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Sunday, December 1, 2002



Medicinal pot study finds
isle users mostly over 40


Associated Press

WASHINGTON >> The typical medicinal marijuana user is likely to resemble someone from the Baby Boom generation -- or older -- rather than a 20-something poster child, according to a congressional study.

Data collected in Hawaii and Oregon -- two of the eight states allowing marijuana use for medical treatment -- show the majority of users are males, 40 years old or older.

The study by the General Accounting Office, which covered Alaska and California as well, also said the relaxed drug laws in those four states have had minimal impact on crimefighting, although they at times complicate prosecution of drug cases.

The GAO found that a total of about 2,450 people in Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska use marijuana for medical purposes.

More than 70 percent of registered users in each of those three states were age 40 or older. In Hawaii and Oregon, about 70 percent of the users were men, and most were taking marijuana to treat severe pain and persistent muscle spasms.

Some law enforcement officials said that the laws allowing doctors to recommend that a patient be eligible to use marijuana have, at times, complicated efforts to seize illegal marijuana or to prosecute some cases, according to the GAO report.



U.S. General Accounting Office
GAO marijuana use report

(PDF, 2.6M)



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