Friday, December 9, 2022
"Solving a Drug Epidemic with More Drugs: A Discussion on the Expansion of Medical Marijuana in Ohio and its Impact on the Opioid Crisis"
As I have recently mentioned, during a very busy semester, I have fallen a bit behind posting some recently produced papers that are part of the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. As I try to catch up in the days ahead, as I continue to relish the he chance to highlight great work by OSU law students and recent graduates. The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Brianna Sweeney who is in the midst of her 3L year at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract of this paper:
Ohio has suffered greatly at the hands of the opioid epidemic, but a new form of treatment could be on the rise for those who struggle with opioid use disorder (OUD). As Ohio Senate Bill 261 has proposed “opioid use disorder” as a new qualifying condition for the recommendation of medical marijuana, the possibility emerges of medical marijuana’s positive impact on the opioid crisis. This paper will explore the relationship between medical marijuana and the opioid epidemic, including the policy debate of medical marijuana’s advantages and disadvantages, particularly in comparison to prescribing opioids, and its ability to assist in opioid use disorder treatment. Next, it will turn to the research on how medical marijuana laws have potentially affected opioid related death rates across the country. Narrowing in on the pertinent issue, the research discussion will also cover how medical marijuana impacts OUD and OUD treatment. Finally, the paper discusses the lack of conclusive research available, the need for further research, and a possible route for Ohio to take as this topic and the understanding of it evolves. It is this paper’s hope that Ohio can provide another opportunity to prevent lives lost to opioids, contribute to the end of the epidemic, and promote future work and conversations on this topic.
Friday, December 2, 2022
As reported in this Marijuana Moment piece, "President Joe Biden has officially signed a marijuana research bill into law, making history by enacting the first piece of standalone federal cannabis reform legislation in U.S. history." Here is more:
The bill cleared the House in April and the Senate last month, and a White House spokesperson confirmed to Marijuana Moment that the president intended to sign it. On Friday, he did just that.
The law gives the U.S. attorney general 60 days to either approve a given application or request supplemental information from the marijuana research applicant. It also creates a more efficient pathway for researchers who request larger quantities of cannabis....
Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andy Harris (R-MD) sponsored the House version of the research legislation, which is substantively identical to a Senate bill from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that previously cleared that chamber....
The four co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus — Blumenauer and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Brian Mast (R-FL) — released a joint statement following the president’s signing.
“For decades, the federal government has stood in the way of science and progress—peddling a misguided and discriminatory approach to cannabis. Today marks a monumental step in remedying our federal cannabis laws,” they said. “The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act will make it easier to study the impacts and potential of cannabis.”...
In a press release, Schatz said that “the medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits.” “Our new law will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options,” he said.
Blumenauer and Harris previously championed a separate cannabis research bill that advanced through their chamber in April. Unlike that legislation, however, the newly approved bill notably does not include a provision that scientists had welcomed that would have allowed researchers to access cannabis from state-legal dispensaries to study.
The research legislation further encourages the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop cannabis-derived medicines. One way it proposes doing so is by allowing accredited medical and osteopathic schools, practitioners, research institutions, and manufacturers with a Schedule I registration to cultivate their own cannabis for research purposes.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is now mandated to approve applications to be manufacturers of marijuana-derived, FDA-approved drugs under the bill. Manufacturers will also be allowed to import cannabis materials to facilitate research into the plant’s therapeutic potential.
Another section requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to look at the health benefits and risks of marijuana as well as policies that are inhibiting research into cannabis that’s grown in legal states and provide recommendations on overcoming those barriers.
The bill further states that it “shall not be a violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for a State-licensed physician to discuss” the risk and benefits of marijuana and cannabis-derived products with patients.
Thursday, September 29, 2022
DEPC releases "Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program at Four Years: Evaluating Satisfaction and Perception"
I am happy to highligth the release of a terrific new report, titled ""Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program at Four Years: Evaluating Satisfaction and Perception," authored by Jana Hrdinova of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. This DEPC webpage provides this overview:
This report, a fourth in the annual series from the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC), traces the evolution of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) over the last four years in terms of its growth and OMMCP patients’ and prospective patients’ satisfaction levels with the functioning and design of the program. For the first time, our survey finds respondents reporting being more satisfied with OMMCP than dissatisfied, an important milestone in OMMCP’s development. Nevertheless, the survey respondents continue to report dissatisfaction with some elements of the program, with the price of marijuana product being the most pressing concern, followed by lack of legal protections for patients and the cost and difficulty of obtaining OMMCP patient card. The final section of this report includes recommendations for policy and regulatory changes that could have a positive impact on patients’ satisfaction with OMMCP.
Here are a few of many notable findings from the report:
- 56.1% of respondents reported some level of satisfaction with OMMCP, with 15.3 % reporting being “extremely satisfied” and 40.8% being “somewhat satisfied.” Only 35.5% of respondents expressed some degree of dissatisfaction with OMMCP, a significant change from last year when 55.1% of people reported being dissatisfied.
- If averaged over the 13 months, an Ohio patient paid $4.08 more per gram of plant product in an Ohio dispensary than a Michigan resident in a Michigan dispensary, and $3.57 less per gram than a marijuana medical patient in Pennsylvania.
- The OMMCP recorded a 44% increase in the number of patients with active recommendation and active registration growing over the past 12 months. But the number of physicians with a certificate to recommend has declined over the same time period to 641 from 651 a year earlier. The patient to doctor ratio in Ohio now represents the lowest among states with a similarly aged program.
- The top three policy changes that would most positively affect patients’ satisfaction with OMMCP would be the adoption of legal protections for patients, followed by state allowance for self-cultivation, and provision of home delivery under OMMCP.
- Since January 2019, the state of Ohio collected over $132 million in revenue, with the state tax and local tax accounting for approximately $64 million, medical marijuana businesses application and licensing fees accounting for another $46 million and patient and caregiver fees making up the remaining $22 million.
- 84% of respondents reported having trust in the safety of products sold in Ohio dispensaries. Only 7.2% reported not trusting the safety of dispensary products.
September 29, 2022 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
I am very excited that Ohio State's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) is continuing its regular research grant program to fund work specifically in the marijuana and drug policy research/policy space. Here is the link to the DEPC grants page along with an overview of the call for proposals this year:
The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) invites researchers and policy experts from universities, government agencies and independent research centers in the United States to submit proposals for funded research or policy analysis focused on implementation and policy impacts of marijuana legalization and other emerging topics in drug enforcement and policy. We are specifically interested in research addressing questions related to criminal justice administration, public health, and public safety, as well as their various intersections.
This year’s call for proposals encompasses two different tracks: traditional research projects (maximum award of $25,000) and policy analysis/model policy creation (maximum award of $10,000). In selection for funding, we are likely to prioritize shorter-term research projects (e.g., completed before end of 2023) that can help inform the work of lawmakers, regulators and advocates eager to promote evidence-based best practices and policies in emerging and future reforms efforts. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Impacts of marijuana reform and other drug decriminalization efforts on criminal case processing and law enforcement work including resource allocation, changes to existing arrest/charging/sentencing practices, use of fines and fees for enforcement, and broader effects on crime, clearance rates and community relations.
- Study and evaluation of present expungement and record relief efforts focusing particularly on marijuana offenses and other drug crimes and the impact of new laws and practices on affected populations.
- Impacts and attitudes toward various drug reform efforts in specific neighborhoods/communities defined by geography, political affiliation, social-economic status, and/or other demographics.
- Cost-benefit analyses of marijuana legalization/decriminalization policies, with a focus on economic development and budgetary impacts resulting from reforms such as tax revenues, law enforcement expenditures, treatment costs and regulatory expenses.
A fuller overview is available in this detailed document and the deadline for submissions is January 15, 2023, but proposals will be considered on a rolling basis. Submit complete proposals to Jana Hrdinová at hrdinova.1 @ osu.edu.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
The title of this post is the title of this notable new article published this week online at The Lancet Psychiatry authored by multiple researchers. Here is its summary:
Cannabis potency, defined as the concentration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has increased internationally, which could increase the risk of adverse health outcomes for cannabis users. We present, to our knowledge, the first systematic review of the association of cannabis potency with mental health and addiction (PROSPERO, CRD42021226447). We searched Embase, PsycINFO, and MEDLINE (from database inception to Jan 14, 2021). Included studies were observational studies of human participants comparing the association of high-potency cannabis (products with a higher concentration of THC) and low-potency cannabis (products with a lower concentration of THC), as defined by the studies included, with depression, anxiety, psychosis, or cannabis use disorder (CUD).
Of 4171 articles screened, 20 met the eligibility criteria: eight studies focused on psychosis, eight on anxiety, seven on depression, and six on CUD. Overall, use of higher potency cannabis, relative to lower potency cannabis, was associated with an increased risk of psychosis and CUD. Evidence varied for depression and anxiety. The association of cannabis potency with CUD and psychosis highlights its relevance in health-care settings, and for public health guidelines and policies on cannabis sales. Standardisation of exposure measures and longitudinal designs are needed to strengthen the evidence of this association.
Monday, July 11, 2022
"Maximizing social equity as a pillar of public administration: An examination of cannabis dispensary licensing in Pennsylvania"
The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Alfred Lee Hannah, Daniel J. Mallinson and Lauren Azevedo published in the Public Administration Review. (For the record, this research was supported by funding from the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.) Here is the paper's abstract:
Public administration upholds four pillars of an administrative practice: economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and social equity. The question arises, however, how do administrators balance effectiveness and social equity when implementing policy? Can the values contributing to administrative decisions be measured?
This study leverages the expansion of medical cannabis programs in the states to interrogate these questions. The awarding of dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania affords the ability to determine the effect of social equity scoring on license award decisions, relative to criteria that represent the other pillars. The results show that safety and business acumen were the most important determining factors in the awarding of licenses, both effectiveness concerns. Social equity does not emerge as a significant determinant until the second round of licensing. This study then discusses the future of social equity provisions for cannabis policy, as well as what the findings mean for social equity in public administration.
July 11, 2022 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
"The Right Prescription: High Cost Savings and Other Benefits from Medicare and Medicaid Coverage of Medical Marijuana"
As I continue to catch up on posting a lot of recently produced papers that are part of the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, I continue to have the chance to highlight great work by OSU law students and recent graduates. The title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Nathan Ecker who recently graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract:
As medical marijuana usage continues to grow, coverage options under federal and private health insurance schemes have wilted away. Despite the expanding list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, patients seeking coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, or other governmental health insurance programs are consistently denied funding under these plans. Instead, patients are forced to either rely on “traditional pharmaceuticals” or incur the out-of-pocket expenses for medical marijuana. However, by expanding health insurance coverage to include medical marijuana, medical treatment options would expand, and the government would experience significant cost savings. This Paper examines the benefits to expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage to encompass medical marijuana and suggests possible solutions for implementation.
June 7, 2022 in Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, March 7, 2022
Students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are continuing to "take over" my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice, and are continuing to provide in this space some background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The second of our presentations taking place this week will focus on medical marijuana research, and here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings:
Medical Marijuana and the federal government have a long, complicated history. By complicated, I mean not complicated at all. Marijuana has been illegal at the federal level ever since the Controlled Substances Act was signed into law. Medical marijuana research in the U.S. has so far been limited, although two FDA approved, marijuana-derived drugs have been on the market since the 1980’s. The overwhelming consensus is that the research space is not nearly as large as it could be, given the large user base, and that potential therapeutic effects of marijuana are largely unknown.
Even though its medicinal use goes back millennia. Even today, many users self-report more managed symptoms from a variety of diseases and ailments; nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, and spasticity. Researchers in the United States would like to further study some of these self-reported medicinal benefits of marijuana, but they claim that the federal government makes marijuana research too hard to be worth the effort.
This paper and my accompanying presentation begin by discussing the brightest research areas for medical marijuana consumption, and why those are not enough. Then I will explore why marijuana has not received as much attention as the scientific community would like to give it. Finally, I will discuss potential legislative fixes.
Sources and Background Reading
N.I.D.A., What is the scope of cannabis (marijuana) use in the United States? (2022).
Nat’l Academies of Sciences, Eng’g, and Med., Health and Med. Div., The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017)
U. of Mississippi, Marijuana Research (2022)
Michael H. Andreae et al., An Ethical Exploration of Barriers to Research on Controlled Drugs, 16 Am. J. Bioeth. 36 (2016).
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
The folks at Leafly have this notable new report seeking to address this basic question: "How many jobs are in America’s legal cannabis industry?" Here is part of the answer:
The 2022 Leafly Jobs Report found 428,059 full-time equivalent jobs supported by legal cannabis as of January 2022. In the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, America’s cannabis industry sold nearly $25 billion in products and created more than 107,000 new jobs — enough to fill the Rose Bowl and then some.
That’s a 33% increase in jobs in a single year. And it marks the fifth year in a row of annual job growth greater than 27%. No other industry in America can match that. Last year, America’s legal cannabis industry created more than 280 new jobs every day. In 2021, someone was hired for a cannabis-supported job about every 2 minutes of the work day....
Those 428,059 jobs include direct cannabis jobs like cultivation and retail sales — what are often called “plant-touching jobs” — as well as indirect ancillary jobs that serve licensed companies or depend on legal cannabis sales. Ancillary jobs include work in accounting, human resources, legal affairs, regulatory compliance, security, maintenance, and construction. Also included are indirect jobs in cannabis media, technology platforms, public relations, lobbying, non-cannabis product suppliers, and industry associations....
America now has three times as many cannabis workers as dentists. Cannabis workers outnumber insurance salespeople. There are more people employed in the cannabis industry than there are hair stylists, barbers, and cosmetologists—combined....
While legal cannabis now supports 428,059 jobs, the total employment potential in a mature US legal cannabis market is approximately 1.5 million to 1.75 million workers. The economic and employment potential for legal cannabis remains quite bright for many years to come.
Thursday, January 27, 2022
"Societal Costs and Outcomes of Medical and Recreational Marijuana Policies in the United States: A Systematic Review"
The title of this post is the title of this notable new research in the journal Medical Care Research and Review authored by Michael French, Julia Zukerberg, Tara Lewandowski, Katrina Piccolo and Karoline Mortensen. Here is its abstract:
Significant support exists in the United States for legalization of marijuana/cannabis. As of 2021, 36 states and four territories approved the legalization of medical cannabis via medical marijuana laws (MMLs), and 15 states and District of Columbia (DC) have adopted recreational marijuana laws (RMLs). We performed structured and systematic searches of articles published from 2010 through September 2021. We assess the literature pertaining to adolescent marijuana use; opioid use and opioid-related outcomes; alcohol use; tobacco use; illicit and other drug use; marijuana growing and cultivation; employment, earnings, and other workplace outcomes; academic achievement and performance; criminal activity; perceived harmfulness; traffic and road safety; and suicide and sexual activity. Overall, 113 articles satisfied our inclusion criteria. Except for opioids, studies on use of other substances (illicit drugs, tobacco, and alcohol) were inconclusive. MMLs and RMLs do not generate negative outcomes in the labor market, lead to greater criminal activity, or reduce traffic and road safety.
Friday, November 12, 2021
"Maximizing Social Equity as a Pillar of Public Administration: An Examination of Dispensary Licensing in Pennsylvania"
The title of this post is the title of this notable new preprint authored by Lee Hannah, Daniel Mallinson and Lauren Azevedo. (Note: This research received supported from the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, which I help direct.) Here is the paper's abstract:
Public administration upholds four key pillars for administrative practice: economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and social equity. The question arises, however, how do administrators balance these often-competing priorities when implementing policy? Can the values which contributed to administrative decisions be measured?
This study leverages the expansion of medical cannabis programs in the states to interrogate these questions. Focusing on the awarding of dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania affords the ability to determine the effect of social equity scoring on license award decision, relative to criteria that represent the other pillars of public administration. The results show that safety and business acumen were the most important determining factors in the awarding of licenses, both effectiveness and efficiency concerns. Social equity does not emerge as a significant determinant.
Monday, October 25, 2021
The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper recently posted to SSRN authored by Hayoung Cheon, Tong Guo, Puneet Manchanda and S. Sriram. Here is its abstract:
Since the late 1990s, opioids have been increasingly prescribed for pain treatment in the U.S as a result of aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies. This has resulted in more than 450,000 opioid overdose deaths since then. In the same time period, several U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, a drug that can also be used for pain relief. As a result, medical marijuana can be used as a substitute for opioids, leading to a reduction in opioid prescriptions. On the other hand, marijuana use can lead to increased substance abuse, leading to a potential increase in opioid prescriptions. The lack of scientific and medical knowledge along with the uncertain regulatory environment vis-a-vis medical marijuana use also makes it possible that its legalization has no impact on opioid prescriptions.
With claims data from a large health insurance company in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016, we study the effect of medical marijuana legalization on opioid prescriptions, leveraging the temporal variation in state-wise legalization. We find that, on average, opioid prescriptions decreased after medical marijuana legalization for all three outcome metrics that we consider (number of prescriptions, total days of supply, and total dosage in MME). We also find that the role of physicians in reducing opioid prescriptions after legalization is more prominent than their corresponding role in increasing opioid prescriptions.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
The title of this post is the title of this notable new working paper authored by Scott Callahan, David M. Bruner and Chris Giguere. Here is its abstract:
U.S. drug policy presumes prohibition reduces crime. Recently states have enacted medical marijuana laws creating a natural experiment to test this hypothesis but is impeded by severe measurement error with available data. We develop a novel imputation procedure to reduce measurement error bias and estimate significant reductions in violent and property crime rates, with heterogeneous effects across and within states and types of crime, contradicting drug prohibition policy. We demonstrate uncorrected measurement error or assuming homogeneous policy effects leads to underestimation of crime reduction from ending marijuana prohibition.
And here is a key paragraph from the paper's introduction:
Our results indicate that MMLs result in significant reductions in both violent and property crime rates, with larger effects in Mexican border states. While these results for violent crime rates are consistent with previously reported evidence (Gavrilova et al., 2017), we are the first paper to report such an effect on property crime as well. Moreover, the estimated effects of MMLs on property crime rates are substantially larger, which is not surprising given property crimes are more prevalent. We also find novel evidence consistent with our hypothesis that MMLs reduce violent crime rates more in urban counties compared to rural counties, contrary to previous estimates (Chu and Townsend, 2019). We attribute this result to greater conflict between producers in urban counties under prohibition. Overall, our results are consistent with the need for market participants to create de facto property rights under prohibition, often through the use of violence. Our results are also consistent with prohibition causing a diversion of scarce policing resources, which when reallocated have the greatest impact on more pervasive types of crime and in locations where crime rates are higher. These findings demonstrate both the importance of accounting for heterogeneous policy effects on crime and the necessity to correct for measurement error in crime data when conducting policy analysis.
Monday, September 27, 2021
The title of this post is the title of this terrific new report authored by Jana Hrdinova of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. This DEPC webpage provides this overview:
H.B 523, enacted by the Ohio General Assembly, became effective in September 2016 and made Ohio the 25th state to adopt a comprehensive medical marijuana program. A new report from the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) traces the development of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) since the start of legal sales in January 2019 and documents continued dissatisfaction among patients and prospective patients.
By gathering key program data and reporting on a new patient survey, this research fills gaps in our understanding of the OMMCP five years after becoming law. With multiple new marijuana reforms under discussion in Ohio, the perceived effectiveness and success of the current system among patients and potential patients may shape the long-term prospects and future of the program.
55% of respondents reported some level of dissatisfaction with OMMCP, with 25.4% reporting being “extremely dissatisfied” and nearly 30% being “somewhat dissatisfied.” However, when compared to previous years the overall dissatisfaction levels are declining (67% in 2019 reported being dissatisfied, compared to 62% in 2020 and 55% this year). Additionally, the intensity of dissatisfaction has lessened.
72% of survey respondents with a qualifying medical condition reported that Ohio dispensaries were their primary source of medical marijuana. For people who indicated that they purchased marijuana from other sources, the primary reason for doing so was the cost of product in Ohio dispensaries and the cost and difficulty associated with becoming a registered patient.
High price of marijuana in Ohio dispensaries was the top reason cited by participants for their continued dissatisfaction, for not using licensed dispensaries, and for opting out of using medical marijuana. Price of marijuana in Ohio continues to be considerably higher than in Michigan and significantly lower than in Pennsylvania. The second and third top-cited reasons were lack of home grow and lack of employment protections, respectively.
81% of respondents reported having trust in the safety of products sold in Ohio dispensaries. Only 8% reported not trusting the safety of dispensary products.
COVID-19 inspired changes, including telemedicine, online ordering and curbside pick-up have had a positive impact on patients’ satisfaction levels.
Despite growth in sales and in the number of patients and caregivers, the number of physicians with a Certificate to Recommend has actually decreased over the last 12 months. Ohio is now second to last in the number of physicians per 100,000 residents able to recommend medical marijuana.
Friday, May 21, 2021
The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by D. Mark Anderson and Daniel I. Rees available via SSRN. Here is its abstract:
Thirty-six states have legalized medical marijuana and 14 states have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. In this paper, we review the literature on the public health consequences of legalizing marijuana, focusing on studies that have appeared in economics journals as well as leading public policy, public health, and medical journals. Among the outcomes considered are: youth marijuana use, alcohol consumption, the abuse of prescription opioids, traffic fatalities, and crime. For some of these outcomes, there is a near consensus in the literature regarding the effects of medical marijuana laws (MMLs). As an example, leveraging geographic and temporal variation in MMLs, researchers have produced little credible evidence to suggest that legalization promotes marijuana use among teenagers. Likewise, there is convincing evidence that young adults consume less alcohol when medical marijuana is legalized. For other public health outcomes such as mortality involving prescription opioids, the effect of legalizing medical marijuana has proven more difficult to gauge and, as a consequence, we are less comfortable drawing firm conclusions. Finally, it is not yet clear how legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes will affect these and other important public health outcomes. We will be able to draw stronger conclusions when more post-treatment data are collected in states that have recently legalized recreational marijuana.
May 21, 2021 in Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, March 25, 2021
I have been recently thinking about metrics used to assess marijuana reform, and this recent post at the Just Taxes blog from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy flags a new benchmark in a notable metric. The piece by Carl is titled "State and Local Cannabis Tax Revenue Jumps 58%, Surpassing $3 Billion in 2020," and here are excerpts:
Cannabis taxes are a small part of state and local budgets, clocking in at less than 2 percent of tax revenue in the states with legal adult-use sales. But they’re also one of states’ fastest-growing revenue sources.
Powered by an expanding legal market and a pandemic-driven boost in cannabis use, excise and sales taxes on cannabis jumped by more than $1 billion in 2020, or 58 percent, compared to a year earlier. In total, these taxes raised more than $3 billion last year, including $1 billion in California alone. These are the findings of an ITEP analysis of newly released tax revenue data from the 10 states where legal sales of adult–use cannabis took place last year.
About a third (36 percent) of the nation’s cannabis tax revenue growth occurred in California as the state’s relatively new adult-use market continued to gain its footing after a somewhat sluggish start. The next most significant source of new revenue was Illinois, which started legal retail cannabis sales on Jan. 1, 2020.
States with more established markets such as Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska also saw significant growth in revenue, likely driven in part by an increase in cannabis use during a time of stay-at-home orders and self-quarantining. The slowest year-over-year growth, by contrast, occurred in Nevada as would-be tourists wary of COVID steered clear of Las Vegas. Nevada’s economy and state budget have been among the hardest hit in the nation during the pandemic. Even so, Nevada’s cannabis tax revenues rose 14 percent compared to a year earlier.
While the pandemic has taken a significant toll on state and local budgets overall, its impact on cannabis taxes (and alcohol taxes, for that matter) appears to have mostly been a positive one. Total excise and sales tax revenue from cannabis during the first six months of the pandemic (March through August 2020) shot up by 44 percent compared to the previous six-month period. That’s compared to 17 percent growth in the six months prior. The spike in revenue is clearly visible in the figure below. Notably, it occurred not just in the states with new markets like Illinois and Michigan where rapid growth would have been expected even under normal circumstances, but also across the five states with more established legal markets that launched between 2014 and 2017.
March 25, 2021 in History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, February 18, 2021
This short new "Jobs Report 2021" from Leafly provides a rosy account of the job creation contributions of the legalization of marijuana in US states. Here is part of the start of the 16-page report:
How many jobs are there in America’s legal marijuana industry? The 2021 Leafly Jobs Report found 321,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs supported by legal cannabis as of January 2021.
To put that in perspective: In the United States there are more legal cannabis workers than electrical engineers. There are more legal cannabis workers than EMTs and paramedics. There are more than twice as many legal cannabis workers as dentists. And those jobs aren’t limited to Colorado and California. Medical marijuana is now legal in 37 states, while 15 states and Washington, DC, have legalized cannabis for all adults. In Florida, there are now more cannabis workers than plumbers. In Pennsylvania, the state’s famous steel industry employs roughly 36,000 workers — and the state’s not-so-famous legal cannabis industry employs nearly 16,000. In Michigan, there are more cannabis workers than cops.
The annual Leafly Jobs Report, produced in partnership with Whitney Economics, is the nation’s cornerstone cannabis employment study. Federal prohibition prevents the US Department of Labor from counting state-legal marijuana jobs. Since 2017, Leafly’s news and data teams have filled that gap with a yearly analysis of employment in the legal cannabis sector. Whitney Economics, a leading consulting firm that specializes in cannabis economics, has partnered with Leafly on the project since 2019.
In real numbers, the cannabis job growth in 2020 represents a doubling of the previous year’s US job growth. In 2019, the cannabis industry added 33,700 new US jobs for a total of 243,700. Despite a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession, the legal cannabis industry added 77,300 full-time jobs in the United States. That represents 32% year-over-year job growth, an astonishing figure in the worst year for US economic growth since World War II. Outside the cannabis industry, the US economy shrank by 3.5%, the unemployment rate almost doubled, and nearly 10 million Americans saw their jobs disappear.
Friday, January 15, 2021
The title of this post is the title of this notable new meta-analysis of research on marijuana use by veterans just published in the Clinical Psychology Review and authored by Jasmine Turna and James MacKillop. (I found this preprint version of the paper here for those with paywall barriers.) Here is the paper's abstract:
Policy changes have resulted in dramatic increases in access to cannabis for medical purposes. Veterans are disproportionately affected by conditions for which medical cannabis is often pursued, making an evidence-based perspective on risks versus benefits of high priority. The current review sought to examine the state of the evidence on consequences and correlates of cannabis use among veterans. Using a comprehensive search strategy, 501 articles were identified and 86 studies met criteria for inclusion. The literature was predominated by cross-sectional studies (67%) of male veterans (71.4%–100% male) from the United States (93.0%).
Three overarching themes emerged, comprising cannabis associations with other substance use, mental health, and physical health outcomes. The balance of the evidence associated cannabis use with negative health outcomes, with consistent positive associations with other substance use, psychiatric disorders, and self-harm/suicidality. Few studies examined the therapeutic effects of cannabis, thus limiting the potential to evaluate evidence of efficacy.
Priority areas for future research are studies using designs that can examine the directionality of links between cannabis and health in veterans more conclusively, and studies directly examining therapeutic efficacy of cannabis-based therapies in veterans. Methodologically rigorous design will be essential to inform clinical recommendations and practices guidelines in an era of burgeoning access to cannabis.
Because I have always been eager to support giving veterans safe and healthy access to whatever resources they might need, I am pleased to see added focus on this important issue and a call for further research. And I think it notable that many of the studies examined in this meta-analysis pre-date the modern marijuana reform movement, which leads me to wonder whether some of the negative associations with marijuana use might be linked to its prohibited status rather than the drug itself.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
As I have mentioned before, I am going to keep highlighting the program first flagged in this prior post, namely the new research grant program from the Ohio State Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC). DEPC's goal is to fund certain types of new work specifically in the marijuana research/policy space. Here is the basic overview of the call for proposals:
The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) invites researchers from universities and independent research centers in the United States to submit proposals for funded research focused on implementation and policy impacts of marijuana legalization. We are specifically interested in research addressing questions related to public health, criminal justice and public safety, as well as their various intersections. In selection for funding, we are likely to prioritize shorter-term research projects that can help inform the work of lawmakers, regulators and advocates eager to promote evidence-based best practices and policies in future reforms efforts.
In general, grant requests should not exceed $50,000. However, projects exceeding this amount are still encouraged to apply as additional funding could be appropriated. The deadline for first-round submissions is January 11, 2021; a second round of funding may be announced in February 2021 after the first-round awards are announced.
The full call for proposals can be found here, and this document provides these additional details on topics of interest in this grant program:
Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Impacts on law enforcement including resource allocation, changes to existing arrest/charging practices, use of fines and fees for enforcement, and broader effects on crime and community relations.
- Impacts on the criminal justice system including arrests/incarceration rates, outcomes achieved by changes in criminal penalties with cannabis legalization and/or decriminalization, impacts on the juvenile justice system.
- How federal law currently impacts state-level marijuana reforms and practices across a range of areas (e.g., banking, employment, housing, medical practice and research, tax), and what federal reforms might most effectively and efficiently improve state practices.
- Changes in rates of diagnosis for cannabis-related substance use disorders; need, availability and efficacy of treatment programs and other counseling services for problematic cannabis use.
- Impacts and attitudes toward cannabis reform in specific neighborhoods/communities defined both by geography, social-economic status, and demographics.
- Cost-benefit analyses of marijuana legalization/decriminalization policies and the various budgetary impacts resulting from reforms such as law enforcement savings versus treatment costs.
Thursday, December 10, 2020
As reported in this Politico piece, the "House on Wednesday passed a bill that would make it easier for scientists to conduct marijuana research in states where the drug is legal. The bill passed on a voice vote with strong bipartisan support." Here is more:
What’s the context? Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree that more research into the health effects of marijuana is needed. The bill is co-sponsored by two lawmakers who stand at opposite ends of the spectrum on marijuana legalization: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is the unofficial cannabis czar on Capitol Hill, while Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) is known for his work on an appropriations rider that restricts Washington D.C. from taxing and regulating a marijuana market.
Marijuana research legislation also has strong support in the Senate, where lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), have proposed marijuana research legislation. This bill, however, does not have a Senate equivalent.
What does this bill do? Marijuana research now is limited to being based on a few variations grown by the University of Mississippi, the only entity that can legally grow marijuana under federal law for research. Scientists have complained for years that what is grown for research doesn’t resemble the marijuana used in the real world.
The DEA has never licensed other research cultivators. In 2016, the agency said it would authorize other growers to help facilitate research. It has received 37 applications, and said in August 2019 that it would move forward with processing those applications. But no other growers have been greenlighted, and the lack of action on those applications has prompted lawsuits from two applicants....
The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to remove limitations on researching marijuana and create a new research structure for the drug. The bill directs HHS and DOJ to create a program that would license additional producers and manufacturers of research marijuana. Researchers with federal licenses could use that marijuana for FDA-approved research. The legislation also would speed up the wait times for research marijuana cultivation applications and reduce some of the cumbersome regulations that researchers face when trying to get approval to study marijuana....
What’s next? The Senate is unlikely to bring the bill up for a vote in the final days of this Congress, but its passage sets a marker for the next session.
Because this was passed through a voice vote, we do not get any accounting of how many House members actually supported or opposed this legislation. And it will be quite interesting to see if this modest marijuana reform bill becomes a priority in the next COngress or if instead reform advocates push only for more ambitious reforms.