An analysis by the SJ Mercury News found that California has earned more than $5.7 in tax revenue since California legalized recreational cannabis sales in 2017, and the only significant negative result of legalization is an increase in medical emergencies attributed to cannabis.
“It’s possible that people are much more likely to go to the ER (or take their kids in) for cannabis-related issues when they think they won’t be arrested (or lose custody) for doing so, or are less likely to be stigmatized by the medical professionals they encounter,” posits NORML’s Political Director Morgan Fox. “This could very well be responsible for a significant portion of any increases we see post-legalization. Public education in terms of storage, titration, mode of ingestion, and general responsibility goes a long way toward making sure fewer people end up in the ER.” Seniors are one group that have been having adverse reactions, as they are unused to stronger forms of cannabis.
Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer thinks that the increased use of edibles is greatly to blame, noting, “It’s very easy to accidentally consume and/or over dose on them, and they weren’t nearly as widely available before legalization.” Recent news stories confirm this idea.
Cannabis overdoses are not fatal, and generally not very serious; they tend to get overtreated in the hospital, e.g. with intubation (in rare instances with very young children). Those treated in the ER for adverse reactions to cannabis are typically treated with fluids, and sometimes benzodiazepines, prior to being released. “This is hardly a scenario that shares similarities with other toxic poisonings, which can require stomach pumping and may result in organ failure and death,” says NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. Home remedies for cannabis over dose include having a sugary snack or drink, taking CBD, or holding pepper under the tongue.
Other positive aspects of legalization noted in the article are a decrease in marijuana arrests and past marijuana convictions being expunged, with no significant increase in use by adult Californians or youths in our state.
At long last, Sacramento is being called on to abolish California’s Research Advisory Panel (RAP-C, previously known as CRAP), a bureaucratic agency charged with approving every research study in the state using controlled substances, including cannabis. Researchers charge the agency has been delaying valuable research into psychedelics and other drugs.
Cal NORML has long called for abolishing the agency, which derailed a study of medical marijuana by clearing the way for Marinol instead during the 1980s. No other state has a similar agency, which duplicates the work of existing federal agencies such as NIH, FDA and DEA.
Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer has updated his paper on The Forgotten Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California.