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 Latino, the 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 1 Comment » 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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Research

New Gallup Poll Shows 58% of Americans Support Making Marijuana Legal

October 21st, 2015 4 Comments » Morgan Fox

A Gallup poll released Wednesday shows 58% of adults in the United States think marijuana should be made legal, up from 51% in October 2014. Just 40% think it should remain illegal.

The national poll of 1,015 adults was conducted October 7-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. The full results are available at here.

Gallup 2015

 

Americans’ support for legalizing marijuana is the highest Gallup has measured to date, at 58%. Given the patterns of support by age, that percentage should continue to grow in the future. Younger generations of Americans have been increasingly likely to favor legal use of marijuana as they entered adulthood compared with older generations of Americans when they were the same age decades ago. Now, more than seven in 10 of today’s young adults support legalization.

But Americans today — particularly those between 35 and 64 — are more supportive of legal marijuana than members of their same birth cohort were in the past. Now senior citizens are alone among age groups in opposing pot legalization.

These trends suggest that state and local governments may come under increasing pressure to ease restrictions on marijuana use, if not go even further like the states of Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in making recreational marijuana use completely legal.

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Medical Marijuana, Research

Maryland Medical Marijuana Seminars This Week – Free for Physicians

October 20th, 2015 No Comments Robert Capecchi

Our allies at Patients Out of Time, in partnership with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission and the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association, pot-2015-logoare hosting two half-day seminars about medical marijuana and the endocannabinoid system this week — one in Columbia and one in La Plata. Registration is required and the events are free for physicians.

Medical Cannabis 101: The Physician’s Primer

Maryland Pharmacists Association
9115 Guilford Rd., Suite 200
Columbia, MD 21046
Thursday, October 22, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Click here to register

University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center
5 Garrett Rd.
La Plata, MD 20646
Friday, October 23, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Click here to register

Both of these events will feature Dustin Sulak, D.O., who will touch on the literature on endocannabinoid physiology, clinical applications of cannabinoids, and share his experience overseeing 18,000 medical marijuana patients in New England. Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, President of Patients Out of Time, will also speak on the history of medical cannabis and the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. Eric Sterling, a member of the Maryland medical marijuana commission, will speak at the Columbia event about the programs details. These events will be particularly beneficial for Maryland physicians, so please send this along to any doctors you know in the state.

You can visit Patients Out of Time for more information on the events. For more details on Maryland’s medical marijuana program, please visit the Medical Cannabis Commission’s website.

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Research

Maryland Poll Shows Continued Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition

October 7th, 2015 No Comments Robert Capecchi

This past Monday, the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center of Goucher CollegeGoucher-Poll-450-300 released its Fall 2015 survey of Maryland residents. This latest poll continues to show majority support for “making the use of marijuana legal in Maryland”. The poll found that 52% of residents would support this policy change, with only 42% opposing. It also found that 64% of respondents think that marijuana policy should be left to the states (p. 19).

Just like Colorado and Washington, Maryland can responsibly bring the marijuana market above board by regulating production, distribution, and sales. Regulations will ensure a safe market where products are tested and accurately labeled for greater transparency and education. The state will also be able to realize tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue off marijuana sales — an activity that happens every single day across the state, despite prohibition.

If you are a Maryland resident, please email your delegates and state senator and ask them to support legislation in 2016 to treat marijuana like alcohol.

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Research

New Study Shows Teen Marijuana Use Not Linked to Later Physical or Mental Health Issues

August 4th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

A study just released by the American Psychological Association showsAPA logo_small no direct link between teen marijuana use, even chronic use, and health problems later in life. The study looked at more than 400 individuals as they matured and found no evidence that marijuana use caused or contributed to any mental or physical health issues over time, including cancer and psychosis.

The Daily Caller reports:

Chronic marijuana use as an adolescent has no link to mental or physical health problems later in life, according to a new study conducted over the past 20 years.

Published by the American Physiological Association, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University divided participants into four groups from their teenage years onward.

One group almost never smoked marijuana, one used it mostly in their teenage years, another started using in adulthood and the final group of subjects started using marijuana early and continued into their adult years.

The study found that “chronic marijuana users were not more likely than late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, or low/nonusers to experience several physical or mental health problems in their mid-30s.”

In fact, there were no significant differences between marijuana trajectory groups in terms of adult health outcomes, even when models were run without controlling for potential confounds. The researchers found no link between teen marijuana use and lifetime depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches or high blood pressure.

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Prohibition, Research

New Hampshire Poll Shows Increasing Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition

July 29th, 2015 2 Comments » Morgan Fox

A WMUR Granite State Poll found that 60% of New Hampshire adults support making marijuana legal. It also reported 72% support for decriminalizing  simple marijuana possession.

In early June, the Senate blocked a widely supported bill that Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 12.33.57 PMwould have removed criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. HB 618, which the House approved 297-67 in March, would have made possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Under current state law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

 

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Medical Marijuana, Research

MPP Publishes Report Criticizing New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Program

July 23rd, 2015 3 Comments » Matt Simon
clayton5
Clayton Holton

On this date two years ago, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed HB 573, making New Hampshire the last state in New England to approve a medical marijuana law. Unfortunately, so far this law has failed to benefit patients in any way. Some patients, including well-known patient-advocate Clayton Holton, have passed away while waiting for the law to take effect. Others, such as Ron Mitchell, have had no choice but to leave their families behind and move to another state in search of relief.

To raise awareness about the program’s many shortcomings, MPP has published Confusion, Delays, and Continued Arrests: A Two-Year Retrospective on New Hampshire’s “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” Law.

This report includes the most recent updates, analyzes why the law is not yet effective for patients, and makes recommendations for improving the law and policy moving forward.

Please read the two-year retrospective today, and then share it with your elected officials and with your friends and family.

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Research

New Study Provides More Evidence Against ‘Gateway’ Theory

July 13th, 2015 5 Comments » Morgan Fox

A study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse adds even more evidence showing that marijuana use itself does not cause people to use harder drugs.

HealthDay reports:

“We found that marijuana use within itself wasn’t a risk factor for use of other drugs,” said lead author Joseph Palamar, an assistant professor in the New York University Langone Medical Center’s department of population health. “People do generally use marijuana before other drugs, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is a cause of [using] those other drugs.”

The researchers based their conclusions on data gathered from Monitoring the Future, an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes and values of American high school students. Roughly 15,000 high school seniors are assessed each year.

“Most teens who use marijuana don’t progress to use of other drugs, and we believe this is evidenced in part by the fact that nearly two-thirds of these marijuana-using teens did not report use of any of the other illicit drugs we examined,” he noted.

These results show that educators and counselors would do better to prevent drug use if they focus on the reasons that students give for trying illicit substances, Palamar concluded.

“We need to address the reasons why people use, the drives that lead people to use,” he said. “The majority of adults in the U.S. have at least tried marijuana, and we know the majority has never gone on to use another drug, yet we tend to treat all drug use as pathological.”

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