#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Wed, 11 Oct 2017 04:20:21 PST

Study: Marijuana Dispensaries Associated With Declining Rates Of Painkiller Abuse

Athens, GA: Cannabis dispensaries are associated with reduced levels of opioid-related treatment admissions and overall drug mortality, according to a study published online on SSRN.com.

A University of Georgia economics professor assessed the relationship between the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries and drug treatment admissions.

Dispensary openings are associated with "a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment over the first two-years of dispensary operations," the study reported. This correlation was strongest among non-Hispanic white males in their thirties.

Dispensary openings also resulted in fewer drug-related mortalities per 100,000 people.

The author concludes, "[T]he unintended beneficial effects of allowing for marijuana dispensary operations should be considered by policymakers as they aim to curtail narcotic abuse and limit the impact of the opioid epidemic."

The paper's findings are similar to prior studies reporting that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid abuse and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.

Full text of the study, "The effect of medical marijuana dispensaries on adverse opioid outcomes," appears online.

Study: Medical Cannabis Enrollees Reduce Their Prescription Drug Use

Chicago, IL: Patients enrolled in a statewide medical cannabis program are likely to reduce their use of conventional prescription drugs over time, according to data published online ahead of print in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Care.

Investigators from DePaul University and Rush University, College of Nursing assessed prescription drug use patterns in 34 patients registered to use cannabis therapy under Illinois law.

Respondents frequently reported using medical cannabis "as an alternative to other medications - most commonly opioids, but also anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatories, and over-the-counter analgesics." Subjects reported that they believed cannabis is faster acting than conventional prescription drugs and that it possesses fewer adverse side effects.

Authors concluded: "[O]ur results indicate that MC (medical cannabis) may be used intentionally to taper off prescription medications. These findings align with previous research that has reported substitution or alternative use of cannabis for prescription pain medications due to concerns regarding addiction and better side-effect and symptom management, as well as complementary use to help manage side-effects of prescription medication."

The findings are similar to those of numerous others similarly reporting that legal cannabis access is associated with lower rates of prescription drug use, spending, abuse, and mortality.

Full text of the study, "Preferences for medical marijuana over prescription medications among persons living with chronic conditions," appears in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Care.

Cannabis Retail Facilities Associated With Rising Home Values

Athens, GA: Cannabis retail facilities are associated with increased home values, according to data to be published in the journal Real Estate Economics.

Researchers from the University of Georgia at Athens, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and California State University Sacramento assessed the relationship between operational retail cannabis facilities in Denver, Colorado and fluctuations in nearby housing values.

Authors reported that single family residences within 0.1 miles of a retail marijuana establishment saw an increase in value of approximately 8.4 percent compared to those located slightly further - between 0.1 miles and 0.25 miles - from the site. That increase in property value was estimated to be almost $27,000 for an average house in the area.

They concluded, "In addition to sales and business taxes generated by the retail marijuana industry, the associated increase in property tax revenues represents another potentially appealing selling point for legalization."

The findings are similar to those of a University of Mississippi paper which determined, "[L]egalizing retail marijuana leads to an average 6 percent housing value appreciation."

Full text of the study, "Contact high: The external effects of retail marijuana establishments on house prices," appears in Real Estate Economics.

Atlanta City Council Unanimously Approves Decriminalization Ordinance

Atlanta, GA: Members of the Atlanta city council unanimously approved municipal legislation on Monday decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses.

Ordinance 17-0-1152 amends local law so that marijuana possession offenses involving up to one ounce of cannabis are punished by a civil fine of no more than $75 - no arrest, no jail, and no criminal record.

Under Georgia state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

"Atlanta is celebrating a big win for their community and for its future," said Sharon Ravert, founder of Peachtree NORML. "We will do our best to make sure that the public is aware of this forthcoming ordinance and to ensure that the police follow the spirit of the new law."

The measure now awaits the signature of city mayor Kasim Reed, who has publicly voiced his support for the new law.

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