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States that permit medical marijuana have an average of 25% fewer opioid overdose deaths each year than states where cannabis is illegal.

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Prescription opioid overdoses killed more than 165,000 Americans between 1999 and 2014, and the health and social costs of abusing such drugs are estimated to be as much as $55 billion a year. 

Political attitudes toward cannabis have recently been shifting fast. 

On June 8, Ohio joined 24 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical cannabis. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spent much of the year mulling over two state governors' petitions to reconsider marijuana’s Schedule I status, but ultimately denied the petitions in an August 11 decision. Still, the agency announced a policy change that could encourage U.S. research by boosting the number of authorized marijuana manufacturers.

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