There was a lot of compelling marijuana news being reported last week – and most of it was highly encouraging: A new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association indicates opioid use plummeted in states with legal access to medical cannabis; Albuquerque officials voted to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, and Michigan’s Republican lawmakers contemplate legalization before the November election.
Counterintuitive cure or political trick? The roots of marijuana reform continued to spread over the past week.
Two studies published on Monday in a peer-reviewed medical journal – JAMA International Medicine – expanded the existing body of research for states with medical cannabis laws and reduced opioid use. The studies implied a correlation between those states that have reformed their medical marijuana laws and a noteworthy decline in opioid use. While the first study analyzed the total number of prescribed opioids for all states under Medicare part D, the second study compared and contrasted opioid prescription rates in states that had reformed their medical cannabis laws (MCL) against non-MCL states.
The bottom line is clear and concise: Prescriptions for opioids fell — by 3.74 million daily doses per year in one study — when medical cannabis dispensaries opened.
According to @CBSNews, “new research finds #opioid prescriptions tend to decline in states that adopt #medicalmarijuana laws or legalize recreational use of pot”. Learn more: https://t.co/I9wqliT8yU #news #internalmedicine pic.twitter.com/GBzo3f8GUv
— JAMA Internal Medicine (@JAMAInternalMed) April 5, 2018
Albuquerque Votes to Decriminalize
With the support of the Albuquerque police union, the City Council voted on April 2 to approve a measure that will decriminalize personal amounts (< 28 g) of marijuana. If signed by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (D), the proposed plan would amend Albuquerque’s criminal code to make marijuana paraphernalia, and the possession of less than 1 ounce, a ticketable offense that would be accompanied by a $25 fine – but not jail time.
“At the end of the day, our police officers have more important things to do,” said Albuquerque City Council member Pat Davis.
Albuquerque City Council Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession https://t.co/FhntT8p0JF Good news out of New Mexico! We look forward to @MayorKeller signing it and making marijuana officially decriminalized in Albuquerque! pic.twitter.com/P4aNcO0ozd
— Drug Policy Alliance (@DrugPolicyOrg) April 3, 2018
Michigan Contemplates Adult Use Vote
Michigan’s Republican lawmakers seem to understand marijuana legalization is traditionally a Democratic issue, and one that’s known to elevate turnout among liberals and progressive at the ballot box. Republican lawmakers have begun debating the political value of legalizing recreational marijuana through the legislative process – before the midterm elections.
A marijuana initiative on the November ballot could increase voter turnout, and Republican lawmakers are making moves to increase their chances of being reelected come Nov. 6.
Democrat AG hopeful Pat Miles said Wednesday he has “decided to take a stronger stance on marijuana legalization” and now supports the proposal likely to make the Michigan ballot this fall. https://t.co/4B1DDxNpng
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) March 8, 2018
As America’s marijuana policies are exposed for their duplicitous nature, the smart money is betting our elected officials who support continued prohibition will be experiencing a string of unnaturally grim months in the years to come.