Reason Foundation’s Drug Policy Newsletter, March 2019
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Drug Policy Newsletter

Reason Foundation’s Drug Policy Newsletter, March 2019

Contrary to common fears, marijuana use among teens has actually dropped in states with medical marijuana laws.   

News and Opinion

Breaking News: “Purdue Pharma has agreed to pay over $200 million to settle a historic lawsuit brought by the Oklahoma attorney general who accused the OxyContin maker of aggressively marketing the opioid painkiller,” CNN reports.

There still isn’t a scientific test for marijuana impairment, so states that have legalized marijuana should rely, in part, on Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) to determine impairment on the scene.  

When states limit marijuana business licenses, they effectively introduce oligopolies —undermining goals of legalization such as black market elimination and creating inequities in the industry by making it harder for small business owners to enter the market.   

Scientists are close to “turning yeast into microscopic chemical factories that manufacture cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant.”

Opioid prescriptions have gone down recently, but some doctors and advocates argue that this is hurting patients with serious pain ailments who are turned away due to federal guidelines.

Legislation, Regulation, and Markets

“Top state lawmakers have canceled a planned vote Monday on a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in New Jersey, saying they simply haven’t gathered enough support in the state Senate,” NJ.com reports.

Colorado may soon allow money from outside the state to invest in the growing cannabis industry.

Denver has launched a new pilot program that aims at giving drug addicts, homeless, and other vulnerable members of the community actual treatment instead of just incarceration.  

Florida’s new attorney general appears committed to continuing a misguided lawsuit against opioid companies.

In better news, Florida is coming closer to ending its ban on smokable marijuana.  

It may not be a good idea to regulate marijuana just like alcohol, Massachusetts’ chief marijuana regulator recently said.   

Republicans in New Mexico have proposed that a legal marijuana market should be owned and operated entirely by a state government monopoly.  

California’s burdensome marijuana regulations are still hurting the growth of the legal market.

Several companies reported to the state of New York that it should ban home grow for several fallacious reasons.  

States are still exploring how to regulate marijuana testing in the workplace.

Portugal’s experience with decriminalizing all drugs has gone well, with notable positive outcomes in crime and health.  

Evidence

Colorado recently released its “Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana” report for 2018, showing small increases in adult use and no increase in adolescent youth, among other interesting findings.  

Contrary to common fears, marijuana use among teens has actually dropped in states with medical marijuana laws.   

Claims that marijuana legalization increases violent crime rates are not backed up by data.

Adrian Moore

Adrian Moore, Ph.D., is vice president of policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.