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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 21 Aug 2018 04:20:21 PST

Study: Medical Cannabis Access Laws Associated With Fewer Workplace Fatalities

Bozeman, MT: Medical cannabis access programs are associated with year-over-year declines in fatal workplace accidents, according to data published online ahead of print in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Investigators with Montana State University, Colorado State University, and American University in Washington, DC assessed the relationship between the enactment of medical cannabis laws and workplace accidents during the years 1992 to 2015.

Researchers reported: "Legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a 19.5 percent reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44. ... The association between legalizing medical marijuana and workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44 grew stronger over time. Five years after coming into effect, MMLs [medical marijuana laws] were associated with a 33.7 percent reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities. Medical marijuana laws that listed pain as a qualifying condition or allowed collective cultivation were associated with larger reductions in fatalities among workers aged 25-44 than those that did not."

Authors described the association as "robust," suggesting that the relationship "cannot be explained by slowly evolving, but difficult-to-measure factors at the state level such as attitudes or health behaviors."

They concluded: "The current study is the first to explore the effects of medical marijuana laws on workplace fatalities. Our results suggest that legalizing medical marijuana leads to a reduction in workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44. This reduction may be the result of workers substituting marijuana in place of alcohol and other substances that can impair cognitive function and motor skills."

Separate studies evaluating the relationship between medical cannabis access and employment have reported that legalization is associated with lower rates of workplace absenteeism and with increased participation rates among older employees. Other studies have documented lower rates of both alcohol sales and opioid consumption following the enactment of marijuana legalization.

Full text of the study, "Medical marijuana laws and workplace fatalities in the United States," appears in The International Journal of Drug Policy. The NORML fact-sheet, "Marijuana legalization and impact on the workplace," is online.

North Dakota: Adult Use Legalization Initiative Certified For November Ballot

Bismarck, ND: State officials on Monday affirmed that advocates have collected sufficient signatures to place an adult use marijuana initiative on the November ballot.

The voter-initiated measure, organized by the grass-roots group Legalize North Dakota, seeks to legalize the possession, use, and sale of cannabis, as well as the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, by those over the age of 21. It also expunges past marijuana convictions. The proposed ballot language strikes cannabis-related offenses from the state's criminal code, and also caps any potential retail taxes on commercial sales of the substance.

"Marijuana legalization is no longer a regional or partisan issue ... and I expect North Dakota voters to send shockwaves across the country this fall when they join the growing contingent of states that have chosen the sensible path of legalization and regulation over prohibition and incarceration," NORML's Executive Director Erik Altieri said.

In 2016, nearly two-thirds of state voters approved a ballot measure regulating medical cannabis access. However, state officials have yet to make the program operational - with regulators now aiming to have licensed dispensaries up and running by June 2019.

Activists have acknowledged that regulators' failure to swiftly implement the 2016 measure was the impetus for the 2018 campaign.

Voters in Michigan will also be deciding on an initiative to regulate the adult possession, use, and sale of marijuana this November, while voters in Utah and Missouri will decide on medical marijuana access measures.

For more information, visit the LegalizeND website at: https://www.legalizeND.com

Illinois: Bill Authorizing Medical Cannabis Administration On School Grounds Signed Into Law

Springfield, IL: Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation into law permitting qualified caregivers to administer medical marijuana products to students on school grounds.

The legislation - HB 4870 (aka Ashley's Law) - authorizes the administration of a "medical marijuana infused product" by a designated caregiver to a qualified student patients, as long as doing so does not inadvertently cause exposure to the rest of the student body. The new law took effect upon passage.

Several other states, including Colorado, Delaware, and New Jersey have enacted similar legislation permitting the use of medical cannabis on school grounds under certain circumstances.

Study: Fewer Marijuana Consumers Meeting 'Dependence' Criteria
Santa Monica, CA: The percentage of daily cannabis users who meet the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for dependence has fallen significantly over the past decade and a half, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Data compiled by a researcher at the RAND Corporation reports, "[R]isk of dependence formation among heavy marijuana users appears to have declined since 2002" - from roughly one-in-four to one-in-six. The author acknowledges that this decline coincides with a period of liberalized cannabis laws, as well as an overall increase in adult marijuana use.

Rates of dependence also fell sharply among past-year marijuana users - from 13.8 percent to 8.5 percent - during this same period of time.

The DSM-IV defines cannabis 'dependence' as: failing to keep limits set on one's cannabis use; reducing one's engagement in important activities; continuing to use the substance despite ongoing emotional, physical, or emotional problems; spending an inordinate amount of time obtaining cannabis, and failing to reduce one's use despite intending to do so.

Separate studies, such as those here and here, have previously reported similar decreases in rates of problematic cannabis use among teens.

Full text of the study, "Falling rates of marijuana dependence among heavy users," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Study: Same Day Marijuana Use Not Associated With Intimate Partner Violence

Boston, MA: Same day use of alcohol, but not marijuana, is predictive of dating abuse among young adults, according to data published in the journal Violence Against Women. Dating abuse is defined as "physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking."

Investigators from Boston University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the University of Texas at Galveston investigated same-day alcohol or marijuana use and dating abuse perpetration in a sample of 60 non-college attending young adults over a period of three months.

Authors reported: "This study did not provide support for the hypothesis that marijuana is causally related to DA perpetration. Although there was a weak and positive association between marijuana use and increased relative odds of DA perpetration on the same day, the result was not statistically significant. The idea that marijuana may not be causally related to increased risk of partner aggression is consistent with the results of several other studies."

By contrast, "[A]lcohol use at any time in the past 24 hours was associated with reports of DA perpetration in that same 24-hr period of time."

The paper's findings are consistent with prior studies. Full text of the study, "Alcohol, marijuana, and dating abuse perpetration by young adults: Results of a daily call study," appears in Violence Against Women.

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