The amount of federal offenders sentenced for violating marijuana laws has dropped significantly since 2012, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission. Just 3,000 federal defendants were sentenced for marijuana violations in 2016, according to the Commission. That total is half of the number of federal defendants that were sentenced in 2012. The total has fallen year-after-year since that time.

At the same time we read that patients who were registered to use medical cannabis decreased their use of opioids, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of New Mexico. Investigators looked at the use of prescription opioids over an 18-month stretch who were medical cannabis patients and compared it to people without. They found that people who had access to medical cannabis reduced their opioid use by 31 percent, those not in the program actually increased opioid use over this same time period. These findings are consistent with the facts that patients who can easily access medical marijuana are less likely to use opioids.

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