Monday, May 13, 2024

New MPP report reviews "Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use"

56154b75-92e7-402c-9346-7513b42e537f_1920x1080The Marijuana Policy Project has recently released this new report titled "Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use." The report has lots of state-ny-state tax data, and here is how it gets startd:

Legalizing cannabis for adults has been a wise investment.  Since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington, legalization policies have provided states a new revenue stream to bolster budgets and fund important services and programs.  Through the first quarter of 2024, states have reported a combined total of more than $20 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales.  In 2023 alone, legalization states generated more than $4 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales, which is the most revenue generated by cannabis sales in a single year.  In addition to revenue generated for statewide budgets, cities, and towns have also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue from local adult-use cannabis taxes.

Twenty-four states have legalized cannabis possession for adults 21 and older.  All but one of them — Virginia — have also legalized, regulated, and taxed cannabis sales. In two legalization states — Delaware and Ohio — sales have not begun yet.

In many states with legal, adult-use cannabis sales, tax revenues are allocated for social services and programs. This includes funding education, school construction, early literacy, public libraries, bullying prevention, behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, veterans’ services, conservation, job training, conviction expungement expenses, and reinvestment in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on cannabis, among many others.

This document reviews each legalization state’s adult-use cannabis tax structure, population, and year-by-year adult-use cannabis tax revenue.  States are listed in chronological order, based on when state-legal cannabis sales began, with the most mature markets first.  These figures include cannabis excise taxes and states’ standard sales taxes that are applied to cannabis.  They do not include medical cannabis tax revenue, application and licensing fees paid by cannabis businesses, additional income taxes generated by workers in the cannabis industry, or taxes paid to the federal government.

May 13, 2024 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

"Local Moratoriums for Ohio Adult Use Marijuana Operators"

The title of this post is the heading for this terrific new resource page just posted along with other Policy and Data Analyses at the website of The Ohio State University's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (which I help direct).  Here is how the resource is introduced:

In November 2023, 57% of Ohio voters voted for Issue 2, a ballot initiative which legalized adult recreational marijuana use and tasked the Ohio Departments of Commerce and Development with implementing a legal recreational cannabis industry in the state.  As of December 7, 2023, individuals 21 years and older can legally consume and possess marijuana throughout Ohio, although recreational dispensaries are not expected to open until the summer or early fall of 2024.  Like most other states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, Ohio allows local jurisdictions to enact ordinances to prohibit or limit the operation of adult-use cannabis businesses within their boundaries.  This page presents information on 47 local moratoriums that have been enacted by Ohio jurisdictions as of March 31, 2024.

May 7, 2024 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 1, 2024

"Mapping Cannabis Social Equity: Understanding How Ohio Compares to Other States' Post-Legalization Policies to Redress Past Harms"

AdobeStock_233601824The title of this post is the title of this terrific new report now available via SSRN and authored by Jana Hrdinova and Dexter Ridgway with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. This report was inspired by an on-going polict debate in Ohio after voters in the state approved in Fall 2023 a statutory ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. This report should be of interest to folks outside as well as inside of Ohio because it provides a national landscape on varying social equity issues in marijuana legalization states. Here is the report's abstract:

On November 7, 2023, Ohio became the 24th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Following the lead of other states, the Ohio ballot initiative included social equity provisions designed to address past harm of marijuana criminalization by investing in disproportionately impacted communities and encouraging participation of such groups in the new legal cannabis industry. The purpose of this report is to highlight the varying strategies other states have deployed to fulfill social equity goals and to look at how Ohio’s new laws compare to others. In this report, we look at three social equity policy areas in greater detail, starting with criminal justice reform, followed by community reinvestment, and industry participation. Additionally, we also provide detailed information on the criteria states have used to determine individual and community eligibility for participating in their social equity programs. We conclude the report with recommendations for greater data collection and analyses concerning the impact of social equity efforts and a more robust assessment of best practices for social equity programs.

February 1, 2024 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

"Did Michigan’s Legalization of Recreational Marijuana and Ohio’s Legalization of Medical Marijuana Increase Marijuana OVI Arrests in Ohio?"

The question in the title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Peter Leasure and Dexter Ridgway ay Ohio State's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (which I help direct).  Here is its abstract:

The current study used Ohio State Highway Patrol data to explore whether Michigan’s legalization of recreational marijuana and Ohio’s legalization of medical marijuana increased arrests for operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) by marijuana in Ohio.  Overall, a conservative examination of the results did not support the hypothesis that Michigan’s legalization of recreational marijuana and Ohio’s legalization of medical marijuana increased marijuana OVI arrests in Ohio.  However, strong conclusions should not be drawn from this study as the results must be replicated using data from other Ohio law enforcement agencies and perhaps extended time periods.  Additionally, our results may not be generalizable to other outcomes such as OVI-related crashes.

November 19, 2023 in Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 14, 2023

"What Tax Revenues Should Ohioans Expect If Ohio Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis? (2023 Report)"

TAXThe title of this post is the title of this updated data analysis now available via SSRN and authored by Jana Hrdinova and Dexter Ridgway with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.  This report builds off a prior effective effort to estimate likely state revenues if Ohio legalizes marijuana,  Here is this latest report's abstract:

Advocates for cannabis reform in Ohio and in other states often stress the tax revenue that can be raised through legalization.  If a citizen-initiated statute were to reach the November 2023 ballot, Ohio voters are likely to hear from reform advocates about the potential tax revenue a new cannabis industry could bring to the Buckeye State.  The purpose of this policy paper is to provide an updated estimate of potential cannabis tax revenue in Ohio that is informed by tax revenue data and trends from a select group of other adult-use states.

Based on our analysis, we are using Michigan FY 2021 data on cannabis tax revenue as our focal point for Ohio cannabis tax revenue estimates given the demographic and tax structure similarities; we are using three different scenarios for rate of diminishing retail sales growth through year five of an operational legal adult-use program; we are using state population figures as our basis for calculating per capita cannabis tax revenue rates; and we are modeling for three different Ohio pricing scenarios.  Given these assumptions, the updated potential annual tax revenue from adult-use cannabis in the state of Ohio ranges from $276 million in year five of an operational cannabis market to $403 million in year five of operations.

August 14, 2023 in Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 5, 2023

"Marijuana Tax Revenues and Distributions in Recreationally Legal States"

I continue to enjoy the timely and informative work being published in the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.  The latest paper in this series, by OSU law students and recent graduates on many important and cutting-edge topics, share the title of this post.  Specifically, this new paper is authored by Aaron Larson, who is about to start his final year as a student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Here is its abstract:

An area of the law often forgotten regarding marijuana legalization is the tax and revenue portion of the statutory or constitutional legalization.  Each state that has legalized recreational use marijuana generates profit for their state. How much profit are these states making?  More importantly, how are the tax revenues being distributed?  Many Americans' wonder where their tax money goes.  For marijuana revenues, the majority of states divide their tax revenues through a required statutory scheme.  While if may be tough to find out where your income tax is divided, marijuana tax revenues are much easier to see, legally.

August 5, 2023 in Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2023

"Collisions and cannabis: Measuring the effect of recreational marijuana legalization on traffic crashes in Washington State"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new research authored by Annie Voy and just published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.  Here is its abstract:

Objective

Washington State was among the first states in the US to legalize recreational consumption and retail sales of marijuana.  Recreational use of cannabis was legalized December 6, 2012, following the passage of Initiative 502 30 days prior.  Roughly 19 months later the first retail cannabis stores opened their doors for public sales (“commercialization”).  I measure the impact of cannabis legalization and commercialization on traffic collisions in Washington State.

Methods

With county-level vehicle crash data from the Washington State Department of Transportation collected monthly, I utilize an interrupted time-series framework with Poisson estimation to compare traffic collisions with recreational retail cannabis sales revenue from 2011 (three years pre-commercialization) through 2017 (three years post-commercialization).  First, I measure the shift in collisions brought about by Washington’s 2012 cannabis legalization.  Then, I compare retail cannabis sales — a measure of commercialization — to traffic collisions based on severity of injury (fatal, severe injury, minor injury, non-injury, and all).

Results

After controlling for confounding factors, evidence suggests that recreational cannabis legalization led to fewer fatal and serious injury collisions.  Retail cannabis sales generally correlate with more traffic collisions, particularly for less severe (minor injury) crashes.  These findings are robust to the inclusion of additional control variables pertaining to county-level cannabis usage and driving behavior while intoxicated.

Conclusions

Cannabis legalization led to fewer fatal, serious, and minor injury collisions.  Commercialization (cannabis sales) correlated with an increase in less severe crashes.  Although cannabis use generally increased in Washington State following legalization/commercialization, survey data suggest that driving behavior while under the influence of cannabis did not change significantly over the post-commercialization period.  Future research should focus on measuring the dose-dependent impact of cannabis consumption on traffic collisions.  This should include recognition of the importance of cannabis dosing, timing, and route of consumption.  Lastly, the dangers of poly-drug driving — particularly cannabis and alcohol — are well established and should be high priority for further research.

June 23, 2023 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

"The impact of timing of in utero marijuana exposure on fetal growth"

The title of this post is the title of this new original research authored by multiple researchers and just published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.  Here is its abstract:

Objective: To examine whether timing of in utero marijuana exposure independently and negatively impacts fetal growth, and if these effects are global or specific to certain growth parameters.

Study design: The two study groups were marijuana users (N = 109) and a randomly selected control group of biochemically verified non-users (n = 171). Study data were obtained via manual abstraction of electronic medical records.

Results: After control for significant confounders, regression results indicated significant (p < .05) decrease in newborn weight following first trimester marijuana exposure only (−154 g) and following marijuana exposure throughout gestation (−185 g) compared to controls. There were also significant deficits in head circumference following marijuana exposure in the first and second trimester only (−.83 cm) and marijuana exposure throughout pregnancy (−.79 cm) compared to controls. Newborn length was not significantly predicted by marijuana exposure.

Conclusions: Timing of marijuana exposure appears to play a key role in specific fetal growth deficits, with exposure throughout gestation most detrimental. However even first trimester exposure may result in decreased weight. Timing and amount of use could be confounded in this study as those who quit early in pregnancy may have been lighter users than those who continued throughout pregnancy. More research is clearly needed to better understand the role of amount and timing of in utero marijuana exposure in predicting different aspects of fetal growth, however, this study suggests that women should be encouraged to avoid marijuana use at any point in pregnancy.

May 17, 2023 in Medical community perspectives, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

New MPP report calculates states have collected over $15 billion in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales by end of 2022

TAXVia this Marijuana Moment article, I see that the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has a new report detailing that, from 2014 to 2022, states that have legalized adult-use recreational marijuana sales have together generated more than $15 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales.  This MPP report, titled "Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use," gets started this way:

Legalizing cannabis for adults has been a wise investment. Since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington, legalization policies have provided states a new revenue stream to bolster budgets and fund important services and programs.  Through the end of 2022, states have reported a combined total of more than $15 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales.  In 2022, legalization states generated more than $3.77 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales.  In addition to revenue generated for statewide budgets, cities and towns have also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue from local adult-use cannabis taxes.

Twenty-two states have legalized cannabis possession for adults 21 and older.  All but two of them — Maryland and Virginia — have also legalized, regulated, and taxed cannabis sales, and Maryland’s governor plans to sign twin bills that are on his desk to do so.

Although cannabis sales have continued to generate billions in annual tax revenue, 2022 marked the first year with a decrease in tax revenues compared to the prior year.   Even as new states came online, we saw a slight decrease in total state cannabis tax revenue — from over $3.86 billion in 2021 compared to $3.77 billion in 2022. Prior to 2022, every legalization state had seen annual increases in cannabis tax revenue.  In 2022, however, six states with the most mature legalization laws experienced decreases in cannabis tax revenue, while newer legalization states generated more cannabis tax revenue in 2022 than in 2021.

Reasons for declining tax revenue include the widespread availability of intoxicating synthetic cannabinoids made from hemp, which are largely unregulated and not subjected to cannabis excise taxes; lower prices in several states due to oversupply; sales beginning in additional states — reducing demand from visitors in more mature states; consumers having less disposable income due to inflation; and — in California — the state reducing the tax rate to make legal cannabis more competitive.  Cannabis businesses also face significant challenges due to ongoing federal prohibition, which drives up costs of rent, banking, and almost everything else, and results in an enormous federal tax burden.   Those burdens do not apply to intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp.

As Vicente LLP Director of Economics and Research Andrew Livingston explained, 2022’s revenue decreases were “due to a multitude of factors,” and that one of them is likely COVID-related.  “While 2022 cannabis taxes are lower in some established markets than they were in 2021, it's important to know how COVID-19 and pandemic initiated lockdown orders increased cannabis demand.  People could not spend their money going to concerts, going out to dinner, or vacation travel.   So many people increased their consumption of consumer packaged goods.  Cannabis was a product that could still be purchased and made the difficulty of staying at home for months on end watching TV shows and movies a bit more enjoyable.”

In every state where cannabis tax revenue decreased in 2022, tax proceeds still outperformed every year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns.

This document reviews each legalization state’s adult-use cannabis tax structure, population, and year-by-year adult-use cannabis tax revenue.  States are listed in chronological order, based on when state-legal cannabis sales began, with the most mature markets first.  These figures include cannabis excise taxes and states’ standard sales taxes that applied to cannabis.  They do not include medical cannabis tax revenue, application and licensing fees paid by cannabis businesses, additional income taxes generated by workers in the cannabis industry, or taxes paid to the federal government.

May 2, 2023 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 22, 2023

SAM provides its latest accounting of "Lessons Learned from State Marijuana Legalization"

Download (2)The leading national group opposed to modern marijuana reforms, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), celebrated the 4/20 holiday by releasing this 71-page report titled "Impact Report 2023-2024: Lessons Learned from State Marijuana Legalization."  The report starts with this background:

Contrary to federal law, under which the possession and sale of marijuana are illegal (Controlled Substances Act, 1971), several states have legalized the cultivation, commercial sale, and use of marijuana, beginning in 2012.  Despite this, dozens of states continue to reject the legalization of marijuana.  The vast majority of localities in “legal” states also ban the production and retail sale of marijuana.  Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, although pro-marijuana lobbyists are actively working to undue this.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) compiled publicly available federal and state-level data, reports, investigatory findings, peer-reviewed studies, and government health surveys to assemble this report.  We have attempted to be as transparent as possible in our evaluation so as to allow readers to trace our steps and further their own research.

The SAM report thereafter mines an extraordinary amount of data seeking to detail myriad harms from modern marijuana reforms.  However, as I have noticed in this past, some of SAM's numbers look a bit hinky.  For example, a graphic on page 10 claims that annual marijuana taxes comprised only 0.09% of Colorado's state budget.  But this Urban Institute report indicates that Colorado is raising 1.7% of its revenue through marijuana taxes for the same year in the SAM report. (And this report from my own Drug Enforcement and Policy Center had a previous year's tax data from Colorado sources reporting marijuana taxes amounting to 2.08% of total tax revenue.)  Similarly, but less serious, on page 6, a graphic claims certain data shows a 1,375% increase, when the data actually show only an increase 1/3 that large.

Though one-sided in the mining of data, this SAM report serves as an impressive collection and presentation of information painting marijuana reform in a poor light.  And the report concludes with this recommendation:

Policy makers and the public need real-time data on both the consequences of legalization and related monetary costs.  Meanwhile, we should pause future legalization efforts and implement public health measures such as potency caps in places that have legalized.  In addition, the industry’s influence on policy should be significantly curtailed. SAM recommends research efforts and data collection focus on the following categories:

1. Emergency room and hospital admissions related to marijuana.

2. Marijuana potency and price trends in the “legal” and illegal markets.

3. School incidents related to marijuana, including studies involving representative datasets.

4. Extent of marijuana advertising toward youth and its impact.

5. Marijuana-related car crashes, including THC levels even when testing positive for alcohol.

6. Mental health effects of marijuana.

7. Admissions to treatment and counseling intervention programs.

8. Cost of implementing legalization from law enforcement to regulators.

9. Cost of mental health and addiction treatment related to increased marijuana use.

10. Cost of needing, but not receiving, treatment.

11. Effect on the market for alcohol and other drugs.

12. Cost to workplace and employers, including impact on employee productivity.

13. Effect on minority communities, including arrests, placement of marijuana establishments, and quality of life indicators.

14. Effect on the environment, including water and power usage.

April 22, 2023 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 3, 2023

Student presentation exploring tax revenues raised and revenues spent after marijuana reform

Cannabis-taxes-1030x386As long-time readers know of this blog should know, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the second half of my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice.  Before their presentations, students are expected to provide in this space some background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials.  The first of our presentations take place next week and will be looking at state tax issues.  Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for  classmates (and the rest of us):

Marijuana is business.  Marijuana is revenue.  Even though recreational marijuana has only been legal for a handful of years, the United States Bureau of Economic Activity has been tracking illegal market activity in relation to generally legal market activity.   This required the BEA to attempt to track how drugs such as marijuana was impacting the economic activity within the United States.  The outcome?  The National nominal gross domestic product was raised by 0.2 percentage points.

It is clear that marijuana has had an effect on the national economy even though it is illegal.  The question now turns to; how have states who have legalized recreational use made their money through marijuana?  How much tax revenue are these states bringing in?  And, how is that money being spent in those states?

Many Americans wonder how their tax money is being spent on a day-to-day basis.  Where does the sales tax go when I go to the grocery store?  Where does twenty percent of my income go every paycheck?  Where does the tax money go after I spend money at an adult use dispensary?  Questions one and two are hard to answer.  Question three, on the other hand, is actually very easy to find out.  Many states have set up stringent tax structures relating to their adult use industry.  This may be laid out initially in their statutory plan, or the states may wait and see how much they actual earn to see how they should dispense those funds.

Either way, almost every state has a very strict dispense program.  Each state uses their marijuana tax revenue differently. Many states add some of the revenue to their general state fund.  Many divide the revenue between counties and municipalities who have a dispensary in their jurisdiction.  Many use the tax revenue for social justice programs.  A few give the money to public schools.  A few more give the money to their Department of Health for drug misuse education and programs. One is using the money to offset the now decades long decrease in tobacco tax revenue.

Marijuana has been a very profitable industry for those states who have legalized adult recreational use.  The amount of data on how states have shifted on the national pre- and post-legalization is very small. It is quite hard to see how well states are doing compared to how they could have been.  Despite this, many states have found that the illegal drug trade is not going away, so they might as well profit on the activity.  Alaska Reported more than 3% of their state revenue for fiscal year 2021 was from cannabis sales.  Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington also reported at least 1% of their total state revenue was from cannabis sales.  What does this mean? Marijuana IS BUSINESS. The question that remains, and is quite hard to answer, states who have yet to legalize recreational use have obviously seen these profits . . . how have they not legalized?

Interesting websites and articles for background

The Motley Fool, "Marijuana Tax Revenue: A State-by-State Breakdown"

Urban Institute, "State and Local Backgrounders: Cannabis Taxes"

Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Tracking Marijuana in the National Accounts"

March 3, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Notable accounting of "legal" Delta-8 THC products

LightRoom-154This interesting new Forbes article, "Delta-8 THC Generated $2 Billion In Revenue In Two Years, Report Finds," provides a summary of interesting economic data regarding the interesting "legal" THC products. Here are excerpts:

Delta-8 THC products have seen a surge in popularity in the past two years, resulting in over $2 billion in sales as an alternative to traditional marijuana.  According to a recent report by cannabis analytics firm Brightfield Group, the increasing popularity of delta-8 THC products is causing other cannabis industries to take notice and take action.

Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid derived from hemp that has been reported to produce similar but milder effects than traditional delta-9 THC contained in marijuana.  Delta-8 THC is found naturally in small amounts, but the products currently on the market are created by chemically converting CBD into the Delta-8 molecule.

Delta-8 THC products popped up following the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation with a THC level below 0.3% at the federal level.  However, the legalization brought companies to produce a wide array of products containing minor non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBG, but also other cannabinoids that have milder psychoactive effects than THC, which are not categorized as illegal because they are derived from hemp.

However, there have been safety concerns raised about Delta-8 THC and similar products, as the conversion of CBD molecules into THC molecules requires a skilled chemist to ensure safety, and improper or imprecise techniques can lead to high levels of impurities in the final product.  In addition, the health effects of consuming these impurities are currently unknown.

Nevertheless, the report notes a considerable overlap among the users of CBD, cannabis, Delta-8, and other newly developed cannabinoid products.  The report indicates that 35% of CBD users have purchased psychoactive hemp-derived products within the last half-year.  Furthermore, in states where marijuana is legal, nearly a quarter of marijuana users express interest in purchasing delta-8 products in the future.  As consumers are inclined to experiment with new products, there may be a shift towards delta-8 over time, particularly if the cost difference remains favorable.

In states where marijuana is still illegal, delta-8 has emerged as a cost-effective and accessible way to experience psychoactive cannabis.  It can be obtained legally or through mail-order, providing consumers with a less risky (legally) alternative to getting marijuana illegally.  That was also confirmed by a study published last year, which showed that the public interest in delta-8-THC increased rapidly in 2020 and 2021 and was exceptionally high in those U.S. states that haven't decriminalized or legalized recreational cannabis.

However, the report notes that delta-8's increasing popularity in places where marijuana is still illegal could negatively impact support for legalization.  "If Delta-8 continues to gain popularity and build a foothold in areas where Delta-9 is restricted, legalization measures could see less popular support and grassroots fundraising, slowing progress toward full U.S. legalization," the report reads.

In addition, it seems that there is already a significant amount of confusion between delta-8 and delta-9, the main compound of marijuana, even in places where that is legal. The report observes that retailers selling delta-8 products present themselves as dispensaries and do not clarify that the compound is derived from hemp.

January 17, 2023 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2022

"Association of Recreational Cannabis Legalization With Alcohol Use Among Adults in the US, 2010 to 2019"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting new article just published in JAMA Health Forum. This research was authored by Vandana Macha, Rahi Abouk and Coleman Drake. Here is its abstract:

Importance  In the US, cannabis use has nearly doubled during the past decade, in part because states have implemented recreational cannabis laws (RCLs).  However, it is unclear how legalization of adult-use cannabis may affect alcohol consumption.

Objective  To estimate the association between implementation of state RCLs and alcohol use among adults in the US.

Design, Settings, and Participants  This was a cross-sectional study of 4.2 million individuals who responded to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2010 to 2019.  A difference-in-differences approach with demographic and policy controls was used to estimate the association between RCLs and alcohol use, overall and by age, sex, race and ethnicity, and educational level.  Data analyses were performed from June 2021 to March 2022.

Exposures  States with RCLs, as reported by the RAND−University of Southern California Schaeffer Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Past-month alcohol use, binge drinking, and heavy drinking.

Results  Of 4.2 million respondents (median age group, 50-64 years; 2 476 984 [51.7%] women; 2 978 467 [58.3%] non-Hispanic White individuals) in 2010 through 2019, 321 921 individuals lived in state-years with recreational cannabis laws.  Recreational cannabis laws were associated with a 0.9 percentage point (95% CI, 0.1-1.7; P = .02) increase in any alcohol drinking but were not significantly associated with binge or heavy drinking.  Increases in any alcohol use were primarily among younger adults (18-24 years) and men, as well as among non-Hispanic White respondents and those without any college education.  A 1.4 percentage point increase (95% CI, 0.4-2.3; P = .006) in binge drinking was also observed among men, although this association diminished over time.

Conclusions and Relevance  This cross-sectional study and difference-in-differences analysis found that recreational cannabis laws in the US may be associated with increased alcohol use, primarily among younger adults and men.

November 18, 2022 in Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Leafly "Harvest Report 2022" declares cannabis as "America’s 6th largest crop"

The folks at Leafly this week have released this interesting "Cannabis Harvest Report 2022" with an accounting of cannabis farming across the US. Here is part of the start of the report's discussion:

Legal cannabis now supports more than 13,200 American farms in 15 adult-use states. With a wholesale value of $5 billion, recreational marijuana is America's 6th most valuable cash crop, worth more than potatoes or rice....

American cannabis farmers are growing an awesome wave of legal green that weighs some 2,834 metric tons, according to the Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report 2022.

There are now 15 states where adults can go into a state-licensed store and buy legal cannabis.  Those 15 states now support 13,297 active legal cannabis farms, which in turn support farm families, communities, and tens of thousands of full-time workers.

Yet this legal crop is missing from USDA reports on agriculture.  That's a significant omission with real implications.  Americans want to end the Drug War and move consumers to a legal, taxed, and tested crop.  Voters and community leaders need production, price, licensing, and crop value data to measure our progress. Regulators in some states cannot supply the most basic fact about their cannabis markets: “How much pot did you grow?”  To find the answer, Leafly estimated it for the second year in a row.

The story in 2022 is all about rising production and falling prices. As the legal harvest continued to ramp up in legal states, the average price of cannabis fell over the past twelve months, yielding an adult-use cannabis crop worth $5 billion in wholesale value.

That makes legal cannabis the sixth most valuable crop in the US. Only corn, soybeans, hay, wheat, and cotton bring in more money on a wholesale basis.

Farmers grew 24% more metric tons of adult-use cannabis this year, compared to the year measured in the 2021 Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report. To get a sense of the volume of the past year's cannabis harvest, 2,834 metric tons would fill nearly 15,000 dump trucks lined up end-to-end for up for 45 miles.

We’re only counting the 15 active adult-use states, not the dozens of medical-only states, or crops grown to supply the illicit market.  That total number would be about 3 to 5 times larger.

Leafly’s report is a synthesis of licensing records with state cannabis production totals, sales and tax reports, commercial price trends, field measurements, US Department of Agriculture crop values, and expert interviews.

November 2, 2022 in Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

An (aggravating) accounting of post-legalization marijuana arrest data in Virginia

Marijuana-Arrests-US-1990-2020.jpg-e1633019074986-1536x710I just saw this notable (and annoying) new Washington Post piece discussing arrest data for marijuana offenses in Virginia in the wake of the state's legalization reforms.  The piece is headlined "After Virginia legalized pot, majority of defendants are still Black," and here are its first two paragraphs:

A year after Virginia lawmakers legalized recreational marijuana with hopes of lessening racial disparities in enforcement, police in the state are still more likely to arrest Black people than White people for marijuana-related offenses, a Washington Post analysis found.

While marijuana arrests overall dropped in the year since Virginia became the first state in the South to legalize, Black adults accounted for nearly 60 percent of marijuana-related cases before the state’s general district and circuit courts, an analysis of marijuana-related code citations in the state’s court system concluded, despite Black people accounting for about 20 percent of the state population.

Then, only after nine more paragraphs discussing Virginia's reform, policing practices and structural enforcement dynamics, we get this further accounting (my emphasis added):

While overall marijuana-related citations dropped by about 90 percent in Virginia from 2019, those bearing the brunt of enforcement still face compounding repercussions, said Ashley Shapiro, a public defender in Richmond and criminal justice reform advocate with Justice Forward Virginia.  “Anytime there’s a criminal consequence it has foreseen and unforeseen consequences with getting a job, with applying for housing,” Shapiro said. “So there are a lot of collateral consequences, even in this time when it’s technically legalized.”

And then, starting with paragraph 21, we get some actual state-wide numbers:

The commonwealth decriminalized marijuana possession in 2020, leading to the first major dip in enforcement. In 2019, the state reported more than 26,000 marijuana-related adult arrests.  That figure dropped to more than 13,000 in 2020.  And for all of 2021 — which included the six months after legalization went into effect on July 1 — there were just over 2,000 marijuana-related arrests.

If I had any hair, this piece would lead me to want to tear it out.  For starters, the piece nowhere indicates what percentage of marijuana arrests involved Black adults before Virginia's recent legalization reform.  This ACLU accounting of pre-reform arrests in Virginia suggest that perhaps 70% or more involved Black persons.  So, even on a percentage basis, Virginia reforms seem to be helping with racial inequities in marijuana enforcement (and why the Post would not mention at least that bit of good news is a mystery).

But, much more important, the true and significant story is the 90%+ drop in overall arrests that the Post discovered.  So, if we want to focus just on the impact on Black people in Virginia, the real story is that in 2019 before reforms there were likely at least 18,000 marijuana-related arrests of Black adults in Virginia, whereas in 2021 after reforms there were only about 1,200 marijuana-related arrests of Black adults in Virginia.  Put other way, the real racial justice headline should be that well over 15,000 fewer Black people in Virginia were subject to marijuana arrests and all the collateral consequences thanks to state reforms (and that's just from a single year of data).

The Post's report here is frustrating in part because it would be foolish for anyone to believe that any and all racial disparities in enforcement would instantly evaporate with legalization reforms.  But it is even more frustrating because any and all sensible reform advocates are rightly focused on reducing overall criminalization of marijuana use in part because racial disparities have been so profound and so entrenched.  Sigh.

October 18, 2022 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Notable new report explores "The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Taxes"

Cannabis-taxes-1030x386The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center this past week released this notable extended report titled "The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Taxes" authored by Richard Auxier and Nikhita Airi.  Here is the report's abstract:

While 19 states have enacted a tax on recreational marijuana, there is no standard cannabis tax in the US the way there is an alcohol tax, cigarette tax, and gas tax.  Instead, governments use three different types of cannabis taxes: a percentage-of-price tax, a weight-based tax, and a potency-based tax.  Different states use different taxes and some states levy multiple taxes.  Additionally, some state and local governments levy their general sales tax on the purchase of marijuana.  This report is a guide for policymakers, journalists, and engaged community members hoping to better understand cannabis tax debates.  It details each state’s cannabis tax system, provides data on cannabis tax revenue, explains the pros and cons of different cannabis taxes, and discusses the various goals of those taxes.

And here is part of the report's conclusion:

After nearly a decade of legal and taxable sales, it is clear that cannabis taxes can generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue for state and local governments.  However, recent revenue declines in five states, each with a distinct cannabis tax system, underscore that revenue growth is not limitless and that various factors can affect what governments collect from year to year.

We know that overly complex and burdensome tax systems, like the pre-reform taxes in California, can depress the evolution of legal marijuana markets.  However, we also know that some states, like Washington, can create highly effective markets even with relatively high tax rates.

We know that taxes based on weight and potency could possibly help policymakers achieve important goals like producing more consistent tax revenue and discouraging the use of possibly dangerously potent products. However, we also know that these taxes can drive up costs and create significant burdens for legal sellers....

Ultimately, as new states enact taxes on marijuana and states with existing tax systems consider reforms, policymakers should use existing evidence to make informed choices that align their goals with their taxes.  But state and local cannabis tax policy remains anything but simple and predictable.  Policymakers across the country should also prepare to monitor, study, and reform these taxes as events develop and we learn more.

October 1, 2022 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

DEPC's 2022–23 Marijuana and Drug Policy Research Grant Call for Proposals

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.

September 13, 2022 in Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

How can we best answer this question: "Does marijuana legalization bring crime?"

Audacy News has this notable new piece headlined "Does marijuana legalization bring crime?  The data may surprise you."  Unfortunately, the piece does not provide a lot of new or sophisticated data on this important question, but the article still is a useful review of the debate over marijuana reform and public safety.  Here are short excerpts from the lengthy piece:

Looking back on a decade of data, did any of the dire predictions come true about weed mania? The short answer appears to be 'no.' If anything, states with legal weed have had declining rates of overall crime.

For the purposes of this study, Audacy used the numbers publicly available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Data Explorer website. Then we honed in on the year of legalization for all 17 states (and D.C.) and looked at the year prior and the year following legalization.

What we found: There wasn’t much change. Certainly not enough change was evident to warrant making it a key talking-point either for or against legalization.... It seems the definitive answer to this continuing question is that there isn’t one.

For a host of reasons, research on the relationships between marijuana reform and crime presents a host of challenges.  But, as highlighted in this post at my other blog, I am helping with an event that looks to explore and tackle some of these challenges.

Related posting:

Call for Papers: "Drugs and Public Safety: Exploring the Impact of Policy, Policing, and Prosecutorial Reforms" 

August 16, 2022 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

"Synthetic cannabinoid poisonings and access to the legal cannabis market: findings from US national poison centre data 2016–2019"

The title of this this post is the title of this notable new research just published in the journal Clinical Toxicology.  Here is its abstract:

Aim

To investigate trends in synthetic cannabinoid exposures reported to United States (US) poison control centres, and their association with status of state cannabis legalisation.

Methods

A retrospective study of National Poison Data System (NPDS) data from 2016 to 2019 identified and associated synthetic poisoning reports with annual state cannabis law and market status. State status was categorised as restrictive (cannabis illegal or limited medical legalisation), medical (allowing THC-containing medical cannabis use) and permissive (allowing non-medical use of THC-containing cannabis by adults).  We categorised a subset of states with permissive policies by their implementation of legal adult possession/use and opening retail markets, on a quarterly basis.  Mixed-effects Poisson regression models assessed synthetic exposures associated with legal status, first among all states using annual counts, and then among states that implemented permissive law alone using quarterly counts.

Results

A total of 7600 exposures were reported during the study period.  Overall, reported synthetic exposures declined over time.  Most reported exposures (64.8%) required medical attention, and 61 deaths were documented.  State implementation of medical cannabis law was associated with 13% fewer reported annual exposures.  Adoption of permissive state cannabis policy was independently and significantly associated with 37% lower reported annual synthetic exposures, relative to restrictive policies (IRR: 0.63, 95% CI: 0.50–0.79).  Among states with permissive law during the period, implementation of legal adult possession/use was associated with 22% fewer reported quarterly exposures.  Opening of retail markets was associated with 36% fewer reported exposures, relative to states with medical cannabis only.

Conclusions

Adoption of permissive cannabis law was associated with significant reductions in reported synthetic cannabinoid exposures.  More permissive cannabis law may have the unintended benefit of reducing both motivation and harms associated with use of synthetic cannabis products.

August 9, 2022 in Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"Association of cannabis potency with mental ill health and addiction: a systematic review"

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.

July 27, 2022 in Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)