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

Study: Marijuana Dispensaries Associated With Localized Reductions In Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

Claremont, CA: Counties that permit the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries possess reduced rates of opioid-related mortality, according to the findings of an academic research paper published on the SSRN online network.

Researchers from Claremont McKenna College in California, the University of Georgia, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock assessed the localized impact of dispensary operations on opioid-related mortality.

Authors reported, "[W]ithin MCL (medical cannabis law)-adopting states, counties with dispensaries experience six percent to eight percent fewer opioid-related deaths among non-Hispanic white men, while mortality due to heroin overdose declines by more than ten percent."

They concluded, "Extrapolating our results implies that, for every 100,000 non-Hispanic white men, 10 fewer opioid-induced fatalities would have occurred between 2009 and 2015 if dispensaries were present and operating in every county within each MCL state."

Prior studies have consistently identified a relationship between legal cannabis access and reduced levels of opioid-related abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

Full text of the study, "The effect of medical cannabis dispensaries on opioid and heroin overdose mortality," appears online. NORML's fact-sheet, "Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids," is online.

Michigan: Marijuana Possession Becomes Legal Next Week

Lansing, MI: Key provisions of the state's voter-initiated marijuana measure will take effect next week. Members of the Board of State Canvassers certified the midterm election results on November 26, and Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act becomes law on Thursday, December 6.

Provisions specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis will take immediate effect. Those over the age of 21 may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 15 grams of cannabis concentrates in a private residence. Adults may also legally cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in private, and possess the harvest (up to ten ounces) of those plants. Public use of cannabis will remain a violation of law.

Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has up to 12 months to begin accepting applications from those seeking to operate licensed cannabis businesses.

Michigan is the tenth state to regulate the adult use of marijuana, and it is the ninth to do so via voter initiative.

Marijuana Reform Bills Advance In New Jersey

Trenton, NJ: State lawmakers this week advanced a series of bills to regulate the adult use and medical cannabis markets, and to vacate past marijuana-related convictions.

On Monday, members of a 26-person joint committee moved Senate Bill 2703/Assembly Bill 4497 to the floor. The measure, entitled "The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act," legalizes the personal possession and use of up to one ounce of cannabis by those age 21 or older, and establishes regulations governing the commercial production and retail sale of the plant. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who campaigned on a pledge to legalize the adult use marijuana market, praised lawmakers for advancing the bill, although he has not yet endorsed the measure.

Members of the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee, along with members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee also voted Monday to advance Senate Bill 10 to expand patients' access to medical cannabis. The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, among other changes. Separate language contained in Senate Bill 2426 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis to any patient for whom they believe it will benefit has also been incorporated into S. 10.

Legislators also moved a third bill, Senate Bill 3205/Assembly Bill 4498, which expands the pool of those eligible to have their convictions expunged by the courts.

Connecticut: Gov-Elect Reaffirms Support For Adult Use Marijuana Legalization

Hartford, CT: Governor-elect Ned Lamont reaffirmed his support for regulating the adult use cannabis market in Connecticut. Lamont is one of four gubernatorial candidates to be elected in November after campaigning on a platform that included legalizing marijuana.

Speaking with reporters last week, Lamont said that he would work with lawmakers in 2019 to enact legislation to regulate the retail distribution of marijuana to adults. Legislators in 2018 debated three separate legalization bills; however, those efforts were eventually tabled due in large part to a lack of support from outgoing Gov. Dan Malloy.

Democratic legislators in the House and Senate indicate that enacting adult use legislation is among the party's top five legislative priorities for 2019. Democrats control both legislative chambers in the state.

According to an August 2018 statewide Quinnipiac University poll, 59 percent of Connecticut voters support legalizing the possession of personal use quantities of marijuana by adults.

New Jersey: Governor Signs Hemp Cultivation Bill Into Law

Trenton, NJ: Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation into law permitting the state to establish a pilot program to assess and promote the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Assembly Bill 1330/Senate Bill 3145 authorizes the Department of Agriculture to partner with Rutgers University "to study and promote the cultivation of industrial hemp to the maximum extent permitted by federal law." Over 40 states have adopted similar legislation.

Federal law permits states to engage in limited hemp production. Pending federal provisions in the Senate-version of H.R. 2: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill) for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. (See page 1182, Section 12608: 'Conforming changes to controlled substances act.').

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "guaranteed" that the hemp-related provisions would remain in the bill following the reconciliation process.

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