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Made in Highmerica – Positive Cannabis Drug Tests in the American Workforce Spike to a 25 Year High



American workers testing for marijuana at all time high

According to a recent analysis, the year 2022 witnessed the highest level of positive marijuana urine tests after workplace accidents in 25 years.


According to an analysis by Quest Diagnostics released last Thursday, the percentage of the general U.S. workforce who tested positive for marijuana in their urine after having an accident at work rose to 7.3% in 2017. It was 6.7% in 2021, a tad less.  Remember, these are only tests done after a worker had an accident, if you didn’t have an accident, and were high on cannabis, it would not be recorded in this survey.


Over 10.6 million drug test results were analysed in total by Quest Diagnostics. Drug testing on urine, hair, and oral fluid produced those results between January and December 2022.


Impact of Legalised Cannabis


There are now 23 states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, with Colorado and Washington leading the way for the first 11 years. California, Arizona, and Massachusetts are just a few of the states that have done this. D.C. has additionally made it legal.


According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the medication is currently allowed for medicinal use in more than 30 states.


According to research by Quest Diagnostics, 4.3% of the general U.S. workforce will test positive for marijuana in 2022. It had recorded 3.9% the year before; therefore, this was a rise.  Keep in mind, major employers like Amazon and Apple have stopped testing for cannabis use, switching from a 4-panel drug test at the time of hiring, to a 3-panel drug test, eliminating the marijuana test at the time of highering.


The investigation also looked at how the legality status of marijuana in each state affected how positive worker marijuana tests varied between states.


According to the Quest Diagnostics Senior Director of Science for Employer Solutions, Dr Suhash Harwani, “States that have legalised medical and recreational cannabis consumption exhibit higher positivity rates than the national average in the general U.S. workforce.” The optimism percentages in states without legalised marijuana tend to be lower than the national norms.


In states that allow medical use, 3.9% of the total U.S. workforce tested positive for marijuana. According to Quest Diagnostics, the rate was 5.7% in places where it is legal for people to use it recreationally. The rate was 3.1% in states excluding both.


The data shows that each of the three categories experienced year-over-year growth.


Statement of Analysis


Quest Diagnostics identified a rise in the percentage of general U.S. workers testing positive for cannabis and amphetamines in urine tests. The rate for amphetamines specifically increased from 1.3% in 2021 to 1.5% in 2022.


The analysis revealed that the overall drug positivity rate, standing at 5.7%, experienced a slight uptick compared to the previous year. Dr Suhash Harwani further highlighted the consistent upward trend in workforce drug positivity across industries and various drug categories based on year-over-year and five-year data. In light of the mounting scientific evidence demonstrating the potential risks of marijuana to mental and physical health, employers are encouraged to consider these findings as a warning sign for employee health, wellness, and safety.


Quest Diagnostics’ investigation encompassed more than 9 million urine drug tests conducted on the general workforce and the “federally mandated, safety-sensitive” workforce, with 4.6% yielding positive results. Notably, this percentage remained unchanged from year to year, as indicated by the study.


Over the years, there has been increasing discussion about the practice of businesses carrying out drug tests on their employees.


The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that 18% of all Americans admitted to consuming marijuana at least once in 2019.


According to a Gallup poll from November, the percentage of Americans who answered “yes” when asked whether marijuana should be legalized has been stable for three years, with 68% saying that in 2022, 2021, and 2020.

Despite a noticeable increase in marijuana usage among employees, data from Quest show that overall drug use among all types of U.S. employees remained stable at 4.6% in 2022. However, the positive rates for 2021 and 2022 are the greatest since 2001. Between 2021 and 2022, the prevalence of amphetamine usage increased by 0.5 percentage points to 1.5%, with 2.1% being the highest among workers in education services.


Testing by Quest does not distinguish between amphetamines that are legitimately prescribed, like Adderall, and illicit forms and prohibited applications of that particular class of medications.


Given the possibility for addiction and the health concerns linked with this class of medicines, the rise in amphetamine positive is also noteworthy, according to Ward.


Americans Purchasing More Legal Cannabis


Research in 2022 found that Americans spend more money on legal cannabis than they do on chocolate, artisan beer, and topical painkillers combined.


According to an estimate from MJBizDaily, Americans spent about $30 billion on legal marijuana in 2022, compared to only about $20 billion on chocolate.


The survey said that sales of “feel-good” products, including beer, narcotic prescriptions, and topical pain relievers, were outstripped by purchases of cannabis.


Despite the fact that marijuana is now legal for purchase, sales nevertheless lagged behind the tobacco sector, which grossed $53 billion last year despite a continuous drop.


By 2028, sales of legal cannabis might total $57 billion, according to the analysis.


The statistics were released more than ten years after voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures in the 2012 general election to make their states the first in the country to legalise marijuana.


In more than 20 states, including Washington, D.C., marijuana is completely legal, while 18 states permit its use for medical purposes. Twelve states still consider it unlawful.


These studies and statistics are consistent with previous events because more people are now consuming cannabis due to rising sales and legalisation.


Bottom Line


Quest Diagnostics analysis revealed a notable surge in positive marijuana urine tests following workplace accidents in 2022, reaching the highest level in 25 years. The data indicates an upward trend in cannabis use among employees, with states that have legalised recreational and medical marijuana showing higher positivity rates than the national average. The overall drug positivity rate, including amphetamines, also experienced a slight increase, highlighting the importance of considering these findings as a warning sign for employee health and safety.  These studies and statistics reinforce the enduring impact of legalisation on consumption patterns and the need for businesses to adapt their workplace drug testing practices accordingly.





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Will the 3rd Time be a Charm for Nebraska and Legalizing Medical Marijuana?




Nebraska legalizes medical marijuana

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, an organization formed by a state lawmaker in Nebraska, is optimistic that the third time will be the charm and that medical cannabis will be legalized in the state.


Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) turned in two petitions to the secretary of state’s office on Thursday in an effort to start the 2024 election process as Sen. Anna Wishart’s (D) reform measure remains stuck in committee.


Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana’s Third Attempt


In Nebraska, proponents of the drug are attempting a third time to have voters decide the matter. They gathered sufficient signatures to get it on the 2020 ballot, but the state Supreme Court disqualified the proposal because of a legal issue with its single subject. They also failed to gather the necessary number of signatures for updated petitions in 2022 as a result of a large loss of essential money.


Co-chair of the NMM campaign, Crista Eggers, stated in a news release the need to consistently petition the government. She emphasized the Legislature’s defiance in the face of tremendous support from more than 80% of Nebraskans across political lines, geographic regions, and age brackets.


“We have consistently come up empty-handed after more than ten years of advocating, educating, and attempting to follow the right channels through our elected leaders in the Unicameral,” Eggers said. “As a result, we will once more turn to voting as our means of advancement.”


Regarding the newly submitted petitions, Senator Wishart confirmed that the language remains the same as in 2022. She mentioned that the Secretary of State’s office would legally review the petitions.


Renewed Efforts and Revised Petitions for 2024 Ballot


The senator’s proposed legislation on medical cannabis underwent a hearing in the Judiciary Committee of the unicameral legislature in February but has not made any progress. She attributes the lack of action to changes in membership and turnover within the committee. A previous bill version faced a filibuster in the Republican-controlled legislature, ultimately leading to its stagnation.


Regarding the 2024 ballot effort, Wishart expressed determination, stating that they would file again. She believes perseverance is vital to success; every setback they encounter only strengthens their resolve.



Wishart also highlighted their experience from the previous year, where they realized they didn’t have to rely solely on a major donor for success. She expressed optimism about their achievements with over a year of collection time. They gathered 180,000 signatures in just three months through a volunteer-led effort with limited resources.


One of the initiatives submitted by the campaign on Thursday aims to ensure legal protection for doctors who recommend cannabis and patients who use and possess it. The initiative focuses on patients and seeks to establish a state statute that exempts them from penalties under state and local law when they possess limited quantities of cannabis for medical purposes with a written recommendation from a healthcare practitioner. Additionally, it allows caregivers to assist qualified patients in these activities.


The second measure proposes the creation of the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be responsible for registering and regulating individuals involved in the possession, manufacturing, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of medical cannabis.


To prevent potential legal obstacles similar to the single-subject challenge that hindered the previous reform effort in 2020, the complementary proposals have been carefully designed to maintain a narrow focus. The aim is to ensure that each initiative addresses a specific subject matter, minimizing the chances of derailment.


Despite the disappointment caused by the Nebraska Supreme Court’s ruling on the single subject issue in 2020, Adam Morfeld, co-chair of NMM and a former Nebraska senator, emphasized that the ruling provided valuable guidance for refiling a new initiative. After thoroughly examining the court’s decision, the campaign has developed two new statutory initiatives that they are confident will meet constitutional requirements.


To secure a spot on the November 2024 ballot, the campaign needs to gather approximately 87,000 valid signatures for each petition and submit them by July 5, 2024. Activists have announced their plan to commence a signature drive at the beginning of June.


Following the setback faced in 2022 regarding medical cannabis, there were initial considerations of pursuing an adult-use legalization initiative. However, the current focus of the strategy seems to be solely on medical marijuana.


Lessons Learned and Ongoing Challenges


There are just three states without a medical cannabis program, including Nebraska. However, the National Conference of State Legislators claims that some states have low-THC programs.


State Senator Anna Wishart speculated that there might have been an error the first time.


She said, “they sold themselves short when we thought we had to wait for a major donor. They fell short by less than 10,000 signatures on the two petitions last year. We accomplished that with volunteers in three months. Imagine what we can achieve in a year and a half.


In 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, petitioners must also collect the signatures of 5% of the registered voters. They attempted to sue over that in the past but were unsuccessful.


Support from Medical Professionals and Patient Advocacy Groups


As a potential treatment for several medical problems, medical marijuana is receiving more and more support from physicians and other healthcare professionals. Medical professionals and patient advocacy organizations have significantly contributed to Nebraska’s current medical cannabis petition campaign. The campaign has received strong support from organizations like the Nebraska Medical Association and regional patient advocacy groups, who have highlighted the potential advantages of cannabis-based medicines for treating patients’ pain and enhancing their quality of life. Their backing gives the petition more authority and informs the public about medical cannabis’s therapeutic potential.


Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana improves their argument for legalization by working with healthcare providers and patient advocacy organizations, highlighting the medical necessity and beneficial effects on patients’ lives. These professionals’ engagement strengthens the campaign’s legitimacy and gives it a powerful voice in promoting compassionate and fact-based healthcare solutions.


Bottom Line

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana is on its third attempt to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska. Despite previous obstacles, the organization remains optimistic and determined in its pursuit. Supported by medical professionals, patient advocacy groups, and a dedicated team of volunteers, they aim to gather the required signatures to secure a place on the 2024 ballot. The proposed initiatives focus on safeguarding doctors and patients and establishing regulations for the medical cannabis industry. While challenges persist, the campaign draws inspiration from past experiences and the unwavering belief in the power of public support. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana continues to advocate for the advancement of medical cannabis, fueling hope for its legalization in Nebraska.





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New York Cannabis: The New True Party of Interest Rule




New York’s release of the revised adult-use rules and regulations has been well-publicized. A key revision that was the source of significant speculation was whether the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Cannabis Control Board (CCB) would revise the True Party of Interest (TPI) definition with respect to ancillary service providers and the monetary limits before TPI status is triggered. And they did!

The revised TPI limits apply to the following parties:

  • Parties with risk sharing or goods and services agreements with the applicant/licensee;
  • Parties that consult and receive flat or hourly compensation from an applicant/licensee under a goods and services agreement; and
  • Goods and services provides that do not have any right to control the applicant/licensee.

Any party that falls under the aforementioned categories does not constitute a TPI as long as the payments in “that calendar year” do not “exceed the greater of”

  • 10% of the gross revenue of the applicant/licensee;
  • 50% of the net profit of the applicant/licensee; or
  • $250,00 from the applicant/licensee.

The key revision was increasing the dollar figure amount from $100,000 to $250,000, which will be particularly relevant to service providers to licensees in their first year(s) of operation, when gross revenue and/or net profit has the potential to be low.

Practically speaking, it will be interesting to see how the OCM actually applies this rule, given that gross revenue and net profit for a calendar year cannot actually be calculated until the end of the calendar year. It would not be surprising to see service providers structure contracts with a base compensation of $250 plus a year-end “true up” based on the licensee’s gross revenue or net profit.

We will keep working through the significant revisions to New York’s adult-use rules and regulations. Stay tuned!

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The Cannabis Correlation – Every $1 Spent on Cannabis Leads to a Drop in Alcohol Sales of $0.75 to $0.85 Says New Canadian Study




weed correlation to booze sales

New Study Finds That Every Dollar Of Cannabis Sold Is Linked to a Reduction in Alcohol Sales

…. A Threat To Big Alcohol?


Big players in the alcohol industry have long been watching the development of legal cannabis with a careful eye, most especially with the launch of recreational cannabis markets in North America and beyond.


While some players in the alcohol industry see cannabis legalization as a threat, others see it as a special opportunity to develop new products and attract a new customer base. Customers themselves are becoming increasingly more educated about the harms of vices once thought as safe and normal – most especially alcohol consumption. The use of marijuana is already seen as normal in today’s society, and a safer substitute to alcohol.


Now, a recent study from Canadian researchers confirms that sales of medical marijuana are linked to a decrease in booze sales. The findings, which were published in the medical journal Health Policy, showed that medical marijuana legalization in Canada in particular may have prompted customers to substitute it for alcohol. The study was led by Professor Michael J. Armstrong of Brock University, who studied the sales of legal cannabis to those of wine, beer, and other liquor from 2015 through 2018 in Canada.

Specifically, he discovered that for every dollar of legal marijuana sold, there was a tie to declines in alcohol sales between 74 to 84 Canadian cents. Prof. Armstrong says the findings are not causative though it does suggest that alcohol is being replaced by cannabis. Additionally, he found that sales of alcohol from 2017 to 2018 were around 1.8% less than they would have been, had Canada not regulated medical cannabis.


“The negative association was robust to several alternative modeling choices,” he writes.


“From an academic perspective, this study found evidence that cannabis on average was a substitute, not a complement, for alcohol in Canada. This suggests cannabis might also have a substitution effect in other countries that legalize it, though that remains to be seen,” says Professor Armstrong in the paper.


“From a public health perspective, the results likewise imply that reductions in alcohol-related health impacts might partly offset the increased cannabis-related health impacts that legalization might bring,” he continues. “Furthermore, medical cannabis presumably improves the health of at least some patients by treating symptoms that alcohol had merely masked,” Armstrong says.


“Finally, from a political perspective, the results could make cannabis legalization slightly less attractive as financial policy but slightly less concerning as public health policy. This might influence legislative decisions in other countries that are considering legalization,” he adds.


Can Marijuana Substitute Alcohol?


Alcohol and marijuana are both mind-altering substances which have been used since ancient times by civilizations around the world for enjoyment. However, they are very different: consuming too much alcohol even just on one occasion or over a long period of time can result in serious health problems.


Alcoholism is a real problem in today’s society. Based on the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 30 million people from ages 12 and up have experienced alcohol use disorder. Considering how widely available and easily accessible alcohol is, and the damage this can cause to families, our bodies, and society as a whole, these figures are downright shocking and scary.


Before discussing the use of marijuana as a substitute for alcohol, we must take note that anyone struggling with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder need to work with a medical professional to wean themselves off safely. Having a mental or physical dependency on alcohol is vastly different from an individual who merely wants to cut down on their drinking. You can also speak with a cannabis-knowledgeable doctor, if medical marijuana is legal in your state, about the possibility of integrating CBD into your therapy. There has been some research suggesting that CBD may indeed be useful for reducing alcohol cravings and helping individuals safely wean themselves off the drug.


That said, cannabis is a much safer substance compared to alcohol in more ways than one.


Alcohol alone is responsible for the deaths of 2.8 million each year around the world. Despite the research and illness we see caused by alcohol today, it is still among the leading causes for death and disability particularly cancer. It has been linked to around 60 chronic and acute diseases including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, breast cancer, dementia, and much more.


On the other hand, marijuana has never killed anyone. You can’t even overdose on cannabis. It’s significantly less addictive and less harmful, though possibilities of dependency still exist, but thousands of people around the world are able to consume cannabis responsibly. You can use pot instead of drinking wine at the end of a stressful day at work, to help you cope with everyday anxiety and depression, or even to help with chronic disease.




We do hope to see more studies verifying that cannabis sales result in less alcohol sales. This is only going to benefit society and our health as a whole.


But Big Alcohol doesn’t have to suffer the economic impact. If you can’t beat em, join em! And that’s what many alcohol companies are doing now: taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the growing trend of increased cannabis intake, by developing cannabis-infused beverages that merge the best of both worlds. Consumers also no longer have to choose between one or the other when you opt for a THC or CBD infused drink.





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