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Support For Marijuana Legalization Reaches Record High Of 70 Percent, Including Strong Majority Of Republicans, Gallup Poll Shows



Support for cannabis legalization has reached a new record high nationally, with seven in 10 Americans — including a sizable majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents — now backing an end to prohibition, according to a Gallup poll.

The survey, released on Wednesday, shows that support for legalization is at its highest level since the firm started tracking public opinion on the issue in 1969, with majorities of every demographic polled in favor of the reform. Overall, seventy percent of respondents say they back legalization, a two percentage point increase from last year. Just 29 percent of Americans think cannabis should remain illegal.

Notably, Gallup found “no difference in support for legalization” between people living in states that have already enacted the reform and those living in states where cannabis is only medically legal or altogether criminalized. “Seventy percent of adults in both groups are in favor,” the firm said.

There’s majority support for legalization across all genders, age categories, races, education levels, regions, party affiliations, and ideology.

“The nation has reached a broad consensus on legalizing marijuana, with a full seven in 10 now supportive,” Gallup said. “Not only do most U.S. adults favor it, but so do majorities of all major political and ideological subgroups.”

“Although some health organizations and political commentators have raised concerns about the medical risks of marijuana, this hasn’t blunted the public’s desire for legalization thus far,” the analysis says. “For now, the high level of support among younger adults suggests national backing will only expand in the years ahead, likely resulting in more states, and perhaps the federal government, moving to legalize it.”

Support has gradually increased over recent decades, and it’s grown dramatically as more states started to enact legalization before seeming to level off at 68 percent from 2019 to 2022.

The latest poll shows that 79 percent of those aged 18-34 back legalizing marijuana, compared to 71 percent of those 34-54 and 64 percent of those 55 and older.

Democrats were most likely to support legalization at a record 87 percent, followed by independents (69 percent) and Republicans (55 percent). Support among Republicans has increased by four percentage points since 2022.

The poll — which involved interviews with 1,009 Americans from October 2-23—signals that, despite the overwhelming popularity of marijuana legalization among the public, there’s still room to expand that majority opinion.

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

For historical context, when Gallup started surveying Americans about legalization in 1969, just 12 percent of respondents said they opposed prohibition.

Despite majority support for legalization among Republicans, Gallup pointed out in a report earlier this year that a partisan divide has widened over the past two decades as Democrats have been even quicker to embrace the issue.

That’s consistent with a broader trend that the firm identified in the report, showing how partisan gaps have widened on various issues, including those where there’s still majority support across party lines. Marijuana legalization still sees a smaller divide compared to many of the other hot-button issues like global warming, gun control, and abortion.

Still, a series of other polls that were released earlier this year similarly show that most Americans are ready to end federal marijuana prohibition, regardless of party affiliation.

While 24 states have now enacted adult-use legalization—in addition to the vast majority that authorize some form of medical cannabis—federal reform has lagged far behind the public. GOP lawmakers in particular have generally resisted the issue despite the growing bipartisan support among their constituencies.

Voters in the swing state of Ohio were the latest to approve legalization at the ballot on Tuesday. And based on the outcome of a state Supreme Court case, the critical presidential election state of Florida could also decide on the issue next year.

This article originally appeared on Marijuana Moment.

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12 cannabis brands and organizations supporting veterans




Many military veterans are barred from accessing medical cannabis due to its illegality at the federal level. While there are some promising studies and many personal anecdotes on the positive effects of weed on PTSD, veterans with no safe or legal access to the plant may never receive the care they need or may even face criminal charges. 

To counter the deep-rooted stigma still surrounding the use of cannabis, especially by those who’ve served in the US military, many organizations led by veterans are advocating for reform, supporting open access to cannabis for veterans and for all. 

Below, find 12 brands and organizations supporting veterans and advocating for legal cannabis.

Weed for Warriors Project (WFWP) – CA

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The Weed for Warriors Project is a social justice organization urging change on the federal level by advocating for the use of compassionate alternative care for veterans. Volunteers with the Weed for Warriors Project are dedicated to educating lawmakers and providing support to veterans seeking legal access to cannabis.

Get involved here and support the WFWP.

Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC) – CA

Proceeds from the Helmand Valley Growers Co. (HGVC) go directly to the nonprofit Battle Brothers Foundation, where veterans are placed in individual and community-based mentorship programs to foster personal growth and community bonding. Veteran and Purple Heart recipient Bryan Buckley founded both organizations. 

Donate directly to the Battle Brothers Foundation or offer support by purchasing cannabis products from HGVC.

HVGC was the first veteran-owned brand to be on-boarded onto the Weedmaps TEAL program

Veterans for Holistic Alternatives (VAHA) – LA

Based in Louisiana and founded by veteran Gary Hess, the Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives is an organization advocating for open access to medical cannabis for veterans. Through educational outreach, volunteer support, and policy reform, VAHA aims to empower veterans and provide resources for accessing medical cannabis. 

Donate here and support VAHA. 

Veterans Cannabis Coalition (VCC) – CA

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Through research, reform, and restoration, the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, founded by veteran Eric Goepel, aims to end the negative stigma surrounding cannabis. Advocacy, education, and policy initiatives are all part of the organization’s efforts to get veterans full and legal access to medical cannabis nationwide. 

Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA) – CA

The Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance is a team of California-based military veterans advocating for access to cannabis. It grows cannabis for its fellow veterans, and through the company’s Veteran Compassion Program, SCVA provides free lab-tested cannabis to more than 100 veterans every month.

Any veteran with proof of veteran status (DD214 or VA Card) and a valid doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis can receive a donation of medical cannabis products at the SCVA dispensary in Soquel, California.

CNA Stores – MA

With dispensaries in Haverhill and Amesbury, Massachusetts, veteran-owned CNA Stores support East Coast veterans through donations to the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC). The organization provides continuous care for veterans and their families by addressing housing needs, community support services, and mental health support. 

Donate here and support the VNEOC.

Brothers Mark Cannabis – CA

Courtesy of Brothers Mark Cannabis

Founded and operated by US military veterans, Brother’s Mark Cannabis advocates for access to medical cannabis as a means to quell symptoms of combat-related PTSD and other service-connected disabilities. 

The brand offers flower, concentrates, and vape cartridges, and proceeds from sales go to the non-profit Veterans Cannabis Group, which provides support and resources related to veteran care, job placement and networking opportunities, and education about all things cannabis.

Veterans Walk and Talk (VWAT) – CA

Fierce advocates for social justice, veterans rights, and cannabis and psychedelic research, the Veterans Walk and Talk was founded in 2016 with a mission to connect veterans with nature and community, giving space for healing and reflection. 

Every month, the VWAT holds community outreach events, veteran one-on-one psychedelic and cannabis walk and talk therapy, and group hikes around Southern California, with additional chapters in Sacramento, CA and Oklahoma. 

Show your support by becoming a member.

Trulieve – AZ, FL, WV, and GA

Trulieve recently partnered with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a non-profit that provides a range of personal, employment, and medical services to veterans and their families.

Through this partnership, Trulieve will be supporting DAV in multiple states:

  • Florida: The brand will contribute $1 to a DAV donation fund for every TruSalute pre-roll produced in November, with expanded discounts for veterans. Select stores will also host patient certification events on Veterans Day with doctors on site.
  • Arizona: Customers in Arizona will be able to support DAV by rounding up their purchase total as a donation, with expanded discounts for veterans.
  • West Virginia: Expanded discounts for veterans.
  • Georgia: Select stores will host patient certification events on Veterans Day with doctors on site.

Donate directly to DAV — this year, friends of DAV are matching all Veterans Day donations up to $75,000.

Charlie’s – AZ

Named after founder Quinn’s sweet dog, Charlie’s flower cones are not only loaded with award-winning flower, but sales of them help benefit the non-profit Soldier’s Best Friend — also founded by Quinn — which pairs veterans with either their own dog or a dog adopted by the non-profit from a local shelter. They then provide training that includes basic obedience, public outings, and tasks specific to each veteran’s PTSD or TBI symptoms. 

The website states, “Once the dog is fully trained in all of these skills, it will be qualified as a Service Dog or classified as a Therapeutic Companion Dog.”

Donate directly to Soldier’s Best Friend or show your support by purchasing from Charlie’s.

SBF is a beneficiary of the MITA’s 3rd Annual Winter Charity Golf Tournament sponsored by Weedmaps.

Veteran Access Program (VAP) – MI

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Based in Michigan, the Veteran Access Program helps bridge the gap between veterans and medical cannabis by providing access to the plant and pairing patients with dispensaries. The program received permission from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) to provide eligible products to veterans by “pennying out” cannabis products through METRC, a cannabis compliance tracking system. 

From their website, the program also accommodates veterans who are unable to leave their homes, “alternate accommodations such as licensed delivery will be used to ensure access to for veterans unable to visit a provisioning center. Each veteran will receive an allotment of licensed, tested cannabis products that have made their way through the proper regulatory channels.”

If you’re a veteran, you can apply here

Xtreme Couture GI Foundation (XCGIF) – NV

Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and created by six-time UFC Champion and army veteran Randy “the Natural Couture,” the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation was formed to raise money and awareness to assist combat veterans and their families struggling with financial burdens as they return to civilian life.

XCGIF runs four programs that support Veterans:

  • Support and Assistance: XCGIF provides financial assistance to veterans in need via grants funded by donations — 100% of donations go to veterans.
  • Transitional Mental Health: XCGIF provides mental health support to veterans and their families by funding therapy sessions and plant medicine retreats. It also facilitates opportunities for veterans to gather in community.
  • Physical Wellness: With Merging Vets and Players (MVP), XCGIF provides weekly workout sessions and “huddles” where veterans can work on their physical and mental fitness and spend time in the community with their brothers and sisters.
  • Troop Morale Visits: Randy travels the globe, spending time with troops at home and abroad. He also makes an annual visit to the USO Warrior and Family Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Donate here to support XCGIF.

If you’re a veteran needing support, reach out to XCGIF here.

This article was reviewed by Jason Moore-Brown, Vice President of Veterans Advocacy and Engagement and Weedmaps’ first Veteran hire at its inception in 2008. Jason was a Captain in the US Army and GWOT Veteran prior to joining Weedmaps. 

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Traffic Death Rates Fell In States That Legalized Marijuana, New Study Finds, While Those That Kept Criminalization Saw ‘Slight Increase’




States that legalized marijuana in 2016 saw meaningful declines in traffic fatalities during the years immediately following the policy change, according to a new study by Quartz Advisor. Takeaways were less clear, however, over a longer period of time that included years the report describes as “anomalies” nationwide.

Ultimately, the paper concludes, motor vehicle safety “should not be a significant concern for marijuana legalization initiatives,” especially when measured against alcohol.

“As of yet, studies have failed to show that legalization of cannabis has resulted in any significant increase in traffic fatalities in the places where it has been legalized,” it says. “However, the same cannot be said for alcohol, an intoxicant that remains legal, widely available, and deeply ingrained in our culture.”

In states that legalized marijuana, “traffic fatalities declined or remained the same in the three years that followed, compared to a slight increase in states where it remained illegal.”

The findings, which are not peer-reviewed, examined traffic fatality data from four states that legalized adult-use cannabis in 2016: California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Quartz Advisor then compared those states’ vehicle death rates to the national average as well as to rates in five states where marijuana remained illegal during that period: Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

In the three years following the change, the report says, none of the four legalized states saw an increase in traffic deaths. Most, in fact, saw declines.

“Three of four the four states saw a significant decrease in vehicle deaths over that span,” the paper says, “while the rate in Maine showed no change. Massachusetts saw the biggest drop, as rates fell 28.6 percent in the three years following legalization.”

Combined, the four states that legalized marijuana saw an 11.6 percent drop in traffic death rates from 2016 to 2019. That’s a sharper decline than the national average, which fell 10.6 percent over the same period.

That’s a far better outcome than in the five states the report examined where marijuana remained illegal, which together experienced a 1.7 percent increase in their combined traffic death rate from 2016 to 2019.

What might seem like a clear picture, however, gets muddier when researchers expanded the analysis to include data from 2020 and 2021, the most recent years for which National Safety Council (NSC) numbers were available. Over that period of time, the vehicle death rate in fact rose in states that legalized marijuana, although less than in the U.S. as a whole. The states where cannabis was illegal, meanwhile, saw vehicle fatality rates dip.

“Among the states that legalized marijuana in 2016, the vehicle death rate increased by 6.0 percent between 2016 and 2021,” the report says. “While this is an increase, it is slightly less of an increase than the national average, which saw a 6.2 percent increase in the traffic fatality rate over the same period. The vehicle death rate dropped by an average of 0.7 percent in the five states that have not legalized cannabis during this period.”

Why consider ignoring two entire years of data? The report explains:

“In many ways, 2020 and 2021 were anomalies, and this remains true in the vehicular accident trends. After decades of declining accident rates in the U.S., traffic fatalities picked up in 2020 and stayed high through 2021. The U.S. as a whole saw traffic fatality rates spike 18.9 percent from 2019 to 2021. States that legalized marijuana in 2016 saw a similar increase of 19.9 percent. States that have not legalized—and are notably more rural than ones that did—saw the vehicular death rate fall 2.3 percent over that period.”

“Because of this, we thought it was important to see what rates looked like with 2020 and 2021 removed from the data set,” it continues. “And it turns out, they look quite different.”

Quartz Advisor called the set of observations “interesting and nuanced—but ultimately limited.” So the publication talked to Judi Watters, public information and consumer outreach for the Maine Bureau of Insurance, who cited a Casualty Actuarial Society report from December 2022 that examined data from the U.S. and Canada from 2016 to 2019.

“The tests for the decriminalization effect on fatalities failed to detect a statistically significant change,” the 2022 report says about its U.S. findings. Similarly, the analysis “showed no statistically significant changes in the average cost per claim and claim frequency after marijuana legalization in Canada.”

The new Quartz Advisor report says that “while there is no evidence to suggest that legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana makes roads more dangerous, that is not to say that it is safe to drive while under the influence of cannabis.” It references a 2010 meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Addictions that found marijuana “causes impairment in every performance area that can be reasonably connected with safe driving of a vehicle.”

Oddly, however, that doesn’t always seem to make driving behavior commensurately more dangerous.

The 2022 Casualty Actuarial Study found that while marijuana use does affect driving, “the behavior is not always riskier; for example, slower speeds and longer following distances of impaired drivers have been reported.”

The American Journal of Addictions report includes a similar caveat:

“Surprisingly, given the alarming results of cognitive studies, most marijuana-intoxicated drivers show only modest impairments on actual road tests,” it says. “Experienced smokers who drive on a set course show almost no functional impairment under the influence of marijuana.”

Looming over popular concerns about cannabis-impaired driving is the fact that there exists no reliable test to screen for cannabis impairment specifically. Standard drug tests make it difficult or impossible to know whether someone is under the influence of marijuana or consumed it days or even weeks ago.

This summer, a report in Congress for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) bill said that the House Appropriations Committee “continues to support the development of an objective standard to measure marijuana impairment and a related field sobriety test to ensure highway safety.”

In February, the head of the American Trucking Association (ATA) discussed the problem with a congressional committee, arguing that lawmakers need to “step up” to address the conflict between state and federal cannabis policy as the industry faces shortages.

Tens of thousands of commercial truckers are testing positive for marijuana as part of the federally mandated screenings, data from the Department of Transportation (DOT) show.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) sent a letter to DOT last year seeking an update on the status of a federal report into research barriers that are inhibiting the development of a standardized test for marijuana impairment on the roads. The department is required to complete the report by November under a large-scale infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed.

Experts and advocates have emphasized that evidence isn’t clear on the relationship between THC concentrations in blood and impairment.

A study published in 2019, for example, concluded that those who drive at the legal THC limit—which is typically between two to five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood—were not statistically more likely to be involved in an accident compared to people who haven’t used marijuana.

Separately, the Congressional Research Service in 2019 determined that while “marijuana consumption can affect a person’s response times and motor performance … studies of the impact of marijuana consumption on a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash have produced conflicting results, with some studies finding little or no increased risk of a crash from marijuana usage.”

Another study from last year found that smoking CBD-rich marijuana had “no significant impact” on driving ability, despite the fact that all study participants exceeded the per se limit for THC in their blood.

This article originally appeared on Marijuana Moment.

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Jersey City’s Lawsuit Over Off-Duty Weed Use Is A ‘Waste Of Taxpayer Dollars’




The New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police is lashing out against a newly filed lawsuit by Jersey City officials that seeks to undo a state policy that generally allows police officers to use marijuana while off duty, calling the legal challenge “an unfortunate waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Jersey City and its public safety director, James Shea, sued the state in federal court on Monday, arguing that the policy, released by the state attorney general’s office in February, is preempted by federal law.

The lawsuit, the fraternal organization said in a press release, risks undermining what’s otherwise clear guidance from state officials.

“The law of the State of New Jersey and the guidance from the Office of the Attorney General clearly provides that police officers may use cannabis while off duty but are prohibited from being under the influence of cannabis while engaged in the performance of their duties,” it says. “The members of the New Jersey State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police abide by the law and will continue to do so. Jersey City’s attempt to muddy these clear directives through frivolous litigation is an unfortunate waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Jersey City’s lawsuit cites a federal statute that prevents people who use marijuana from acquiring firearms or ammunition. It argues city officials would be forced to violate federal law under the state policy, “because they would be required, at minimum, to provide ammunition to officers who they know are users of cannabis.”

The suit also says that police who use cannabis are themselves committing felonies because they “must possess and receive a firearm and ammunition in order to be a police officers [sic].”

A plain reading of the federal firearms policy, however, suggests a different standard applies when firearms are distributed by government agencies.

Here’s the federal policy for people seeking to purchase or possess firearms with respect to marijuana: 

“It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person…is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance…”

“It shall be unlawful for any person…who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance…to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”

And here’s the relevant exception that could apply to local law enforcement officers: 

“The provisions of this chapter, except for sections 922(d)(9) and 922(g)(9) and provisions relating to firearms subject to the prohibitions of section 922(p), shall not apply with respect to the transportation, shipment, receipt, possession, or importation of any firearm or ammunition imported for, sold or shipped to, or issued for the use of, the United States or any department or agency thereof or any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof.”

The Jersey City Police Department has terminated several officers over positive THC metabolite tests and has stood firm against the state’s policy permitting off-duty cannabis use. But two administrative law judges, most recently in August, have ruled against the city and ordered the reinstatement of two fired police officers, with backpay.

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

As Jersey City officials emphasized at a press conference Tuesday, no test is available to reliably show whether an officer is impaired by cannabis during work. Allowing law enforcement officers to use marijuana at all, officials said, puts public safety at risk and exposes the city to legal liability.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (D), who is running for governor, said on social media that there’s “no way to confirm whether cannabis was used an hour, a day, or week before a shift.”

He added that the city’s lawsuit cites “the same federal law that Hunter Biden was indicted under with regards to firearms,” referring to President Joe Biden’s son, who is facing federal charges related to allegedly possessing a gun while also being a consumer of cocaine.

The question of gun ownership and marijuana use is one that’s worked its way through federal courts in recent years, although rulings have reached different conclusions.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit heard oral arguments in a case around gun ownership by medical marijuana patients. In that matter, plaintiffs are appealing a lower court judge’s ruling that upheld the federal ban.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, however, ruled in August that the federal ban on firearms by cannabis users is unconstitutional. A disagreement between the two circuit courts could lead the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue.

The Department of Justice has advised the Eleventh Circuit that it feels the Fifth Circuit ruling was “incorrectly decided,” and at oral argument asserted that “there are some reasons to be uncertain about the foundations” of that decision.

Some district courts have also ruled against the federal prohibition.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ruled in February that the ban prohibiting people who use marijuana from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, with the judge stating that the federal government’s justification for upholding the law is “concerning.”

In the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, a judge ruled in April that banning people who use marijuana from possessing firearms is unconstitutional—and it said that the same legal principle also applies to the sale and transfer of guns, too.

Shortly before the Eleventh Circuit hearing, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reportedly sent a letter to Arkansas officials saying that the state’s recently enacted law permitting medical cannabis patients to obtain concealed carry gun licenses “creates an unacceptable risk,” and could jeopardize the state’s federally approved alternative firearm licensing policy.

After Minnesota’s governor signed a legalization bill into law in May, the agency issued a reminder emphasizing that people who use cannabis are barred from possessing and purchasing guns and ammunition “until” federal prohibition ends.

In 2020, ATF issued an advisory specifically targeting Michigan that requires gun sellers to conduct federal background checks on all unlicensed gun buyers because it said the state’s cannabis laws had enabled “habitual marijuana users” and other disqualified individuals to obtain firearms illegally.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Hunter Biden—who has been indicted on a charge of buying a gun in 2018 at a time when he disclosed that he was an active user of crack cocaine—have previously cited the court ruling on the unconstitutionality of the federal ban, arguing that it applies to their client’s case as well.

Republican congressional lawmakers have filed two bills so far this session that focus on gun and marijuana policy.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, filed legislation in May to protect the Second Amendment rights of people who use marijuana in legal states, allowing them to purchase and possess firearms that they’re currently prohibited from having under federal law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has committed to attaching that legislation to a bipartisan marijuana banking bill that advanced out of committee last month and is pending floor action.

Meanwhile, Mast is also cosponsoring a separate bill from Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) this session that would more narrowly allow medical cannabis patients to purchase and possess firearms.

This article originally appeared on Marijuana Moment.

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