Study: Legalizing Medical Pot Reduces Fatal Car Crashes, decline in alcohol consumption
States that have passed initiatives to legalize medical marijuana have also seen a decline in traffic fatalities, according to a new study out this week by the Institute for the Study of Labor.
Opponents of medical marijuana often focus on the social detriment to making America's most valuable cash crop available to those approved by doctors, arguing that medical marijuana legalization makes it easier for teens to buy pot and that they'll soon move to more dangerous drugs. They also suggest that legalization would increase the number of vehicle accidents - and that very argument was one of the main reasons why California voters did not approve full legalization in 2010.
But far from marijuana acting as a "gateway" to more dangerous drugs, as authorities often claim, researchers found that it's more commonly used as a substitute for alcohol, which is often more harmful and inebriating than marijuana. Studying data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers also found that legalizing medical marijuana did, in fact, drive up usage among adults. But contrary to medical marijuana critics' claims, they were unable to find evidence of it growing the number of minors on the drug. A further analysis of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, spanning from 1990 to 2009, revealed that states which legalized medical marijuana saw a decline in alcohol consumption. A decline in traffic fatalities was a direct side effect of that.
Czech Republic: Czechs Decriminalize Peyote, Magic Mushroom Growing
Under changes in Czech drug policy approved Wednesday by the Cabinet, growers of psychedelic cacti and fungi will no longer face criminal punishment.
The hallucinogenic plants will be removed from the government's drug "black list," meaning that cultivation of more than "small" amounts will no longer be a crime. Peyote and magic mushrooms were originally included on the list when the Czech's reformed their drug laws in 2009, making the Czech Republic one of the most liberal in Europe on drug policy. But amateur cactus growers who said they had no intention of consuming their plants complained that the drug reforms effectively criminalized them for pursuing their hobbies.
USA: Governors for cannabis reclassification- The governors of Washington state and Rhode Island filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on 30 November that would allow doctors to legally prescribe cannabis as a medical treatment. Democrat Christine Gregoire of Washington and independent Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island are asking the DEA to reclassify cannabis as a schedule 2 drug from schedule 1 which would make it legal for doctors to recommend its use and pharmacists to supply it. Washington and Rhode Island are two of 16 U.S. states that allow the medical use of cannabis.
Science: Eye blink
According to research at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, regular cannabis use decreases eye blink rates. Eye blink rates correlated negatively with years of cannabis exposure, monthly peak cannabis consumption, and lifetime cannabis consumption.
Science: Cannabis use
According to research at Columbia University in New York, USA, cannabis use is nearly twice as high in states with medical cannabis laws compared to states without such laws. They included about 68,000 individuals in the study. They wrote that the association may be due to "an underlying common cause, such as community norms supportive of the legalization of medical marijuana and of marijuana use."