Chicago IL: The percentage of Americans who "think the use of marijuana should be legal" has increased dramatically over the past ten years and now stands at a record high, according to polling data compiled by the University of Chicago's General Social Survey. The survey has tracked adults' opinions on legalizing marijuana since the early 1970s.
The survey reports that 57 percent of adults support legalization, up from 32 percent in 2006. That is the highest percentage of support ever reported by the poll. In 1987, only 16 percent of respondents endorsed legalization.
Support for legalization was strongest among Democrats and younger adults, but fell below 50 percent among Republicans (40 percent) and those over the age of 65 (42 percent).
The survey's findings are similar to those of other recent national polls compiled by Gallup, Pew, AP, CBS, and Morning Consult - all of which show majority support for regulating the adult use of cannabis.
The General Social Survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.
Study: Marijuana Use Not Implicated In Injuries Requiring Hospitalization
Victoria, British Columbia: The use of marijuana alone does not place subjects at a higher risk of experiencing injuries requiring hospitalization, according to case-control data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Investigators from the United States and Canada assessed the risk of injury in the hours immediately following subjects' use of alcohol or other controlled substances.
Researchers determined that alcohol use within the past six hours significantly increased subjects' likelihood of injury requiring hospitalization while the recent use marijuana alone did not. By contrast, recent use of alcohol and marijuana in combination "marginally" increased injury risk.
The findings are largely consistent with those of previous studies reporting a lack of association between cannabis use injuries requiring an emergency room admission, such as those here, here, here, and here.
Full text of the study, "Risk of injury from alcohol, marijuana and other drug use among emergency department patients," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Kansas City: Municipal Decriminalization Measure Passes
Kansas City, MO: Kansas City voters approved a municipal ballot measure on Tuesday decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses within the city's limits.
Nearly 75 percent of citywide voters decided 'yes' on Question 5, which reduces penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine. The ordinance also eliminates local penalties for the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.
"The era of reefer madness in Kansas City has come to an end and no longer will otherwise law abiding citizens be targeted or arrested for the mere possession of marijuana," said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of KC NORML. KC NORML spearheaded the initiative effort.
Other Missouri cities, such as St. Louis and Columbia, have enacted similar local decriminalization ordinances.
The new ordinance takes effect upon the mayor's signature or within five days.
Oklahoma: Medical Cannabis Proponents Prevail In Ballot Fight
Oklahoma City, OK: The state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the proponents of a forthcoming statewide ballot measure to regulate medical cannabis access.
In a 7 to 1 ruling, justices rejected the state attorney general's rewording of the initiative's ballot title and ordered that the measure's initial language be restored. Initiative proponents, Oklahomans for Health, had argued that the revised title was purposely misleading because it did not specify that the voter initiated measure was explicit to the use of medical marijuana only.
Proponents of the initiative, State Question 788, gathered sufficient signatures to place the issue before voters last election. The vote was postponed because of the litigation over the contested ballot title language.
The state's governor will now have to decide whether to place the ballot question on the 2018 gubernatorial ballot or to hold a special election. If approved, qualified patients would be able to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of medical cannabis, or obtain it from a state-licensed dispensary.
Virginia: Governor Amends Mandatory Driver's Suspension Law
Richmond, VA: Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed legislation into law amending the state's mandatory driver's suspension law.
Under existing law, defendants convicted of a marijuana violation lose their driving privileges for six months, even in instances where the offense was not driving related.
Under the new legislation, SB 1091, the mandatory suspension will no longer apply to adults convicted of simple marijuana possession offenses.
The new law takes effect July 1, 2017.
States like Virginia enacted drivers' suspension laws at the behest of the federal government decades ago. This week, members of Congress introduced legislation, 'The Better Driver Act,' to eliminate federal provisions that encourage states to suspend drivers' licenses in situations involving non-traffic related minor drug violations.