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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 02 May 2017 04:20:21 PST

Polls: Support For Legalizing Marijuana At Record High

New York, NY: More than six in ten Americans believe that the social use of marijuana should be legal for adults, according to nationwide polling data provided by CBS News.

The percentage marks a significant increase since 2013 when CBS reported that only 45 percent of respondents endorsed legalization, and it is among the highest levels of public support ever reported in a national poll. Only a majority of those respondents over the age of 65 did not support legalization.

Pollsters also reported that 88 percent of US adults support regulating the use of medical marijuana, and that 71 percent of Americans - including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents - oppose efforts by the federal government to interfere in states that have legalized the plant's distribution and use. The percentage represents a blowback to the Trump administration, which in February threatened "greater enforcement" of federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have legalized its adult use.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said that they believe alcohol to be more harmful than cannabis, and a majority of those under the age of 65 acknowledged having used it.

The CBS News poll possesses a margin of error of +/- four percent.

Separate polling released last week by Quinnipiac University reported similar levels of public support. Pollsters reported that 60 percent of US voters believe that "the use of marijuana should be made legal," the highest percentage of support ever recorded in a Quinnipiac poll. Ninety-four percent of respondents endorsed legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, and 73 percent oppose federal interference in states that have legalized it.

The Quinnipiac poll possesses a margin of error of +/- three percent.


Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked To Lower Medicaid Costs

Athens, GA: Patients use fewer prescription drugs in states where access to medical cannabis is legally regulated, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators at the University of Georgia assessed the association between medical cannabis regulations and the average number of prescriptions filled by Medicaid beneficiaries between the years 2007 and 2014.

Researchers reported, "[T]he use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas we studied." They added, "If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion."

The findings are similar to those previously published by the team, which reported in 2016 that medical cannabis access was associated with significantly reduced spending by patients on Medicare Part D approved prescription drugs.

Separate studies have reported that patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their intake of opioids, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, migraine-related medications, and sleep aids, among other substances.

Full text of the study, "Medical marijuana laws may be associated with a decline in the number of prescriptions for medicaid enrollees," appears in Health Affairs.


Study: Marijuana Decriminalization Associated With Improved Labor Market Outcomes

Irvine, CA: Reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with greater overall employment and higher wages, according to data compiled by economists at the University of California.

Researchers at the Economic Self-Sufficiency Research Policy Institute at the University of California at Irvine assessed the relationship between statewide marijuana decriminalization laws and labor outcomes.

Authors reported that decriminalization is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. African American males experienced the greatest average wage increase.

"This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes," they concluded. "This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties."

Full text of the study, "Marijuana decriminalization and labor market outcomes," is available online.


West Virginia: Governor Signs Limited Medical Marijuana Measure Into Law

Charleston, WV: Governor Jim Justin has signed legislation, SB 386, establishing a limited medical cannabis distribution program. West Virginia is the 30th state to authorize by statute the physicians-recommended use of cannabis or cannabis-infused products.

The program, which will not be operational until at least July 1, 2019, establishes regulations permitting the licensed production and distribution of cannabis-infused products, such as oils, pills, and tinctures. Qualified patients are not permitted to either cultivate their own cannabis or to possess herbal preparations of the plant. Similarly restrictive programs are presently in place in Minnesota and New York, and are awaiting implementation in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The law also imposes per se traffic safety limits criminalizing the operation of a vehicle with trace amounts of THC in a patient's blood. NORML opposes such limits because the presence of THC is not a consistent indicator of either behavioral impairment or recent cannabis use.


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