Report: Adult Use Legalization Associated With Increased Home Values
St. Louis, MO: The passage of statewide adult use marijuana laws is associated with an immediate uptick in housing prices, according to an assessment published by the online service Clever Real Estate.
The study determined: "States that legalize recreational cannabis see an immediate bump in home values following legalization, even without retail dispensaries opening up. From 2017 to 2019, cities where recreational marijuana is legal saw home values increase $6,337 more than cities where marijuana is illegal" after controlling for potential confounders.
Cities that regulated retail marijuana facilities experienced an even greater increase in overall home prices.
By contrast, the study did not identify a similar significant increase in home prices in cities where only medical cannabis was legally regulated.
Regarding crime rates following the passage of legalization, the study failed to identify any overall trends in legal states that significantly differed from the national average. "The crime rate increases in Washington and Colorado are consistent with nationwide violent crime trends since 2014. ... Using Colorado and Washington as case studies, it's clear that the market benefits from marijuana legalization outweigh the potential costs in terms of home values," the study's author concluded.
The report's findings are consistent with those of prior studies, such as those here and here.
Full text of the study, "How Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Impacts Home Values," appears online. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, 'Marijuana regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, and Economy."
New York City: Lawmakers Advance Bills Limiting Drug Testing For Cannabis As A Condition Of Employment, Probation
New York City, NY: Members of the New York City Council have approved a pair of municipal bills limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for the past use of cannabis.
Council members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a municipal proposal (No.1445) barring employers from drug testing certain job applicants for the presence of marijuana.
The proposal states, "[I]t shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee's system as a condition of employment." Council members passed the bill by a vote of 40 to 4.
Under the plan, employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions -- such as police officers or commercial drivers -- or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines, would be exempt from the municipal law.
The measure now awaits final approval from City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. The new rules would take effect one-year after being signed into law.
Studies have identified the presence of the inert carboxy-THC metabolite in the urine of former marijuana consumers for periods of several months following their last exposure.
Council members also advanced separate legislation (No. 1427) to the Mayor's office limiting situations in which persons on probation may be drug tested. Once signed, the new rules will take immediate effect.
A resolution (Res. 641) calling on the New York City officials to expunge the records of all city misdemeanor marijuana convictions is pending. New York City police made over 78,000 marijuana possession arrests between the years 2014 and 2017.
Study: Marijuana Cultivated At U-Miss Farm Is Genetically Similar To Hemp
Greeley, CO: Marijuana grown by the University of Mississippi for clinical research purposes is genetically divergent from cannabis strains commercially available in retail markets in legal states, according to an analysis prepared by researchers at the University of Northern Colorado. Since 1968, the University of Mississippi farm, which is governed by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, has held the only available federal license to cultivate cannabis for FDA-approved research.
Authors reported that samples available via the U-Miss program shared genetics typically associated with industrial hemp, not commercially available cannabis. They concluded: "NIDA research grade marijuana was found to genetically group with hemp samples along with a small subset of commercial drug-type cannabis. A majority of commercially available drug-type cannabis was genetically very distinct from NIDA samples. These results suggest that subjects consuming NIDA research grade marijuana may experience different effects than average consumers."
A separate study published in 2017 reported that U-Miss samples contain far lower levels of both THC and CBD than do commercially available cannabis. Clinicians wishing to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials on cannabis have long complained that federally-provided samples are of inferior quality.
According to the program's current marijuana menu, no available samples contain more than seven percent THC and all samples contain less than one percent CBD.
In 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration publicly announced that it would, for the first time, begin accepting applications from private entities wishing to grow research-grade cannabis. However, since that time, neither the agency nor the Justice Department have taken any action to move this application process forward.
Full text of the study, "Research grade marijuana supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse is genetically divergent from commercially available cannabis," appears online.
Israel: Private Use Of Cannabis No Longer Criminalized
Jerusalem, Israel: Adults may possess or cultivate personal use amounts of cannabis in their homes, under new policies that took effect earlier this month.
Under the amended law, which took effect on April 1, the private possession of cannabis is no longer classified as either a criminal or a civil violation. The possession or use of cannabis in public is punishable by a fine. In cases where an adult is in repeated violation of the law, police at their discretion may pursue a criminal investigation.
The Times of Israel newspaper quoted Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan as stating that the new limited legalization policy is an "important step" that "shift[s] the focus from the criminal process to fines, education, public information and rehabilitation."
Report: Marijuana-Related Violations Comprise Significant Portion Of County-Level Arrests
Washington, DC: Marijuana-related violations comprise over ten percent of the total number of annual arrests in many counties, particularly those in the Midwest and in Texas, according to an analysis by The Washington Post of newly released county-level arrest figures compiled by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.
It reported that Georgia, Idaho, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas included counties where marijuana enforcement accounts for over ten percent of all criminal arrests. In Dooley County, Georgia, marijuana-related arrests comprised 55 percent of all arrests -- the highest percentage in the nation. Arrest data for counties in Florida and Illinois was not available.
Nationwide, marijuana-related arrests comprised nearly six percent of all arrests in 2017, up from just over three percent in 1995. Police made 659,700 marijuana-related arrests in 2017, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ninety-one percent of those arrested were charged with violating marijuana possession laws.
Virginia: City Of Portsmouth To Dismiss All Marijuana Possession Cases
Portsmouth, VA: Officials for the city of Portsmouth (population 95,000) will no longer seek to criminally prosecute low-level marijuana possession offenses.
"Effective immediately, please be advised that this office hereby moves for dismissal ... on all possession of marijuana charges in the Portsmouth General District Court," Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie N. Morales stated in an April 8th correspondence to judges.
In comments to local news media, Morales said that prosecutors ought to focus their limited resources toward more serious crimes. "It is really time we think about how we start to decarcerate as opposed to incarcerating for every type of crime," she said.
Under state law, first-time marijuana possession violations are classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail.
Her actions are similar to those recently taken in Norfolk, Virginia (population 255,000), as well as in a number of other major cities throughout the country, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.
Study: Combined Administration Of Opioids And Cannabinoids Safe And Effective In Animal Model
San Antonio, TX: The co-administration of morphine and synthetic cannabinoids is efficacious and is not associated with significant changes in either behavior or cognition, according to animal trial data presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Investigators from the University of Texas Health Science Center assessed the safety and efficacy of the combined administration of morphine and synthetic THC in a group of rhesus monkeys. Researchers reported a lack of evidence that the co-administration of the two drugs was associated with amplified adverse effects on either impulsivity or memory.
"These data provide additional evidence supporting the notion that opioid-cannabinoid mixtures that are effective for treating pain do not have greater, and in some cases have less, adverse effects compared with larger doses of each drug alone," the study's lead author said. "Combining opioid receptor agonists with drugs that relieve pain through actions at non-opioid mechanisms (for example, cannabinoid receptors) could be a useful strategy for reducing the dose of opioid needed to achieve pain relief."
Clinical data published last year by Columbia University researchers reported that the co-administration of inhaled cannabis and sub-therapeutic doses of oxycodone produces enhanced analgesic effects in human subjects. Authors stated that the results highlighted "the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis."
Their findings were similar to those of a 2011 clinical trial determining that vaporized cannabis interacts synergistically with opioids to induce pain relief and therefore "may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects."
In jurisdictions where marijuana is legally available, patients frequently acknowledge reducing their use of conventional medications, specifically opioids and benzodiazepines, after initiating cannabis therapy.