Last week, Tennessee State Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-11) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-20) announced that they are introducing a medical marijuana bill to bring meaningful access to many patients in Tennessee.
While the full text of the bill is not yet publicly available, the legislators’ plan allows patients with a doctor’s recommendation and a $35 ID card to purchase medicine at one of 150 dispensaries across the state. They also noted that their proposed program could help address the opioid epidemic; studies have shown a 25% drop in opioid overdoses in states with effective medical marijuana programs.
The authors caution that while these findings are predictive--meaning couples who smoke are less likely to commit domestic violence--they don't necessarily draw a causal line between the two behaviors. Among the connections they hypothesize, "marijuana may increase positive affect, which in turn could reduce the likelihood of conflict and aggression." ...
Another possible mechanism: "chronic [marijuana] users exhibit blunted emotional reaction to threat stimuli, which may also decrease the likelihood of aggressive behavior."
The second study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reported that states with medical marijuana laws have roughly 25% fewer painkiller overdose deaths than states which do not allow medical marijuana. While the authors caution that this could simply be a correlation, not a causal effect, a large amount of anecdotal research exists from patients who report weaning or discontinuing their use of prescription painkillers once they are able to use marijuana to treat their conditions.
"The first day of legalization, that's when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana," [Annapolis Police Chief Michael] Pristoop said in testimony at Tuesday's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. "I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths."
[caption id="attachment_7384" align="alignright" width="203"] Chief Michael Pristoop[/caption]
Apparently Chief Pristoop didn't know that marijuana was already being used widely in Colorado, just like in every other state, and that it is impossible to die from a marijuana overdose.
Maybe Pristoop was truly ignorant of these facts, in which case he probably shouldn't be testifying in support of continuing Maryland's failed marijuana prohibition. Or maybe, like law enforcement bosses in Minnesota and around the country, he's just worried about his budget.
The number of fatal poisonings involving opioid painkillers more than tripled from 1999 to 2006, from 4,000 to 13,800 in one year, according to a new report from the CDC. These drugs – Vicodin, OxyContin, fentanyl, and their relatives – now account for 37 percent of poisoning deaths, up from 21 percent in 1999. And the Associated Press reports that drug deaths now exceed auto accident fatalities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The drugs that killed nearly 14,000 people in 2006 are, of course, legal medicines. They have been approved for sale by the same federal government that bars medical use of marijuana – for which the count of medically confirmed overdose fatalities remains zero.
This gets even crazier when you consider that – as we’ve pointed out before – there is evidence that use of medical marijuana can help some pain patients reduce their doses of these dangerous and addictive narcotics.