5 Cannabis Headlines to End the YearIn our last weekly roundup for 2018, Budweiser jumps in the mix, Thailand legalizes medical marijuana, and according to statistics, with legal cannabis, the US border might not need a wall.
Budweiser Manufacturer to Brew Cannabis-Infused Beer (for Science)
The American brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev (owners of Budweiser, Bud Light and Stella Artois among many other beers) announced last Friday their intentions to partner with Canadian marijuana company Tilray. According to their press release, their goal is to research non-alcoholic beverages infused with THC and CBD.
This research partnership will bring the two industry leaders together that are expected to invest up to $50 million, and there are no plans of commercialization (for the foreseeable future). In any case, their research will be conducted in Canadian laboratories. According to Kyle Norrington, president of Labatt Breweries, the companies intend “to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities.”
Medical Cannabis Approved on Christmas Day in Thailand
On Tuesday the 25th, the Thai junta-appointed parliament voted to approve the use of cannabis for medical purposes, amending the Narcotic Act of 1979. Coming as a surprise to many, as the SE Asia region is among the strictest in the world when it comes to drug use and possession.
The vote took place after a supplemental parliamentary session before the New Year holidays. The chairman of the drafting team, Somchai Sawangkarn said to reporters that "this vote is a New Year's gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people.”
Thai patients will need to have a prescription to carry and buy medicinal cannabis, while production will be tightly regulated. Recreational marijuana is still illegal throughout the country.
Marijuana Legalization Lowered Smuggling Rates in the US
With more US states implementing a legal framework for the marijuana supply chain, smuggling rates over the US southern border have dropped according to an analysis from the Cato Institute. “State-level marijuana legalization has significantly undercut marijuana smuggling," wrote David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at Cato. Bier explained that based on Border Patrol seizure statistics, smuggling had fallen as much as 78% over five years. “Because marijuana was the primary drug smuggled between ports of entry, where Border Patrol surveils, the value of the agency’s seizures overall — on a per-agent basis — has declined 70 percent,” he wrote.
Legalization supporters will be happy to hear this news, as it further strengthens their claims that consumers would prefer to buy from licensed producers, rather than the black market. The institute goes as far as to explain why a border wall between the US and Mexico might not be such a good idea. “State marijuana legalization starting in 2014 did more to reduce marijuana smuggling than the doubling of Border Patrol agents, or the construction of hundreds of miles of border fencing did from 2003 to 2009,” they explain.
Study: Teen smoking rates dropped after Washington legalized marijuana
A new study that was released on Saturday claims that teen marijuana use in Washington state fell since recreational cannabis became legal back in 2012. The researchers used a pool of data obtained from the Washington Healthy Youth Surveys between the periods 2010-2012 and 2014-2016.
They found that marijuana use among eighth-graders fell from 10% to 7% between the two periods, while 10th-grade student use dropped from 20% to 18%. However, the researchers at the RAND Corporation were quick to clarify that there is not enough evidence yet to determine the long-term effects of legalization.
"These findings do not provide a final answer about how legalization ultimately may influence youth marijuana usage," commented Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center. "A variety of factors may influence the behavior of adolescents, and those factors are likely to influence behaviors in different ways over time," she mentioned in a press release following the study.
Massachusetts Proposes Law to Protect Workers from Being Fired for Private Use
Although recreational cannabis in Boston is legal for adult use, it is still legal for employers to fire workers for using it, even outside work hours or even after the effects have worn off. According to a report by Boston Globe, the bill introduced by Dem. St.Louis Senator Jason Lewis would treat cannabis like alcohol. That means that if an employee showed up to work intoxicated, they could be fired, but not for any other reason. As marijuana remains illegal by US law, federal contractors are exempt of this status.