Never mind that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is the lead sponsor. Never mind that 68% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, a figure that includes 83% of Democrats and half of Republicans. And never mind that there’s a midterm election coming up in which passage would be an undeniable boost to Democrats’ electoral fortunes.
About six years into my career with the NFL, a trainer told us that we would all start getting blood tests to check our liver function. We were all healthy football players, mostly in our twenties. Why did we need liver function tests?
The trainers knew the medications that soothed our aches, pains and injuries could take a toll on our internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. There were opioids. There were also nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some were prescription pain relievers, some over-the-counter.
Patrick McClellan was thrilled when he learned that his home state of Minnesota was legalizing medical marijuana in 2014. For McClellan, a former chef who had been on disability since he developed a rare form of muscular dystrophy, the drug provided the best relief for his painful muscle spasms.
But six years after Minnesota rolled out its medical marijuana program, McClellan is still buying pot off the street. The reason is simple, he says: It’s far cheaper.
Is all marijuana use now legal in NJ?
Not all use. Medical marijuana use by patients enrolled in the state’s system has been legal since 2010.
Voters in November cleared the way for recreational marijuana sales, which need to be supported by law. Legislation sent to Gov. Murphy on Dec. 17, calls for “regulated” cannabis to be permitted, as bought from a dispensary or registered seller. By Jan. 4, it still had not been signed into law.
What is the holdup to legal weed?
Now, reform supporters want to add in an expansion to the current medical cannabis protection rider, which was first enacted in 2014 and has continually been renewed by Congress on an annual basis, so that it would cover recreational marijuana laws as well.
The state protection amendment, filed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), reads as follows:
Much has changed over the last decade when it comes to cannabis law. While marijuana possession, sale and manufacture remain technically illegal in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on both the state and federal levels, the states differ on many of the enforcement protocols and penalties. This is particularly true in the area of medical marijuana (MMJ). Laws related to its legal use in New Jersey will continue to evolve.
The schedule for the phase out is as follows:
- 4% on sales made between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021
- 2% on sales made between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022
- 0% on sales made on and after July 1, 2022
States with active medical marijuana laws saw certain opioid prescription rates drop nearly 20 percent compared to prohibition states, a first-of-its-kind study out of Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center has found. Authors said the findings underscore the importance of providing patients with pain management alternatives, such as cannabis, in efforts to reduce opioid use.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is hearing oral arguments Tuesday in a case that addresses federalism in the context of medical marijuana. WGBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu spoke with Northeastern University law professor and WGBH News legal analyst Daniel Medwed about the case and how similar issues have played out in courts across the country. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.
Joe Mathieu: What happened in this case, Daniel? How does it tie into what we're talking about?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking public comments on how Americans with chronic pain are successfully treating their symptoms.
The call for comments, posted on April 17 at regulations.gov here, states: “Interested persons or organizations are invited to participate by submitting written views, recommendations, and data related to perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management. CDC invites comments specifically on topics focused on using or prescribing opioid pain medications, non-opioid medications, or non-pharmacological treatments.”