Many Canadians are curious about marijuana edibles, but wary of risk to kids: survey
HALIFAX – Canadians appear to have an appetite for marijuana-infused munchies, according to a new survey that found a healthy majority both supported the legalization of recreational pot use but had clear concerns about children’s access to edible products containing cannabis. Just over 45 per cent said they would buy food containing marijuana, with 46 per cent saying they would purchase pot-laced baked goods like brownies and muffins if they were legal. People are willing to accept the legalization of non-medicinal marijuana but … recognize societal risks related to doing so. The aim of the survey, done over four weeks in August, was to gauge Canadians’ perception of recreational marijuana as a food ingredient when it is legalized next July, if they would use it in their diet and, if so, how they would prepare it.
It found that despite people’s apparent willingness to try edible products, the bulk of survey participants indicated they didn’t know how to cook with marijuana at home and most said they did not consider it a healthy ingredient. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists legalizing marijuana will keep pot out of the hands of children and deny criminals the profits of back-alley dealing. Ottawa has said it will not allow the purchase of edible products until it develops regulatory oversight for the goods, including rules on serving sizes and potency, child-resistant packaging requirements and health warnings. Charlebois says that once marijuana becomes legal it will likely be mixed into a variety of products before Ottawa comes up with such measures. We should think about rolling out edibles as soon as possible with clear guidelines for the industry.
Charlebois cited the example of Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012 without regulations over the sale of cannabis-infused edibles. Colorado saw an increase in the number of marijuana-related poisonings, particularly accidental ingestion by children, in the first year of its new regime and eventually ushered in new regulations limiting THC levels in edible items. Still, Charlebois says legalized marijuana could be the next big lucrative trend in the Canadian food industry, with curiosity being the Number 1 reason survey participants cited for wanting to try the goods.
Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws have proposed it as a lower-risk alternative to opioids. Some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid use, and so might make the epidemic worse. The new studies don’t directly assess the effect of legalizing marijuana on opioid addiction and overdose deaths. It compared the states where marijuana laws took effect versus states without such laws. In this Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 file photo, a woman holds the prescribed medical marijuana product used to treat her daughter’s epilepsy after making a purchase at a medical marijuana dispensary in Butler, Pa.
Two new studies released on Monday, April 2, 2018 suggest that legalization of marijuana may reduce the prescribing of opioids. When states with such a law went on to also allow recreational marijuana use by adults, there was an additional drop averaging about 6 per cent. That suggest the medical marijuana laws didn’t reach some people who could benefit from using marijuana instead of opioids, said Hefei Wen of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, one of the study authors. Every year from 2010 through 2015, researchers compared states with a medical marijuana law in effect to those without one. Researchers found that Medicare patients in states with marijuana dispensaries filled prescriptions for about 14 percent fewer daily doses of opioids than those in other states.
W. David Bradford, an economist at the University of Georgia in Athens who’s an author of the second study, said the results add to other findings that suggest to experts that marijuana is a viable alternative to opioids. For one thing, they don’t reveal whether individual patients actually reduced or avoided using opioids because of the increased access to marijuana. They called for states and the federal government to pay for more studies to clarify the effect of marijuana use on opioid use, saying such research is needed for science to guide policy-making.
Shifting views on marijuana highlight just how differently people of color are impacted by drug laws
This June 5, 2017, file photo shows a marijuana leaf in the vegetative room at a cannabis cultivator in Fairbanks, Alaska. As views shift on the decriminalization of marijuana, and current and former lawmakers question existing drug laws, the fact that people of color, particularly from low-income communities, are still suffering consequences from decades-old marijuana laws is deeply concerning, critics say. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday that he was also changing his stance on marijuana. Attitudes have obviously evolved on marijuana on a national level.
Legal marijuana sales exceeded $9 billion in 2017, according to an industry estimate. The Washington Post previously reported that polls show that more than 60 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana completely and more than 90 percent are in favor of legal medical use. Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand noted the disparity in how marijuana laws affect people of color, as well as low-income people. A Drug Policy Alliance report showed that arrests for offenses such as possession under the age of 21, public consumption and other still-illegal actions related to marijuana are higher for black people.
Vox reported that several studies have found that even in places where pot is legal, black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses compared to white people. In Colorado, according to a 2016 public safety report, the marijuana arrest rate for whites and Hispanics is comparable, but the marijuana arrest rate for African Americans is almost three times that of whites. The relationship between the disproportionately high incarceration rate of black people and the role race plays in this country’s history with drug decriminalization is likely to continue to be a conversation as Americans revisit U.S. drug laws. How people of color in urban areas have been treated by this country’s drug laws appears to be a lesser concern right now.