Research done at Columbia University has concluded that states who adopted medical marijuana laws, on average, saw a reduction in traffic fatalities of 11%. When compared to states without medical marijuana laws the average medical marijuana state lowered traffic fatalities by 26%. The findings showed larger reductions in traffic fatalities for patients aged 25-44 (12%) compared to patients over 44 years old (9%). Researchers speculate what is causing the decrease in traffic fatalities, whether its attributed to less alcohol consumption in patients, stronger law enforcement, or stronger public health laws. More studies will be done in the future including the number of non-fatal traffic injuries associated with cannabis, but until then everyone can agree more research is needed. Specifically, the researchers observed an 11 percent reduction of among those aged 15 to 24 years, 12 percent for ages 25 to 44, and 9 percent for those 45 years and older. Operational dispensaries were also associated with a significant reduction in traffic fatalities in those aged 25 to 44 years at 5 percent. "These findings provide evidence of the heterogeneity of medical marijuana laws and indicate the need for further research on the particularities of implementing the laws at the local level. It also indicates an interaction of medical marijuana laws with other aspects, such as stronger police enforcement, that may influence traffic fatality rates," noted Santaella-Tenorio.
Maryland legalized medical marijuana over 3 years ago, but delays have continuously pushed back the program's start. This week officials announced the first 102 businesses that will be able to sell legal medical marijuana in Maryland whom the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission chose from over 800 applications in an anonymous unbiased system. Advocates hope to have the program up and running by the summer of 2017 and available to patients with conditions such as seizures, anxiety and the side effects of cancer or chemotherapy. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission said patients could be able to begin legally purchasing the drug as soon as this summer to treat conditions including seizures, anxiety and the side effects of cancer or chemotherapy. Lawmakers first approved medical marijuana 3½ years ago, but the program has been beset by various delays. The commission last month gave preliminary authorization to dispensaries in each of the 47 state Senate districts, choosing from a pool of more than 800 applications scored by outside experts and with names of the companies and people involved redacted to avoid bias.
Arkansas voters chose to legalize medical marijuana last month, and despite political officials' clear opposition to the bill, legislators are ready to represent the will of the people and get the program up and running. Appointed to the new Medical Marijuana Commission was a breast cancer surgeon, a pain specialist, a pharmacist, a former Senate chief of staff and a lawyer. The newly appointed group has 4 short months to decide rules and regulations for the coming industry, which will license 4-8 grow centers and 20-40 dispensaries. “We were rather vocal in our opposition to the amendment, but the people spoke and it is our responsibility to take the steps necessary to implement in a fair and responsible way the amendment that was passed by the people of Arkansas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. Under the state constitutional amendment adopted last month, the commission will establish rules governing marijuana distribution to people suffering from certain medical conditions. It can license between four and eight growing centers and authorize between 20 and 40 dispensaries. No county can have more than four distribution sites.
California voters made the choice to pass Proposition 64 last month legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, but not everyone is prepared just yet. San Mateo County's Board of Supervisors want to place a moratorium on the coming legalization to ban it's citizens from growing or purchasing marijuana. While officials say they aren't in favor or against the legalization, they believe the county needs more time to prepare. Proposition 64 had the support of 57% of California voters including 63% of San Mateos who do not have a local medical marijuana dispensary. San Mateo County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously supported a temporary moratorium on legalization Tuesday that would ban personal marijuana growing and distribution activities for an unspecified amount of time. “It’s not that you’re saying yes or that you’re saying ‘no,’” said San Mateo’s District Five Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. “I just think the county needs to digest the materials here and not move too fast.
In the state of New York, medical marijuana is available for patients with any of the 10 qualifying conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis epilepsy, and this week the state Health Department announced that they're developing regulations to include patients with chronic pain. Around 11,000 patients have been certified by their doctor to receive medical marijuana, but adding chronic pain to the list could help ease the pain of many more Americans. Chronic pain is currently defined as having pain for more than 15 days a month, which the DENT Neurologic Institute says includes 100-million Americans. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York state, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program," state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement. Mechtler says medical marijuana will help get many patients off of prescription opiates. "I'd rather have individuals on medical marijuana than I do with opiates. There has not been one certified death from overdose of medical marijuana," says Mechtler. "I think this is an exciting time for medical marijuana to step in to decrease the addiction rate, to decrease the overdose, and help our patients and our athletes and our students who have chronic pain."
Cannabis regulators in the state of Washington are rolling out a new code of conduct as well as starting a fund to help pay for medical marijuana for those who cannot afford it. Most other medications can come with government or financial aid for patients with need but no way to afford their drugs. Marijuana presents a unique problem due to it's illegal federal status, meaning that type of financial assistance isn't available. The Washington CannaBusiness Association is starting this fund which anyone can donate to, to help the patients who truly need it. WACA hopes to have the fund ready by the spring of next year, where patients will be able to apply at a WACA members' retail location or online. Patients facing an array of medical conditions can sometimes get assistance for prescription drugs from pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charities. That support system doesn’t exist for medical marijuana. “Hopefully we can help fill that void until the federal government changes the status of marijuana nationally,” Christophersen said. Qualifying patients with an authorization from a medical professional can apply for financial support from the fund. Forms will be available at WACA members’ retail locations and online starting in the first quarter of next year, according to the association
With 19 years of history on Wall Street, Peter Barsoom knows a good business opportunity when he sees one, which is why in 2014 he chose to open a company selling premium low-dose cannabis infused chocolate. Barsoom sees a cannabis market flooded with high dose edibles intended for heavy users, but he believes there is a valuable market for the casual user. The company, 1906, serves several different styles of chocolate like a dark chocolate remedy for insomnia and a caffeine and amino acid chocolate meant for energy. When eaten, the active cannabinoid in marijuana (THC) can be twice as strong as when smoked. Edibles can take 1 to 2 hours for users to feel it's effects, making it easy for beginners to overdo the intended dose, however there are no recorded fatal overdoses from cannabis. 1906 offers 10 milligram dose chocolates which they believe is a better more consistent dose. Weed-laced treats offer a different experience than a joint or a bong hit. When eaten, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, undergoes a transformation in the liver that turns it into a substance that's twice as strong and lasts twice as long as when it's inhaled. A user's high might not peak until one to three hours after eating. 1906 products are sold in select dispensaries in Colorado, where Barsoom hopes to change people's minds about the usability of edibles. "Everybody has a bad story about edibles. It doesn't need to be this way. People don't have a bad story about taking Tylenol," Barsoom said. "This can be done better."
In 2015 Texas passed a law allowing patients with intractable epilepsy to use medical marijuana, and this week a bill was filed to expand on that program by allowing patients with debilitating or chronic conditions to be recommended medical marijuana by their doctor. Senator José Menéndez, who author the bill, believes it will be helpful, but that patients with even more conditions could benefit from the drug. Menéndez wants patients and their doctors to be able to decide what is best for them, including medical marijuana. Senate Bill 269, which was filed Tuesday morning, would allow patients with debilitating or chronic conditions to receive medical cannabis under their doctor's recommendation. The bill would expand on a 2015 Texas law that allows patients to receive certain forms of cannabis if they have intractable epilepsy. "Why are we forcing Texans to become medical refugees?" Menéndez asked. "If that's what they've come to find that works for them, they should be able to live in their state and be able to have access to the medicine that their doctor feels is best for them."
In the recent past the NFL has mentioned their consideration for cannabis as an alternative treatment for players, but their efforts may not come soon enough. Seantrel Henderson is one positive marijuana test away from being banned from the NFL for life, even though the pain from his Crohn's disease can only be eased by one thing, marijuana. The 24 year old's career is being threatened if he continues to take what doctors say is the "number one medicine that will help your disease". Having suffered through several surgeries on his colon and intestines, pain killers aren't an option for Henderson, but the NFL upheld his suspension and refuses to make an exception for his medication. In the middle of last season, the 24-year-old learned he had Crohn’s disease, defined by the Mayo Clinic as “an inflammatory bowel disease ... [that] causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract.” Crohn’s disease can cause “abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition,” and while there is no known cure for it, one thing in particular can help ease the pain, according to medial studies: weed. “I’ve got doctors telling me this is the No. 1 medicine that would help your disease,” Henderson said in October, according to The Buffalo News. “You try to tell that to the league and it seems like they didn’t care too much.”
After considering 9 different conditions, the Minnesota Department of Health announced this week that PTSD will be added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana patients. The Health Commissioner declared that lack of published scientific evidence made other conditions less considerable, however PTSD sufferers have fewer treatment options and potentially the most to benefit from medical marijuana. Patients with PTSD won't have access to the drug until Aug. 1st, 2017. Also added to the state's medical marijuana program is the ability to make and sell cannabis topicals such as patches, lotions, creams, and ointmets. "This decision was made after careful deliberation of available evidence, consultation with experts in the field and public input," Health Commissioner Ehlinger said. "While the process of reviewing these potential additions was difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence, PTSD presented the strongest case for potential benefits. PTSD also has few effective treatment alternatives available for some patients with the condition.
Two ballot questions that narrowly passed in Maine this month will soon undergo a recount. The first is a ballot question that legalized recreational marijuana for adults, and the second is a public education tax on high earners. The recounts will likely start by next week, but the Maine Department of the Secretary of State will make an announcement on Monday. 2 recounts will be done simultaneously to ensure an accurate count, and the final numbers will likely take 4-6 weeks. The Maine Department of the Secretary of State says recounts of a pair of ballot questions will likely take four to six weeks. The department is getting ready to announce a schedule for the recounts. The recounts have been requested for ballot questions that legalized recreational marijuana and approved a tax on high earners to fund public education.
This year quite a few states have legalized medical marijuana, bringing the total to 28 in the US. More people than ever are curious about the benefits of medical marijuana and wonder if it will be covered by insurance like the prescriptions it could potentially replace. Unfortunately, like every marijuana law it is left up to each individual state meaning different rules around the country. Some states have specifically exempted employer insurances from covering medical marijuana costs, while others like New Mexico will require workplace insurers to pay for medical marijuana as long as its recommended by a doctor. Employers allover the country will also retain their right to test for marijuana and keep a drug-free workplace. Usually, patients pay for the drug themselves and several states have explicitly exempted workplace compensation insurers for covering such costs. But as a result of recent state court rulings in New Mexico, workplace insurers there are required to pay for marijuana-based treatments if they are recommended by a doctor. And lower courts in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Michigan have issued rulings directing workplace insurers to do so. The number of patients receiving such coverage is small. And because marijuana is illegal under federal law, insurers paying for the drug must use a financial workaround to avoid violations. One strategy is to reimburse patients for their costs rather than make a direct payment to a marijuana dispensary.