New York’s Marijuana Legalization Study 1 of 3
I finally got a chance to read New York’s marijuana legalization study released earlier this month. It was better than I had expected. I thought the study was going to be a lot of political hay but there was some good information there. It’s a big report so I will report on the findings over a few blogs. Today, I will cover the study’s preparation, some of the definitions in the report and the health issues covered in the report. In my next couple of blogs, I will cover criminal justice and public safety, economic considerations, youth and education and implementation.
The title of the report is the NYS Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in NYS. First – lets get this out of the way. The study concludes that it is not a question of if marijuana should be legalized but how marijuana should be legalized responsibly. The positive effects of legalization outweigh the potential negative impacts.
The report includes analysis based on what other surrounding states and Canada are doing and how that impacts what NY should do about marijuana legalization. This might be the most interesting part and I will get into this more when I get to the economic part of the study.
The report contained some good definitions that I will share here. Source: NYS Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in NYS.
Vaporizing (Vaping): The process of heating dried marijuana to a temperature just below its combustion point of 392°F. Vaporizers, devices used to use marijuana this way, consist of a heating source and a delivery system.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): The primary psychoactive component in marijuana which binds to the cannabinoid receptors primarily in the brain.
Cannabidiol (CBD): The compound of marijuana that has medical benefits but is not psychoactive. CBD is one of approximately 113 cannabinoids identified in marijuana.
Terpenes: A diverse class of hydrocarbons that are responsible for the aroma of the marijuana plant.
Canopy: Washington State defines canopy as the square footage dedicated to live plant production, such as maintaining mother plants, propagating plants from seed to plant tissue, clones, vegetative or flowering area. Plant canopy does not include areas such as space used for the storage of fertilizers, pesticides, or other products, quarantine, office space, etc.
Dabbing: Dabbing is the inhalation of a concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) product created through butane extraction. The use of butane hash oil (BHO) products and the modification of cannabis more generally are not new phenomena, but dabbing has recently moved from relative obscurity to the headlines.
The report comes to some interesting conclusions about health with regard to marijuana use and marijuana legalization and observes that:
- Studies have found that when marijuana is available, opioid prescriptions and opioid deaths are reduced.
- States with medical marijuana programs have lower rates of opioid overdoses.
- Smoking marijuana while pregnant can result in low birth weight babies.
- It may be harmful to the lungs to inhale marijuana combustion.
- People with mental illness seem to have worse, earlier mental illness on marijuana. Stopping marijuana improves mental health outcomes.
- Research shows that marijuana is good for the treatment of pain, nausea, epilepsy and other conditions.
- Medicinal benefit of marijuana is acknowledged.
- Negative health consequences of marijuana are less than those with alcohol or other drugs.
- Acute marijuana use can impact learning memory and attention negatively.
- Between 8.9% and 30% of the population who use marijuana develop some level of dependence.
- Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (severe nausea and vomiting) can occur with heavy use of marijuana but it goes away when use of marijuana is stopped.
Criminal Justice and Public Safety and the Economic Impacts of marijuana legalization in New York.
If you would like to read the report you can find it here.