#NORML #News Source: @norml @WeedConnection Posted By: email@example.com media :: news - Tue, 03 Oct 2017 04:20:21 PST
Report: The Marijuana 'Gateway' Theory Is A Fallacy
New Paltz, NY: Scientific evidence does not support claims that marijuana experimentation often serves as a 'gateway' to the use of other substances, particularly cocaine and heroin, according to a report issued by the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz.
The report rejects allegations that cannabis use uniquely makes persons susceptible to the use of other illicit substances, or that a causal link exists between marijuana use and heroin.
"There is compelling and enduring evidence that marijuana is not a gateway drug," the report concludes. "Yet, non-evidence-based political factors on both the left and the right remain the reason for the persistence of the gateway myth."
Prior analyses from the National Academy of Sciences and the Rand Corporation's Drug Policy Research Center similarly conclude that "marijuana has no causal influence over hard drug initiation." By contrast, several recent studies indicate that those with legal cannabis access typically mitigate their use of other controlled substances, such as opioids and cocaine.
Full text of the report, "The Marijuana Gateway Fallacy," is online.
Marijuana Arrest Data Absent From Latest FBI Uniform Crime Report
Washington, DC: Tabulations calculating the percentage of annual marijuana arrests nationwide are absent from the 2017 edition of the FBI Uniform Crime Report, which the agency released on Monday.
The table, 'Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations: Percent Distribution by Region,' had for decades appeared in the section of the FBI report entitled 'Persons Arrested.' It was one of over 50 tables eliminated from this year's edition of the Crime Report. NORML had relied on the table in order to extrapolate and publicize annual marijuana arrest data, which it has tracked since 1965.
According to the latest FBI report, police made 1,572,579 arrests for illicit drug offenses in 2016. This total represents nearly a six percent increase in arrests since 2015.
Although data with regard to what percentage of these drug arrests were marijuana-related was absent from this year's report, the FBI did provide percentages by request to Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell, who summarized the data in a column for Forbes.com.
The unpublished data estimates that police made 653,249 arrests for cannabis-related violations in 2016. Of these, 587,516 arrests (90 percent of all marijuana arrests) were for possession-related offenses.
The arrest total is an increase from 2015 figures and marks the first year-to-year uptick in nationwide marijuana arrests in nearly a decade. The uptick comes at a time when eight states have enacted laws to regulate the adult use of cannabis and when public support for legalizing the plant is at a record high.
Study: Perceived Marijuana Access Declining Among Youth
Boston, MA: The percentage of young people who believe that they can readily access marijuana has fallen significantly since 2002, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
A team of investigators from Boston University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Carolina, and St. Louis University examined trends in perceived cannabis access among adolescents for the years 2002 to 2015.
Authors reported: "[W]e observed a 27 percent overall reduction in the relative proportion of adolescents ages 12-17-and a 42 percent reduction among those ages 12-14 reporting that it would be 'very easy' to obtain marijuana. This pattern was uniformly observed among youth in all sociodemographic subgroups."
They concluded, "Despite the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in some states, our findings suggest that ... perceptions that marijuana would be very easy to obtain are on the decline among American youth."
The new data is consistent with figures published last year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported, "From 2002 to 2014, ... perceived availability [of marijuana] decreased by 13 percent among persons aged 12-17 years and by three percent among persons aged 18−25 years [old]."
Full text of the study, "Trends in perceived access to marijuana among adolescents in the United States: 2002-2015," appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.