Legalizing medical marijuana does not lead to increases in marijuana usage by teenagers. That’s the conclusion of a new study published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Researchers combed through records of over 11.7 million students covered by the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey for the two decades between 1991 and 2011. As researchers compared the data for states before and after the passage of their medical marijuana law, and compared those data to nearby states that had not implemented a medical marijuana law, they found “no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing” and they “did not find an overall increased probability of marijuana use” after a state legalized medical marijuana.
Teenagers who use both alcohol and marijuana are twice as likely to report traffic tickets and crashes as those who only use alcohol. A new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs based on data from the Monitoring the Future study of over 72,000 high school seniors found that teens who admitted to using alcohol over the past year were 40 percent more likely to admit getting a traffic ticket and 24 percent more likely to admit being involved in a crash than teens who did not use alcohol. But teens who used both marijuana and alcohol were 90 percent to admit getting a traffic ticket and 50 percent to admit being involved a crash. Previous studies have shown impairment and crash risk from combining marijuana and alcohol to be almost twice as great as from alcohol use alone.
Coloradoans say that legalized marijuana has been good for the state, not increased traffic danger, saved taxpayer money, and not eroded the moral fiber of people in Colorado. The latest Quinnipiac University poll finds that 54 percent of Coloradoans support the law legalizing marijuana, with women in greater support at 55 percent than men at 53 percent. 54 percent of voters said driving has not become more dangerous; 53 percent say legalization has saved the taxpayers a significant amount of money; 52 percent say legalizing marijuana has been good for Colorado; and two-thirds say legalization has not eroded the moral fiber of Coloradoans. Majorities of Coloradoans under age 65 have tried marijuana, but only 15 percent of Coloradoans have used marijuana since it became legal. Only people over age 65 and Republicans believed the opposite of the majority.
A bipartisan proposal in the Colorado legislature could seal the records of thousands of people convicted for marijuana offenses. Sens. Jessie Ulibarri, D-Westminster, and Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, have proposed a bill that would allow anyone convicted of a marijuana offense that is now legal under Amendment 64 to have their records sealed. Amendment 64 legalized the possession of one ounce of marijuana away from the home, transfer of one ounce to another adult for no remuneration, cultivation of six marijuana plants and possession of the results of the harvest of those plants. In addition, language in the draft bill says a person convicted of “any other marijuana offense” beyond the scope of Amendment 64 would also be allowed to file a petition with a district attorney to have their record sealed.
New York lawmakers are further restricting their proposed medical marijuana bill to try to win more support in Albany. Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) said she has tightened up the bill in response to lawmakers who fear medical marijuana would lead to widespread recreational abuse. Among changes are the removal of language allowing doctors to recommend marijuana for any condition they feel cannabis will help, replaced by a specific list of 20 ailments that will qualify, including cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and PTSD. The bill would also forbid the smoking of marijuana by any patient under the age of 21, who must only use non-smoked forms of cannabis. New York’s proposal would follow the “seed-to-sale” marijuana dispensary tracking method pioneered in Colorado.
Oklahoma’s Attorney General is citing several problems with a medical marijuana initiative proposed by Oklahomans for Health. AG Scott Pruitt claims the ballot title for the initiative does not explain that marijuana is a non-prescription drug and how the law would interact with existing state and federal law on marijuana. He also notes that the title does not explain that medical marijuana would be taxed at 7 percent, that medical marijuana licenses would have no expiration, and that the title doesn’t list all the licenses that would be authorized by the state. Pruitt says he will now re-write the ballot title to comply with state law, and if the Secretary of State does not object, activists will attempt to gather over 150,000 valid signatures before June 1.