Traffic deaths in Nevada dropped 10 percent during the first year of marijuana legalization. A look at New Hampshire, which will soon be surrounding by legal weed on all of its borders. Canadian insurance companies have mostly stopped treating marijuana like tobacco. Also: The story of how a by-the-book psychologist who was skeptical of psychedelics became a clinician at the forefront of psychedelic research. 🍄🌳
Nevada, 1 year after marijuana legalization. A look at the state one year after it launched recreational sales revealed “relatively insignificant” increases in marijuana-caused hospital visits. Meanwhile, the state earned about $56 million in tax revenue, upwards of $12 million of which will go towards schools (if revenues continue to hit estimates). Law enforcement has seen an increase in people arrested for DUIs who later test positive for marijuana. A county sheriff’s office “is not sure whether the increase is a result of more drivers under the influence of marijuana or more law enforcement testing for the presence of cannabis in a driver’s blood system.” Plus, cannabis consumers can test positive for the drug weeks after using it. Reno Gazette Journal The Nevada Department of Public Safety said that traffic deaths in the state dropped 10 percent during the first year of legal weed, contrary to opponents’ claims that traffic fatalities would increase after legalization. KRNV
Study finds no relation between medical marijuana laws and car crashes. A study that looked at data over a 22-year period found no relationship between medical marijuana laws and fatal car crashes. Legal medical marijuana didn’t impact the number of cannabis users in car crashes, either. The researchers found that state-licensed dispensaries were associated with a 14 percent increase in fatal crashes. “Even though it’s significant, when you’re dealing with large datasets, the impact is small,” said the lead researcher. “Though the reason behind the increase isn’t clear, Sevigny speculated that perhaps medical marijuana users have to drive longer distances to buy cannabis. Some states may also leave a lot of discretion up to cities and counties on whether they allow dispensaries, meaning some people may have to drive farther to buy cannabis products.” marijuana.com
Digging into that Australian study on cannabis and pain. A study that didn’t find cannabis could help treat chronic pain contradicts other research on the subject. “What’s going on here? Why is this picture so complicated?” One of the study’s authors “notes that we should exercise caution about over-interpreting the results.” Meanwhile, other researchers point out “when the research uses specific types of cannabis and patients are treated under medical supervision, the results are vastly different to what was seen in the UNSW study.” BuzzFeed News
The local hurdles of opening a cannabis dispensary. Just because a state legalized marijuana doesn’t mean cities will be friendly to the idea. Local resistance runs counter to increasing support for legal marijuana at the national level. In Massachusetts, about 60 municipalities have banned cannabis businesses since it was legalized. Not only do businesses have to deal with onerous regulations that severely restrict where they can operate, they also must overcome local opposition from residents and the challenges of finding a marijuana-friendly landlord. “We are trying to educate local communities that this pot is not the devil coming,” said the president of a cannabis company. “All we really are is a glorified CVS that’s highly regulated and secure. But it’s not getting any easier on the real estate side.” The New York Times
New Hampshire: A prohibition island. Tuftonboro, N.H. police are wrestling with the implications of their marijuana-legal neighbors of Maine, 20 miles from the town. As legal marijuana spreads around the borders of the state, law enforcement officials vow to keep fighting. Concord Monitor The top Democrat in the New Hampshire Senate is circulating a petition to legalize recreational marijuana. The state borders Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts — all of which have passed legalization laws. Meanwhile, its Northern neighbor Canada will introduce its recreational market in October. The state will be completely surrounding by jurisdictions that allow adult-use marijuana. While some Democrats are campaigning for legalization, the governor and the attorney general are still firmly anti-legalization. Even some Democratic lawmakers aren’t on board, despite a recent poll showing majority support for the issue. Concord Monitor
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Sealing records in New York City. A new state law allows those with criminal convictions to have their records sealed under certain conditions: the conviction must be at least 10 years old, and the applicant cannot have more than two (one felony and one misdemeanor), violent crimes not included. While the new law could help those struggling to get a job or housing due to their records, it leaves much to be desired for criminal justice reformers. “The law leaves out scores of people — mostly blacks and Hispanics — who, because they live in heavily policed communities, are more likely to have multiple convictions for minor offenses. A recent New York Times investigation found that in the past three years, black residents were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white people.” The New York Times
Today in cannabis business news… The black market for marijuana is thriving in Los Angeles, causing problems for law enforcement and licensed cannabis companies. Unlicensed dispensaries look legitimate and are listed on sites like Weedmaps. Customers may not even be aware that they are patronizing an unlicensed, unregulated dispensary. The Associated Press A Canadian-backed, Portland-based cannabis company donated $20,000 to governor Kate Brown’s re-election campaign. Willamette Week U.S. alcohol companies are getting into cannabis, despite federal prohibition. Forbes
Cannabis in Canada. Four provinces are hiring teens to conduct sting operations on marijuana stores to see if they’re selling to minors. Global News Some of the country’s largest insurance companies are changing their life insurance policies by moving marijuana use out of the high-risk category that includes tobacco smoking. Most companies no longer treat marijuana the same as tobacco. CBC
Elsewhere around the world… The U.K.‘s chief medical advisor said there is “clear evidence” of marijuana’s medical benefits and recommended a change in the drug’s classification under British law. Marijuana Moment Several cities and cantons in Switzerland are seeking to conduct pilot studies on legal marijuana. Reuters Medical marijuana is now legal in Luxembourg, which will import the drug from Canada. Luxembourg Times Mexico‘s president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has not offered much in specifics about his thoughts on drug policy. But there have been strong hints, and his party is critical of the war on drugs. Cannabis Wire
How a by-the-book therapist turned to psychedelics. Rosalind Watts is the clinical lead for a study looking into the efficacy of psilocybin as an anti-depressant. Her curiosity about psychedelics was piqued when her friend traveled to Peru to try ayahuasca for her anxiety. Watts was concerned and begged her not to go. “The idea of her friend disappearing into the jungle to swallow a reality-warping concoction under the supervision of indigenous shamans didn’t just terrify her: It threatened to demolish the bedrock of assumptions that underpinned her career.” But her friend came back a new woman and Watts is now part of a pioneering group leading the psychedelic renaissance in the U.K. Ozy
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, the cautious rollout of adult-use marijuana reflects the attitudes towards cannabis in the Northeast. A look at troubles with the rollout.
- In California, the state bar is considering a rule change to protect marijuana lawyers. The governor appointed three new members to the Cannabis Control Appeals Panel.
- In Alaska, the state collected a record amount of marijuana tax revenue in May — more than $1.18 million.
- In Florida, an appellate court issued an order describing a lower court ruling allowing patients to smoke medical marijuana “an abuse of discretion.”
- In Arkansas, the state plans to launch its medical marijuana program in early 2019. Regulators consider hiring an independent consultant.
- In Arizona, how to handle the confusion surrounding cannabis concentrates after a court ruling against them.
- In Utah, the medical cannabis ballot initiative will be known as Proposition 2. A federal lawsuit against the ballot initiative was dropped but plaintiffs say they will try to move it to a state court.
- In Iowa, the state awarded a second cannabis oil license to a Cedar Rapids-based subsidiary of Acreage.
- In Oklahoma, a petition to legalize recreational marijuana is halfway to its signature goal.
- In New York, the governor encouraged banks to work state-legal cannabis businesses.
- In Illinois, an ex-Navy SEAL from Chicago is leading the fight for veterans’ access to medical marijuana.
Word for Word
“When Lakeith Stanfield was 20 and working at a marijuana grow house, he concluded that the plants in his care were conscious beings he was exchanging ideas with. That this realization came when he was really high didn’t make it less lasting or less real. Mr. Stanfield loves plants, feels for them, because, he said, ‘they are a pure life, and they do not talk,’ and laments that his busy work schedule prevents him from keeping any at home. ‘I travel too much,’ he said in a recent interview here, ‘and I don’t want to put plants through that.'” – Cara Buckley for The New York Times