Study: Adult-Use Marijuana Laws Not Associated with Increased Criminal Activity in Neighboring States
Salt Lake City, UT: The enactment of laws legalizing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults is not associated with an increase in crime in neighboring states, according to data published in The Journal of Drug Issues.
Researchers with the University of Utah and the University of Mississippi assessed the relationship between adult-use marijuana laws and changes in criminal activities in neighboring jurisdictions that had not legalized.
Authors reported no evidence to indicate that legalization was associated with any increase in criminal behaviors in bordering states. Rather, they reported "some evidence suggesting a spillover crime reduction effect of legalization, as reflected by the significant decreases in the rates of property crime, larceny, and simple assault in the Colorado region that includes six neighboring states."
They concluded: "This study provides some evidence demonstrating a crime-reducing effect of recreational marijuana legalization ... on neighboring states. ... This finding suggests that recreational marijuana legalization in a state may not bring about negative consequences on crime in neighboring states, which challenges the assertions made by public officials in these neighboring states arguing a crime-inducing effect of legalization."
Full text of the study, "The spillover effect of recreational marijuana legalization on crime: Evidence from neighboring states of Colorado and Washington state," appears in The Journal of Drug Issues.
Montana: Legalization Initiative Proponents Announce That They Have Qualified for 2020 Ballot
Missoula, MT: Proponents of a statewide campaign to legalize the adult-use cannabis market in Montana claim to have met the requirements necessary to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.
In a July 20 email update, proponents of New Approach Montana posted: "The campaign to legalize marijuana said Friday [that] it has cleared the signature hurdles to see its two initiatives on the ballot in Montana's general election." However, the Secretary of State's office has not yet publicly verified the signature count. The office has until August 20th to do so.
The two complimentary ballot measures seek to legalize and regulate the personal use and commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults age 21 or older.
Adult-use ballot initiatives have already qualified in New Jersey and South Dakota. Another initiative is awaiting certification in Arizona. Initiatives to legalize medical access to cannabis are certified for the ballot in Mississippi and South Dakota. Proponents of a medical initiative in Nebraska are awaiting certification.
Arizona: Voter Support Grows for Adult-Use Legalization Ahead of Likely Initiative Vote
Phoenix, AZ: More than six in ten likely Arizona voters say that the use of marijuana by adults should be legal statewide, according to polling data compiled by the survey group OH Predictive Insights.
Sixty-two percent of likely voters "believe that marijuana should be legalized for adult use in the state of Arizona." Democrats are most supportive, backing legalization by a 58-point margin (75 percent to 17 percent). Independent voters also show strong support for the law change, endorsing legalization by a 46-point margin (70 percent to 24 percent). By contrast, 52 percent of Republicans oppose the policy change.
When pollsters posed the same question to likely voters in December, only 51 percent of respondents endorsed legalizing marijuana.
The latest polling results are consistent with those reported by a separate firm in June, which found that two-thirds of voters favor a proposed legalization measure, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. On July 1, proponents of the Act filed over 420,000 signatures with the Secretary of State's Office. That total is nearly twice the number of signatures from registered voters necessary to qualify it for the November 2020 ballot. Those signatures are still in the process of being verified by state and local officials.
The Act permits those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and directs revenue from retail cannabis sales to fund various public education and safety programs. Adults would also be able to cultivate up to six plants for non-commercial purposes in a private residence. Those with marijuana convictions would be permitted to petition the courts to have their records expunged.
Study: Cannabis Use Rising Among Patients with Chronic Pain Conditions
Boston, MA: The percentage of chronic pain patients using cannabis therapeutically is rising, according to data published in the journal Advances in Therapy.
Investigators affiliated with Harvard Medical School assessed trends in marijuana use among pain patients in a nationally representative sample during the years 2011 to 2015.
Authors reported, "Over the course of our study, ... we identified a significant and progressive increase in the number of patients using cannabis. In patients with chronic pain, cannabis use more than doubled during this period."
They reported that the average age of chronic pain patients who consumed cannabis is 45 and that the majority of users are lower on the socioeconomic scale than were non-users.
They concluded: "This overall increase is not surprising given that several studies have shown cannabis to be effective in mitigating inflammation and demonstrated benefit to chronic pain symptoms with the use of cannabis, including improved pain, functional outcomes, and quality of life in patients with chronic pain syndromes. With chronic pain projected to increase over the next two decades to a rate of one in three people from the current rate of one in five people, our findings foretell that cannabis use can be projected to increase even more rapidly."
Chronic pain is the most commonly reported qualifying condition among medical marijuana patients enrolled in state-specific access programs. A 2017 literature review by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded, "There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults." Numerous studies report that pain patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs typically reduce or eliminate their use of opioids over time.
Full text of the study, "Cannabis use in hospitalized patients with chronic pain," appears in Advances in Therapy. Additional information on cannabis and chronic pain appears online.
Survey: Majority of Health Care Professionals Endorse Cannabis Use Instead of Opioids in Chronic Pain Patients
Vancouver, WA: Nearly three in four licensed health care professionals in Washington state endorse the use of medical cannabis as a substitute for opioids in patients with chronic pain, according to survey data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Researchers with the University of Washington School of Nursing surveyed a random sampling of actively licensed health care professionals legally permitted to provide medical cannabis authorizations in the state of Washington.
Seventy-two percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "Medical marijuana should be used to reduce the use of opioids for non-cancer pain." Several studies – such as those here, here, and here – report that pain patients enrolled in state-sponsored cannabis access programs reduce or eliminate their use of opioid pain relievers over time.
Sixty-three percent of respondents also agreed, "The DEA should reclassify marijuana so that it is no longer a schedule I [prohibited] drug [under federal law]" – a finding that is consistent with that of prior surveys of health practitioners.
Over 80 percent of respondents expressed interest in receiving additional medical training with respect to cannabis – an opinion that is also consistent with prior surveys, such as those here and here. Among those who had never provided a medical cannabis authorization, more than half (58 percent) reported that "they did not feel they had the knowledge" to do so. Respondents reported that they were likely to "rely most on other health care professionals" when seeking information about the use of medical cannabis. According to data published earlier this year in the journal Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, most medical students report receiving no formal education about the therapeutic use of cannabis during their time as undergraduates.
The survey's authors concluded: "Patients expect their clinician to provide information on the effects, risks, and benefits of cannabis. Health care professionals must be prepared to meet their expectations and to do so within the letter of the law. Now more than ever, a rational approach to medical cannabis is needed to assure that unforeseen consequences are mitigated while responsibly promoting the use of cannabis for medically appropriate symptoms and conditions."
Full text of the study, "Knowledge, practices, and attitudes of Washington health care professionals regarding medical cannabis," appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Survey: Nearly One-Third of Vacationers Express Interest in Engaging in Cannabis-Related Activities
Washington, DC: Nearly one-third of leisure travelers in the United States say that they are interested in engaging in cannabis-related activities while on vacation, according to survey data compiled by MMGY Travel Intelligence.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents expressed interest in partaking in state-sanctioned cannabis-related activities, such as visiting a licensed marijuana dispensary or consuming a cannabis-infused edible product, while on vacation. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said that they are more interested in vacationing in a jurisdiction where cannabis is legal as compared to a destination where it is not.
The survey's authors concluded, "Cannabis tourism is an emerging travel segment with significant potential, especially for first-mover destinations."
According to data published in May in the Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy, the enactment of adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington is associated with increased tourism in both states.
The report, "Cannabis Tourism: Opportunities, Issues, and Strategies," is available for download.
Delaware: Governor Signs Legislation Regulating High-CBD Products for Anxiety
Dover, DE: Democratic Gov. John Carney has signed legislation into law permitting registered patients to obtain plant-derived products high in CBD for the treatment of anxiety.
Senate Bill 170, which became effective upon signing, mandates regulators create a new type of registration identification card for those patients whose doctors have recommended that they access CBD-dominant varieties of cannabis for anxiolytic purposes. The law states that "a patient who qualifies for a CBD-rich card may only receive cannabidiol-rich medical marijuana products" at state-licensed dispensaries. Health Department officials are tasked under the new law with "establishing requirements for cannabidiol-rich medical marijuana profile concentrations."
In clinical trials, such as those here and here, the administration of CBD is associated with reductions in anxiety.
An estimated 11,200 Delaware residents are currently registered to access medical cannabis products under the state's marijuana program.