The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

Youth cannabis usage declines in legalized states, suggests recent study

New research published by JAMA Pediatrics suggests cannabis use among youth has steadily declined in states offering an adult-use market.

Led by Mark Anderson, a health economist at Montana State University, a group of researchers analyzed federal data on trends relating to cannabis and youth (grades 9-12) consumption and behavior, studying surveys from 1993 through 2017, involving more than 1.4 million US high school students. Survey questions polled students on their usage of cannabis, and the frequency of it -allowing researchers to compare the same students results post-legalization in states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California.

No significant decrease was found within states limited to a medical program, but meta-analysis revealed no examples of a spike in usage across any demographics, and found more than a 8% decline in reported youth usage in states with an adult-use market.

Consistent with the results of previous researchers,there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth. Moreover, the estimates reported in the Table showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes,” wrote D. Mark Anderson, PhD

The recent report from Anderson and JAMA Pediatrics aligns with other states individual reports – which all indicate no rise in self-reported cannabis use by adolescents. What was once used as a common argument against legalization has quickly turned into an additional positive that pro-cannabis lawmakers and advocates will highlight for years to come.

Hemp regulations to be announced in August, says USDA

This Summer, the FDA has been holding a number of public conferences in Washington D.C., allowing for advocates, farmers, and health professionals to share their stories and research with legislatures. The conferences are served to help regulators better craft rules for a market that is expected to be worth $10.6 billion by 2025. Hemp was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, but a detailed set of rules and regulations have yet to be released.

Monday Morning, the USDA announced that it will be introducing federal hemp rules in August, indicating regulators are a month-ahead of their projected date of Sept. 15th. The quick turnaround is likely in response to the rapid growth of the U.S. market, as farmers in the Midwest have already secured proper licensing to produce and sell hemp.

Recently, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary toured Kentucky’s leading hemp processors, accompanied by Sen. Mitch McConnel, who led the initial charge on the approval of the 2018 US Farm Bill. During the tour, Seretary Sonny Perdue highlighted the history of hemp in America, envisioning a promising return for the super crop.

Approved decriminalization bill will allow for expungement in Hawaii

Tuesday afternoon, the Aloha State approved HB1383, a bill that focuses on expungement and reduced prison penalties through the decriminalization of cannabis.

While a medicinal market has been legal since Gov. Ben Cayetano signed Act 228 into law in 2000, the state has continued to enforce penalties for non-MMJ residents possessing small amounts of cannabis. But with Tuesday’s approval of HB1383, residents and visiting tourists can legally posses up to three games of cannabis, and will face only a fine for the possession of up to two ounces.

Rumors of a new bill that would legalize an adult-use market proceeded Tuesday’s breaking news, and is expected to be debated when lawmakers convene for the next legislative session – scheduled for late August. Over tens of thousands of locals are expected to qualify for expungment when the bill goes into law on Jan 11th, 2020.

In response to Gov. Reynolds veto, Iowa lawmakers call for special cannabis committee

Last month, Gov. Kim Reynolds vetoed legislation that would have expanded Iowa’s medical marijuana program.

The decision was a surprise to many, as a majority of efforts were initiated and supported by her Republican colleagues; including Sen. Tom Green (Burlington), who recently coined a guest column in the Des Moines Register, writing “As pharmacists and lawmakers, we have seen firsthand how some Iowans are not being helped by traditional medicine and pharmaceutical solutions. For those Iowans, the state’s medical cannabis program may offer some relief from symptoms and pain associated with a host of devastating diseases and conditions. But we need to improve the program.”

Despite the bill passing 96 to 3 in the House, and 40 to 7 in the Senate, Reynolds maintained her hard-lined stance on cannabis, leading to the development of a new legislative committee that could be appointed as early as next Thursday. The committee is expected to be bipartisan, and will be tasked with studying and listening to advocates, medical experts, and other leading health professionals – allowing pro cannabis legislatures to be armed with more data and testimonials for the next legislative session.

For now, the state upholds a 3% cap on THC in all products, making it one of, if not the most restricted MMJ programs in the country.

John Kuster

As Social Media Coordinator, John oversees all things related to getting Revolution Enterprises' unique message out. An Iowa native, John joined the Revolution team to help educate, and inform the public on cannabis and all it has to offer. Prior to joining Revolution, John helped multiple companies grow and expand their reach, ranging from the tech industry to the world of international football. He is thrilled to be working in a rapidly expanding market, and is proud to represent Illinois patients and cannabis advocates across the globe.