"America's real-world experience with medical marijuana regulation ... finds that cannabis can be legally produced and dispensed in a responsible manner that positively affects the lives of patients but does not inadvertently or adversely impact overall public health or public safety", Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told Healthline.
The researchers said that in states that haven't legalized medical marijuana, the rate of illegal use among respondents rose from 4.5 percent to 6.7 percent during the time period.
Although adults 21 or older can purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, allowing those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder access to the state's medical marijuana program is beneficial for several reasons, including significantly lower taxes on medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana.
While a recent poll, conducted by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, indicates 83 percent of Texans support the legal use of medical marijuana for medical purposes, it is debatable whether a poll of 1,200 people reflects the will of anyone other than the 1,200 people who participated in the poll.
In 1991, no Americans lived in states with medical marijuana, but by 2012, more than one-third lived in states that had accepted medical pot.
"It seems like everything we might see with medical marijuana laws would be accentuated in recreational marijuana laws", Hasin said. With so many states invested in the marijuana industry, it's unclear whether or not these threats will amount to anything but the fact that marijuana is still technically illegal on a federal level, has made lawmakers uneasy about triggering a crackdown. The surveys were self-reported and they admit that more people might have been willing to report their own drug use as it became more socially acceptable.
There are 29 states along with Washington, DC that now have medical marijuana laws on the books.
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During the time periods, the rates of illegal marijuana use increased in all 39 states.
And public insurance payments for certain drugs were found to fall in states with medical marijuana laws. Almost 120,000 people in 39 states were included in these surveys, according to the study.
Federal drug enforcement policy regarding the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of marijuana should be applied consistently across the nation to maintain respect for the rule of law.
The effect was greater on the later group of states.
For example, the study shows a decrease in marijuana use in California between 1991 and 2002, she noted. These bills would still need to pass both houses and be signed by the governor but they are demonstrative of how the state is ready to move forward with marijuana in Nevada.
"In the meantime, it is clear that a robust system of education, prevention, and treatment is needed to minimize the negative consequences that might arise if cannabis use continues to increase", they write.