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Teen Marijuana Use In Colorado And Washington Dropped More Than The National Average in 2014-2015

COLORADO: The federal government quietly published new national survey data this week that shows rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado and Washington — the first two states to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use — decreased more than the national average in 2014-2015. Fewer teens in the two states are reportedly using marijuana than in 2012-2013, just prior to the commencement of legal adult marijuana sales.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of the 2014-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) on Tuesday along with a press release that did not include any mention of marijuana.

According to the NSDUH:

  • In Colorado, the rate of 12-17-year-olds who used marijuana in the past month dropped 1.43 percentage points from 12.56% in 2013-2014 to 11.13% in 2014-2015, compared to 11.16% in 2012-2013. The rate of past-year use dropped 2.46 percentage points from 20.81% in 2013-2014 to 18.35% in 2014-2015, compared to 18.76% in 2012-2013.
  • In Washington, the rate of 12-17-year-olds who used marijuana in the past month dropped 0.89 percentage points from 10.06% in 2013-2014 to 9.17% in 2014-2015, compared to 9.81% in 2012-2013. The rate of past-year use dropped 1.92 percentage points from 17.53% in 2013-2014 to 15.61% in 2014-2015, compared to 16.48% in 2012-2013.
  • Nationwide, the rate of past-month marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds dropped 0.02 percentage points from 7.22% in 2013-2014 to 7.2% in 2014-2015, and the rate of past-year use dropped 0.42 percentage points from 13.28% to 12.86%.

The overall findings of the NSDUH are in line with those of the annual Monitoring the Future survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which were released last week and found little change in rates of teen marijuana use.

“I don’t have an explanation. This is somewhat surprising,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow in an article published last week by U.S. News and World Report. “We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up. But it hasn’t gone up.”

Statement from Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Survey after survey is finding little change in rates of teen marijuana use despite big changes in marijuana laws around the nation. Colorado and Washington are dispelling the myth that regulating marijuana for adult use will somehow cause an increase in use among adolescents. Legalization opponents will surely continue to make dire predictions about teens, so lawmakers and voters need to be informed about these government reports that invalidate them.

“Decades of arresting and prosecuting countless adults failed to prevent teens from accessing and using marijuana. States like Colorado and Washington are taking a new approach and actually controlling the production and sale of marijuana. Their success has already inspired a handful of other states to adopt similar laws, and more are sure to follow.”

Pot Shops Are Poles Apart In Colorado And Washington

WASHINGTON:  The first thing I noticed was that the pot stores here don’t smell right – and that they can be awfully hard to find.

In Washington state, I visited several of the state’s legal recreational marijuana stores as part of USA TODAY’S continuing coverage of the nation’s fast-growing cannabis industry. I’m based in Denver, in the only other state that permits recreational sales, and my trip to Washington was intended to help me better understand the two states’ approaches.

If you didn’t know marijuana was legal in Washington state, you’d be hard-pressed to guess. Only 60 pot-shop licenses have been granted statewide. When I was there, only one store served all of Seattle, and it was basically out of stock. A second has since opened up.

In Denver, more than two dozen marijuana stores serve downtown, and Colorado has licensed more than 230 retail stores. If I need to interview buyers or sellers, there are three stores within a one block of my downtown Denver apartment.

 

 

Marijuana At Airports: Colorado and Washington Adjust To New Laws

COLORADO:  It’s been about six months since specialty shops selling recreational marijuana began operating legally in Colorado. In July, the first batch of shops licensed to sell retail weed will open in Washington State.

Both states prohibit locally-purchased pot from crossing state lines and marijuana remains illegal under the federal laws that also govern the aviation industry.

So as the busy summer travel season begins, we checked in with the TSA and some of the airports in the pot-pioneering states to see how they’re enforcing – or plan to enforce – rules prohibiting passengers from taking pot on a plane.

TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein emphasizes that the agency’s focus remains “terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers.” And if you search for “marijuana” on the TSA’s “Can I bring my … through the security checkpoint?” tool, you’ll get a message that begins “TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs.”

Going To Pot: Will Illinois Join Colorado And Washington?

ILLINOIS: Chicago-area Democrats stirred the pot last week, arguing it’s high time for Illinois to legalize personal adult use of marijuana.

Illinois is not the first state to think about green-lighting marijuana. In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington approved amendments that make it lawful for adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The measures also allow authorities to regulate and tax the drug as they would alcohol.

Alaskans will vote on a similar initiative this November, and activists in the District of Columbia and Oregon are currently circulating petitions to put legalization on the ballot in 2014. If the initiative passes in the nation’s capital, it would then be up to the City Council to decide whether to set up a regulated and taxed system for sales

Seven other states are already talking about putting legalization on the ballot in 2016, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

Despite Successes In Colorado And Washington, Marijuana Advocates Still See Cities As Their Best Bet

MAINE: Residents of Portland, Maine, will vote next month on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana possession. If the measure passes—the Marijuana Policy Project’s man in Maine, David Boyer, is “cautiously optimistic” that it will—adults 21 and over will theoretically be able to possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot under Portland law. [Read more…]

Eric Holder ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Marijuana Legalization In Washington And Colorado

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Attorney General Eric Holder is “cautiously optimistic” about how things are going in Washington state and Colorado following the legalization and state regulation of marijuana.

But the nation’s top law enforcement official, who spoke to The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday, also said it was tough to predict where marijuana legalization will be in 10 years.

“I’m not just saying that, I think it’s hard to tell,” Holder said in a jury room at the federal courthouse in Charleston, which he visited as part of the Justice Department’s Smart on Crime initiative. “I think there might have been a burst of feeling that what happened in Washington and Colorado was going to be soon replicated across the country. I’m not sure that is necessarily the case. I think a lot of states are going to be looking to see what happens in Washington, what happens in Colorado before those decisions are made in substantial parts of the country.”

USDA Approves Hemp Production Plans For Maine, Missouri, The Cow Creek Band Of Umpqua Tribe Of Indians

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the approval of hemp production plans under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Maine, Missouri and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, bringing the total number of approved plans to 58.

USDA continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes. To review approved plans or check the status of a plan, visit the Status of State and Tribal Hemp Production Plans webpage.

State and tribal plans previously approved include:

States Tribes
Delaware Blackfeet Nation
Florida Cayuga Nation
Georgia Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Iowa Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Kansas Chippewa Cree Tribe
Louisiana Colorado River Indian Tribes
Maryland Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Massachusetts Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Minnesota Fort Belknap Indian Community
Montana Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Nebraska Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
New Jersey La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes
Ohio Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Pennsylvania Lower Sioux Indian Community
South Carolina Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Tennessee Oglala Sioux Tribe
Texas Otoe-Missouria Tribe
Washington Pala Band of Mission Indians
West Virginia Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Wyoming Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Puerto Rico Pueblo of Picuris Tribe
U.S. Virgin Islands Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indian Tribe
Santee Sioux Nation
Seneca Nation of Indians
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
Yurok Tribe

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp and include provisions for USDA to approve hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes. Accordingly, on Oct. 31, 2019, USDA issued an interim final rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and the provisions for USDA to approve submitted plans. State and tribal plans provide details on practices and procedures that enable hemp producers in their jurisdictions to operate according to their individual plans and in compliance with federal laws.

For additional information about the program, visit the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program webpage.

Understanding The Medical and Recreational Benefits Of Cannabis

In 2012, the two states of Colorado and Washington sent shockwaves through the United States when they voted to legalize recreational cannabis. With these states legalizing, a domino effect has started around the country. As of 2019, the majority of states now have passed legalizations for recreational cannabis (11 states, including the District of Columbia), or medical cannabis (33 states).

People everywhere benefitted from these laws being passed. Consumers were able to go to the dispensaries for the first time to buy cannabis legally. Business owners set up dispensaries that people would flock to, and these businesses meant new employment opportunities for job seekers. Legal cannabis also saw revenue in cannabis-friendly states go nowhere but up.

With all of these new laws being passed in favor of cannabis comes a new awareness about the plant itself. More research about its medicinal qualities has come out in recent years. Cannabis is non-addictive and offers a variety of benefits for both medical and recreational users alike.

shutterstock_106154153The Medical Benefits of Cannabis

Cannabis offers many medicinal qualities to patients for all kinds of conditions. Recently, the DEA considered the reclassification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. While they regrettably didn’t reclassify cannabis, they did express their support to the further research of the plant, and worked on processes to make it easier for researchers.

Over the years, many studies have been made as to just what sorts of conditions cannabis can treat. Medical cannabis can help people with the following conditions:

  • People with epilepsy: Cannabis (notably the CBD found in the cannabis plant) can be a big helper for people suffering from epilepsy and seizures. Studies done on people taking Epidiolex (an FDA approved drug made of CBD) who were suffering from seizures experienced a mild drop in seizure occurrences.
  • People with severe pain and inflammation: Cannabis can help treat pain, as the effects felt after smoking may help to relieve the feelings of pain people with chronic issues experience.
  • People with eating disorders: Folks with eating disorders can benefit from cannabis, because it can increase a patient’s appetite and encourage them to eat more. 
  • Cancer patients: Not only can cannabis help control the feelings of nausea associated with chemotherapy, but it can also help control the vomiting. Research suggests that cannabis might also be able to reduce or even kill cancer cells, and possibly even slow the growth of tumors.
  • Depression: People who suffer from anxiety or depression can greatly benefit from cannabis. Cannabis can provide a feeling of happiness, and can help someone suffering from depression enjoy the little things more.

As you can see, cannabis offers medical patients a whole lot of healing qualities. What about recreational users, then?

shutterstock_116618575

The Recreational Benefits of Cannabis

Recreational cannabis has taken many states by storm. In some of the states where cannabis is legal, law enforcement has even seen a drop in drug related stops and arrests, as well as drops in drinking and driving incidents and violent crimes.

Recreational users experience several benefits from being able to enjoy cannabis. Not every recreational user is looking to “get stoned,” but rather enjoy the benefits offered by one of the most versatile plants on the planet.

  • Liven up social gatherings. Someone having some friends over to their house might enjoy breaking out some cannabis and sharing it. Many friends and social circles were built on smoking together, and it is still a bonding experience among both friends and families today. 
  • Have a great nightcap! There are many people in the world who start drinking the minute they get home from work to deal with the day’s stress. Recreational cannabis users look forward to going home and sparking up, then just enjoying some music or a good show on the couch. Another bonus: there are no hangovers from smoking cannabis. 
  • Cannabis can bring out your creativity. Anyone who considers themselves creative can reap some benefits from cannabis. A lot of musicians, writers, artists, and actors get inspired after a good smoke. Certain strains can really unlock your creativity and get those neurons firing!

Now that you know some of the benefits offered by medical and recreational cannabis, you have to decide how you’re going to enjoy it.

Luckily, whether you choose to smoke or vape your weed, there are plenty of options around to enhance and personalize your cannabis experience.

Smoking Cannabis

Smoking is the tried and true method. It’s faster and a little cheaper initially than vaping. All you have to do is find your flower and put it in your preferred smoking device, and you’re off to the races.

Speaking of smoking devices, there is no shortage of them on the market. Beautiful glass pipes and water vases of all sorts of different designs, hookahs, and more are on offer for you to choose from at dispensaries and head shops. You can also just roll up a good old fashioned joint and pass it around.

volcano vapingVaping Cannabis

Vaping has been in the public eye for a while in the form of nicotine delivery systems. Lately, legal states have sold a lot of cannabis vapes, too. You can choose from cannabis oil vaporizers or dry herb vaporizers.

Cannabis oil vapes are refillable tanks with batteries. You can buy your favorite type of THC or CBD oil and refill your tank whenever it gets low. These can be super convenient and very discreet.

Dry herb vapes are devices that heat up dried herb. These are perfect for relaxing at home. Just insert some fresh cannabis and press the button, and you’re good to go.

No matter which type of vape you want, you will have plenty of options available at your local dispensary or online. Many reputable and popular brands offer more vapor devices than ever nowadays, with popular kits like the Volcano Vaporizer for sale and more, you’ll find something that will agree with your personality and your wallet!

Puff, Puff, Pass

As we become more and more aware of the medical and recreational benefits of cannabis, more people will have access to it and more states will continue to legalize it. This is good news for anyone who is a cannabis enthusiast, or for anyone who depends on it for medical reasons.

What’s your story with cannabis? Are you a recreational or medical user, or maybe a little bit of both? Do you prefer smoking or vaping, and what are some of your favorite products?

OLCC Provides Oregon Legislature With Recreational Marijuana Supply And Demand Study

OREGON: Today the Oregon Liquor Control Commission provided the Oregon Legislative Assembly with the 2019 Recreational Marijuana Supply and Demand Legislative Report required by ORS 475B.548.
2019 Recreational Marijuana Supply and Demand Legislative Report
A Letter from OLCC Director Steve Marks

Oregon’s Public Policy Approach to Support Legal Marijuana Production and the State’s Abundant Supply: The Course for Seeking the Right Balance

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is grateful for the opportunity to produce for the Oregon Legislature a comprehensive examination of the amount of marijuana accounted for and contained within Oregon’s regulated recreational marijuana market.
Let me first acknowledge that we have a considerable supply of marijuana in our state’s recreational marijuana system.  That licensed Oregon cannabis growers have become successful in producing this volume of marijuana is due in no short order to the intentional choices made by Oregon voters and policy makers.  Now we find ourselves at a crossroads where our state’s history with marijuana and the future of cannabis commercialization meet.

Oregon’s unique geography and climate are qualities that have enabled generations of Oregon farmers to produce copious amounts of cannabis. The illegal export of Oregon cannabis has been taking place for decades. For Oregon, producing a lot of marijuana is not new news; producing a lot of marijuana that is tracked in the legal system is.

Recognition that cannabis is woven into the state’s cultural fabric initially emerged as institutional tolerance when Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize marijuana possession in 1973. Greater acceptance of cannabis occurred in 1998 when Oregon, following California’s lead two years earlier, established a medical marijuana program. A broader embrace of cannabis took place when Oregon voters approved Measure 91 in November,2014, and became the 3rd state to legalize recreational marijuana.

With the debate around legalization largely settled, Oregon’s elected officials began making annual adjustments during legislative sessions beginning in 2015.  Each legislative modification to Oregon’s regulated cannabis system has attempted to improve the industry’s economic stability by removing barriers to entering the market while at the same time enhancing regulatory compliance to address public safety concerns while withstanding federal scrutiny.

Oregon is not creating a new industry, it is converting an illegal cannabis production economy, and a loosely-regulated medical program, into a well-regulated legal market

Oregon oversupply is a sign that policy choices made to attract illegal and grey market producers into the new commercial system have been successful; this was a start-up challenge Colorado and Washington didn’t have to face. Oregon medical marijuana growers had long been suspected of diverting into the illegal market so it was important to attract these well-established producers into the OLCC’s new regulated recreational marijuana program.

To entice medical as well as formerly illegal growers into Oregon’s legal market the state lowered the barriers to entry with low license fees and taxes and chose not to limit the number of licenses. This approach fulfilled the immediate objective to absorb medical marijuana providers into the OLCC market, but it has led to industry churn as businesses face mounting cost pressures and attempt to position themselves for the long term.

The ongoing objective is to account for and contain legally produced cannabis within Oregon, create consumer confidence in the legal market, and establish compliance performance boundaries for marijuana licensees.

By requiring the tracking of marijuana flower and marijuana products, CTS has provided the most reliable accounting for legally produced cannabis in Oregon. For the first time, the state’s production of marijuana is accounted for and there are consequences – criminal and administrative – for licensees that divert product from the regulated system.

Oregon’s legal market has created a new growth industry with quality product, a diversity of choices, and transparent information for consumers

Oregon’s successful transition to a regulated adult-use market has provided customers an unprecedented degree of consumer safety confidence. Oregon’s testing program and packaging and labeling requirements are considered best-in-class and are being replicated by other states that have legalized adult use cannabis. This confidence has contributed to consistent growth in retail activity as evidenced by the $198 million in state and local sales tax revenue generated since legalization.

On the demand side the establishment of a legitimate market has resulted in consumers shifting their purchase activity away from the illegal market to licensed retailers. The conversion of most OMMP dispensaries to OLCC retailers, coupled with the OLCC’s deliberate effort to allow medical grade products for sale at retail, has established a statewide retail network, in which medical marijuana patients are also able to obtain tax-free products.

Industry innovation has continued since the OLCC’s establishment of and oversight over the marijuana supply chain in January 2017; today consumers are able to find a selection of products reflecting a marketplace with 2,100 licensees. As more consumer choices have been introduced and prices have decreased, sales have seen a corresponding increase.

A context for change

Oregon’s current supply in the legal market is a reflection of successful policies to move production into the legal system. The adoption of the legal system by recreational consumers and medical patients for the purchase of branded and tested cannabis products is a strong indication that the legal system is winning the battle against the illegal market.

At the same time, Oregon regulators and law enforcement, with support of the licensed industry, are developing and utilizing new resources and tools to confront illegal market activity. Now that the legal system has successfully taken hold, policy makers can make adjustments combined with market forces to work towards a sustainable economic balance between supply and demand.

The economic condition of the market that the OLCC will be regulating in the next two years remains uncertain. Just as it took time to establish legal alcohol markets after the repeal of alcohol prohibition, the development of the legal marijuana industry will require patience. In less than three years Oregon has made substantial progress toward creating a controlled, economically viable and well-regulated cannabis industry. While regulations to control and manage this new industry will continue to change, no matter the future course, the ability to support existing and aspiring licensees and take enforcement against those that don’t follow the rules will be a crucial function for the state and the private sector businesses that have entered this industry.

A primary objective of establishing Oregon’s regulated market was to contain cannabis legally produced in Oregon from diversion into the illegal market.  Oregon’s legal cannabis market and its framework for accountability and containment indicates the system is performing as it was designed.

At this point we have another opportunity to make intentional choices.  With market mechanisms and thoughtful public policy, the state of Oregon and the OLCC can continue to control what we’ve created – to reinforce and strengthen the regulatory system we’ve built in just three short years.  One corrective policy tool proposed by the Governor would allow the OLCC to place a moratorium on licenses.  As the 2019 legislative session progresses other ideas may emerge.

We expect any guidance that the Governor and Legislature may develop during the 2019 legislative session will strengthen the continued implementation of a regulated marijuana system that balances public safety concerns with the vision of Oregon voters.

The 2019 Recreational Marijuana Supply and Demand Legislative Report is more than just about numbers. Its substance and specific methodology reflect a state-of-the-art approach for evaluating use and demand and normalizing values and equivalencies of differing cannabis products as produced and sold in the Oregon marketplace. While not infallible, this study provides a sound base for the discussion and debate of policy development. The OLCC appreciates the work and time its talented staff and outside peer reviewers have spent to bring forward this public data on legal marijuana production in Oregon.

A copy of the 2019 Recreational Marijuana Supply and Demand Legislative Report can be found on the OLCC on the Recreational Marijuana main page under the Government Resources column.