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Three important studies,
plus an early childhood drug prevention guide,
released this week
Older, less regulated medical marijuana programs have much greater enrollment rates than newer ‘medicalized’ programs
Columbia University researchers analyzed the medical marijuana programs adopted by 23 states and DC according to seven components of traditional medical care and pharmaceutical regulation. They find that 14 of the 24 programs were not medical at all but enrolled 99.4 percent of participants nationwide. They suggest policymakers “should consider the powerful relationship between less regulation and greater enrollment.” Read here.
Marijuana use disorder is common and often untreated
Marijuana use disorder is often associated with other substance use disorders, behavioral problems, and disability, and goes largely untreated, according to a new study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Notably, the study also finds that even past-year and lifetime marijuana use disorders are “strongly and consistently associated with other substance use and mental health disorders.” Read here.

Association of cannabis use with hospital admission and antipsychotic treatment failure in first episode psychosis: an observational study
People diagnosed with a psychosis 1) will likely have a harder time maintaining their mental health if they smoke marijuana regularly, 2) those who experience their first psychotic illness are 50 percent more likely to need hospitalization and will spend more time there, and 3) they do not seem to respond to antipsychotic medications as well as nonusers do. Read here and here.
NIDA releases substance abuse prevention guide for early childhood
The National Institute on Drug Abuse releases today an evidenced-based prevention guide for early childhood (defined as the prenatal period and infancy through the transition to elementary school around age 8). Read the guide here.
Another example of the cart before the horse
The marijuana business might have a high-stakes pest problem
Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000, commercial medical marijuana in 2009, and recreational marijuana in 2012, effective 2014. The Denver Post published an investigative piece showing that both plant material and marijuana-infused foods being sold in pot shops contained high levels of pesticides not approved for use on marijuana plants. In the midst of 25 recalls, the governor issued an executive order calling for the destruction of any plants or edibles containing any level of unapproved pesticides. Other legalization states are following suit. Read here.
Inevitable? Not so much.
Massachusetts senators: legalization no pot of gold
A special report created by Massachusetts senators who visited Colorado to study the impact of legalizing marijuana rejects proponents’ hype and warns that the myriad new costs of regulation would offset any revenue gains for Massachusetts. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will almost certainly place a legalization initiative on the state’s ballot in November and the senators warn they will have to make huge changes to the initiative to make legalization, at best, feasible. The senators are deeply cautious if not opposed to legalization after conducting their study. Read story here. Read report here.
New Approach Idaho Withdraws Legalization Initiative
Proponents misrepresented the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stating on the front page of its petition that the academy endorsed legalizing marijuana for medical use. Academy officials sent a letter to New Approach asking it to remove the Academy’s name from the petition immediately. The academy “opposes marijuana legalization because of the potential harms to children and adolescents.” New Approach subsequently withdrew the initiative. Read here.
New Approach South Dakota fails to collect enough signatures
The South Dakota Secretary of State finds too many invalid signatures on legalization petition to place initiative on 2016 ballot. Read here
Maine marijuana legalization bid fails to qualify for ballot
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine failed to turn in enough valid signatures to place its initiative on Maine’s 2016 ballot. State officials disqualified some 17,000 of 68,543 signatures turned in; 61,123 valid signatures were needed. Read here.
Nationwide Lessons from Montana’s Upheaval
A 6-to-1 decision by Montana’s Supreme Court ended a years-long battle between lawmakers and commercial marijuana suppliers. The court’s decision upholds a 2011 law that sought to stop the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. The law prohibits dispensaries from advertising and limits any marijuana provider to just three patients. Existing dispensaries are planning to close shop and move to other states, while some play the waiting game to see what's next. Read here.
Utah medical marijuana bill fails
The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee voted down a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use, ending a year-long effort on the part of Senator Mark Madsen. Read here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy. 

SAM has four main goals: 
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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