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  • December 9 2013

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    Indiana: Latest Red State To Go ‘Green’

    A majority of Indiana residents believe that marijuana should be legally regulated like alcohol and nearly 80 percent of Hoosiers support taxing it, according to recently released statewide polling data released by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University.

    Fifty-two percent of respondents said that cannabis “should be regulated like alcohol.” Forty-five percent of respondents opposed legalization. Among self-identified Democrats, 64 percent of respondents backed regulation. Forty-nine percent of self-identified Republicans did so.

    Hoosiers support for taxing cannabis was even stronger. Seventy-eight percent of respondents, including strong majorities of both major political parties, answered ‘yes’ to the question, “Should we tax marijuana like alcohol/cigarettes?” Only 19 percent of respondents opposed the idea.

    Under present state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses of under 30 grams are punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Subsequent offenses are classified as felonies, punishable by up to 3 years incarceration.

    Six hundred randomly selected Indiana residents participated in the survey, which has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.

    The Indiana poll is the latest to show growing support for marijuana law reform among so-called ‘Red State’ voters. Recent statewide surveys in Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas have similarly shown majority support for legalization.

    According to an October 2013 nationwide Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, an all-time high.

  • December 9 2013

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    MPP Challenges Drug Czar to Justify Self- Contradicting Statement

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy released an email invitation this past Friday for the first White House Drug Policy Reform Conference in history. The email contained a graphic with a quote from U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske that read, Drug policy reform should be rooted in NEUROSCIENCE – NOT POLITICAL SCIENCE. Now, MPP is asking the office to explain the meaning behind their contradictory statement, since actual neuroscience has shown that marijuana harms the human brain far less than alcohol does.

    For example, in 2005, Researchers at Harvard University reported in the American Journal on Addictions that marijuana use was not associated with structural changes within the brain.

    When compared to control subjects, [marijuana] smokers displayed no significant adjusted differences in volumes of gray matter, white matter, cerebrospinal fluid, or left and right hippocampus. … These findings are consistent with recent literature suggesting that cannabis use is not associated with structural changes within the brain as a whole or the hippocampus in particular.

    Furthermore, according to a 2004 report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

    Heavy drinking may have extensive and far–reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple ‘slips’ in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care.

    Studies that compare the effects of marijuana and alcohol side by side also find that alcohol is more damaging than marijuana. A 2009 study published in the journal Clinical EEG and Neuroscience found:

    Abnormalities have been seen in brain structure volume, white matter quality, and activation to cognitive tasks, even in youth with as little as 1–2 years of heavy drinking and consumption levels of 20 drinks per month, especially if  >4–5 drinks are consumed on a single occasion. Heavy marijuana users show some subtle anomalies too, but generally not the same degree of divergence from demographically similar non-using adolescents.

    Mason Tvert, MPP’s Communications Director and coauthor of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? outlines the Drug Czar’s hypocrisy:

     Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it poses far less harm to the brain than alcohol, The ONDCP has long championed laws that steer adults toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice to use marijuana. If the drug czar is truly committed to prioritizing neuroscience over political science, he should support efforts to make marijuana a legal alternative to alcohol for adults.

    To read more about scientific studies of marijuana and its effects on the human body, visit our Science, Studies, and Research page.

  • December 9 2013

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