Cancer Research Fundraiser In Honor Of Clifford ‘Uncle Cliffy’ Robinson Reaches Its Goal!
We did it!
Thanks to a number of generous donations, media coverage, and social media shares by supporters the Uncle Cliffy team met its fundraising goal! All donations will go towards supporting cancer research.
The Uncle Cliffy team would like to express our gratitude towards all that supported this effort. Cliff’s life touched a lot of people, and that is reflected in the outpouring of support for this fundraiser.
For those that are able to join, the Uncle Cliffy team is also participating in the ‘50 Mile Resilience Challenge’ to support cancer research. For more information about the challenge, and to donate to cancer research in honor of Clifford Robinson, click this link here.
Clifford Robinson was diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma in March of 2019. Unfortunately, Robinson lost his year and a half long battle on August 29, 2020. Cliff is no longer with us physically, however, his spirit will be with us forever and his legacy will endure.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 77,000 people are diagnosed annually with lymphoma in the U.S., with nearly 20,000 dying from the condition. It is one of the more common forms of cancer among children, and there is no known cure. As a society, we must step up to fund research to help improve treatment options as well as work to find a cure for lymphoma.
‘Uncle Cliffy’ as Clifford Robinson was commonly known, played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 18 years. Prior to being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers Robinson played at the University of Connecticut where he led the Huskies to an NIT championship in 1988. Robinson is a member of UConn’s All-Century Men’s Basketball Team and his number ’00’ was retired by UConn and hangs in the rafters at the Gampel Pavilion.
Robinson was highly regarded for his versatility and revolutionized the game of basketball. During his 18-year NBA career, Robinson was an All-Star, Sixth Man of the Year, scored nearly 20,000 points, and was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive team multiple times. Clifford Robinson is the only player in NBA history to have over 1,300 steals, 1,300 blocks, and 1,000 three-pointers in their career. Robinson’s teams made the playoffs 17 out of the 18 seasons that he played in the NBA. Cliff was a nightmare for his opponents on the court and loved by his teammates.
Clifford was passionate about giving back. He supported many different charitable organizations using his notoriety to raise awareness and money for causes dear to his heart. Robinson’s vast circle of family and friends stretched coast to coast. His warm and infectious energy made everyone in his presence feel very special and his passing leaves a void in so many lives. Please join Team Cliffy in honoring Cliff by continuing to help raise funds to fight cancer!
Ty Outlaw’s Situation Is A Classic Example Of Sports Cannabis Stigma
News broke this week that Virginia Tech guard/forward Ty Outlaw had been charged with a cannabis crime after law enforcement served a search warrant on his residence in Virginia and found cannabis during the search. Virginia Tech is currently in the NCAA tournament and is scheduled to play top-seeded Duke today.
For most of this week, it was thought that Ty Outlaw would not be able to play in the game due to the cannabis charge. However, it was confirmed yesterday that Outlaw will be able to play in the game after having taken and passed a drug test.
Ty Outlaw’s status should have never been up in the air to begin with. Cannabis prohibition is a harmful policy that perpetuates institutional racism, whether it’s in sports or outside of sports, and Mr. Outlaw’s situation is an unfortunate example of that.
As details surrounding the cannabis charge emerged, things became progressively more ridiculous. For starters, Mr. Outlaw was not even present when the warrant was served in Virginia and was actually across the country in California with his team at the time.
Law enforcement served a search warrant at his residence in response to a ‘disturbance’ and after finding cannabis present, for some reason decided to charge Ty Outlaw with possessing the cannabis found. It’s a bizarre use of prosecutorial discretion, to say the least.
What was also bizarre was the ‘solution’ that Virginia Tech came up with in order to determine Outlaw’s eligibility for what can only be described as the most important game of Outlaw’s life. Virginia Tech made Outlaw take a drug test, and since he passed it, he is able to play. Outlaw still faces prosecution in Virginia.
It begs the question, what if Outlaw had not passed the drug test? Would he have been prevented from playing today? Ty Outlaw’s fate should not have been decided by whether or not he had THC metabolites in his system. It’s possible that someone can fail a drug test for THC from simply being around secondhand cannabis smoke.
If Mr. Outlaw had been prevented from playing today for having THC metabolites in his system his situation would have been an even bigger injustice than it already was. The fact of the matter is that Ty Outlaw is a victim of Virginia’s harmful cannabis prohibition law.
In Virginia, African-Americans are arrested at nearly 3 times the rate for cannabis as are Caucasians, despite usage rates being roughly the same. Even worse, that disparity is increasing. Cannabis prohibition in Virginia is a clear form of institutional racism, and the NCAA perpetuates that when it uses cannabis arrests to punish players.
As previously stated, Ty Outlaw gets to play today, which is good news for him and his team. He is an invaluable part of the Virginia Tech basketball program and the Uncle Cliffy crew wishes him the best. However, Outlaw is not in the clear yet. In addition to still facing prosecution in Virginia, he likely faces ongoing stigma.
As they too often do, members of sports media jumped to conclusions when news broke about Outlaw and they took a position that is on the wrong side of history. He was condemned and painted as ‘letting down his team’ by members of sports media who unfairly made him out to be some type of bum.
Ty Outlaw is 23 years old. He is of legal age to consume legal cannabis in 10 states and Washington D.C. He is also of legal age to consume legal cannabis in two countries (Canada and Uruguay). Yet his worth was diminished by sports media and his fate was decided by a drug test, despite the fact that he can be a legal consumer in those places.
“I have been personally charged with a cannabis offense for cannabis that was not mine in my past, and had to deal with the unfair stigma that resulted from it. It’s nothing that I would want to wish on anyone. Hopefully Mr. Outlaw overcomes the unfair legal issue that he is now facing and is able to move on with his life. He is a talented young man with a lot of life ahead of him, and he should be measured by his skills and moral character, and not whether he uses a plant that has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol.” Clifford Robinson said.
What will it take for the NCAA, sports media, and the greater sports community to establish a consistently sane approach to the topic of cannabis rather than the current approach of embracing reefer madness? What happened to Ty Outlaw is shameful and it should never happen to anyone ever again.
(featured image via SI.com)
The NBA’s Cannabis Policy Is More Harmful Than Some Fans Think
Multiple polls have found that an overwhelming number of National Basketball Association (NBA) fans support ending cannabis prohibition in the NBA. But unfortunately, not all fans agree with that policy change. Some fans still oppose cannabis reform in the league, citing various reasons as to why they feel the way that they do.
One reason that some NBA fans offer up as justification for their opposition to cannabis reform in the league is that ‘the NBA’s cannabis policy is not too harsh’ in their opinion. The Uncle Cliffy team respectfully disagrees. Players that have been recently suspended for cannabis use such as Monta Ellis, Reggie Bullock, Nerlens Noel, and Thabo Sefolosha would likely also disagree.
As the Uncle Cliffy team has pointed out before, when the NBA suspends players for cannabis everyone loses, including the league itself. What drives the NBA’s business model is the games that players compete in. When players are taken out of competition for consuming a plant that is 114 times safer than alcohol, the NBA’s product suffers, in addition to the harm that the suspended players have to endure themselves.
NBA players that are suspended for cannabis use are not just harmed monetarily via the direct lost wages from the games that they were prevented from competing in. The players are also harmed in many other ways that cannabis opponents often try to gloss over:
- Public shaming
- Locked out of future coaching opportunities
- Lost endorsement deals
- Lost future broadcasting opportunities
- Less recognition for accomplishments
- Lower future contracts
The NBA’s current cannabis policy does not include any exceptions for medical cannabis use. As of this blog post, the U.S. Library of Medicine returns 28,501 results for the search term ‘marijuana.’ That is considerably more results than for a search for studies revolving around Tylenol (22,155 studies). Cannabis is medicine. The NBA needs to recognize that fact and have some compassion for its players.
No one is saying that NBA players should be allowed to show up to work under the influence of cannabis. No one is saying that NBA players should be allowed to transport cannabis across state or international borders. No one is saying that NBA players should receive special treatment. What advocates are saying is that the NBA should treat cannabis like it does alcohol and let players consume cannabis responsibly if they choose to do so.
NBA players should be measured by their abilities and moral character, and not measured by the amount of THC metabolites in their system. The NBA is obviously on the wrong side of history with its current cannabis policy. It’s time for that to change. It’s time to free the plant.
Severe Racial Disparities In Cannabis Arrests Continue In NYC
Cannabis prohibition has a disproportionate impact on people of color. A prime example of that can be found in arrest data in New York City. Below is more information about what is currently going on in New York City (which is a situation that is obviously unacceptable) via our friends at the Drug Policy Alliance:
A major investigation by the New York Times found continued racial disparities in marijuana enforcement and arrests in every neighborhood in the City.
The Times found, “Across the city, black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people over the past three years. Hispanic people were arrested at five times the rate of white people. In Manhattan, the gap is even starker: Black people there were arrested at 15 times the rate of white people.”
The Times also debunked the NYPD explanation for the disparities, which the police attribute to more 311 and 911 complaints in certain neighborhoods.
“New York’s marijuana arrest crusade is causing significant harms to the City’s most vulnerable communities and has long been used as a justification for the hyper-policing of communities of color,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “NYPD is funneling tens of thousands of New Yorkers into the maze of the criminal justice system every year and putting people at risk of deportation, losing custody of their children, and barring them from employment and housing – all for nothing more than a small amount of marijuana.”
“Given New York’s embarrassing history as the marijuana arrest capital of the world, we must focus on repairing the harms of prohibition and ending the biased policing practices that have ruined the lives of so many young Black and Latino New Yorkers. Ultimately, the best way to address the disparities and challenges posed by prohibition is to create a system to tax and regulate marijuana that will reinvest in communities that have been most harmed by the marijuana arrest crusade,” Frederique continued.
DPA has consistently documented the NYPD’s racist marijuana enforcement over the past decade, including the release of multiple reports.
DPA is currently leading a campaign, Start Smart New York, to pass marijuana legalization in New York, with a focus on racial, social and economic justice.
Last week, Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger were joined by organizations and groups dedicated to criminal justice reform, civil rights, and public health as they stood in support of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), a bill that would legalize the production, distribution, and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. The bill would effectively end marijuana prohibition in New York State and would create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
The legislation also ensures tax revenue generated from marijuana legalization is put to use repairing communities devastated by harsh enforcement of prohibition by directing revenue to fund job training, adult education, youth development programming, establish or expand community centers, bolster re-entry services for the formerly incarcerated, and otherwise support community-focused programming in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war, in addition to education, public health, and drug treatment.
The NFL’s Denial Of A Medical Cannabis Exemption For Mike James Is Shameful
The National Football League (NFL) currently prohibits cannabis consumption by players with zero exceptions. The NFL’s drug test threshold for cannabis is 35 ng/mL of THC metabolites, which is less than Major League Baseball (50 ng/mL) and far less than the standard that Olympic athletes are held to (150 ng/mL).
Over two dozen states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes beyond just low-THC/high-CBD, and all but four states have reformed their cannabis laws to at least allow low-THC/high-CBD possession in limited circumstances. Nine states have passed measures to legalize cannabis for adult-use. Washington D.C. has legalized cannabis for both medical and adult-use.
Of the four states that still completely prohibit cannabis (Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, and South Dakota) none of them have an NFL team. Literally, every state and district that NFL teams are located have more progressive cannabis policies than the NFL itself. Why does the NFL continue to cling to cannabis prohibition? Cannabis prohibition provides zero benefits to the NFL and it can be easily argued that cannabis prohibition is bad for the NFL and its players.
By not allowing NFL players to make the safer choice and use cannabis, the NFL is pushing players towards much more harmful substances, most notably addictive opioids. Increased access to cannabis has been associated with significant reductions in opioid use, which is something that the NFL should be embracing given its ongoing issues related to opioid addiction and abuse by current and former players.
Cannabis has been proven to be 114 times safer than alcohol, which is a substance that the NFL widely embraces. In addition to players being allowed to consume alcohol, the NFL is heavily sponsored by the alcohol industry. The NFL’s prohibition on cannabis in the name of ‘player safety’ while they simultaneously embrace alcohol and pharmaceuticals is blatant hypocrisy.
An unfortunate example of that hypocrisy played out recently with the NFL’s denial of a medical cannabis exemption request by NFL running back Mike James. James had applied for a therapeutic use exemption with the NFL which is a process meant to help players that require the use of a banned substance to treat a diagnosed medical problem.
James, who had been taking harmful pharmaceuticals to treat his chronic pain since 2013, found relief after using medical cannabis. He was able to beat his addiction to opioids, which improved his health and quality of life. “I never had something where I could be coherent and still have pain relief.” James said according to CNN.
Now James is faced with three choices. He can either go back to using opioids, continue to use cannabis and risk his career, or he can retire from the NFL. Obviously, none of those options are acceptable. The NFL should have compassion for Mike James and other suffering players and at the least allow them to be exempt from the NFL’s cannabis policy, or even better, to end cannabis prohibition altogether.
The fans of the NFL want to see their players on the field competing, and not serving a suspension because they decided to use a substance that is safer than alcohol and most pharmaceutical drugs. NFL players should only be prevented from competing if they are too hurt to play or they have done something truly wrong. Suspending them for cannabis takes away from the NFL’s product and often ruins players’ careers.
NFL cannabis prohibition perpetuates institutional racism. Cannabis reform in the NFL has the support of fans, players, and even members of sports media according to polling. The NFL needs to care more about the well-being of its players and get on the right side of history. Cannabis is medicine and cannabis prohibition is a failed policy, both inside and outside of NFL stadiums. Shame on the NFL for denying Mike James’ request and a huge hat tip to James for having the courage to speak out. Free the plant!
Congratulations To Michigan Cannabis Advocates For Putting Legalization On The November Ballot
It’s official – cannabis legalization has made the ballot in Michigan. Clifford Robinson played for the Detroit Pistons from 2001-2003 and lived in Michigan after his playing career was over. He has long supported cannabis reform efforts in the state of Michigan and is extremely happy that Michigan voters will see cannabis legalization on the ballot in November.
The Uncle Cliffy team, including and especially Clifford Robinson himself, want to extend a huge congratulations to cannabis advocates in Michigan for their successful signature drive! Now the hard work begins as the campaign effort in Michigan shifts from gathering signatures to educating voters about the benefits of legalization and the harms of prohibition.
Below is more information about the initiative making the ballot in Michigan via our friends at the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:
The Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved today the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’s petition to place an initiative that would legalize marijuana possession and consumption for all adults 21 years and older on the state’s November ballot. If approved by voters, Michigan would become the first state in the Midwest with an adult-use cannabis law.
“This November, Michigan voters will finally get the chance to eliminate Michigan’s outdated marijuana laws,” said Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol spokesperson John Truscott. “Just like with alcohol, it is clear that prohibition doesn’t work and that regulation and taxation is a far better solution.”
In addition to allowing adults 21 and older to possess and consume limited amounts of marijuana, the initiative would:
- License marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport and sell marijuana;
- Legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp (used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, food, construction materials and even fuel);
- Protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana;
- Impose a 10 percent excise tax on marijuana sold at the retail level on top of the state’s 6 percent sales tax; and
- Give local governments the option of whether they want to allow marijuana businesses in their community.
“This is an important reform that will help end thousands of unnecessary arrests and redirect law enforcement resources to real needs – like combating violent crime and fighting the opioid epidemic – while also generating hundreds of millions of new tax dollars for our schools, roads and local governments,” said former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon.
“This isn’t just my opinion,” McKinnon added. “I’ve talked to countless law enforcement officials throughout Michigan and the country who believe the same.”
Voter-initiated laws are required to collect 252,523 valid signatures to have an issue placed on the ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than 365,000 signatures to the state Elections Bureau in November last year. Elections Bureau staff estimate that more than 277,000 signatures were valid.
“When you look at the success of other states that have already legalized and regulated marijuana, it is clear this initiative is the path forward,” said Michigan NORML board member Brad Forrester. “States that have legalized and regulated marijuana have seen decreases in opioid-related deaths while also adding hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year.”
Other organizations supporting the coalition include the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association and MILegalize.
“With polls showing nearly 60 percent of Michigan voters supporting legalization, it’s clear that the public is way ahead of the politicians on this issue,” said Jeffrey Hank, executive director of MILegalize. “The people are tired of the failed policies of the past and understand that creating reasonable, responsible regulations is the way forward to tens of thousands of new jobs and opportunities in Michigan. This November the people will make their voice heard!”
For more information about the ballot initiative, including full language of the proposed law, please visit www.RegulateMI.org.
For more information about the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, please visit RegulateMI.org.
Connecticut: Cannabis Legalization Is Ready For A House Vote – Act Now
A big push has been underway to legalize cannabis in Connecticut, led by the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. Clifford Robinson is a proud member of the coalition and has had a special place in his heart for reform efforts in Connecticut ever since he attended college at the University of Connecticut (class of 1989).
With surrounding states looking more and more likely to legalize cannabis sooner rather than later, Connecticut would be smart to get on the right side of history.
The Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana sent out an action alert today, which can be found below. If you live in Connecticut, please do what you can. If you don’t live in Connecticut but know those that do, please share the below message with them:
HB 5394 — a bill to move Connecticut towards legalizing and regulating marijuana — received a calendar number yesterday! This means that, procedurally speaking, it can be called for a vote in the House at any time (or it could never get acted on).
Now comes our biggest challenge: Making sure we have a majority of representatives committed to voting “yes” to replace marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation.
Please call your state representative TODAY. Just click on this link, fill in your address, and our automated system will provide your representative’s number along with talking points to help you decide what you want to say.
Polls show that 71% of Connecticut residents want to end marijuana prohibition. But for this bill to pass, it is crucial that lawmakers hear that this is an issue their constituents care about.
So, please, make the phone call today. Then, spread the word so that, together, we can make history in the Constitution State.
Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana
When The NBA Suspends Players For Cannabis Everyone Loses, Including The League Itself
Currently, the National Basketball Association (NBA) prohibits all forms of cannabis use by players, even when the player is in a state where cannabis is legal, and even when the use is medical in nature. There are no exceptions.
That policy is extremely out of touch in 2018. As of the posting of this article 9 states have approved measures to legalize cannabis for adult use, in addition to Washington D.C. More than three times as many states have legalized cannabis for medical use (in addition to Washington D.C.). More states are likely to legalize cannabis in the near future, as is the entire country of Canada.
Gallup’s most recent poll found that a record level of Americans now support legalizing cannabis for adult use (64%). A different poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 94% of Americans support allowing people to use cannabis for medical purposes. Yet, despite all of that, the NBA still clings to cannabis prohibition.
When the NBA suspends players for using cannabis, they are not only harming the players and their teams, they are also harming the league itself. Ultimately the NBA’s main product is its players. When players are not on the court, the league’s overall product suffers. Fans want to see their team’s players on the court, and the NBA should want to as well.
Sometimes taking a player off the court makes sense, such as when a player is hurt or dealing with a personal matter. Other times taking a player off the court, such as for valid disciplinary reasons, is warranted. However, taking a player off the court simply because they have THC metabolites in their urine is ludicrous.
The NBA has a current threshold of just 15 ng/mL. If a player crosses that threshold they are penalized, which was the case recently with Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel and Utah Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha. Both players were suspended for 5 games after violating the league’s anti-cannabis policy.
To put the 15 ng/mL threshold into perspective, one study found that someone could fail a drug test for just simply being around other people that were consuming cannabis. The study found that one participant tested at over 50 ng/mL and several participants tested at over 20 ng/mL due to secondhand cannabis smoke exposure.
NBA players could theoretically be in violation of the league’s policy when they haven’t even personally consumed cannabis, especially considering that cannabis can stay in a person’s system for as long as 100 days. Olympic athletes are held to a standard that is ten times more lenient.
The Uncle Cliffy team does not know the circumstances with these players, but the fact that it’s even a possibility that they could have been suspended due to secondhand cannabis smoke exposure highlights how ridiculous the NBA’s current cannabis policy is. NBA cannabis policies should be based on science and compassion, and not on outdated political views.
NBA league officials need to get on the right side of history, and NBA players need to refuse to settle for anything less. The league’s current cannabis policy is harmful to players, to their families who also have to deal with stigma, to their teams, and to the league itself. It’s so strict that it could result in players being suspended when they have not even consumed cannabis.
Cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol, which is a substance that is widely embraced by the NBA. If the NBA can embrace alcohol, then players should be able to consume a plant that is exponentially safer. To say otherwise defies logical reasoning. The NBA needs to do what is right and free the plant!
Connecticut House Appropriations Committee Approves Cannabis Legalization Bill
Clifford Robinson is a very proud member of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana which has been working to make cannabis legalization a reality in Connecticut. Robinson played college basketball at the University of Connecticut from 1985-1989 and is a member of UConn’s Men’s Basketball All-Century Team.
The Uncle Cliffy team is happy to announce that a cannabis legalization bill was approved by a committee in Connecticut’s Legislature today. More information about today’s victory can be found below via a press release issued by the Marijuana Policy Project:
The Joint Committee on Appropriations approved a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana for adults in Connecticut on Thursday, potentially setting it up for floor consideration before the end of this year’s legislative session.
HB 5394, which was introduced by the committee, would task the commissioners of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Consumer Protection and Revenue Services with developing regulations for possession and retail sales of marijuana for adults 21 and older. More details will be added to the bill as it moves forward over the coming weeks.
“This committee vote reiterates what most Connecticut residents already know: it is time to make marijuana legal for adults,” said Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The discussions that have taken place in the legislature this year have provided more than enough information to effectively move forward with legalization. Connecticut should stop punishing adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol, and it has an opportunity to regulate marijuana before it starts losing tax revenue to other states in the region that have already started this process.”
There are nine states that have made marijuana legal for adults, as well as the District of Columbia. Neighboring Massachusetts is in the process of implementing its regulated marijuana market, and in nearby New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has made legalizing and regulating marijuana a priority this year.
A poll conducted by Sacred Heart University in October 2017 showed that 71% of Connecticut residents support regulating and taxing marijuana for adults.
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The Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is a coalition of citizens, organizations, and community leaders working to end marijuana prohibition in Connecticut and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. For more information, visit https://www.RegulateCT.org.
Research Continues To Show The Benefits Of Cannabis In Fighting The Opioid Crisis
Opioid use is a major concern for athletes that compete at all levels. Athletes are at a higher risk of getting injured compared to non-athletes, and whenever there is an injury involved the potential for opioid abuse becomes a very real threat.
Professional sports leagues have been struggling to reduce opioid abuse among players, and retired athletes have been scrambling to find ways to battle the issue on their own. Fortunately for athletes, there is a plant that can help according to a growing body of research. That plant is, of course, the cannabis plant.
The results of two studies were released recently which found that increased access to cannabis leads to a reduction in opioid use. Below is more information about it from our friends at Americans for Safe Access:
New research has been released that further highlights the potential role of medical cannabis in combating the Nation’s opioid crisis . Two studies, published on April 2nd by the Journal of the American Medical Association reveal a net decrease in opioid prescriptions in states with medical cannabis laws for Medicare and Medicaid populations.
The first study, conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, found that states with active medical cannabis dispensaries saw 3,742,000 fewer daily doses per year filled for prescription opioids under Medicare Part D (typically enrollees are over 65) compared to states without medical cannabis programs. This decrease equates to about a 14% reduction in opioid prescriptions in states with medical cannabis laws. The other study revealed that states with medical cannabis laws were associated with a 5.88% lower rate of opioid prescribing for individuals enrolled in Medicaid (typically enrollees are low income) than states without medical cannabis laws.
“This research continues to validate the notion that cannabis is an effective tool in pain management” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access. “The latest numbers show us that there were over 64,000 opioid deaths last year. We need to be doing more to fight this epidemic, especially by making sure that individuals suffering from chronic pain have the option to use non-addictive, effective pain treatments like medical cannabis.”
In January 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found significant evidence that cannabis is effective at treating pain in some conditions. Previously published research has indicated that states with medical cannabis laws have shown up to a 25% reduction in opioid deaths and that states with medical cannabis dispensaries have shown reductions in opioid overdose deaths by as much as 40%.
In response to the ongoing opioid crisis, Americans for Safe Access, in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation and other advocacy organizations launched the End Pain, Not Lives campaign in late 2017. The campaign focuses on making cannabis an option for pain management.
More can be found about the campaign here.