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Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 23 May 2017 04:20:21 PST

Study: Cannabis Frequently Substituted For Prescription Medications

Kenmore, WA: Adults often substitute cannabis for the use of prescription medications, according to data published in the Journal of Pain Research.

Investigators from the Bastyr University Research Institute assessed the frequency of drug substitution among a self-selected national sample of 2,774 self-identified marijuana consumers.

Just under half of respondents (46 percent) reported using cannabis in place of prescription medications. Respondents were most likely to use cannabis in lieu of narcotics/opioids (36 percent), anxiolytics/benzodiazepenes (14 percent), and antidepressants (13 percent).

Women were more likely than men to report drug substitution, as were older respondents. Those who identified as medical cannabis patients were more than four times as likely as non-medical users to report engaging in drug substitution.

"These data contribute to a growing body of literature suggesting cannabis, legal or otherwise, is being used as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly prescription pain relievers," authors concluded.

The study's conclusions are similar to those of several others, such as these here, here, here, and here, finding reduced prescription drug use and spending by those with access to cannabis.

Full text of the study, "Cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs - a cross sectional study," appears in the Journal of Pain Research.

New Hampshire: Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Moves Forward

Concord, NH: Legislation eliminating criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses has been approved by members of the New Hampshire House and Senate and has the backing of Governor Chris Sununu.

House Bill 640, as amended by the Senate, revises state law so that the possession of up to three-quarters of one ounce of cannabis and/or up to five grams of hashish is reduced from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail) to a civil violation, punishable by a fine only - no arrest and no criminal record. New Hampshire is the only New England state that imposes criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses.

Because members of the Senate amended the bill, it must return to the House to be re-approved. House members initially approved the measure by a vote of 318 to 36.

On May 11, Gov. Sununu acknowledged that he "looks forward" to signing HB 640 into law.

Washington: Support For Marijuana Policy Reform Surges Post-Legalization

Emeryville, CA: Public support for marijuana legalization has surged in Washington state in the years following the enactment of legislation permitting the commercial production and retail sale of the plant, according to survey data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Fifty-five percent of voters approved the voter-initiated measure in 2012.

Investigators with the Public Health Institute in California assessed survey data from a geographically representative sample of those ages 18 and older. Survey data was collected every six months between January 2014 and April 2016 in order to assess support trends over time.

Authors reported that respondents' support for legalization increased from 64 percent to 78 percent over this time period. Public support grew among those in every age group.

National polls similarly show an increase in public support for marijuana legalization following the enactment of such laws in various states.

Full text of the study, "Support for marijuana legalization in the US state of Washington has continued to increase through 2016," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Chile: Pharmacies Now Providing Medical Cannabis

Santiago, Chile: Chilean pharmacies are making medical cannabis products available to patients with a physician's authorization.

The nation legalized the use and distribution of medical cannabis in 2015, and just recently began importing medicinal cannabis products from the Canadian provider Tilray. (Chileans are not permitted under the law to cultivate their own cannabis.) In recent weeks, Tilray has also announced agreements to have its products exported to Australia and Cypress.

Several other South American countries are also moving forward to implement cannabis reforms. Colombian lawmakers approved regulations governing the production and use of medical cannabis in 2016, while Argentinian lawmakers signed off on legislation in March regulating the distribution of cannabidiol.

Pharmacies in Uruguay are anticipated to begin selling cannabis this July to residents age 18 or older who are willing to enroll in a government registry.

Iowa: Governor Signs Legislation Expanding CBD Access

Des Moines, IA: Governor Terry Branstad signed legislation late last week, House File 524, expanding the pool of patients eligible to possess cannabidiol oils.

The act permits patients with HIV, Crohn's disease, untreatable pain, and other serious conditions to possess CBD extracts. It also seeks to establish a small number of state-licensed producers to manufacturer and distribute CBD products.

The new law repeals the state's 2014 CBD exemption law, which was set to expire this year. That law permitted the use of CBD extracts for patients with intractable epilepsy, but failed to provide a legal, in state supply source for the products.

Sixteen states have enacted similar laws explicitly recognizing CBD as a therapeutic agent.

Vermont: Lawmakers Approve Measure Eliminating Penalties For The Adult Use Of Marijuana

Montpelier, VT: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, Senate Bill 22, to eliminate criminal and civil penalties specific to the adult use and possession of marijuana.

The measure amends state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two mature plants (and up to four immature plants) is no longer subject to penalty. It also establishes a nine member commission to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how best to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

If enacted into law, the penalty changes would go into effect on July 1, 2018.

Senate Bill 22 now awaits action from Gov. Phil Scott, who has previously expressed support for decriminalizing marijuana but has also said that "the timing's not right" for legalization. In February, his office came out strongly in opposition to a more expansive Senate proposal that sought to license and regulate the commercial cultivation and retail sale of cannabis to adults.

Vermont's legislature is the first ever to approve legislation eliminating criminal and civil penalties for adults who possess or grow marijuana for non-medical purposes.

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