Study: The Surprising Effect of Marijuana Legalization on College Students

Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Michigan studied marijuana use among 10,924 college students at one large Oregon university and six other universities in states that have not legalized marijuana. Using data from the Health Minds Survey, they looked at marijuana use before and after Oregon legalized the drug for recreational use.

They found that marijuana use increased among all college students but was significantly greater among Oregon students compared to those attending universities in non-legal states. Although the legal age for using marijuana in Oregon is 21, more younger students used the drug than older students. Surprisingly, the greatest increase took place among Oregon students who also reported binge drinking (four to five drinks in about two hours). These students were 73 percent more likely to report marijuana use compared to their peers at the other six schools.

Read The Atlantic story here. Read Science Daily summary here. Read journal abstract here.

Contaminated Marijuana Still Reaching Consumers in Oregon

Oregon has the toughest rules in the nation to keep pesticide-tainted marijuana off store shelves, yet contaminated pot continues to be sold. The state wrote even tougher rules but faced such a backlash from growers it modified them somewhat.

The Oregonian/OregonLive recently conducted a spot check to see if the modified rules are keeping pesticide-containing pot from being sold. The media outlet’s 2015 reporting on widespread contamination prompted the state to establish the rules in the first place.

The paper had ten samples tested by two different labs; three came back contaminated. A second round of tests of the same products resulted in only one showing contamination. Everyone – both the state and the industry — is frustrated with the lack of precision in the testing process.

A manager of Oregon’s Health Authority, which wrote the rules, says the state’s system isn’t a promise that every product on the shelf is pure. “I don’t think it’s reasonable for the general public to think that everything is 100 percent clean and safe,” he says. Instead, the system is designed to reduce but not eliminate risk.

Read OregonLive story here.

Senators Reintroduce CARERS Act to Repeal Federal Prohibition Of Medical Marijuana

Would you take a medicine that can contain hazardous pesticides, harmful bacteria, several kinds of fungi, molds, mildew, and even dangerous heavy metals? One whose labeled dose has been shown to be inaccurate? Whose labeled potency has been shown to be untruthful or inconsistent from dose to dose?

Fortunately, the medicines available today are so safe we don’t even think to ask such questions. Advances in science and medicine over the last century extended the average lifespan by 30 years.

Part of the reason for this achievement is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires that all medicines be pure, safe, and effective before they can be marketed to the public. Drug makers spend millions of dollars and many years to develop and test a new medicine to obtain FDA approval. And patients who wish to take part in clinical trials to test the new medicine are told all its known harms so they can decide whether to participate.

But several members of Congress have decided such protections are not necessary for marijuana. They have reintroduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in states that legalized the drug for medical use despite the fact that not one medical marijuana product produced in those states has been approved by FDA.

A particular irony is that the lead senator introducing the bill, Rand Paul, a libertarian who wants to reduce the size of government, is creating a situation where the states will need to create 50 FDA’s to protect the public health.

Or, states can take the view of the Oregon Health Authority manager in the story above:
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for the general public to think that everything [every marijuana medicine] is 100 percent clean and safe.”

Buyer beware.

Read A Libertarian Future story here. Read Senator Booker’s press release here.
Read Carers Act here.

New Study Estimates the Cost of Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis in Canada

In a first of its kind study, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction calculated the number of Canadians who use marijuana (10 percent) and drive under the influence (just under half of users) and the estimated costs associated with such behavior. Data were from the year 2012.

Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis (DUIC) collisions caused 75 deaths at a cost of $8,532,200 per death, 4,407 injuries at a cost of $84,600 per injury, and 7,794 people involved in property damage at a cost of $10,700 per person. Total costs add up to $1.09 billion.

Sadly, those ages 16-34 who make up approximately one-third of the population accounted for nearly two-thirds of the victims.

Read Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction press release here. Read journal article here.

Entrepreneur Explains How to Set Up a Home Marijuana Garden as The Fresno Bee Warns That ER Docs Are Seeing Frequent Cases of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

Emergency room physicians have seen an uptick in compulsive vomiting since California legalized marijuana for recreational use last November. The patients’ vomiting is accompanied by frantic screaming and kicking.

The phenomenon is called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome of CHS. It occurs exclusivity in chronic marijuana users and was not identified until 2004 when Australian doctors made the link between chronic use and CHS.

Doctors say THC and other cannabinoid concentrations are much higher in today’s marijuana and may be contributing to more cases. The only long-term treatment is to stop using pot.

Read Fresno Bee story here.

Tobacco-Marijuana Nexus Begins . . .

Imperial Brands, a tobacco giant in the UK that removed the word “tobacco” from its name 18 months ago, is looking to diversify as smokers quit. It has hired medical marijuana expert Simon Langelier, who is chairman of the Canadian firm PharmaCielo which supplies cannabis oil extracts. Prior to that, Mr. Langelier spent 30 years at rival tobacco firm Philip Morris.

Imperial chairman Mark Williamson said Imperial will benefit from Mr. Langelier’s experience in tobacco and “wider consumer adjacencies.”

Skeptics have long warned that the tobacco industry, given its expertise in crop farming and distribution, will likely join and probably take over the marijuana industry. If so, it will likely apply its Joe Camel marketing tactics targeting adolescents as new smokers to targeting teens as new marijuana users.

Read the Independent story here.

Pictured: a Nevada legislator on a study tour of medical marijuana dispensaries, sniffs sample product.

. . . And So Does the Alcohol-Marijuana Nexus

The legalization proponents who wrote the Nevada recreational marijuana ballot initiative, which passed last November, had some help from the state’s alcohol industry. Mysteriously, the law specifies that all marijuana grown in Nevada will be distributed by alcohol distributors. This is unique to Nevada.

The state wants to license others to sell pot, but the liquor lobby has sued the state claiming it has exclusive marijuana distribution rights.

Just this afternoon, the judge hearing the lawsuit ruled for the alcohol industry and against the Nevada Department of Taxation which would have issued temporary licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot between July 1 and January 1, 2018 when licensing regulations will be completed.

Read Daily News article here.

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