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Medical marijuana use linked to lower prescription drug use

American states that allow their residents to use marijuana for medical purposes have seen a marked decline in prescription drug use among the elderly and disabled, according to a study published Wednesday. The University of Georgia study looked at the costs of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program in 2013 — a time when 17 states and the District of Columbia had passed medical marijuana laws. Researchers estimated the savings from lower prescription drug use in areas that had medical marijuana laws at $165.2 million US over the full year. If every state legalized medical marijuana, the study forecast that Medicare would save more than $468 million...

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Ontarians not sold on LCBO weed sales, poll shows

 As the provincial government hashes out where marijuana should be sold, a new poll suggests Ontarians are deeply divided. While Premier Kathleen Wynne has suggested the LCBO may be the best place to sell recreational cannabis, the Forum Research survey indicates otherwise. More than a third of those polled — 35 per cent — would like marijuana to be sold in pharmacies. About a quarter — 26 per cent — prefer “dispensaries,” like the more than 100 now operating illegally in Toronto. But only 20 per cent believe the government-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario should be selling weed at...

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‘Worry About Bad Marijuana — Not Big Marijuana,’ Says D.C. Think Tank

The phrase “Big Marijuana” is tossed around a lot these days, mostly by prohibitionists struggling to stem the tide of legalization that’s washing over America. The phrase purposely links the emergence of legal, regulated cannabis to the most notorious, lying, death-peddling industry of the 20th century: Big Tobacco. In case the point is too subtle, Project SAM, the nation’s most visible prohibitionist group, uses it in their motto: “Preventing Another Big Tobacco.” And state anti-legalization groups like Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy hammer the phrase in their tweets: The phrase is also used by old-guard cannabis pros who are skeptical of the new generation of entrepreneurs entering the industry. To them, “Big Marijuana” means companies run by suits, pushing the smaller players out of the market. While the theoretical Big Marijuana exists in plenty of people’s minds, the reality of Big Marijuana is complete bunk, according to a new paper published this morning by the Brookings Institution. The venerable Washington, D.C. think tank describes Big Marijuana as a myth peddled by prohibitionists and those who fear the coming of competitive, state-regulated cannabis markets. “Worry about bad marijuana — not Big Marijuana,” say Brookings senior fellows John Hudakand Jonathan Rauch. First of all, they write, nobody is clear on what, exactly, Big Marijuana is. “The term is tossed about so freely and flippantly that it has come to be a...

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WDGPH discusses federal legalization of marijuana

E – The board of the local public health unit agreed to send recommendations to the federal government surrounding the possible legalization of marijuana in Canada. At the June 1 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) meeting medical officer of health and CEO Dr. Nicola Mercer said it was important for the health unit to take a position. “I want to take a position that says this is not a harmless product and that if, as a society, we are going to legalize this product that we need to thoughtfully consider how we are going to produce it, distribute it, promote it and sell it so that we reduce both the health concerns and the societal concerns,” she said. The health unit is recommending that the following be considered in terms of non-medical cannabis legalization: – adopting a public health approach that includes strict regulations around the production, distribution, promotion and sale of marijuana; – building in enough time to develop and build capacity to implement a policy that has strict regulations; – establishing baseline data and ways to monitor local use of marijuana and associated health and societal outcomes; and – developing evidence-based prevention and harm reduction messaging for the public. Mercer explained that the public health framework asks the federal government to gather baseline data before the legalization occurs so impacts of the policy change can be measured. “Cannabis...

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Marijuana task force to be led by former deputy PM Anne McLellan

Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould announced today the launch of a task force to advise the Canadian government on how best to move forward with its plan to legalize marijuana. The nine-member task force will be chaired by Anne McLellan, a former deputy prime minister under Paul Martin who also served as a health and justice minister. “The task force will use what it has heard to advise the government on the design of the legislation and the regulatory framework that will include a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution,” Wilson-Raybould said during a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday. Pot profits...

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