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media :: news - Tue, 09 Sep 2014 04:20:21 PST
Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Infrequently Associated With Changes In Cannabinoid Prevalence In Drivers
Sacramento, CA: The imposition of state laws legalizing the use of medical cannabis is not frequently associated with an increase in the prevalence of cannabinoids identified among drivers in fatal accidents, according to data published in the Journal of Safety Research.
Investigators from the California Department of Motor Vehicles assessed cannabinoid prevalence among fatal-crash-involved drivers in 12 US states following the implementation of medical marijuana laws. Researchers evaluated data for the years 1992 to 2009.
Authors reported that most states did not experience any increase in cannabinoid prevalence. "[T]he implementation of medical marijuana laws was found to be reliably associated with increased cannabinoid prevalence in only 3 of the 12 states: California, Hawaii, and Washington," investigators determined. "The increases in all three states were step increases, meaning that the prevalence increased to a new level in these states and remained relatively flat for long time intervals subsequent. ... [F]inding that all three states experienced step increases in cannabinoid prevalence, rather than upward trends, suggests that the medical marijuana laws ... may have indeed provided marijuana access to a stable population of patients as intended, without increasing the numbers of new users over time."
Researchers concluded, "Increased prevalence of cannabinoids among drivers involved in fatal crashes was only detected in a minority of the states that implemented medical marijuana laws. The observed increases were one-time changes in the prevalence levels, rather than upward trends, suggesting that these laws result in stable increases in driver marijuana prevalence."
Full text of the study, "Changes in driver cannabinoid prevalence in 12 US states after implementing medical marijuana laws," appears in the Journal of Safety Research.
Poll: Sixty-Four Percent Of Florida Voters Back Constitutional Amendment To Legalize Medical Marijuana
Tallahassee, FL: More than 60 percent of Florida voters say that they support Amendment 2, a proposed constitutional amendment to permit cannabis therapy to qualified patients, according to a Gravis Marketing poll released this week.
Sixty-four percent of respondents said that they would vote in favor of the amendment, up from 50 percent in late June. Twenty-six percent of respondents said that they opposed the measure.
Because Amendment 2 seeks to amend the state constitution, 60 percent of voters must decide in favor of it before it can be enacted.
Although previous statewide polls have reported greater support among Floridians in regard to the concept of legalizing medical marijuana, the Gravis survey specifically polled voters on whether or not they endorse Amendment 2.
Among those polled, 90 percent said that they were either "very likely" or "likely" to vote in the 2014 general election.
The Gravis Marketing poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Illinois: Governor Signs Hemp Research Measure Into Law
Springfield, IL: Democrat Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation into law last week authorizing state universities to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.
The measure, House Bill 5085, mandates the state Department of Agriculture to adopt rules so that higher education facilities can develop pilot programs involving the cultivation of cannabis plants containing no more than .03 percent THC.
The new law takes effect in January.
To date, more than a dozen states have enacted similar laws redefining hemp as an agricultural commodity and authorizing state-sponsored research and/or cultivation of the crop. Six states - Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah - adopted similar measures this year.
In February, federal lawmakers approved language in the omnibus federal Farm Bill authorizing states to sponsor hemp research absent federal reclassification of the plant.
New Mexico: Santa Fe City Council Depenalizes Marijuana Possession Offenses
Santa Fe, NM: Members of the Santa Fe City Council last week voted 5-4 in favor of municipal legislation that reduces penalties for those who possess small quantities of marijuana for non-medical purposes.
The new ordinance imposes a civil fine of no more than $25 for offenses involving the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.
Proponents of the change had previously qualified the measure to appear on the November ballot. However, members of the Council decided to approve the proposal outright rather than put the issue before local voters.
Under state law, the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for non-medical purposes is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a criminal record.
On Friday, Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry vetoed legislation that would have allowed city voters to decide on a similar marijuana decriminalization proposal this fall.
Voters in an estimated 20 cities nationwide are anticipated to decide on similar municipal measures in November.
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