#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 22 Oct 2019 04:20:21 PST

Report: Marijuana Legalization Not Associated with Adverse 'Spillover' Effects in Neighboring States

Washington, DC: Adult-use marijuana legalization laws are not associated with any significant increase in cannabis-related criminal activity in neighboring states or counties, according to a federally funded report published by the nonprofit Justice Research and Statistics Association and first reported by Marijuana Moment.

The study, entitled "Measuring the Criminal Justice System Impacts of Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Using State Data," assessed the impact of adult-use regulation schemes on criminal justice resources in both legalization states and neighboring non-legalization states.

Authors wrote: "The goal of this project was to analyze quantitative and qualitative data in eleven targeted states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) to address three research questions: One: What are the impacts of marijuana legalization and decriminalization on criminal justice resources in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon?; Two: What are the impacts on criminal justice resources in states that border the states (Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, and Kansas) that have legalized marijuana?; and Three: What are the impacts of marijuana legalization and decriminalization on drug trafficking through northern and southwest border states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington)?"

They determined: "Analyses of the available data suggests that: One: Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana resulted in fewer marijuana related arrests and court cases; Two: Legalizing marijuana did not have a noticeable impact on indicators in states that bordered those that legalized; and Three: There were no noticeable indications of an increase in arrests related to transportation or trafficking offenses in states along the northern or southern borders."

Commenting on the report's findings, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: "This federally funded report is further evidence that legalizing and regulating marijuana works largely as intended. It reduces arrests, and it does not lead to increased youth use or a rise in serious crime, and with these latest findings, it is clear that these policies are not adversely impacting bordering states. It is time to let science and facts dictate public policy and end prohibition nationwide."

A disclaimer accompanying the report acknowledges: "While the report was carried out ... using funding from the National Institute of Justice, ... this resource has not been published by the US Department of Justice. This resource is being made publicly available through the Office of Justice Programs' National Criminal Justice Reference Service. ... Any analysis, conclusions, or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or policies of the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the US Department of Justice."

NORML's Altieri said it was "unsurprising" that federal agencies would leave the report unpublished, stating that officials have seldom promoted findings that undermine federal anti-marijuana policy. Full text of the report is available online.

Survey: Pain Patients Often Report Substituting Cannabis for Opioids

San Francisco, CA: Some four in ten adults who report using both marijuana and opioids within the past year acknowledge either decreasing or ceasing their consumption of opioids as a result of substituting cannabis, according to an analysis of survey data published in the journal PLOS One.

A team of investigators affiliated with the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center assessed the prevalence of self-reported cannabis substitution in a nationally representative sample of pain patients.

Among those who acknowledged recent use (within the past 12 months) of cannabis and opioids, 41 percent "reported a decrease or cessation of opioid use due to marijuana use." Respondents' most commonly reported reasons for substitution were "better pain management (36 percent) and fewer side effects (32 percent) and withdrawal symptoms (26 percent)." Respondents' decision to engage in cannabis substitution was not influenced by either the legal status of cannabis in their state or by particular socio-demographics.

"In a nationally representative survey of US adults, substitution of marijuana for opioids, which included a substantial degree of opioid discontinuation (~20 percent), was common.," authors concluded. "Our findings are consistent with prior surveys of American and Canadian marijuana users in which substitution of marijuana for opioids was prevalent due to better symptom management and fewer adverse and withdrawal effects."

Full text of the study, "Substitution of marijuana for opioids in a national survey of US adults," appears in PLOS One. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, 'Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.'

Case Series: CBD Administration Associated with Increased Life Expectancy in Brain Cancer Patients

Vienna, Austria: The daily administration of plant-derived cannabidiol is associated with improved life expectancy in select patients with glioblastoma (brain cancer), according to a case series published in the journal Anticancer Research.

Austrian researchers assessed the use of CBD in nine patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Patients were administered 400 mg of CBD daily in addition to conventional anti-cancer treatments.

Authors reported that all but one of the subjects remained alive "with a mean survival time of 22.3 months" – longer than would typically be expected in patients with the disease.

They concluded, "[P]reliminary observations suggest a potential role of CBD in the treatment of glioma."

Two previous reports have shown that CBD elicits a clinical anti-cancer response; however, those studies did not assess survival rates. A 2017 study reported that brain cancer patients treated adjunctively with both plant-derived THC and CBD experienced greater one-year survival rates compared to controls.

Full text of the study, "Concomitant treatment of malignant brain tumors with CBD: A case series and review of the literature," appears in Anticancer Research. Additional information regarding the potential anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids is available online.

Study: Cannabis Therapy Provides Pharmacological Support for Patients Tapering Their Use of Prescription Opioids

Toronto, Canada: The daily use of cannabis over a six months provides pharmacological support for patients seeking to reduce their use of prescription opioids, according to data published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

Six hundred chronic pain patients participated in the study. Each of the subjects indicated their desire to taper off opioids over the course of treatment. Patients typically consumed between one and three grams of cannabis per day during the study period.

After six-months, 156 patients (26 percent) had ceased taking opioids and an additional 329 subjects (55 percent) reduced their opioid intake by an average of 30 percent.

"Medical cannabis provided pharmacological support throughout the tapering process ... [and] was very helpful to many patients," the study's author concluded. "The positive results justify further investigation."

Full text of the study, "A pilot study of a medical cannabis – opioid reduction program," appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

Washington: Youth Marijuana Use Declines Post-Legalization in State's Largest Metropolitan County

Seattle, WA: The legalization of marijuana for adults is not associated with any increase in cannabis use by young people in Washington's largest metropolitan county (King's County), according to data published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the Public Health Department for Seattle and King County Washington assessed biennial trends in adolescents' reported use of cannabis following the enactment of the state's adult-use cannabis law. Data was gathered via students' responses to the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey.

Authors reported that the enactment of legalization was associated with immediate declines in self-reported, monthly cannabis use among 10th and 12th graders and prolonged declines among 10th graders.

"Despite legalization of the retail sale of marijuana to adults in Washington in 2012, evidence from the biennial Washington State Healthy Youth Survey indicates that the prevalence of past 30-day marijuana use among students in grades 10 and 12 began to decline that year. The decline continued in 2016 among grade 10 students and did not change significantly among grade 12 students," they concluded. "This decline or absence of change in youth marijuana use after legalization of retail sales to adults is consistent with trends reported in Colorado and Oregon, states that legalized adult retail sales of marijuana in 2013 and 2014, respectively."

Full text of the study, "Trends and characteristics in marijuana use among public school students – King County, Washington, 2004-2016," appears in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Maine: Regulators Confident That Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Will Begin Next Spring

Augusta, ME: Regulators at the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy affirmed last week that they expect adult-use marijuana sales to begin in the spring of 2020.

A spokesperson for the agency said that regulators anticipate accepting applications from prospective cannabis retailers by the end of 2019 and that licensed stores should be operational by March 2020. That estimate is consistent with the timeline regulators provided this past June when lawmakers finalized regulations governing state-licensed marijuana sales.

Former Maine state lawmaker and current NORML Board Member Diane Russell said: "While Maine's previous Governor worked hard to obstruct the will of the voters, it is refreshing to see the incoming administration take steps to turn things around so quickly. After having pushed for legalization while in the statehouse, I'm excited to see that politicians and regulators are now finally on the same page with respect to fully implementing adult-use cannabis regulations and sales and that we are on track to open this new economic sector next spring."

Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016 by passing a statewide initiative, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – repeatedly took steps to delay the law's implementation.

As per state rules, retailers will not be permitted to sell customers more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and/or five grams of concentrate in a single day. Retailers will need to first receive local approval before applying for a state operator's license.

California: Governor Signs Several Cannabis Bills into Law

Sacramento, CA: Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed several new pieces of cannabis-specific legislation into law, including a measure permitting for the use of certain medical cannabis preparations by authorized patients while they are on school grounds.

Senate Bill 223, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, permits parents or guardians to administer non-smoked formulations of cannabis to patients while on K-12 school campuses. Nothing in the law requires school staff to administer medical cannabis.

Several other states, such as Delaware, Illinois, and Washington, already authorize similar activities. Other bills signed into law include Senate Bill 34, which provides tax breaks for facilities that provide free medical cannabis to disadvantaged patients; Assembly Bill 420, which authorizes the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to cultivate cannabis for clinical trials; and Assembly Bill 1529, which imposes additional regulations on cannabis vapor cartridges, among other legislation.

By contrast, the Governor vetoed legislation, Senate Bill 305, which mandated certain health facilities to allow terminally ill patients the option to use medical cannabis on their premises. Governor Newsom indicated that he supported the bill's intent but opined that it "would create significant conflicts between federal and state law."

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