Cannabis & Alcohol News Roundup

This week was a particularly juicy one in the world of weed, folks. We’ve got some authoritative new research advocating for legalization, a Michigan doctor who was a bit too enthusiastic in his medical cannabis certificates, and much more.

1. A Michigan doctor may have gone overboard.

In Michigan, Dr. Vernon Proctor has had his license suspended for two years due to having approved nearly 22,000 medical cannabis certificates in a single year. That comes out to approximately 88 licenses per day, assuming a normal work schedule. And though Doctor Proctor claims he only issued close to 1,000 and worked “12 to 14 hours a day seven days a week,” the Board of Medicine put the number at 21,708 medical cannabis certifications. Testimony came from the Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing Medical Marijuana section’s former manager, who said that Proctor’s office was unable to provide the necessary verification for the certifications.

2. A letter from the DEA appears to suggest that delta-8 THC is legal.

On September 15, 2021, a high-ranking DEA official wrote a letter suggesting that delta-8 THC is federally legal. The author, Dr. Terrence Boos, serves as Section Chief of the Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section. He writes that “delta 8-THC synthetically produced from non-cannabis materials is controlled under the CSA [(Controlled Substances Act)] as a ‘tetrahydrocannabinol.’” However, he notes that the CSA “excludes from control ‘tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp’…Accordingly, cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant that have a 9-THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis meet the definition of ‘hemp’ and thus are not controlled under the CSA.” Interpretations of this letter are varied, but the language could suggest delta-8 THC is not a controlled substance.

3. More research shows that youth marijuana use drops with legalization.

While overall marijuana use increased in 2020, use among youths dropped, according to recent results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This adds to the existing evidence that legalization does not increase use among teens and children. From 2019 to 2020, the use of cannabis among 12-17 year-olds dropped from 13.2% to 10.1%. There was also a drop among 18 to 25-year-olds, whose use decreased from 35.4% to 34.5% in the same time interval.

4. Support for marijuana reform is higher than ever in PA.

Among Pennsylvania voters, the support for reform is higher than ever before. Since 2006, Franklin & Marshall College has polled voters on how they feel about certain issues — and adult-use marijuana legalization has been one of them. The most recent survey shows that 60% of voters now support legalization — nearly three times the amount of support reported in their 2006 survey. This poll included 522 registered Pennsylvania voters and included the first-ever use of the word “recreational” in reference to adult-use marijuana reform.

5. 68% of Americans support cannabis legalization.

Countrywide, support is also at a record high. Last year that number reached 68%, and it hasn’t budged this year, according to a recent Gallup poll. A majority of all political parties support federal legalization, with democrats coming in at 83%, independents at 71%, and republicans at 50%. Interestingly, the majority (52%) of those who attend church weekly support it, though support was much higher among those who attend less often (78%). The overall level of support for cannabis is the highest on record since Gallup started polling the populace on the issue in 1969. Furthermore, 49% of U.S. adults report having tried cannabis. This poll, which took place between October 1 and 19, included over 800 adults across all 51 states and Washington, D.C.

6. NORML has released a compilation of 450 peer-reviewed studies on cannabis.

NORML has just made their new research compilation, “Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000-2021,” available. This review adds large amounts of literature to the company’s previous release in 2017. NORML is a staunch advocate for marijuana reform based on evidence. This book provides actionable evidence for patients, employers, and lawmakers to act upon for using, prescribing, and legislating around marijuana. All proceeds will go toward future advocacy efforts from NORML.

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