Home / Politics / Open thread for night owls: States with legalized marijuana dispensaries see fewer opioid deaths

Open thread for night owls: States with legalized marijuana dispensaries see fewer opioid deaths

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11:  Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The dispensary is one 25 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles fighting to stay open after city prosecutors began notifying 439 medical marijuana dispensaries that they must shut down by June 7.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary

Mother Jones:

[A] growing body of evidence suggests that legal access to medical marijuana could in fact help reduce overdose deaths. The latest study, published by the RAND Corporation this week, found that states that allowed liberal access to marijuana through legally protected dispensaries saw reduced deaths from opioid overdoses. States that legalized the drug but didn’t allow dispensaries didn’t see the same pattern.  

Among states with dispensaries, those that legalized medical marijuana before 2010 saw larger reductions in opioid deaths than those that legalized it afterwards. The authors hypothesize that’s because the late adopters tend to have more stringent rules that make it harder to get marijuana, requiring patients to take additional steps such as registering with the state or repeatedly seeing a doctor to confirm a need for medical marijuana. (The researchers examined state-level data from 1999 to 2013, so weren’t able to gauge the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana altogether.) “The key feature of medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries,” the researchers concluded.

The reason for this, previous research has suggested, is that marijuana can help treat chronic pain, thus reducing the need for opioids.

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On this date at Daily Kos in 2013Kochsman Marco Rubio likely to offer same old, same old energy ideas in State of the Union response:

Rebecca Leber at Think Progress points out that Sen. Marco Rubio may perhaps include something about the need for more dirty energy in the official Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight.

It certainly would be no surprise given that Rubio is one of the five senators who, for his votes, received an A+ last year from Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group founded and funded by the brothers Koch—David and Charles—to ensure, among other things, that nothing substantive on climate change or green energy manages to emerge from the Senate or the House.

Rubio himself got a career total of $32,200 from Koch Industries, $353,891 from the Koch-connected Club for Growth and $252,134 from the oil and gas industries.

While he isn’t as aggressive a climate-change denier as, say, Sen. James “It’s a hoax” Inhofe, Rubio does still deny in his smarmy way as can seen in this exchange hosted by Buzzfeed just a week ago:

Ben Smith: Do you see global warming as a threat to Florida?

Rubio: The climate is always changing, that’s not the question. The question is if man made activity is what’s contributing the most to it. I know people said there’s a significant scientific consensus on that issue, but I’ve actually seen reasonable debate on that principle. 

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.”

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