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Survey: Super-Majority of Americans Oppose Federal Marijuana Prohibition

Washington, DC: Only two in ten Americans support the federal criminalization of marijuana, according to nationwide polling data compiled by YouGov.com.

Pollsters asked respondents whether cannabis use ought to be either "legalized nationally, left up to the states, or banned nationally."

Forty-five percent of those surveyed said that it should be legalized nationwide. Twenty-one percent of respondents said the decision to legalize cannabis should be left up to each individual state. Only 20 percent of those surveyed said they supported maintaining federal cannabis prohibition.

Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to support a policy of nationwide legalization.

Several pieces of legislation – including the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act and the States Reform Act – are pending in Congress to repeal federal marijuana prohibition, thereby permitting state governments to decide their own cannabis policies free from undue federal interference.

Study: Young Adults' Consumption of Alcohol, Cigarettes, Other Substances Fell Following Marijuana Legalization

Seattle, WA: Retail cannabis sales are associated with decreases in the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and pain medications by young adults, according to data published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers with the University of Washington assessed trends in alcohol, nicotine, and non-prescribed pain reliever use among a cohort of over 12,500 young adults (ages 18 to 25) in Washington State following adult-use cannabis legalization.

They reported, "Contrary to concerns about spillover effects, implementation of legalized nonmedical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette use and pain reliever misuse." Researchers did find that the prevalence of past-month e-cigarette use increased post-legalization.

Authors concluded, "Our findings add to evidence that the legalization of nonmedical cannabis has not led to dramatic increases in the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and nonprescribed opioids. â€Ļ The findings indicate that the most critical public health concerns surrounding cannabis legalization and the evolution of legalized cannabis markets may be specific to cannabis use and related consequences."

Commenting on the study's findings, NORML's Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "Real-world data from legalization states disputes longstanding claims that cannabis is some sort of 'gateway' substance. In fact, in many instances, cannabis regulation is associated with the decreased use of other substances, including many prescription medications."

Numerous prior studies, including those conducted by The RAND Corporation and the National Academy of Sciences, have disputed the so-called 'gateway theory' - concluding, "[M]arijuana has no causal influence over hard drug initiation."

According to nationwide polling compiled by YouGov.com, a majority of Americans no longer agree with the notion that "the use of marijuana leads to the use of hard drugs."

Full text of the study, "Trends in alcohol, cigarette, e-cigarette, and nonprescribed pain reliever use among young adults in Washington state after legalization of nonmedical cannabis," appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Delaware: Lawmakers Advance Legislation Eliminating Marijuana Possession Penalties

Dover, DE: Majorities of lawmakers in the House and Senate have approved legislation, House Bill 371, eliminating penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults.

House members voted 26 to 14 and Senate members voted 13 to 7 to advance the legislation. Virtually all Democrats voted for the measure while the majority of Republicans decided against it.

A spokesperson for Democratic Gov. John Carney said that he will review the bill, but that the Governor remains largely opposed to legalization. Governor Carney has previously expressed concerns that cannabis may act as a so-called 'gateway drug' and has said that he doesn't believe that legalizing it is a "good idea."

However, in recent years, the Governor has nonetheless signed various marijuana reform bills into law – including legislation removing criminal penalties for cannabis possession for minors as well as legislation expanding the pool of health care practitioners eligible to provide medical marijuana authorizations.

NORML's Executive Director Erik Altieri said, "We applaud the Delaware legislature for passing this important legislation. The overwhelming majority of Delaware residents support ending their state's failed prohibition on marijuana, and Governor Carney should respect the will of the people."

Laura Sharer, Executive Director of Delaware NORML added: "The collateral consequences of the thousands of cannabis possession offenses that occur every year in Delaware extend far beyond fines. It's time to right these immense wrongs. We can now work to accept cannabis use as an issue of personal choice, not criminal behavior."

Separate legislation (HB 372) that seeks to legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products is still pending before lawmakers. Previous attempts to pass legislation to regulate and tax marijuana sales stalled in the Senate, which requires a three-fifths majority vote to approve any measure that establishes new taxes.

Clinical Trial: Topical CBD Ointment Efficacious for Psoriasis

Bangkok, Thailand: The topical application of an ointment containing 2.5 percent CBD improves symptoms of psoriasis, according to the findings of a randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology.

A team of investigators affiliated with King Chulalongkorn University Hospital and Thammasat University Hospital in Thailand assessed the twice daily application of either CBD or placebo over a 12-week period in 51 patients with mild plaque-type psoriasis.

Areas treated with CBD showed significant improvements compared to areas treated with the placebo. Researchers did not identify any adverse effects attributable to the use of CBD.

"Our results indicated a trend of favorable response in the treatment with CBD, which has emerged as a therapeutic option for psoriasis," authors concluded. "These outcomes will pave the way for future studies on [the] therapeutic effects of CBD."

Prior studies have previously shown that CBD may reduce certain types of skin inflammation, including erythema, pruritis, and acne.

Full text of the study, "Topical cannabidiol-based treatment for psoriasis: A dual-centered randomized, placebo-controlled study," appears in theJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology.

Analysis: Reduced Taxes, Fewer Regulatory Burdens Would Promote Better Growth in California's Licensed Cannabis Market

Los Angeles, CA: Regulatory costs, high taxes, and municipal bans on cannabis retailers have significantly inhibited the growth of the licensed marijuana marketplace in California, according to a report issued by the Reason Foundation.

The analysis estimated that California imposes an effective tax rate of as much as $92 per ounce. This amount is higher than the tax burden imposed on retail cannabis transactions in other states.

The report's author also highlighted that California has a "paucity of legal retailers" as compared to other adult-use states. This is because the majority of localities in California prohibit such establishments. While Colorado has "one legal retailer per 13,838 residents" and "Oregon boasts one retailer per 6,145 residents," California has "one legal retailer per 29,282 residents, indicating a dramatic undersupply of legal retailers in the Golden State."

California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, who authored the report's foreword wrote: "California's legal industry has been hard pressed to compete with untaxed, unregulated providers on the underground market. So dire is the current situation that advocates now fear that the cannabis industry in California faces an 'existential crisis' in the absence of meaningful tax reform."

He concluded, "Substantive tax cuts therefore seem to be a feasible strategy for reducing demand for the illicit market, while still retaining reasonable revenues for the state programs funded in Prop. 64."

Following the report's release, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed eliminating the marijuana cultivation tax. Doing so requires support from two-thirds of the state legislature.

Full text of the report, "The Impact of California Cannabis Taxes on Participation Within the Legal Market," is available from the Reason Foundation.

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