Legal marijuana reduces chronic pain, but increases injuries and car accidents

The legalization of recreational marijuana is associated with an increase in its abuse, injury due to overdoses, and car accidents, but does not significantly change health care use overall, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

In a review of more than 28 million hospital records from the two years before and after cannabis was legalized in Colorado, UCSF researchers found that Colorado hospital admissions for cannabis abuse increased after legalization, in comparison to other states. But taking the totality of all hospital admissions and time spent in hospitals into account, there was not an appreciable increase after recreational cannabis was legalized.

The study, appearing online May 15, 2019, in BMJ Open, also found fewer diagnoses of chronic pain after legalization, consistent with a 2017 National Academy of Sciences report that concluded substantial evidence exists that cannabis can reduce chronic pain.

Full story at Science Daily

Sales of Legal Marijuana Jumped 17 Percent to $5.4 Billion in 2015: Report

Sales of legal marijuana jumped 17 percent to reach $5.4 billion last year, according to a new report. Sales could grow 25 percent this year, to $6.7 billion, according to the marijuana industry investment and research firm ArcView Market Research.

By 2020, sales of legal marijuana could reach $21.8 billion, Fortune reports. “I think that we are going to see in 2016 this next wave of investors, the next wave of business operators, and people who’ve sort of been watching or dipping their toe in, really starting to swing for the fences and take it really seriously,” ArcView CEO Troy Dayton said.

The report includes medical and recreational dispensary sales, as well as cannabis products sold through delivery services and medical marijuana “caregivers” who can legally grow and distribute the drug.

Full story of legal marijuana sales in 2015 at drugfree.org

Employers in States Where Marijuana is Legal Toughen Up Drug Policies: Survey

Managers in states where marijuana is legal are toughening up their drug policies, according to a new survey. Many employers in these states say they will not hire employees who smoke marijuana on their own time, Bloomberg Business reports.

The survey, conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), included responses from 623 human resources managers in states where marijuana is legal. Almost half of the managers said they have policies, or plan to implement them, that restrict employing people who use marijuana. The survey found 38 percent said they will not hire people who use marijuana, even if it is for medical reasons. Six percent said their policy excludes only those who smoke marijuana for recreational reasons.

“There is what I consider to be a significant number of employers that are saying they wouldn’t hire an employee that uses marijuana,” said Evren Esen, Director of Survey Programs at SHRM.

Full story of legal marijuana states and tougher employer drug policies at drugfree.org

Study Finds Legal Marijuana Motivates Many Tourists to Visit Colorado

An increasing number of tourists are deciding to visit Colorado because of the state’s law allowing recreational marijuana, according to a study commissioned by the state’s tourism office.

Potential summertime visitors who were exposed to the state’s tourism ads said the marijuana laws influenced vacation decisions almost 49 percent of the time, The Denver Post reports.

“I think it is rearing its head as a significant travel and tourism amenity for visitors coming to Colorado,” said Al White, who retired as heads of the Colorado Tourism Office in August and now serves on the board of a cannabis tourism company.

The director of the survey noted the results may not reflect the opinion of people who decided not to travel to Colorado because of legal marijuana. She noted only 8 percent of the Colorado tourists who responded to the survey said they visited a marijuana dispensary.

Full story of marijuana motivating tourists to visit Colorado at drugfree.org

Marijuana Entrepreneurs Use Internet to Expand Legal Access

Marijuana entrepreneurs are using the Internet to allow customers legal online access to the drug, according to The New York Times. One company, HelloMD, connects customers with doctors who provide a “medical recommendation” for medical marijuana. Customers can then find a service that delivers marijuana from a dispensary.

A California-based reporter for the newspaper logged onto HelloMD, and filled out personal details. He said he often gets heartburn, and paid a $50 consultation fee with his credit card. He was connected with a pediatrician who is licensed to practice medicine in California, who asked about his medical history, symptoms and familiarity with certain medicines. After three minutes, she told the reporter his heartburn made him a candidate for medical marijuana, which is legal in California.

He was emailed a medical recommendation letter from HelloMD, stating, “this patient has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate.” He used a website called Weedmaps to find a service that would deliver marijuana to his house. He uploaded a picture of his driver’s license and the recommendation letter to the dispensary, and was then able to order marijuana online.

Full story of internet being used to sell legal marijuana at drugfree.org