A new study published inÂ Health Economics revealed an unexpected association between states that have medical marijuana laws and the number of sick days reported in those states.
Washington PostÂ reports:
Darin F. Ullman, an economist who recently received his PhD from the University of WisconsinÂ atÂ Milwaukee, wanted to know what effect, if any, the enactment of medical marijuana laws has had on employee absentee rates.
AÂ fair amount of research has been done on the aggregate impact of illicit marijuana use on workplace productivity. Generally speaking, the most recent research â gathered and summarized in this 2014 paper â indicates that most marijuana use has little effect onÂ workplace productivity, althoughÂ chronic or heavy pot use can be a problem.
But there hasn’t been a lot of research into the impact ofÂ licit marijuana use â particularly medical marijuana use â on the workplace. So Ullman decided to look into what happened to employee sick-day use in states that legalized medical marijuana, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population SurveyÂ (CPS).
So Ullman examined before-and-after sick-day data fromÂ 24 states that had medical marijuanaÂ laws at the time of his study. On average, he found that “respondents were 8% less likely to report being absent from work due to health issues after medical marijuana laws” were passed. The CPS numbers also suggest that states with fewer restrictions on the use of medical marijuana, such as on the number of conditions it could be recommended for, had more of a decrease in sick-day use than states with stricter regulations.
It is important to note that this study does not prove a definitive link between medical marijuana laws and absenteeism, but it goes a long way to dispelling the idea that marijuana causes decreased productivity. As with most issues surrounding marijuana, more research is needed.
Tax and Regulate
TheÂ campaign in support of Question 2Â has recently stepped up its advertising efforts in support of the measure.
The latest video adsÂ focus onÂ the benefits of taxingÂ marijuana sales, which would generate significant new revenue for schools. Previous ads have highlighted support fromÂ local and state officials,Â capitalized on recent political events,Â and detailedÂ the success of a similar ballot initiative that was adopted in Colorado in 2012.
You canÂ watch all of the ads hereÂ on the campaign’s website.
Now that most state legislative sessions are over for the year, MPP’s Rob Kampia has published a list of the biggest victories inÂ what is already the biggest year on record for marijuana policy reformers!
On July 29, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill removing the threat of arrest for small amounts of marijuana, capping a record year of legislative and administrative marijuana policy reforms throughout the country.
In addition to Illinois, a number of other states enacted laws to reduce marijuana possession penalties. Kansas lowered the maximum jail sentence for first-time possession and reduced second offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Louisiana and Maryland removed criminal penalties for possession of paraphernalia, with the Maryland Legislature overriding Gov. Larry Hoganâs (R) veto. Oklahoma cut the penalties for second marijuana possession offenses in half, and Tennessee reduced a third possession offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, making the maximum penalty less than a year in jail. At the local level, New Orleans and a number of Florida counties passed ordinances that give police the option to issue summons or citations instead of arresting people for low-level possession.
In a decisionÂ released on August 16, a federal court ruled that the Department of Justice cannot spend funds to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers who are in compliance with state law.
Time Magazine reports:
The ruling comes after a 2014 Congressional law that prohibited the DOJ from interfering in state implementation of marijuana laws. That law led people being prosecuted by the federal government to seek the dismissal of their charges, arguing they were in compliance with state law. On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, sending their cases back to lower courts to determine if they were in compliance with state laws. Some of the defendants ran Los Angeles based marijuana stores and faced charges for distributing 100 marijuana plants.
Tuesdayâs decision by a three-judge panel was unanimous. But in its opinion, the court warned Congress could change its mind and again allow federal funding for prosecution of state-sanctioned marijuana use. âDOJ is currently prohibited from spending funds from specific appropriations acts for prosecutions of those who complied with state law,â the Court wrote. âBut Congress could appropriate funds for such prosecutions tomorrow.â
John Hudak at the Brookings Institute agrees that this ruling is a positive development, but warns against celebrating too much. You can read his detailed analysis here.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has decided that marijuana will remain classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The decision to keep marijuana in the category reserved for drugs with no accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse was, according to the DEA, based on consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services. According to DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg, âIf the scientific understanding about marijuana changes â and it could change â then the decision could changeâŠ. But we will remain tethered to science, as we must, and as the statute demands. It certainly would be odd to rely on science when it suits us and ignore it otherwise.”
The fact that the DEA has maintained its position that marijuana has no accepted medical value may come as a surprise to many, especially given the thousands, if not millions, of seriously ill patients who currently use marijuana to treat a number of symptoms and conditions.
In a more positive development, it was also announced that the federal government will be removing major obstacles to marijuana research. The only source of federally approved research-grade marijuana has been the University of Mississippi, and it has been so difficult for researchers to obtain that it has effectively created a research monopoly held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Now, universities may apply for federal approval to grown their own supply of marijuana, creating fewer roadblocks for researchers in the future.
Prohibition, Tax and Regulate
On Thursday, state officials informed the supporters of The Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona that the initiative has qualified for this November’s ballot as Proposition 205.Â In less than three months, the people of Arizona will determine whether to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
Eighty-three years ago, Arizona voters approved a ballot measure to repeal the failed policy of alcohol prohibition,â said J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Yes on 205 campaign. âThis November, we will have the opportunity to end the equally disastrous policy of marijuana prohibition. Prop 205 would establish a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.
Prop 205 would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and education programs. The Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated the initiative would generate more than $123 million in annual tax revenue and license fees by 2020, including more than $55 million per year for K-12 education and full-day kindergarten programs.
For more information, visitÂ http://RegulateMarijuanaAZ.org.
Tax and Regulate
On August 19, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by opponents of Proposition 205 who want to keep the measure off the November ballot.
Arizona Republic reports:
FoesÂ argued in court last weekÂ that supporters of legalization are deceiving voters with their pitch of the measure. An attorney argued a 100-word summary of the initiative failed to adequately summarize the measure’s impactÂ on laws affecting motorists, child custody, workplacesÂ and licensing of certain professions.
In her decision, [Judge] Gentry disagreed, writing: “Plaintiffs demonstrated no ability to prepare a summary that would comply with the 100-word limit and with their objections. Plaintiffs, nonetheless, persist in asserting thatÂ omitting these provisions from the summary along with what they consider misstatements about the provisions that were included makes the summary fraudulent. Plaintiffsâ position is in essence that the summary should have more fully described what the initiative will do but do not explain how they could do it better. Instead, Plaintiffs simply argue that such a summary creates a risk of confusion and unfairness and threatens the integrity of the initiative process.” Read the rest of this entry »
In response to the recent decision by the DEA not to move marijuana out of Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, MPP’s Rob Kampia offered the following analysis of the situation, and what the best course of action would be:
In the wake of the DEAâs decision against rescheduling marijuana, the super-majority of the American people who support legalizing medical marijuana might properly wonder, âHow bad is this news?â
As the leader of the largest marijuana-policy-reform organization in the nation, my answer might surprise you: It barely mattered which way the DEA ruled.
Back in 1970, Congress and President Nixon placed marijuana in Schedule I, along with LSD and heroin, defining these drugs as having no therapeutic value and a high potential for abuse. Simultaneously, drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine were placed in Schedule II, which are defined as having therapeutic value.
This âFlat Earth Societyâ view of marijuana has been challenged numerous times since 1970, but the DEA and federal courts have rejected all such attempts, including the Washington and Rhode Island governorsâ 2011 petition that the DEA just rejected.
To be sure, moving marijuana to Schedule II would have had symbolic value, showing that prohibitionists were wrong to stubbornly claim for decades that sick people were merely imagining or lying about the medicinal benefits they experienced. However, there are federal criminal penalties for marijuana possession that are imposed regardless of its schedule. Even if the DEA had moved marijuana to Schedule II, growing 100 marijuana seedlings would still land you in federal prison for a minimum of five years…
You can read the entire article at Huffington Post.