States that have approved medical cannabis laws saw a dramatic reduction in opioid use, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Georgia.
In a document published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine, researchers examined the number of all opioid prescriptions filled between 2010 and 2015 under Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit plan available to Medicare enrollees.
Research has shown that's states with medical cannabis dispensaries, the researchers observed almost 15 percent reduction in the use of prescription opioids and nearly a 7 percent reduction in opiate prescriptions filled in states with home-cultivation-only medical cannabis laws.
"Some of the states we analyzed had medical cannabis laws throughout the five-year study period, some never had medical cannabis, and some enacted medical cannabis laws during those five years," said W. David Bradford, study co-author and Busbee Chair in Public Policy in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs.
"So, what we were able to do is ask what happens to physician behavior in terms of their opiate prescribing if and when medical cannabis becomes available."
Since California approved the first medical cannabis law in 1996, 29 states and the District of Colombia have approved some form of medical cannabis law.
"Physicians cannot prescribe cannabis; it is still a Schedule I drug," Bradford said.
"We're not observing that prescriptions for cannabis go up and prescriptions for opioids go down. We're just observing what changes when medical cannabis laws are enacted, and we see big reductions in opiate use."
The researchers examined all common prescriptions opiates, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone, and fentanyl. Because heroin is not a legal drug, it was not included as part of the study.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency related to the abuse of opiates. Opioid overdoses accounted for over 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record, and more than 40 percent of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid, according to HHS.
Opioid prescription rates increased from about 148 million prescriptions in 2005 to 206 million prescriptions by 2011, Bradford said. This coincided with an increase in the number of opioid-related deaths.
"There is a growing body of studies that suggest cannabis may be used to manage pain in some patients, and this could be a major component of the reductions we see in the use of opiates," he said.
The researchers did not, however, see any significant reductions in the number of non-opioid drugs prescribed during the study period.
"In other studies, we examined prescription rates for non-opioid drugs such as blood thinners, flu medications, and phosphorus stimulants, and we saw no change," said Ashley Bradford, lead author of the study and graduate student in UGA's department of public administration and policy.
"Medical cannabis wouldn't be an effective treatment for flu or for anemia, so we feel pretty confident that the changes we see in opioids are because of cannabis because there is a legitimate medical use."
The researches concede that if medical cannabis is to become an effective treatment, there is still much work to be done. Scientists are only just beginning to understand the effects of the compounds contained in cannabis, and an effective "dose" of cannabis would need to be defined clearly so that each patient receives a consistent dose.
"Regardless, our findings suggest quite clearly that medical cannabis could be one useful tool in the policy arsenal that can be used to diminish the harm of prescription opioids, and that's worthy of serious consideration," David Bradford said.
Materials provided by the University of Georgia, School of Public and International Affairs. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
1. Ashley C. Bradford, W. David Bradford, Amanda Abraham, Grace Bagwell Adams. Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0266
Daily use of marijuana, as well as past month rates, rose for both men and women aged 26 and older in states with medical marijuana laws in effect, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
Marijuana use among individuals younger than 26 years old was generally unaffected by changes in the law. The results of the study are published online in Prevention Science.
In states with medical marijuana laws, daily marijuana use for male users age 26 and older increased from 16.3 percent to 19.1 percent, and for women, from 9.2 percent to 12.7 percent. Past month use among men in the same age bracket increased from 7.0 percent before the laws passed to 8.7 percent following their passage, and for women rose from 3.0 percent before to 4.3 percent after. There were no significant increases in past-year marijuana use disorder (continuing to use despite significant behavioral or psychological changes) for any age or gender group following passage of the laws.
The research also documents a spike in males ages 18-25 consuming marijuana daily compared to females. "Among past month users, more than one in five young men ages 18-25 living in states with medical marijuana laws said they used marijuana every day," said Christine Mauro, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biostatistics at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, and first author.
Daily use was generally higher among individuals aged 18-25 compared with those ages 12-17 and those 26 or older, regardless of their state's laws around Cannabis. "Daily marijuana use raises health concerns as the brain doesn't fully mature until age 25," noted Mauro.
The researchers analyzed state-level survey data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the years 2004-2013, including more than 17,500 youth (12-17 years old), 17,500 young adults (18-25 years old), and 18,800 adults 26 and older per year studied.
Since 1996, more than half of the United States have passed medical marijuana laws, with 28 states legalizing medical marijuana use as of November 2016; eight states have legalized recreational marijuana. "As more states enact laws and more years of data are available, future research should examine how legalization of recreational marijuana and other local rules contribute to changes in marijuana use," said Mauro.
Rising rates of Cannabis use raises concerns regarding associated increases in the heavy use of marijuana and marijuana use disorder. Earlier research by Columbia researchers estimated that 16.2 percent and 57.2 percent of daily marijuana users meet criteria for DSM-IV abuse and dependence diagnosis, respectively.
"The advent of medical marijuana laws has been proposed as one potential cause of the increased prevalence of marijuana use, but there is now a general consensus that passage of the laws has not affected rates of use in adolescents," said Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School, and senior author. Until this most recent data, studies by Martins and colleagues found past-year individual use rose among all adults 26+ in states with medical marijuana laws but had not investigated changes in daily marijuana use and marijuana use disorder.
In fact, despite public health concerns regarding the increased use of pot and enactment of marijuana laws, some positive outcomes have been associated with the laws, including decreased opioid use and decreased alcohol consumption -- the latter tied to declining rates of traffic injury fatalities at the state level.
"Research shows the impacts of medical marijuana law, both positive and negative," noted Martins.
"Because most states in our sample more recently passed medical marijuana laws, it is possible that not enough time has elapsed to observe more significant changes in marijuana use disorder across age-gender subgroups," said Mauro.
"Given the impact, the disorder may have on individuals, families, and society, marijuana use should continue to be monitored regularly. Building the evidence base by age and gender is critical in helping public health professionals better understand which groups, may be most affected by medical marijuana laws and target public health programming accordingly."
Materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
1. Christine M. Mauro, Paul Newswanger, Julian Santaella-Tenorio, Pia M. Mauro, Hannah Carliner, Silvia S. Martins. Impact of Medical Marijuana Laws on State-Level Marijuana Use by Age and Gender, 2004–2013. Prevention Science, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s11121-017-0848-3
Cannabis use is riding high on a decade-long wave of decriminalization, legalization and unregulated synthetic substitutes. As society examines the impact, an interesting disparity has become apparent: the risks are different in females than in males.
New animal studies say that sex differences in response to cannabis are not just socio-cultural, but biological too.
Published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, it examines the influence of sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone on the endocannabinoid system: networks of brain cells which communicate using the same family of chemicals found in cannabis, called 'cannabinoids'.
"It has been very difficult to get laboratory animals to self-administer cannabinoids like human cannabis users," says study co-author Dr. Liana Fattore, Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy and President of the Mediterranean Society of Neuroscience. "However, animal studies on the effects of sex hormones and anabolic steroids on cannabinoid self-administration behavior have contributed a lot to our current understanding of sex differences in response to cannabis."
How does cannabis affect men and women differently? Aside from genetic background and hormonal fluctuations, the studies highlight a number of important sex differences.
Men are up to four times more likely to try cannabis -- and use higher doses, more frequently.
"Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behavior and suppress the brain's reward system, which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs, including cannabis" explains Fattore. "This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone."
Despite lower average cannabis use, women go from the first hit to habit faster than men. In fact, men and women differ not only in the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use, pattern and reasons for use but also in the vulnerability to develop cannabis use disorder.
"Females seem to be more vulnerable, at a neurochemical level, in developing an addiction to cannabis," explains Fattore.
"Studies in rats show that the female hormone estradiol affects control of movement, social behavior and filtering of sensory input to the brain -- all targets of drug taking -- via modulation of the endocannabinoid system, whose feedback, in turn, influences estradiol production.
"Specifically, female rats have different levels of endocannabinoids and more sensitive receptors than males in key brain areas related to these functions, with significant changes along the menstrual cycle.
"As a result, the interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the brain level of dopamine -- the neurotransmitter of "pleasure" and "reward" -- are sex-dependent."
The inconsistency of conditions in these findings greatly complicates interpretation, of an already complex role of sex hormones. "The effects varied according to the specific cannabinoid studied, as well as the strain of animals tested and duration of hormone exposure," admits Fattore. However, the human data so far are consistent with the idea that estradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids. As in animals, human males and females are diverse in their genetic and hormonally driven behavior and they process information differently, perceive emotions in different ways and are differently vulnerable to develop a drug addiction.
"Blood levels of enzymes which break down cannabinoids fluctuate across the human menstrual cycle, and imaging studies show that brain levels of cannabinoid receptors increase with aging in females -- mirroring in each case changes in estradiol levels."
Fattore believes that deepening our understanding of the interactions between cannabinoids and sex steroids is crucial in assessing the impact of increasing cannabis use and tackling the fallout.
"Gender-tailored detoxification treatments and relapse prevention strategies for patients with cannabis addiction are increasingly requested. Optimizing personalized evidence-based prevention and treatment protocols demands further research on the source of sex disparities in cannabis response."
Materials provided by Frontiers. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
1. Dicky Struik, Fabrizio Sanna, Liana Fattore. The Modulating Role of Sex and Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Hormones in Cannabinoid Sensitivity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2018; 12 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00249
Marijuana consumption is becoming more popular among middle-aged and older adults, with 9 percent of adults aged 50-64 and nearly 3 percent of adults 65 and older reporting marijuana use in recent years’, according to a study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine and the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
These new findings, which use data from 2015-2016, demonstrate a substantial increase in marijuana use over the past near-decade -- double the percentage of adults aged 50-64 (4.5 percent) and more than seven times the percentage of adults 65 and older (0.4 percent) reporting use in 2006-2007.
The new findings, published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, build on an earlier Addiction study by the same researchers to illustrate this growing trend among baby boomers.
Attitudes towards marijuana use are changing in the U.S., with a growing number of states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana. Although marijuana users are more likely to be young adults, the baby boomer generation is unique, having more experience with the recreational use of drugs than previous generations.
"The baby boomer generation grew up during a period of significant cultural change, including a surge in popularity of marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s. We're now in a new era of changing attitudes around marijuana, and as stigma declines and access improves, it appears that baby boomers -- many of whom have prior experience smoking marijuana -- are increasingly using it," said lead author Benjamin Han, MD, MPH, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine's Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care and Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health.
In this study, the researchers analyzed responses from 17,608 adults aged 50 and older from the 2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Participants were asked about marijuana use, including when they first used it and whether they used it in the past year. The researchers also looked at respondents' demographics and several health factors, including other substance use and chronic disease.
In the past year, 9 percent of adults aged 50-64 and 2.9 percent of adults 65 and older reported using marijuana. In addition, more than half (54.5 percent) of adults 50-64 have used marijuana at some point in their lives, and over a fifth (22.4 percent) of adults, 65 and older have ever used it.
When people first started consuming marijuana varied by age group. Nearly all adults aged 50-64 (92.9 percent), but only roughly half of adults 65 and older (54.7 percent), first used marijuana when they were 21 years of age or younger.
"Most baby boomers who recently used marijuana first used as teens during the 1960s and 1970s. This doesn't mean these individuals have been smoking marijuana for all these years, but most current users are by no means new initiates," said CDUHR researcher Joseph Palamar, Ph.D., MPH, the study's senior author and an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health.
In addition, some adults who used marijuana in the past year (15 percent of users aged 50-64 and 22.9 percent of those 65 and older) reported that a doctor had recommended it to them, reflecting the substantial use of marijuana for medical purposes.
A concerning finding from the study was the correlation between marijuana use and other unhealthy substance use. Adults who used marijuana were more likely to also report alcohol use disorder, nicotine dependence, cocaine use, and misuse of prescription medications (including opioids and sedatives) than non-users.
"Marijuana has been shown to have benefits in treating certain conditions that affect older adults, including neuropathic pain and nausea. However, certain older adults may be at heightened risk for adverse effects associated with marijuana use, particularly if they have certain underlying chronic diseases or are also engaged in unhealthy substance use," said Han, who is also a CDUHR researcher.
Because using multiple drugs may have additive adverse effects -- for example. simultaneously using marijuana and alcohol can be detrimental for cognitive and motor functioning -- the studies suggest that clinicians screen older patients who use marijuana for other substance use to ensure they are educated on the potential risks of using multiple drugs, especially concurrently.
Materials provided by New York University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
1. Benjamin H. Han, Joseph J. Palamar. Marijuana use by middle-aged and older adults in the United States, 2015–2016. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.07.006
THIS WEEK IN MARIJUANA
10/28 - 11-03
TOP THINGS TO KNOW
- From Around The Web
A new analysis by Forbes finds that at least 20 major party gubernatorial nominees in this year’s elections support legalizing cannabis—far more than in any previous election cycle.
Rhode Island Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung told prickly independent contender Joe Trillo to smoke a joint to relax during their debate. “You probably smoke it all the time,” Trillo replied.
Activists with NORML delivered 10,000 comments in support of marijuana rescheduling to the Food and Drug Administration headquarters.
A study found that conservatives are less likely to support marijuana legalization when told that it is backed by left-wing politicians. Progressives, on the other hand, “did not significantly shift their opinion” based on the endorsements.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Rep Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said they back states’ rights to enact their own marijuana laws but plan to vote against North Dakota’s cannabis legalization ballot measure.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Republican challenger Chris DePizzo debated marijuana policy.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) spoke about his support for marijuana policy reform.
Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Henry Martin supports decriminalizing marijuana and is open to legalization.
New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study committee released a lengthy report looking at policy considerations for the potential end of prohibition. Separately, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and Democratic challenger Molly Kelly debated cannabis legalization.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez agreed during a debate that they aren’t OK with having marijuana in their houses. Separately, Massachusetts regulators approved more recreational marijuana licenses.
A New Mexico judge ruled that the state’s 450-plant limit on medical cannabis dispensaries is arbitrary and capricious and has no factual basis. Separately, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted, “As governor, I’ll raise the cap on medical cannabis plants and increase access to licenses for producers so every patient has the access to medical cannabis they need.”
New York attorney general candidates debated allowing safe consumption facilities for people who use illegal drugs.
Maine regulators estimate that the first recreational marijuana stores could open next year.
Ohio regulators are now accepting petitions to add additional medical cannabis qualifying conditions.
Colorado regulators will host a Marijuana Science and Policy Work Group meeting on Monday.
Oregon regulators will hold a public hearing on technical changes to marijuana rules on November 16.
Filter Magazine looks at the marijuana and drug policy positions of district attorneys in the nation’s 50 most populous counties.
Manhattan’s district attorney announced that marijuana prosecutions are down 94% in the first quarter of a newly implemented policy. He also tweeted, “We have exited the marijuana business. Now it’s time for New York State to legalize, regulate, and expunge.”
Mexico’s incoming public safety secretary said that the Supreme Court’s move to strike down marijuana prohibition is a “good decision” and will “have a positive impact on the reduction of violence and insecurity.”
Ghanaian presidential candidate John Dumelo said that legalizing marijuana would be a top priority if he is elected.
Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a music video attempting to articulate their reasons for opposing legalization.
A number of retired Michigan law enforcement officers endorsed the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.
The Vermont Medical Society passed a resolution opposing the legalization of marijuana sales.
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
A poll of U.S. voters in congressional districts with competitive primaries found that Democrats support marijuana legalization, 84%-16%, and Republicans oppose it, 52%-48%.
A poll found that Florida voters support amending the state constitution to reclassify felony drug possession offenses as misdemeanors and to reinvest the savings in rehabilitation programs by a margin of 42%-37%.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board said that the city’s marijuana equity policies are flawed.
CBD drug Epidiolex is now available in the U.S.
Constellation Brands Inc. closed its $5 billion investment in Canopy Growth Corporation.
The State Bank of North Dakota said it won’t work with medical cannabis businesses.
Alaska collected about $1.5 million in marijuana tax revenue in September.
Actor Bette Midler tweeted, “Orange #JohnBoehner, who looks like a ghost, compared to #Trumpkin, is headlining a Cannabis event! Guess Republicans figured out how much $$$ they can make from it, and suddenly pot’s not just something you put people you don’t like in jail for!”
Hugh Grant is joining the cast of a Guy Ritchie-penned film about “the collision between European old money and the modern marijuana industry.”
/ MORE TOP THINGS TO KNOW
Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s prohibition of marijuana. The nation’s Congress has 90 days to repeal cannabis bans now considered unconstitutional.
Activists with Students for Sensible Drug Policy— no matter where they live — are helping to advance marijuana reform by making phone calls this week to voters in states with cannabis ballot measures.
A bizarre new study found that blood-sucking flies really, really love marijuana.
A federal jury ruled in favor of a Colorado marijuana cultivation business targeted in a RICO case that could have had devastating implications for the cannabis industry.
The Drug Enforcement Administration sent a press release about marijuana-infused Halloween candy.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy hosted an event pressuring the World Anti-Doping Agency to reform its governance.
The U.S. Navy released a video warning service members and their families not to use marijuana, even in states where it is legal.
The former U.S. attorney for Colorado taped a campaign video against Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) says she voted against North Dakota’s marijuana legalization ballot measure. Her reelection opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), also plans to vote against the cannabis initiative.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Republican challenger Matt Corey agreed during a debate that states should be able to set their own marijuana laws. (About 12 minutes into the clip.)
Rep. Peter Welch (I-VT) said he supports legalizing marijuana.
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Democratic challenger Andy Kim both said during a debate that marijuana should not be legalized.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sent a press release about a new federally funded cannabis research study. He also tweeted about the potential for legal marijuana to help reduce opioid issues.
Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) spoke in support of medical cannabis for military veterans.
The House bill to require the federal government to study the effects of legalizing marijuana got two new cosponsors, for a total of 33.
The House bill to reschedule marijuana and protect state-legal medical cannabis activity got one new cosponsor, for a total of three.
The House hemp legalization bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 48.
Alabama Democratic congressional candidate Danner Kline posted a lengthy Twitter thread about his and the public’s support for marijuana law reform.
Here’s a look at where Michigan gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.
Washington State regulators sent an update about marijuana packaging and labeling rules, as well as proposed rules on penalties for violations and who qualifies for cannabis licenses.
Alaska regulators sent a bulletin about a new marijuana tax structure going into effect.
Colorado regulators are inviting people to submit comments on proposed changes to medical cannabis rules.
The Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors voted against placing marijuana advisory questions before voters in April 2019 but did approve a resolution calling on state lawmakers to study medical cannabis.
A Canadian mayor says that some of his local residents have been questioned about past marijuana use at the U.S. border and prevented from entering the country. Meanwhile, cannabis retailers are experiencing product shortages.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is rejecting calls to decriminalize marijuana, instead focusing on making medical cannabis available.
The UK’s new policy allowing medical cannabis prescriptions went into effect on Thursday.
Mexican regulators published guidelines for medical and scientific use of cannabis.
Croatia’s health minister said the country is not considering legalizing marijuana.
The Distilled Spirits Council has some recommendations for what marijuana legalization should look like.
The National Business League endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization measure.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding a Columbia University and Columbia Care LLC study examining how medical cannabis influences opioid use and overdose risk in patients with non-cancer pain.
Researchers developed a method to “effectively isolate and quantify the controlled substance, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), even in the presence of other noncontrolled cannabinoid isomers including cannabidiol.”
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
USA Today’s editorial board is urging voters to reject marijuana legalization ballot measures.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board says Missouri should learn lessons from how neighboring Illinois has implemented medical cannabis.
The CEO of Molson Coors spoke about the company’s interest in cannabis products.
Musician David Crosby lent his voice to a radio ad in support of North Dakota’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.
Singer Justin Timberlake wrote in his new book that he started smoking marijuana at age 13 to cope with the end of the Mickey Mouse Club.
EVEN MORE TOP THINGS TO KNOW
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is touting the medical benefits of CBD as well as the uses of industrial hemp.
Two more new studies add to evidence suggesting legal marijuana reduces opioid issues. One concluded that legalization laws are associated with lower prescriptions, doses and Medicaid spending. Another found that counties with cannabis dispensaries have fewer overdose deaths.
New Utah campaign finance reports show that fundraising and spending for committees supportive of and opposed to the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure significantly died down in the wake of a deal reached on compromise legislation earlier this month.
A 2016 Drug Enforcement Administration filing on marijuana extracts is being challenged by the Flowering HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit.
Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and his challengers all said they support marijuana legalization during a debate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a speech that he is proud of Vermont and other states that are legalizing marijuana.
Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Republican challenger Steve Negron debated marijuana policy.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) spoke in support of legalizing marijuana.
A Michigan judge granted a temporary restraining order on a Wednesday medical cannabis licensing deadline, which will allow dispensaries to stay open.
A New Mexico judge ordered regulators to approve two medical cannabis dispensaries.
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) spoke about expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program.
Nevada Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak tweeted photos of himself attending the grand opening of a marijuana store.
Kansas gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.
The Florida House of Representatives is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the state’s medical cannabis law. Separately, Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Nikki Fried and Democratic chief financial officer candidate Jeremy Ring proposed a state-run bank to serve the marijuana industry. And Democratic attorney general candidate Sean Shaw tweeted, “The voters of Florida have made their stance on medicinal marijuana extremely clear. As Attorney General, I will hold the legislature accountable and ensure that Floridians have access to the medicine that they want and need.”
California regulators issued the state’s first full annual marijuana business licenses.
Massachusetts regulators are expected to issue more final marijuana retail licenses on Thursday, but it’s still not clear when sales will begin.
Some Utah voters believe their ballots were stolen from their mailboxes due to their support for the state’s medical cannabis initiative.
South Carolina regulators offered nearly twice as many industrial hemp permits this year as in 2017.
Here’s a look at where Alabama lieutenant governor candidates stand on marijuana.
The Thailand National Legislative Assembly’s public health committee is taking steps to legalize marijuana and kratom for medical research purposes by the end of the year.
Malaysian lawmakers are working on medical cannabis legislation.
Many UK doctors are wary of prescribing medical cannabis.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
A study suggested that “cannabis abstinence is associated with improvements in verbal learning that appear to occur largely in the first week following last use.”
A review concluded that “in persons <25 years old, greater cannabis use is associated with more psychological symptoms, especially among those with a predisposition or existing vulnerability to such outcomes.”
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
A poll of Michigan likely voters found that they support the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, 57%-40%.
A poll found that Rhode Island likely voters support legalizing marijuana, 56%-37%.
The Seattle Times editorial board is urging adults to do a better job of keeping marijuana edibles away from kids.
Coca-Cola’s CEO said the company has no plans to make a cannabis beverage anytime soon.
Aphria Inc. will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.
Wednesday is the deadline for the public to buy stock in Hightimes Holding.
Actor Ron Perlman said he doesn’t care about legalization because he’s going to obtain marijuana “wherever, however.”
TMZ looks at the rise of marijuana mansions in Los Angeles.
/ EVEN MORE TOP THINGS TO KNOW
New campaign finance filings from supporters and opponents of Michigan and Missouri marijuana ballot measures showed late contributions pouring in, including a sizable anti-legalization donation from the Dow Chemical Corporation.
Here’s an overview of TV and web ads supporting and opposing marijuana ballot measures in the lead-up to Election Day.
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz suggested that Canada’s legalization of marijuana wouldn’t necessarily increase smuggling over the border, since there has already been significant trafficking under prohibition.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Republican challenger Lawrence Zupan debated marijuana policy.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) spoke about his support for marijuana law reform.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and her challengers debated marijuana policy.
As some Democratic congressional candidates are running on marijuana reform platforms, others are slow to embrace the issue.
Utah Democratic Senate candidate Jenny Wilson tweeted in support of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.
Utah lawmakers and advocates are working to tweak provisions of proposed medical cannabis compromise legislation. The House speaker also held a public forum on the issue.
Colorado gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.
A P.R. person for an unnamed Massachusetts dispensary said the company was preparing to make its first recreational marijuana sales this week, but later retracted the claim.
North Dakota regulators began accepting medical cannabis patient and caregiver applications.
Michigan regulators approved a number of medical cannabis license applications but many dozens of others dispensaries are facing shutdown as a Wednesday licensing deadline looms. They also sent a clarification about applicants who miss the deadline but maintaining existing inventory while their proposals are considered.
San Francisco, California’s mayor announced the expansion of the city’s cannabis equity program.
Malaysia’s law minister said that legalizing marijuana and other drugs could reduce prison costs.
Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow criticized an opposition party over its support for marijuana legalization.
Lawmakers in Bangladesh approved a bill to expand the use of the death penalty for drug offenses.
The Chinese government cautioned its citizens against using marijuana in Canada.
Singapore’s government warned its citizens not to consume cannabis in other countries.
Attorney Michael Avenatti made a bizarre marijuana reference as part of a criticism of President Trump’s request for attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit, but later deleted the tweet. He made a similar comment in an email to a reporter.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
A study added to evidence of “MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as an innovative, efficacious treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder” and found that “there were no drug-related serious adverse events, and the treatment was well-tolerated.”
A review of medical cannabis in treating inflammatory bowel disease found “benefit in controlling symptoms and improving quality of life, but no studies have established true disease modification.”
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
A poll found that New Jersey adults support legalizing marijuana, 58%-37%.
The Kansas City Star editorial board endorsed one of Missouri’s medical cannabis ballot measures and is opposing the other two.
MedMen is reportedly trying to trademark the use of the word “cannabis” on t-shirts.
The co-founder and former CEO of Eaze started a new cannabis logistics and compliance platform called WAYV.
Uruguayan medical cannabis company Cannapur is considering filing an IPO.
Instagram is still pulling down some Canadian marijuana accounts even under legalization.
Shares in Curaleaf Holdings Inc. fell in its first day of trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Other cannabis stocks dipped as well.
The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at why so many marijuana companies are stacking their boards with political heavyweights.
Slate’s Working podcast looks at what it’s like to be a marijuana dispensary compliance specialist.
Former NBA player Paul Pierce is launching a vape pen business and says he regularly uses CBD oil.
Jimmy Kimmel Live had a segment on the Utah lawmaker who tried a marijuana gummy bear.
Jimmy Fallon had some jokes about marijuana and the midterms.
People are wondering if a surveillance videos shows that an Oregon marijuana dispensary is haunted.