One thing that keeps cannabis legalization opponents up at night is the thought that with a dispensary on every corner, their kids are more likely to turn into red-eyed drug fiends.
I've always been under the impression that kids are attracted to the forbidden, leading me to quietly assume that cannabis stores on every block would make it seem less appealing. And my instincts are panning out to be at least partially right. According to a survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, cannabis use among the youths has stayed relatively unchanged since the state legalized. The survey found that one in five Colorado teens used cannabis. And the state’s chief toxicologist, Matt Van Dyke, thinks that number is inflated because kids are confused about how many of their friends are actually using cannabis. Either way, the number is slightly down from 2013, the year before retail cannabis businesses opened in Colorado.
What's odd (funny?) is that adult use in the state has apparently gone up. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey released by the CDPHE, adult use in Colorado rose from 13.6 percent in 2016 to 15.5 percent a year later. No one prepared for this.
Cannabis advocates have long suggested that legalizing the drug would free resources for law enforcement agencies, giving them more time to pursue other crimes and improve public safety. A new study published in Police Quarterly put the notion to the test.
“Marijuana Legalization and Crime Clearance Rates” analyzed Uniform Crime Reports data from 2010 through 2015 in Colorado and Washington. Police clearance rates represent the percentage of reported crimes that resulted in an arrest. According to the study, the rates rose faster during the period following legalization in both states than they did in places where it's still illegal, indicating that there might be a correlation between legalization and clearance rates.
Although the study doesn't prove a connection, the researchers thought “the argument that legalization did in fact produce a measurable impact on clearance rates is plausible.”
The researchers concluded: “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not.”
The New Mexico Department of Health warned dispensaries last month to refrain from selling cannabidiol (CBD) products sourced from out-of-state.
In a letter to the state's dispensaries and producers, Medical Cannabis Program director Kenny Vigil wrote, “This practice is in violation of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and must cease.” The law bars New Mexican cannabis businesses from transporting cannabis or cannabis-derived products into the state. According to the letter, CBD counts.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that some dispensaries and providers are upset by the notice, pointing out that there are numerous businesses selling CBD products that aren't regulated by the department, and those businesses are outside of its jurisdiction. Competition with these unregulated shops will become tougher now, since they won't be required to follow the same guidelines.
CBD has become a hot issue lately, as the Drug Enforcement Agency refuses to recognize it as a separate beast from cannabis. A panel of federal judges recently ruled against the Hemp Industries Association, who complained that the DEA's decision to establish a new drug code for cannabis extracts conflicted with the Agricultural Act of 2014 (better known as the “Farm Bill”) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
The decision means that CBD remains a controlled substance at the federal level, but the court did make an exception for “hemp” grown in accordance with the Farm Bill. This means that CBD is legal only if it comes from a state that has established a hemp pilot program.
As Canada revs up to legalize cannabis use for adults, a Canadian company has become the first cannabis business to complete an initial public offering on a major US stock exchange.
Tilray, a British Columbia-based medical cannabis company, raised $153 million last week as the first cannabis company to be publicly traded in America, according to Tech Crunch. The company priced 9 million shares on the Nasdaq at $17 apiece and closing at $22.39. Tilray is the third cannabis stock to list on a major US exchange, but the other two—Canopy Growth and Cronos Group—weren't IPOs.
The news is a huge win for cannabis advocates, since it illustrates the willingness of the American market to welcome cannabis dollars.
Tilray will not be able to sell their wares in the US, of course, but it plans to use this infusion of funds to expand its operation in Ontario.