Paul Armentano

These Five States Lead the Nation in Marijuana Arrests

Texas law enforcement make more annual marijuana arrests than do police in any other state, according to newly reported arrest data compiled by Jon Gettman, associate professor of criminal justice at Shenandoah University.

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The Science Can No Longer Be Ignored: Legal Cannabis Access Reduces Opioid Abuse and Mortality

Scientific data is growing exponentially in support of the notion that legalized cannabis access can significantly mitigate opioid use and abuse.

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African Americans Are Disproportionately Arrested for Low-Level Marijuana Violations - and the Disparity Is Growing

According to a groundbreaking 2013 report authored by the American Civil Liberties Union, African Americans in the United States are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for minor marijuana possession violations. "[O]n average, a black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates,” it concluded. “Such racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist in all regions of the country, in counties large and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, and with large and small black populations. Indeed, in over 96 percent of counties with more than 30,000 people in which at least 2 percent of the residents are black, blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites for marijuana possession."

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This Is How Legal Cannabis Is Improving Public Health

Legal cannabis access is associated with numerous favorable public health outcomes. Here are just a few of them.

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Marijuana Is Now a Driving Engine of the American Economy

The legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is having a positive impact on states’ economies in ways that go well beyond tax revenue. From job creation to increased tourism, marijuana legalization is driving economic markets. Here’s how.

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When Will Our Govt Stop Ignoring That Marijuana Is a Major Regulation Success Story?

Speaking recently at the Heritage Foundation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the Justice Department is "reviewing" an Obama administration memorandum that calls for the agency to take a largely "hands-off’ approach to states that are regulating adult marijuana use.

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It Took Just One Distorted Study for the Media to Freak Out Over Health Risks and Marijuana

A new, widely reported study claims that marijuana poses significantly greater risks to cardiovascular health, particularly with regard to hypertension, than does cigarette smoking.

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Blowing Up the Big Marijuana IQ Myth - The Science Points to Zero Effect on Your Smarts

“Marijuana makes people retarded, especially when they’re young.” So claimed conservative commentator Ann Coulter while speaking at Politicon last week. 

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80 Years Ago Today: President Signs First Federal Anti-Marijuana Law

Eighty years ago today, on August 2, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed House Bill 6385: the Marihuana Tax Act into law. The Act for the first time imposed federal criminal penalties on activities specific to the possession, production, and sale of cannabis.

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Blowing the Lid off of the 'Marijuana Treatment' Racket

According to a comprehensive review by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, “few marijuana users become dependent” upon pot. By contrast, those who drink alcohol are nearly twice as likely to do so problematically. Nonetheless, over half of all young people admitted to drug treatment programs are there for their involvement with marijuana, and this percentage is steadily rising. So what’s going on?

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Three New Marijuana Myth-Busting Studies That the Mainstream Media Isn't Picking up On

Allegations surrounding the supposed dangers of pot are frequently reported and repeated without criticism. But these new studies cast serious doubts on three of the more prominent marijuana myths.

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Three New Scientific Studies That Debunk Conventional Marijuana Myths

Fear-mongering headlines claiming that marijuana use causes birth defects, heart-attacks, and psychosis are common in the mainstream media. But newly published scientific evidence makes it clear that what is often portrayed as ‘conventional wisdom’ is really nothing more than ‘reefer madness.’

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The Evidence Is Overwhelming: Cannabis Is an Exit Drug for Major Addictions, Not a Gateway to New Ones

It is time for politicians to put to rest the myth that cannabis is a gateway to the use of other controlled substances — a theory that is neither supported by modern science or empirical data. 

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Nevada Retail Marijuana Sales Will Begin in July

Nevada regulators have approved rules to allow for the expedited sales of cannabis to adults.

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The 5 Biggest Lies About Pot - And How to Rebut Them

1. Consuming marijuana lowers intelligence.

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Why Trump Should Rethink Starting a War Over Marijuana

Record numbers of voters support regulating the marijuana market and oppose federal efforts to interfere or undermine state laws permitting the plant’s use or sale, according to nationwide polling data released last Friday by Quinnipiac University.

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Maine Becomes Eighth State to Legalize Marijuana

Maine has become the eighth state to eliminate criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis.

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10 Scientific Studies From 2016 Showing Marijuana Is Safe and Effective

While no psychoactive substance is completely harmless, modern science continues to prove that cannabis is one of the safer and more effective therapeutic agents available. Here’s a look back at some of the most significant marijuana-centric studies published over the past year.

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Here Are Some of the Obvious Ways Marijuana Benefits Society

Access to medicinal cannabis is improving Americans’ quality of life in ways few advocates could have initially predicted. As the number of people utilizing marijuana grows, so too does our understanding of its societal benefits. Here are some of the latest scientific findings:

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Prohibitionists Are Trying to Strike Back Against the Marijuana Landslide of 2016

Political leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana.

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Did the DEA Just Kick Open the Door for the Pharmaceuticalization of Pot?

While much ink has been spilled over the last few days regarding DEA’s refusal to recognize marijuana as a medicine and its unwillingness to reclassify it under federal law, far less attention has been paid to a separate decision by the agency to create, for the first time, a “clear legal pathway” for pharmaceutical companies to engage in cannabis-specific “drug product development.”

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Want to Reduce Opiate Abuse? Legalize Pot

Rates of prescription opioid abuse are significantly lower in jurisdictions that permit medical marijuana access, according to data reported by Castlight Health, an employee health benefits platform provider.

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This Is the Big Demand on Marijuana We Should Make of the Federal Govt.

A recent memorandum from the US Drug Enforcement Administration to several United States Senators indicates that the agency is prepared to respond in the coming months to a five-year-old petition seeking to amend the plant’s status as a schedule I prohibited substance.

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Latest Science Debunks Old Myths About Marijuana's Effect on Health, Driving and Depression

Contentions that scientists have failed to conduct sufficient research on the health and societal effects of cannabis are unfounded. A keyword search on the National Library of Medicine database reveals over 23,000 peer-reviewed papers specific to the marijuana plant, and new scientific discoveries are published almost daily debunking the federal government’s claims that the herb is a highly dangerous substance lacking therapeutic efficacy. Here are five new cannabis-centric studies that challenge longstanding marijuana myths.

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Poll: 60% of Likely California Voters Support Initiative Effort To Legalize Marijuana

A majority of likely California voters say that they intend to vote ‘yes’ this November for an initiative to regulate the retail production and sale of marijuana by adults, according to the results of a Probolsky Research poll released late last week.

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Why Hillary Clinton's Plan for Marijuana Simply Doesn't Go Far Enough

Speaking late last year at a campaign stop in South Carolina, Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pledged if elected President to reclassify marijuana under federal law from a Schedule I substance – the most restrictive category – to a Schedule II substance. 
 
Said Clinton: "The problem with medical marijuana is there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions. But we haven't done any research. Why? Because it is considered that is called a schedule one drug and you can't even do research in it."

She added, "I would like to move it from what is called Schedule I to Schedule II so that researchers at universities, national institutes of health can start researching what is the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications."

Although Clinton’s call for rescheduling represents an improved willingness on her part to advocate for marijuana law reform, her newfound stance is hardly progressive. Various advocacy organizations, including NORML, High Times, and Americans for Safe Access, have filed administrative petitions over the past decades seeking to amend cannabis’ Schedule I status. Even among her peers, Clinton’s position isn’t unique. This past spring, former Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul (KY) co-sponsored Congressional legislation, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, to move marijuana from Schedule I to II and to permit VA doctors to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans. One-time Democrat Presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley also campaigned on the pledge that he would use his executive powers to move cannabis to Schedule II. Most notably, Clinton’s leading Democrat Presidential rival Bernie Sander (I-VT) introduced Senate legislation, S. 2237, the Ending Federal Marihuana Prohibition Act, to strike both marijuana and ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ (aka THC) from the federal criminal code, thus leaving the decision of whether or not to legalize and regulate cannabis solely up to the individual states.
 
While Sanders’ proposal would significantly transform America’s marijuana policies, Clinton’s rescheduling plan would actually do little to change the existing legal landscape. Moreover, Clinton’s premise that scientists have yet to do any research on cannabis is woefully incorrect.
 
Unlike conventional pharmaceuticals, the marijuana plant possesses an extensive history of human use dating back thousands of years, thus providing society with ample empirical evidence as to its relative safety and efficacy. Moreover, despite cannabis’ modern day politicization, the plant and its compounds have nonetheless been subject to extensive scientific scrutiny. A search using the term “marijuana” on the website of the National Library of Medicine, the repository for all peer-reviewed scientific papers, yields more than 23,000 scientific papers referencing the plant and/or its constituents. Among this extensive body of literature are over 100 randomized controlled studies, involving thousands of subjects, evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabis or individual cannabinoids. A 2012 review of several FDA-approved gold-standard cannabis clinical trials concluded, “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification (for cannabis) is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.” 
 
In short, Clinton’s presumption that it is the absence of scientific research that necessitates the need to remove cannabis from Schedule I is both ill informed and unpersuasive. In truth, marijuana does not belong in Schedule I because ample scientific evidence already exists disproving the government’s claim that it is among the most dangerous substances known to man and that it lacks therapeutic utility. Moreover, reclassifying cannabis from I to II – the same category as cocaine – continues to misrepresent the plant’s safety relative to other controlled substances, and fails to provide states with the ability to regulate it free from federal interference.
 
Further, the federal policies in place that make clinical trial work with cannabis more onerous than it is for other controlled substances — such as the requirement that all source material be purchased from NIDA’s University of Mississippi pot program — are regulatory requirements that are specific to cannabis, not to Schedule I drugs in general. Simply rescheduling cannabis from I to II does not necessarily change these regulations. 
 
In addition, the sort of gold-standard, large-scale, long-term Phase III safety and efficacy trials Ms. Clinton ostensibly advocates for are prohibitively expensive. As a result, trials of this kind are typically are funded by private pharmaceutical companies aspiring to bring a new product to market. In some cases, the federal government may assist in sharing these costs. However, political reality dictates that neither entity is likely to pony up the tens of millions of dollars necessary to conduct such trials any time soon, if ever. 
 
This is not to say that rescheduling cannabis would not have any positive tangible effects. At a minimum, it would bring an end to the federal government’s longstanding intellectual dishonesty that marijuana ‘lacks accepted medical use.’ It would also likely permit banks and other financial institutions to work with state-compliant marijuana-related businesses, and permit employers in the cannabis industry to take tax deductions similar to those enjoyed by other businesses. But ultimately, such a change would do little to significantly loosen federal prohibition or to make herbal cannabis readily accessible for clinical study. These goals can only be accomplished by federally decsheduling cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal intrusion.
 

5 New Discoveries That Will Shake Up Our Understanding of Marijuana

Contentions that scientists have failed to conduct sufficient research on the health effects of cannabis are unfounded. A keyword search on the National Library of Medicine database reveals nearly 23,000 peer-reviewed papers specific to the marijuana plant, and new scientific discoveries are published almost daily rebuking the federal government’s assertion that the herb is a highly dangerous substance lacking therapeutic efficacy.

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5 Major Developments That Change How We Should Think About Marijuana

Scientific discoveries are published almost daily rebuking  the federal government’s contention that cannabis is a highly dangerous substance lacking therapeutic efficacy. But most of these findings are relegated to obscure, peer-reviewed journals and, therefore, often go unnoticed by the major media and the general public. Here are five new cannabis-centric studies that warrant mainstream attention.

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Marijuana Reduces Alzheimers Symptoms, Scientists Say

The administration of liquid cannabis extracts containing THC is associated with the mitigation of various symptoms of Alzheimer’s-related agitation and dementia, according to observational trial data published online ahead of print in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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