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‘Cannabis Use Disorder’ Up in States That Legalized Recreational Pot

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13, 2019 — States that legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase in problematic pot use among teens and adults aged 26 and older, a new study finds.

The researchers compared marijuana use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana — before and after legalization. The investigators also compared trends in those states with states that did not legalize recreational marijuana.

“There are, indeed, important social benefits that legalizing marijuana can provide, particularly around issues of equity in criminal justice,” said lead author Magdalena Cerda. She’s director of the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy at NYU Langone Health, in New York City.

However, “our findings suggest that as more states move toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use, we also need to think about investing in substance use prevention and treatment to prevent unintended harms — particularly among adolescents,” Cerda added in an NYU news release.

The study authors examined marijuana use and frequent use (more than 20 days) in the past month, and problematic marijuana use (also called “cannabis use disorder”) over the past year. Signs of problematic use include increased tolerance, repeated attempts to control use or quit, spending a lot of time using, social problems due to use, and ignoring other activities in order to use.

The rate of problematic use among teens aged 12 to 17 rose from 2.18% to 2.72% after legalization, and was 25% higher than in non-recreational states. But there was no change in rates of past-month or frequent use.

Among adults 26 or older, past-month marijuana use after legalization was 26% higher than in non-recreational states. Past-month frequent use rose by 23% and past-year problematic use rose by 37%.

Among young adults aged 18 to 25, there was no increase in past-month, frequent or problematic marijuana use after legalization, according to the study. The findings were published online Nov. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry.

According to study senior author Dr. Silvia Martins, “Cannabis use disorder in adolescence is associated with long-term adverse health, economic and social consequences.” She is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City.

“Given our findings on problematic use across age groups, legalization efforts should coincide with prevention and treatment,” Martins said in the news release.

“The general public should be informed about both benefits and potential harms of marijuana products to make informed decisions,” Martins added.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana use is legal in 33 states, the study authors noted.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about marijuana.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

One Downside of Legalized Pot: Poisoned Pets

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — People who use marijuana know that the drug should be kept out of the reach of small children. But many may not realize that it can also be dangerous for their beloved animals.

As more states legalize marijuana, the drug poses an increased poisoning risk to pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns.

In June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize pot.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the substance in marijuana that makes people high — is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, depression, sleepiness or excitation, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizures and problems with coordination.

Death is rare, but a few cases have been reported, as the number of marijuana poisonings among dogs has soared, according to the AVMA.

In 2019, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center reported a 765% surge in calls about pot ingestion compared to the same period last year. The Pet Poison Helpline has reported a more than 400% increase in marijuana-related calls over the past six years.

The AVMA also said a number of its member veterinarians have reported seeing an increasing number of pets with signs of marijuana intoxication.

Edible marijuana products — such as brownies, candy bars and other baked goods — are a particular concern, because THC is highly concentrated in the butter used for the products, the association explained in a news release.

Smoking marijuana can also pose a risk, and people who smoke the drug should do so away from their pets, the AVMA said.

It’s also important to make sure the drug is secure and inaccessible to pets.

Even if you don’t have marijuana in your home, legalization could increase the risk that your dog will find a discarded joint or edible product outdoors. To reduce the risk, keep your dog on a leash and prevent them from grazing while out on walks.

If a pet shows any signs of marijuana toxicity — off-balance, rigid or nervous, drooling, dribbling urine, vocalizing or having seizures — get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible, the AVMA advised.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association, news release, June 26, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Should Marijuana Be Legalized

As more and more states are legalizing marijuana the question is, should marijuana be legalized, or is it just peer pressure that’s pushing these initiatives along?

The War on Drugs has been raging for years, with little positive effect. More Americans are being arrested for possession of marijuana than for violent crimes (one in four prisoners are incarcerated for low-level drug offenses) – adding to the already overcrowded prison system. The majority of people arrested for possession are African-Americans, even though African-Americans and white Americans use marijuana at similar rates. When they are finally released, they have been out of the workforce for years and it’s difficult to reintegrate into society.

In many states – those that have yet to legalize pot – people flock to neighboring states to buy their weed, which does nothing for discouraging drug use. It’s ludicrous to be able to legally buy marijuana in one state, just to be arrested for possessing it in another.

What could countrywide legalization of marijuana do?

  • Over 780,000 jobs
  • A savings of $ 7.7 billion in enforcement costs
  • $ 6 billion in additional sales tax revenue from legal dispensaries

These net gains could be used to repair our transportation infrastructure, fund education, provide communities with resources to help people with substance abuse problems, and even fund various community initiatives including job training.

The biggest hurdle will be removing marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I drug (i.e. a drug with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use). The reality is that cannabis is widely accepted as a viable treatment for a variety of health ailments – most notably epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. It’s really only Big Pharma that stands to lose if marijuana becomes legal in all 50 states for medical (if not recreational) use, since pharmaceutical companies have not figured out how to profit from cannabis.

Congress can change this by passing the Marijuana Justice Act that would remove the Schedule I classification. With support for legalization at an all-time high – with nearly two thirds of Americans supporting legalization – and states with legal marijuana are protected from federal interference.

So far, marijuana legalization is working. Marijuana arrests have declined (leaving law enforcement with more resources to focus on violent crimes), and pot money is filling the coffers to the tune of millions of dollars.

So the question today is not “whether” to legalize marijuana, but “how” and “when.” Laws need to be amended to include provisions for removing past marijuana convictions from criminal records (which will ease the way for thousands of people to remove barriers to employment and housing), and reinvesting pot tax money into communities most affected by the war on drugs.

Legalization isn’t about easier access to marijuana. After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way, as the 1920s alcohol prohibition proved. Legalization is about decriminalizing a substance that people will use anyway, supporting the communities most adversely affected by the war on drugs and making pot a viable – and profitable – part of the economy, for the benefit of all.

The420Times.com

Survey: Americans, Canadians Want to Try Legalized Marijuana

There’s a sizable market waiting and willing to try legal cannabis-infused products, according to a new survey by Chicago-based management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, signaling that laws could be lagging behind public sentiment in both Canada and the United States. The company surveyed about 2,000 Americans and Canadians with some awareness of cannabis about their […]
Marijuana

North Dakota Pegs Legalized Marijuana Would Cost State $2M

By James MacPherson BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A measure to legalize cannabis in North Dakota would cost more than $ 2 million annually for the first three years if it’s approved, though tax revenue and other fees generated from the sales are not yet known, according to agency estimates provided to lawmakers Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. […]
Marijuana

In Lebanon’s Hashish Capital, Bekaa Valley Growers Hope to Prosper if Cannabis is Legalized

By Bassem Mroue YAMMOUNE, Lebanon (AP) — In the fields of this quiet village surrounded by mountains, men and women work clearing dirt and dry leaves from around cannabis plants, a major source of livelihoods in this impoverished corner of Lebanon. The fertile Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon has long been notorious as one of […]
Marijuana

Libertarian Think Tank Estimates $106 Billion in Revenue if US Legalized Marijuana — and Cocaine and Heroin, Too

Legalizing drugs could generate more than $ 106 billion a year for federal, state, and local government budgets, according to an analysis by a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. Jeffrey Miron, Cato Institute’s director of economic studies and undergraduate director at Harvard University’s Department of Economics, published “The Budgetary Effects of Ending Drug  Prohibition” as […]
Marijuana

Another Study Finds Legalized Marijuana Reduces Opioid Prescriptions

A study published in  the peer-reviewed journal Addiction adds to a growing body of research finding that opioid prescriptions decline after cannabis is legalized. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego in California and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, published “Medical cannabis legalization and opioid prescriptions: evidence […]
Marijuana

Oklahoma Legalized Medical Marijuana, to the Likely Dismay of Scott Pruitt

What a difference four years makes. In 2014, Oklahoma and Nebraska were suing Colorado in federal court for this state’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana, but now the Sooner State is starting to catch up with Colorado’s affinity for the plant — and in some cases, even surpass it.

On Tuesday, June 26, voters approved Question 788, making Oklahoma the thirtieth state in the country to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. The measure passed with 57 percent approval and is being lauded by MMJ advocates for its broad-reaching nature. Unlike the large majority of states with MMJ programs (including Colorado), Oklahoma will allow doctors to recommend marijuana for any condition they see fit.

The victory represents a shifting tide in the traditionally Republican state as legalizing marijuana becomes less of a bipartisan issue. Opponents of the measure reportedly spent around $ 500,000 on TV ads to derail the measure, but they were missing the man who’d helped push the infamous 2014 lawsuit against Colorado: Oklahoma’s then-attorney general, Scott Pruitt.

Back then, Pruitt took issue with the Obama administration for “not enforcing federal drug law.” However, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the lawsuit in 2015, and President Donald Trump elevated Pruitt to administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency — and a target for probes into lavish spending habits. Oklahoma is currently waiting to elect a new AG, with just one major candidate (interim AG Mike Hunter) publicly opposing the measure.

Oklahoma passed a measure legalizing medical marijuana on June 26.

Oklahoma passed a measure legalizing medical marijuana on June 26.

Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access

As currently written, the measure allows future Oklahoma MMJ patients to possess three ounces of marijuana in public (two more ounces than Colorado’s limit) and have up to eight ounces at home. Concentrates and edibles will also be allowed, as will growing at home. The law would even let those arrested with 1.5 ounces of flower or less to “state a medical condition” in hopes of seeing a felony possession offense reduced to a $ 400 citation.

“Question 788 is a tremendous victory for patients and for access to medical cannabis. We hope we can replicate this success in Utah and Missouri this November when those states will vote on improving their medical cannabis programs,” David Mangone, government affairs director for drug-reform organization Americans for Safe Access, says in a statement. “However, it’s still possible for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma state legislature to hamper the initiative through regulatory change and administrative delay. We cannot let the will of the voters be undermined!”

In a statement released shortly after 788’s passage, Fallin said that her office will respect the voters’ will and work to properly regulate MMJ in Oklahoma, but the governor took issue with the scope of the measure.“I respect the will of the voters in any question placed before them to determine the direction of our state. It is our responsibility as state leaders to look out for the health and safety of Oklahoma citizens,” she said. “As I mentioned in previous public comments, I believe, as well as many Oklahomans, this new law is written so loosely that it opens the door for basically recreational marijuana. I will be discussing with legislative leaders and state agencies our options going forward on how best to proceed with adding a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses.”

While one of Colorado’s neighbors just took a significant step forward in reforming its marijuana laws, another took one step back. On the same day that Oklahoma legalized MMJ, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that marijuana concentrates aren’t protected by the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, effectively outlawing edibles, wax, shatter, bubble hash and any other extracted form of THC. MMJ advocates and their legal representatives are expected to appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Toke of the Town

Zimbabwe’s President’s Agenda Includes Legalized Medical Marijuana

By Farai Mutsaka HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s new president is rolling out freedoms — including medical cannabis cultivation — as never seen before in the country recovering from the 37-year grip of former leader Robert Mugabe. For some, however, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is going too far. Others accuse him of mere window-dressing ahead of July’s historic […]
Marijuana

Teen Drug Use Has Gone Down Since Colorado Legalized

Remember all those people that said teens would start doing drugs like crazy if states legalized marijuana? Well, at least in Colorado, it looks like they were dead wrong. Since Colorado legalized in 2014, the percentage of teens using marijuana has gone from just over 12 percent to about 9 percent, according to new federal survey data.

There’s more. The survey found heroin use and alcohol use are also down. It looks like legalization has had a pretty good effect in the state overall.

“Teen use appears to be dropping now that state and local authorities are overseeing the production and sale of marijuana,” said Brian Vicente of Vicente Sederberg LLC, one of the drafters of Colorado’s marijuana ballot measure, in a statement. “There are serious penalties for selling to minors, and regulated cannabis businesses are being vigilant in checking IDs.”

Marijuana advocate Brian Vicente, who co-authored the ballot measure that legalized cannabis, said this shows opponents of legalization are wrong when it comes to how it affects teens.

“This is the study that opponents of marijuana legalization quote time and time again: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” Vicente told Westword. “And the fact that now it’s showing a very significant dip is extremely important.”

Vicente believes legitimizing marijuana sales makes it less likely teens are going to be acquiring it from a drug dealer, which means teen use will go down.

“This is something we talked about on the campaign trail, and it just makes common sense — that if you take marijuana out of the hands of drug dealers and put the sales behind the counter, where it’s sold by regulated employees under camera, they’re just much more likely to ask for I.D.,” Vicente said. “What Colorado has effectively led the world in is taking marijuana sales off the streets and out of the hands of drug dealers and has them take place behind the counter, similar to alcohol sales.”

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize, but you can bet we’ll see similar trends in states that have legalized more recently.

[Photo by Brooke Hoyer/Flickr]

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