the the Associated Press800px-Associated_Press_logo.svg and the University of Chicago finds that a record-high percentage of Americans — 61 percent — say they support marijuana legalization.

The survey uses the same question wording (“Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”) on marijuana as previous Gallup surveys, which had shown a previous high of 58 percent support for legalization last October.

The survey comes at a potential tipping point for drug reform. Next month, the United Nations will hold a special session in New York to re-evaluate the state of international drug laws. Many researchers and public health experts have been encouraging the UN to take a less-punitive approach to drug policy. Yesterday, a group of medical and public health experts urged governments to decriminalize all drug use and experiment with regulated drug markets in some cases.

 

 

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Prohibition, Research

Postal Marijuana Seizures Decrease as Retail Stores Open

March 17th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

New information from the Postal ServiceUnited_States_Postal_Service_(emblem) reveals that inspectors are finding less marijuana moving through the system as retail marijuana stores are opening in states that have made it legal.

U.S. News reports:

Statistics provided to U.S. News by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service show that marijuana package intercepts declined again in fiscal year 2015, the first annual period that wholly encompasses state-regulated recreational marijuana sales in Colorado and Washington state.

Inspectors seized 7,783 marijuana-containing parcels during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a 2.6 percent drop. The collective weight of the contraband was 34,305 pounds, down 12.7 percent from the previous year.

It’s a second year in a row of such declines. In fiscal year 2014, which featured nine months of Colorado sales and three months of Washington retail operations, intercepted packages fell by 12.2 percent and their collective weight dropped by 12.7 percent.

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug seized by postal inspectors, often after reports of a suspicious odor. Though the Obama administration tolerates state-regulated medical and recreational marijuana markets, possession of the drug for any reason outside limited research remains a federal crime, as does shipping it through the mail system, even within state-legal jurisdictions.

As the numbers trend downward, pro-legalization policy advocates sense validation for their claims that black-market illegality can be crushed and drug cartels put out of business by treating the drug like alcohol.

“It’s clear the system is working as intended,” says Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert, a leader of Colorado’s 2012 legalization campaign. “What we’re seeing is adults are purchasing marijuana, but there haven’t been significant efforts to get it to other states through the mail, as some feared. People want to follow the law.”

 

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Research

New Hampshire Poll Shows 62% Support for Legalization

March 2nd, 2016 1 Comment Morgan Fox

A WMUR Granite State Poll released Tuesday found that a majority of New Hampshire residents support making marijuana legal for adults:

New Hampshire legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 2013, but bills to legalize marijuana for recreational use have not passed the legislature. However, a majority of Granite Statersgspfinal2 support legalizing recreational marijuana in New Hampshire and have for several years. Currently, 62% support legalizing marijuana for recreational use (41% strongly and 21% somewhat), 30% oppose (19% strongly and 11% somewhat) and 8% are neutral or unsure.
If marijuana were legalized in the Granite State, a majority of New Hampshire residents (72%) approve of selling it at licensed retail outlets and taxing it, similar to how alcohol is sold (52% strongly and 20% somewhat), only 24% disapprove of this idea (18% strongly and 6% somewhat), 1% are neutral and 3% are unsure.
The full poll can be found here.
In 2015, a bill that would have significantly reduced penalties for marijuana possession passed the House by a huge 297-67 margin. Unfortunately, the bill was tabled at the end of the legislative session. Supporters are hoping that a similar bill can be passed this year after the House killed legislation that would have regulated marijuana like alcohol in February.

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Research

Study: Marijuana Use Does Not Cause Anxiety or Depression

February 18th, 2016 3 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Yet another study has been released that counters long-held beliefs about the dangers associated with marijuana use.

Washington Post reports:

New research published today in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that using marijuana as an adult is not associated with a variety of mood and anxiety disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder.

This is a challenge to some previous research which has shown that marijuana use is associated with depression and anxiety.

The researchers examined the records of nearly 35,000 U.S. adults who participated in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. They examined the prevalence of marijuana use among the study participants in 2001 and 2002, then checked on the participants’ rates of mental-health problems three years later in 2004 and 2005.

After controlling for a variety of confounding factors, such as socio-demographic characteristics, family history and environment, and past and present psychiatric disorders, the study found that “cannabis use was not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders.”

The new study adds to prior research discrediting the connection between marijuana and common mental-health disorders. And it’s important, because much of the federal government’s current literature on marijuana includes claims about links between marijuana and depression that are inaccurate in light of the latest findings.

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Prohibition, Research

Legal Colorado Marijuana Market Hurting Drug Cartels

February 2nd, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

According to a story published today by Fox News Latinothe legal marijuana market in Colorado is partially responsible for decreased Mexican drug cartel activity within the U.S. and along the border.

Legal marijuana in Colorado seems to have helped with resolving the problem of drugs in Mexico, says the report, citing the pro-marijuana Weed Blog, which says that over the past two years trafficking of the drug by Mexican cartels has dropped by “up to 70 percent.”Mexico_Flag_Map.svg

An official report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in October 2015 confirmed the reduction, showing that in 2014 there had been a year-on-year 23 percent drop in border smuggling.

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Research

Studies Show Marijuana Use Does Not Lower IQ

January 24th, 2016 5 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Last week, the Washington Post reported on a pair of studies released in January that further disprove an often-repeated theory that marijuana use is linked to lower intelligence.

You might have heard that smoking marijuana makes you stupid.

If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, that was more or less the take-home message of countless anti-drug PSAs. In more recent years, it’s a message we’ve heard — albeit in more nuanced form — from Republican candidates on the campaign trail and from marijuana opponents at the state-level.

The contemporary version of argument can be traced to a 2012 Duke University study, which found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ.

Other researchers have since criticized that study’s methods. A follow-up study in the same journal found that the original research failed to account for a number of confounding factors that could also affect cognitive development, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status.

Two new reports this month tackle the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: One examines the life trajectories of 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.

Despite vastly different methods, the studies reach the same conclusion: They found no evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence.

The full article is available here.

 

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Research

Federal Survey Dispels Myth That Reforming Marijuana Laws, Debating Legalization Will Lead to More Teen Use

December 18th, 2015 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The results of an annual survey of U.S. middle and high school students released Wednesday invalidate claims that reforming marijuana laws and debating legalization will lead to increased marijuana use among teens.

According to the Monitoring the Future Survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

  • Rates of daily marijuana use by 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, as well as monthly use by 12th-graders, did not change from 2014 to 2015 and have remained unchanged since 2010.
  • The rate of monthly marijuana use by 8th-graders did not change in the past year, but has dropped significantly since 2010.
  • The rate of monthly marijuana use by 10th-graders appears to have dropped significantly from 2014 (and 2010) to 2015.

The survey also found a decline in the number of teens who perceive ‘great risk’ in marijuana use, negating the theory that softening perceptions of harm will result in more teens using marijuana.

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