Research

Annual Colorado Government Report on Marijuana-related Health Concerns Highlights Several ‘Encouraging Trends’

February 6th, 2017 3 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment highlighted several “encouraging trends” in its latest annual report on marijuana-related health concerns.

According to the report:

•    “For adults and adolescents, past-month marijuana use has not changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the frequency of use among users.”

•    “Based on the most comprehensive data available, past-month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average.”

•    “Daily or near-daily marijuana use among adults is much lower than daily or near-daily alcohol or tobacco use. Among adolescents, past month marijuana use is lower than past month alcohol use.”

•    “Marijuana exposure calls to the poison center appear to be decreasing since 2015, including unintentional exposures in children ages 0-8 years.”

•    “The overall rate of emergency department visits with marijuana-related billing codes dropped 27 percent from 2014 to 2015 (2016 data is not available yet).”

•    The estimated percentage of women in Colorado who used marijuana during pregnancy is “not statistically different” from the national average.  

Once again, Colorado continues to demonstrate that regulating marijuana works.

Read more



Research

National Academies of Sciences Confirms Marijuana’s Benefits, Dispels Myths

January 12th, 2017 6 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The National Academies of Sciences released a report on the health impacts of marijuana Thursday, confirming the existence of medical benefits and dispelling some long-held myths about the substance.

The review of more than 10,000 scientific abstracts found, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective” for the treatment of chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis spasticity.

The report also dispels several myths about the health impacts of marijuana. It found no links between smoking marijuana and the development of lung, head, or neck cancers, nor did it establish a link between marijuana use and asthma or other respiratory diseases. The respiratory problems that it did link to smoking marijuana, such as bronchitis, appear to improve after the consumer ceases their use.

According to the report, “There is no or insufficient evidence” linking marijuana use to all-cause mortality (death), deaths from overdose, or occupational accidents or injuries. It also found no substantial evidence of a link between the use of marijuana and the use of other illegal drugs. The report also does not appear to make any links between marijuana use and violent or aggressive behavior. Several of these findings were also included in the National Academies of Sciences’ previous report on marijuana, which was released in 1999.

 

Read more



Research

Survey Shows Majority of Police Support Marijuana Policy Reform

January 12th, 2017 2 Comments Morgan Fox

In a survey released this week, Pew Research Center showed that 69% of police officers polled support allowing marijuana for medical or adult use, despite frequent opposition to sensible reforms from law enforcement organizations.

Washington Post reports:

The nationally representative survey of law enforcement, one of the largest of its kind, found that 32 percent of police officers said marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use only. An additional 30 percent said that marijuana should not be legal at all.

Police are more conservative than the general public on the issue. Among all Americans, Pew found that 49 percent supported recreational marijuana, 35 percent supported medical marijuana only, and 15 percent said the drug should not be legal.

Pew also found a generational divide among cops on the marijuana issue, although not as large as the one that exists among the general public. Officers under age 35 were more likely to support recreational marijuana (37 percent) than those between the ages of 50 and 60 (27 percent). Among the general public, those numbers stand at 67 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

Law enforcement groups have often been among the staunchest opponents of marijuana legalization measures. In 2016, such groups made small but significant contributions to oppose legalization measures in California and Arizona, citing concerns over issues such as underage use and intoxicated driving.

This trend is good news for marijuana policy reformers, as support for legalization increases among the people tasked with enforcing prohibition, and as younger cops move into leadership positions.

It should be noted that a Pew survey released in October showed that 57% of the general public supports making marijuana legal for adults, but that study had different sample sizes and methodology than the study just released.

Read more



Research

Federal Survey Finds Teen Marijuana Use Remains Unchanged Following Legalization

January 3rd, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

The federal government quietly published new national survey data in December that shows rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado and Washington — the first two states to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use — decreased more than the national average in 2014-2015. Fewer teens in the two states are reportedly using marijuana than in 2012-2013, just prior to the commencement of legal adult marijuana sales.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of the 2014-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) on Tuesday along with a press release that did not include any mention of marijuana.

According to the NSDUH:

–    In Colorado, the rate of 12-17-year-olds who used marijuana in the past month dropped 1.43 percentage points from 12.56% in 2013-2014 to 11.13% in 2014-2015, compared to 11.16% in 2012-2013. The rate of past-year use dropped 2.46 percentage points from 20.81% in 2013-2014 to 18.35% in 2014-2015, compared to 18.76% in 2012-2013.

–    In Washington, the rate of 12-17-year-olds who used marijuana in the past month dropped 0.89 percentage points from 10.06% in 2013-2014 to 9.17% in 2014-2015, compared to 9.81% in 2012-2013. The rate of past-year use dropped 1.92 percentage points from 17.53% in 2013-2014 to 15.61% in 2014-2015, compared to 16.48% in 2012-2013.

–    Nationwide, the rate of past-month marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds dropped 0.02 percentage points from 7.22% in 2013-2014 to 7.2% in 2014-2015, and the rate of past-year use dropped 0.42 percentage points from 13.28% to 12.86%.

The overall findings of the NSDUH are in line with those of the annual Monitoring the Future survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which were released last week and found little change in rates of teen marijuana use.

Read more



Research

Annual Study Shows Teen Marijuana Use Stable, Accessibility Decreasing

December 13th, 2016 No Comments Morgan Fox

The results of an annual survey of U.S. middle and high school students released Tuesday invalidate claims that reforming marijuana laws and debating legalization will lead to increased marijuana use among teens.mtf-logo-high-res-300x194

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

•    Among 8th-graders, the rate of past-year marijuana use dropped significantly from 11.8% in 2015 to 9.4% in 2016, its lowest level since 1993. Past-month marijuana use also dropped significantly, from 6.5% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2016, and daily use dropped from 1.1% in 2015 to 0.7% in 2016.

•    Among 10th- and 12th-graders, rates of past-year, past-month, and daily marijuana use remained relatively stable compared to last year.

•    Rates of use among 12th-graders appear to be higher in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without them, but previous studies have found that rates of use were already higher prior to the adoption of such laws.

•    Students’ perception of risk surrounding marijuana remained relatively stable from 2015 to 2016. The perception that marijuana is very easy or fairly easy to access declined slightly for 8th- and 10th-graders, and it increased slightly for 12th-graders.

Since 2012, eight states and the nation’s capital have adopted laws that make marijuana legal for adult use. Since 1996, 28 states have adopted laws that make marijuana legal for seriously ill patients whose doctors recommend it.

MPP’s Mason Tvert sees this as more evidence that one of the more popular claims by prohibitionists is simply a scare tactic:

“Every time a state considers rolling back marijuana prohibition, opponents predict it will result in more teen use. Yet the data seems to tell a very different story. There has been a sea change in state marijuana laws over the past six years and teen usage rates have remained stable and even gone down in some cases.

“The best way to prevent teen marijuana use is education and regulation, not arresting responsible adult consumers and depriving sick people of medical marijuana. It is time to adopt marijuana policies that are based on evidence instead of fear.”

Read more



Research

Annual Gallup Poll Shows Record High Support for Making Marijuana Legal

October 19th, 2016 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Every year for nearly half a century, Gallup has conducted a poll to determine national support for making marijuana legal in the United States. The latest report shows the largest level of support in the history of the poll.

Gallup reports:

uu5e1ycj_kqf1dim_mvmew
(IMAGE: Gallup)

With voters in several states deciding this fall whether to legalize the use of marijuana, public support for making it legal has reached 60% — its highest level in Gallup’s 47-year trend.

Marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia, and legalization measures are on the ballot in five more — California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada — this November. As a result, the percentage of Americans living in states where pot use is legal could rise from the current 5% to as much as 25% if all of these ballot measures pass.

When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, 12% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana use. In the late 1970s, support rose to 28% but began to retreat in the 1980s during the era of the “Just Say No” to drugs campaign. Support stayed in the 25% range through 1995, but increased to 31% in 2000 and has continued climbing since then.

In 2013, support for legalization reached a majority for the first time after Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, a majority of Americans have continued to say they think the use of marijuana should be made legal.

A Pew Research Center poll released earlier in October showed national support at 57%, which was also a record for that survey.

Read more



Research

MPP’s Pennsylvania Voter Guide

October 18th, 2016 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project
Pennsylvania is one of the 26 states that lack a ballot initiative process, meaning the only way to improve statewide marijuana policies is to convince the state legislature to do so. With Election Day just weeks away, now is the time to help shape the makeup of the next General Assembly.2000px-seal_of_pennsylvania-svg
If you are a Pennsylvania resident, find out where candidates in your state House and state Senate districts stand on marijuana policy reform before you cast your votes on Tuesday, November 8:

1. If you’re not sure what state legislative districts you live in, click here.

2. Then, check out our voter guide to see where the candidates in your district stand.
We complied all incumbent candidates’ votes on medical marijuana, and sent all candidates a three-question survey on replacing jail time for marijuana possession with a civil fine; regulating marijuana like alcohol for adults’ use; and making it legal for adults to grow a limited amount of marijuana.
If candidates in your state legislative district didn’t answer our survey questions, you may want to reach out to them directly to ask where they stand. Please let us know if you get a response.

Read more



Medical Marijuana, Research

MPP’s South Carolina Voter Guide

October 18th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project
Medical marijuana patients in South Carolina remain criminals if they use a treatment option that is safer many prescriptions. Bipartisan lawmakers have proposed bringing a compassionate law to the Palmetto State, but the proposal was defeated in committee this year.Seal_of_South_Carolina.svg

If patients are to get the protections they deserve, they’ll need legislators who stand up for them. You can help make that happen.

If you are a South Carolina resident, find out where candidates in your state House and state Senate districts stand before you cast your votes on Tuesday, November 8.

1. If you’re not sure of what state legislative districts you live in, click here.

2. Then, check out our voter guide to see where the candidates in your state House and state Senate district stand on medical marijuana policy.
If we have no information on candidates in your district, that means they didn’t respond to our questionnaire. You may want to reach out to them directly to ask where they stand. Please let us know if you get a response.

Read more



Research

National Poll Shows Increasing Majority Support for Legal Marijuana

October 12th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that a majority of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, and support is increasing.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-11-41-48-am
(Pew Research Center)

Today, 57% of U.S. adults say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 37% say it should be illegal. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed.

The shift in public opinion on the legalization of marijuana has occurred during a time when many U.S. states are relaxing their restrictions on the drug or legalizing it altogether. In June, Ohio became the 25th state (plus Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico) to legalize marijuana in some form after Gov. John Kasich signed a medical marijuana program into law. This November, Americans in nine states will vote on measures to establish or expand legal marijuana use.

The same report released last year showed 53% support for legalization nationally.

Read more



General, Prohibition, Research

Marijuana Rescheduling No-Decision Met With Challenge From Congress

July 1st, 2016 7 Comments Rory McPeak

2000px-US-DrugEnforcementAdministration-Seal.svg

Earlier this year, the DEA had announced that they hope to have a decision regarding the rescheduling of marijuana within the first half of 2016. That time has now come and gone with the DEA failing to deliver.

A bipartisan coalition of Senators and Representatives has signed a letter to head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, urging the federal agency to remove marijuana and THC from Schedule I, its current status under the Controlled Substances Act.  Schedule I is the most restrictive drug classification that, according to the DEA, is reserved for substances that have a high potential for abuse and no known medical benefits.

“We ask that you clarify this policy immediately, and issue a public statement informing the research community that the DEA, in compliance with international obligations, will accept new applications to bulk manufacture cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, to be approved on merit-based criteria,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter, drafted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), also calls for the DEA to loosen restrictions surrounding medical marijuana research and to grant more licenses for the production of research-grade marijuana.  Currently, the only federally approved source of marijuana is the University of Mississippi, whose supply is notoriously difficult for researchers to obtain and frequently alleged to be of sub-research grade quality.

The letter was signed by Sen. Gillibrand as well as Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR); and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Read here for more information.

Read more