USA Today Discovers People Consume More Marijuana After It’s Legalized

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In a newspaper headline that should go down in history as a momentous “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” moment, USA Today really, actually published this real life headline:

“Pot use, abuse more likely in states with medical marijuana laws, study shows”

Are you serious? People actually consume more marijuana in states where it’s been legalized? How shocking!

Sarcasm aside, before anyone comments that the article is referring to illegal use by people who don’t hold medical marijuana cards or have a doctor’s prescription: That is still an obvious result of these policies. We didn’t need a study to know that would happen.

Even when marijuana was completely illegal in every state but California for medical purposes, there was still a robust demand for the plant and products derived from it on the black market because it’s something that millions of people value.

Some like the feelings of relaxation, insight, or creativity that it gives them. Others like how it improves the taste of food or the feeling of sex.

Still others rely on it desperately for pain relief, to be able to get a good night’s sleep, or to find their appetite for food while on cancer treatments that cause severe nausea.

Many families are finding a miracle in CBD oil, which isolates a chemical from marijuana that doesn’t get you high, but is saving their babies— their toddlers and small children from a severe form of treatment-resistant epilepsy that causes extreme seizures.

With or without an official card or prescription, millions of Americans’ lives are improved in some way by marijuana, and when it becomes more readily available, as it has in states that have legalized it for medicinal purposes, the demand is there to meet it.

A note about the increases in marijuana “abuse” mentioned in the USA Today article— the paper quotes a health professor at Columbia University making another “Captain Obvious” statement similar to the article’s headline:

“If you increase the prevalence of users, you are going to increase the prevalence of people who have adverse consequences.”

As you could say about driving a car. As you could say about riding in planes. As you could say about falling in love. As you could say about starting a business. As you could say about… As you could say about…

If these kind of arguments are the very best that a major publication like USA Today can muster against legalizing medical marijuana, then marijuana consumers and businesses are looking great!

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Legalization Is The Tipping Point

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The legalization of medical marijuana in the state of West Virginia last week is a tipping point for the cannabis movement nationwide, an Ohio newspaper argued Thursday.

The Marietta Times of Marietta, Ohio, which is literally a stone’s throw from the West Virginia border, says now it’s time for the federal government to take a position on medical marijuana.

The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants a crack down, while the Secretary of Homeland security supports medical marijuana and says recreational marijuana is not a priority. Meanwhile, the FDA has not taken an official position about medical marijuana.

The Times says with so many states legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, the policy vagueness of the current administration is unacceptable.

The bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia was signed last week by Governor Jim Justice after passing through the state’s House of Delegates 76 – 24 and sweeping through the state Senate 28 – 6.

As Reason Magazine notes, the new marijuana policy makes West Virginia the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana, and the sixth state to approve cannabis for patients in the last year.

Saving Lives with Medical Marijuana

In August 2016, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy published a study with findings about West Virginia marijuana policy that make last week’s reform great news for the state’s deadly opioid addiction epidemic:

“Marijuana may potentially have a positive impact on West Virginia’s opioid-based painkiller and heroin epidemic by offering another, less-addictive alternative to individuals who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions.”

Cannabis is not only less addictive than opioid-based prescription painkillers and street narcotics. While consumers of marijuana may develop a “tolerance” (they may need more to achieve the same effect over time), the plant and its products do not cause “dependence” (minor to severe withdrawal symptoms after ceasing use).

That’s why in 2010 former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders (who supports marijuana legalization) had this to say: “Marijuana is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway.”

Not only is cannabis less addictive than opiates, it’s less dangerous. Far less dangerous. West Virginia leads the nation in the rate of fatal drug overdoses. Last year 818 people in the state died of a drug overdose, 86% of them due to opiates.

That was a West Virginian dying every 12 hours around the clock for the entire year. Last year not a single American died of an overdose of marijuana, because it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana.

The new laws in West Virginia will help make hurting people more comfortable and it will save lives. And 29 states into legalizing the plant, it certainly looks like a tipping point.