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This is a big – and late – issue because a lot happened during the two weeks we took a holiday vacation: 
  • SAMHSA released the 2017-2018 survey that breaks down drug use by state, marking five years after the first two states legalized marijuana for recreational use. Did use increase?
  • The CDC counted 2,561 cases of vaping-related lung injuries and 55 deaths as of December 27.
  • The FDA banned flavored vape cartridges, all except menthol and tobacco, for a while.
  • PAX, the marijuana company that gave us JUUL, introduced a vaporizer made exclusively for THC.
  • Some states are cracking down on the sale of Hemp Cigarettes. Hemp Cigarettes?
  • NFIA released its 21st podcast featuring Dr. Marilyn Huestis on marijuana and kids.
  • CDC released a report showing that 12 million Americans drove under the influence of marijuana in 2018.
  • These days, legalization ballot measures are funded almost exclusively by marijuana pot shops and industry.
Read on.
 
Does legalization increase marijuana use?
 
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the 2017-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) State Estimates last month. This year’s data occurs five years after the first states, Colorado and Washington, legalized marijuana for recreational use.
 
Eleven states have done so now, and we present past-month marijuana use for people ages 12 and older in the legal states between 2012-2013 and 2017-2018.
 
Colorado and Washington legalized in 2012. Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, and the District of Columbia did so in 2014. California, Maine, and Massachusetts legalized in 2016; Michigan and Vermont in 2018. Illinois legalized last year effective January 1, 2020. Vermont is the only state that legalized possession only. No commercial business is at work there.
 
All eleven states had legalized marijuana for medical use prior to embracing full legalization, which may explain their higher rates of use before they legalized compared to the US 50-state total.
 
Access these NSDUH state reports here.

2,561 vaping-related cases,
55 deaths as of December 27, 2019
 
This report includes two new findings.
 
Vitamin E acetate was detected in the lungs of 48 out of 51 patients from 16 states but not in the lungs of any of the 99 healthy people in a comparison group.
 
Data show that certain groups of patients are re-hospitalized and some die after being discharged from initial treatment. Because of this CDC now recommends that all patients be documented as clinically stable for 24 to 48 hours prior to discharge.
 
Read CDC report here.

 
FDA bans mint- and fruit-flavored vaping products but exempts menthol and tobacco
 
The FDA announced it would ban the sale of all flavored e-cigarette cartridges except menthol and tobacco effective 30 days from the publication of its new guidance for industry. It did not, however, ban flavors sold mostly in vape shops for use in tank vaporizer systems. And the flavor-cartridge ban may not hold if manufacturers are able to obtain FDA authorization to sell such products.
 
A federal court order set May 12, 2020, as the date by which all e-cigarette and vaporizer manufacturers must obtain such authorization from FDA or be removed from the market.
 
Some public-health and anti-tobacco critics say the ban does not go far enough, while others warned that a complete ban would threaten adult smokers who depend on flavored e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
 
Read USA Today story here. Read Wall Street Journal story here.
Read Science Magazine article by critics who oppose the ban here.
Read FDA Guidance here.

 
PAX Labs’ new Era Pro smart vaporizer
elevates the cannabis experience
 
Think these look like Juuls? That’s because they are made by PAX Labs, the marijuana company that created Juul e-cigarettes, which then spun off into a separate company.
 
Given the adolescent vaping epidemic brought about largely by Juul, which targeted the teen market with fruit-flavored pods, and the vaping-related lung injuries brought about largely by vaping marijuana, one questions the wisdom of introducing a new THC vaporizer that looks a lot like Juul at this time.
 
The Monitoring the Future Survey released last month shows the number of teens vaping marijuana nearly tripled in two years. Kids switched out pods containing nicotine with pods containing THC. Now that FDA has banned flavored pods, which may put Juul out of business, will America’s kids switch to Era Pro? Stay tuned.
 
Read PAX labs Business Wire release here.

 
It looks like weed, smells like weed,
but is it weed? Some states crackdown
on smokable hemp

Unless you don’t mind setting your hair on fire, don’t read this article, which states:
 
 "People smoke marijuana to feel high, but they smoke hemp . . . to ingest cannabinoids users say ease aches, pains,and stress."
 
Lawmakers are beginning to ban hemp cigarettes and other forms of smokable hemp. “Nobody talked about smoking hemp or said police couldn’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana when North Carolina created a hemp pilot program in 2015,” says state representative Pat McElraft.
 
Farmers and hemp businesses are fighting the bans, saying they violate federal law and threaten an emerging industry.
 
Read (at your own risk) Philadelphia Inquirer article here.

 
This week’s podcast: Marilyn Huestis, PhD,
on how marijuana affects kids
 
Marilyn A. Huestis, PhD, recently retired as chief of chemistry and drug metabolism at the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse but remains highly active in the field. She is a senior fellow at the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa., consultant to the US Department of Transportation, and serves on the Science Advisory Boards of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and National Families in Action. She is known for her research on how marijuana use affects driving and how exposure to parents’ marijuana use affects the developing fetus, breast-feeding newborns, and young children, as well as the new psychoactive substances.
 
Key Points 
  • In utero drug exposure—growth, behavior, IQ, learning, memory
  • Some obstetricians in Colorado are recommending marijuana to pregnant women
  • Infants and toddlers are exposed if parents smoke
  • Exposed via breast feeding
  • Adolescents
  • Whole spectrum of ways children can be exposed 
Listen here.
 
Next Up? Dr. Ryan Vandrey on Marijuana Edibles, CBD & What is Synthesis?

 
CDC - Driving under the influence of marijuana & illicit drugs among persons 16 years and older
 
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that in 2018, some 12 million Americans ages 16 or older reported driving under the influence of marijuana and 2.3 million more drove under the influence of other addictive drugs in the past 12 months.
 
Standardized testing of impaired drivers and drivers involved in fatal crashes could advance our understanding about how to prevent such behavior.
 
Read CDC report here.

 
Today’s legalization ballot measures financed almost exclusively by marijuana industry
 
Two stories reveal how dispensaries and companies that sell marijuana for medical use are financing the drive to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
 
Smart and Safe Arizona, the campaign working to place a full legalization measure on the state’s ballot in 2020, has received $1.6 million dollars from 53 donors. The majority of those donations has come from state dispensary owners, reports the campaign director.
 
Make It Legal Florida, working to legalize pot for recreational use via a ballot measure, raised $1.08 million in November. Surterra Holdings, now doing business as Parallel, donated $544,000 while Medmen gave the campaign $534,000 plus another $5,000 for in-kind staffing services. All told, Make It Legal Florida has raised nearly $4 million to date, nearly all from these two companies.
 
Read Marijuana Moment story here.  Read Florida Politics story here
With the new year, National Families in Action has made it easy to support The Marijuana Report and our other programs. You can now use your credit card and receive an instant acknowledgment of your donation. We'll also send you a thank you letter for tax purposes. Please make use of this new tool -- early and often!
Visit The Marijuana Report’s Facebook page. In addition to current issues of The Marijuana Report, we post several more marijuana messages each month on our Facebook page. Search Facebook for nationalfamilies to access it.
 
Looking for a past issue of The Marijuana ReportFind it here.
 
Did you know that in addition to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter, National Families in Action also publishes The Marijuana Report website? There you can find summaries of (and access to) scientific marijuana studies, the growth of the commercial marijuana industry, and what families and communities are doing to restrain it. Begin at our Welcome Page to access all the resources The Marijuana Report website offers.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action's website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

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The Marijuana Report Staff
Executive Editor
Sue Rusche
Editor
Nicole Carter
Proofreading
Harry Rusche, Professor Emeritus
IT Consultant
Lee Clontz
Social Media Coordinators
Margarita Eberline, Shannon Murphy, MD, and Nicole Carter
 
We are grateful to our Board of Directors and Senior Adviser for their support of National Families in Action, which produces The Marijuana Report website and e-newsletter.
 
National Families in Action
Board of Directors

William F. Carter, Chairman of the Board
Coldwell Banker Atlanta.
Sue Rusche, President and CEO, Atlanta.
Richard L. Brown, Secretary
Attorney (Ret.), Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Founder & Chairman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association 
Jeannine F. Adams, Director
President and CEO, J. Addams & Partners, Atlanta.
Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD, Director
Thomas J. Lawley Professor of Dermatology
Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta
William H. Avery, Director
Partner (Ret.), Alston & Bird, LLP, Atlanta.
Margarita Eberline, Director
Strategy Director, 360 Marketing Plus, Atlanta.
Robert Margolis, PhD, Director
Founder, Caron Solutions Intensive Outpatient Program, Roswell, Georgia.
Shannon Murphy, MD FAAP, Director
Birmingham, Alabama 
 
Senior Adviser
Kent “Oz” Nelson, Chairman and CEO (Ret.)
United Parcel Service, Atlanta.
 
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