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Access to medical marijuana tied to reduced workers’ comp claims*

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In states with laws allowing medical marijuana, researchers tied the accessibility of cannabis to a nearly 7% decline in workers’ comp claims. When there were claims, they were for shorter periods of time, on average, after medical marijuana was legalized, according to the analysis in Health Economics.*

“We think there is a lot of overlap between conditions for which medical marijuana can be used in managing symptoms and the types of illnesses that lead people to file workers’ compensation claims,” said study coauthor, Catherine Maclean, an associate professor in the economics department at Temple University in Philadelphia.*

For instance, medical marijuana can be used to reduce chronic pain symptoms. While cannabis use isn’t going to cure the condition causing the pain, it can allow the individual to mitigate the symptoms, said Maclean, who is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research affiliate at the Institute for Labor Economics.*

“When a state adopts medical marijuana legalization there is a modest decline in the propensity to file claims and a reduction in the (overall average) income people receive from workers’ compensation,” Maclean said.*

In some of her earlier research, Maclean found that after legalization of medical marijuana, older workers experienced a reduction in pain and an increase in the number of hours worked.*

To look at the potential impact of medical marijuana legalization on workers’ comp claims, Maclean and her coauthor turned to data from the Census Bureau’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey in 1990-2013. Each year between February and April, the survey interviews 150,000 U.S. residents aged 15 and older.*

When the data were analyzed, the researchers found a 6.7% decrease in claims when medical marijuana was legally available. In addition, the dollar amount of claims decreased by 0.8%.*

The new study provides a window on the possible impact of medical marijuana legalization on people’s ability to work even when in pain, said David Powell, a senior economist at the RAND Corporation in Arlington, Virginia.*

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Overall, the study is very carefully done and provides convincing evidence, he said. “The estimates are relatively small in terms of workers’ compensation claiming behavior but possibly hint at bigger effects on other labor-supply margins.”*

SOURCE: bit.ly/374dNw9 Health Economics, online February 4, 2020.*

* article original

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Aurora Cannabis to take C$1 billion in charges, cuts 500 jobs as CEO exits*

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Aurora Cannabis said Chief Executive Terry Booth will retire and Executive Chairman Michael Singer become interim CEO as the beleaguered marijuana producer announced C$1 billion ($752.79 million) in impairment charges on Thursday Feb 6, reports Reuters.*

The company also cut about 500 jobs, including about 25% of corporate positions.*

Aurora’s U.S.-listed stock fell 13% in after-hours trading. The shares were halted earlier on Thursday.*

Aurora expects impairment charges of as much as C$225 million on assets and as much as C$775 million on goodwill in the second quarter, it said. Net revenue will be between C$50 million and C$54 million, compared with C$54.2 million a year ago.*

Aurora also said on Thursday it had made amendments to its secured credit facilities, including removal of some covenants, giving it options to refinance at maturity. Analysts have warned the company may not be able to meet the covenants of a C$360 million loan due in August 2021.*

Aurora’s expenses in the most recent quarter were almost four times its sales, and it holds less than two quarters’ worth of cash and short-term investments.*

Singer takes the helm as Aurora faces criticism for its aggressive global expansion amid uncertain demand. Aurora has stopped estimating when it will become profitable after missing its own guidance.*

The executive change makes Aurora the latest in a string of Canadian cannabis companies, including Canopy Growth, Aphria, Supreme Cannabis and Sundial Growers to change leadership as soaring costs and disappointing sales prompt concern from investors sitting on billions of dollars in losses.*

Singer has been on the board of the Alberta-based company since May 2016 and was named executive chairman nearly a year ago.*

Booth, a co-founder of the company, will remain on Aurora’s board and will become a strategic adviser to the company, Aurora said, confirming an earlier Reuters story.*

“I don’t think we’re going to see some sort of major strategic change, because Singer has been involved with the company and they’re keeping Booth on as an adviser,” said Andrew Kessner, an analyst at William O’Neill in New York. “This is to signal to the market that they are making changes.”*

Aurora has begun a formal search for a permanent CEO, Booth said in the memo without providing a time frame, adding that details would be shared once the process is complete.*

Booth’s departure follows the abrupt exit of Chief Commercial Officer Cam Battley in December.*

* original article

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