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Cannabis Use VS Opioid Deaths - cannabis 3871901 1920

Last week, the CEO of GTBIF, Ben Kovler, had a somewhat tricky exchange with a CNBC host about Cannabis and underage use. A critical subject that we all want to make sure does not happen. 

Mr. Kovler stated that Cannabis is an “exit” drug, not a “gateway” drug.  To which the CNBC host responded by saying that it does “not feel right to me.” 

Mr. Kovler noted, “new facts are hard, and in a state where Cannabis is legal, we see fewer opioid deaths.” Having been on three different opiates for six months following a life-threatening car accident, I can sympathize with people triggered by potentially a new way of thinking.  I'm one of the lucky ones that were able to overcome.  Part of the legalization of Cannabis is the reprogramming of 50 years of thinking that Marijuana is NOT the same as heroin and other Schedule 1 drugs. 

Working with Hedgeye’s Neil Howe to test Ben's hypothesis, we analyzed the Opioid data from the Kaiser Family Foundation to see if the legalization of adult-use Marijuana would lead to lower opioid death rates.  The opioid death rates were analyzed before and after the sale of recreational Marijuana began in that state. 

For each year and each state, the percent difference from the US death rate for the respective year was taken. The median of the percent difference was taken for each state based on the number of years before or after legalization in that state.  Shown below are the findings and although the opioid death rates were already declining compared to the average, we see a dramatic decrease after one year of legalization.

It seems clear that increased cannabis consumption is not a gateway drug and may very well lead to lower Opioid deaths.   

Reprograming society about the benefits and use cases for MJ will take years.  The best way to accelerate that is to allow for more medical research and testing by making it federally legal!

Cannabis Use VS Opioid Deaths - 3 25 2021 4 13 39 PM