New Studies Show Legal Access to Marijuana is Consistently Linked With Reduced Opioid Use

Two recently published studies have reaffirmed the relationship between legal access to marijuana and a reduction in opioid use.

In the first study, published by the Minnesota Department of Health, researchers assessed the prescription drug use patterns of 2,245 intractable pain patients participating in the state’s medical marijuana program. Among the patients known to be taking opiates upon enrollment in the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”

“The consensus of the available data indicates that cannabis may play a potentially valuable role in mitigating the opioid public health crisis”, says Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML.  “It is time to set aside canna-bigotry and to stop placing politics ahead of American lives.”

Read moreNew Studies Show Legal Access to Marijuana is Consistently Linked With Reduced Opioid Use

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Makes New Disparaging Comments on Marijuana

At a press conference today Attorney General Jeff Sessions made new, and disparaging, comments on marijuana.

“Most of you probably know I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,” Sessions told reporters today. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago.”

Sessions continued; “We’re seeing real violence around that,.. Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”

Read moreAttorney General Jeff Sessions Makes New Disparaging Comments on Marijuana

Federal Marijuana Laws: An Overview

federal marijuana laws

Throughout the U.S., there are a large assortment of cannabis laws at the state level. But what are the federal marijuana laws?

Below is a chart of federal marijuana laws provided by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML):

 

OffensePenaltyIncarceration  Max. Fine

Possession

Any amount (first offense)misdemeanor1 year$ 1,000
Second offense (any amount)misdemeanor15 days* – 2 years$ 2,500
Subsequent offensesmisdemeanor or felony90 days* – 3 years$ 5,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Sale

Less than 50 kgfelony5 years$ 250,000
50 – 99 kgfelony20 years$ 1,000,000
100 – 999 kgfelony5 – 40 years$ 500,000
1000 kg or morefelony10 years – life$ 1,000,000
To a minor or within 1000 ft of a school, or other specified areas carries a double penalty.
Gift of small amount — see Possession

Cultivation

Less than 50 plantsfelony5 years$ 250,000
50 – 99 plantsfelony20 years$ 1,000,000
100 – 999 plantsfelony5 – 40 years$ 500,000
1000 plants or morefelony10 years – life$ 1,000,000

Paraphernalia

Sale of paraphernaliafelony3 yearsN/A

 

Progress on Federal Marijuana Laws

Last month Congress voted to extend protections that prevent the Justice Department from interfering with state-level medical cannabis laws; the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment was included as part of a larger budget bill. However, the extension only goes until April. It’s anyone’s guess if it will be extended again at that point, when Trump will be in office.

Last week a group of U.S. senators – including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – sent a letter to government officials urging them to allow cannabis banking.

Massachusetts Cannabis Legalization Initiative Officially Placed on November Ballot

Cannabis Becomes Legal Tonight

By NORML

Massachusetts Cannabis Legalization Initiative

Massachusetts voters will decide this November on a statewide ballot measure to legalize and regulate the adult use and retail sale of cannabis.

The Secretary of State’s office has confirmed that initiative proponents, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, submitted a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Read moreMassachusetts Cannabis Legalization Initiative Officially Placed on November Ballot

Study: Recent Cannabis Use Linked to Better Outcomes for Brain Injury Patients

By NORML

brain injuryThe recent use of cannabis is associated with improved outcomes in patients hospitalized with intracerebral hemorrhaging (ICH aka bleeding in the brain), according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Cerebrovascular Diseases.

An international team of investigators from Argentina, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States evaluated demographic trends and patient outcomes in a cohort of 725 subjects with spontaneous ICH. Researchers reported that cannabis-positive subjects possessed “milder ICH presentation” upon hospitalization and presented “less disability” at discharge as compared to similarly matched patients who tested negative for cannabinoids.

Read moreStudy: Recent Cannabis Use Linked to Better Outcomes for Brain Injury Patients

Study: CBD Oil ‘Highly Promising’ as Treatment for Pediatric Epilepsy

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Cannabis oil.
Cannabis oil.

The administration of cannabis oil extracts high in cannabidiol reduces seizure frequency in children with intractable epilepsy, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Seizure.

Israeli researchers retrospectively evaluated the effects of CBD oil in a multicenter cohort of 74 patients with intractable epilepsy. Participants in the trial were resistant to conventional epilepsy treatment and were treated with CBD extracts for a period of at least three months. Extracts in the study were provided by a pair of Israeli-licensed growers and were standardized to possess a CBD to THC ratio of 20 to 1.

Read moreStudy: CBD Oil ‘Highly Promising’ as Treatment for Pediatric Epilepsy

52% of U.S./Canada Population Live in Areas Where Medical Cannabis is Legally Available

By Rick Thomspon, The Compassion Chronicles

medical cannabis52% of the people living north of Mexico have access to legal medical marijuana.

Population tallies from the 24 US states with medical marijuana programs, one federal District and the country of Canada, which has a national program, show that the majority of those citizens are living in harmonious comfort with regulated medical marijuana production, distribution and use.

Read more52% of U.S./Canada Population Live in Areas Where Medical Cannabis is Legally Available

Study: Cannabinoids are Safe, Effective for Pain Treatment

By Paul Armentano, NORML

Medical-MarijuanaCannabinoids are safe and effective for the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between the years 2010 and 2014. Trials assessed the use of various types of cannabinoid preparations, including herbal cannabis, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC), in pain treatment.

Read moreStudy: Cannabinoids are Safe, Effective for Pain Treatment

Super Majority of Voters Support Legalizing Medical Cannabis in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania

By Paul Armentano, NORML

medical cannabisSuper-majorities of voters believe that medical cannabis should be legal, and most men additionally support legalizing marijuana for all adults, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University Swing State poll.

Pollsters gauged support for marijuana law reform in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Florida voters backed legalizing cannabis therapy by a margin of 87 percent to 12 percent. A majority of male voters (57 percent) also supported broader legalization, while only 49 percent of women agreed.

Read moreSuper Majority of Voters Support Legalizing Medical Cannabis in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania

Study: Patients Report Substituting Cannabis For Booze, Prescription Drugs

medcannabisBy Paul Armentano, NORML

Patients who possess legal access to cannabis frequently substitute it in place of alcohol and prescription drugs, according to survey data published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Investigators from the University of Victoria in British Columbia assessed the influence of medical marijuana access on other drug-taking behaviors in a cohort of 473 Canadian adults licensed to engage in cannabis therapy.

Read moreStudy: Patients Report Substituting Cannabis For Booze, Prescription Drugs