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DOH report recommends marijuana legalization

Jul 16, 2018 5:45 am
Nick Niedzwiadek is reporting for Politico New York the state Department of Health July 13, released a highly anticipated study that recommends the legalization of marijuana. The report comes as public acceptance of the drug has increased and the disparate impacts of its prohibition on low-income communities of color have come under increased scrutiny. The report found the benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana outweigh the negative consequences. And it recommends a regulated system to avoid potential problems. “It is imperative that a regulated marijuana program contain all necessary safeguards and measures to limit access for individuals under 21, minimize impaired driving, provide education and tailored messaging to different populations, and connect people to treatment if needed,” the report states. With legalization, the department also estimates the state could generate between $248 and $678 million in tax revenue, every year. It would also curb the number of arrests of black and Latino residents on marijuana-related offenses. New York has lagged behind other progressive-leaning states on the question of legalization, and the state did not approve a medical marijuana program until 2014. Also on July 13, the Department of Health issued emergency regulations allowing patients with opioid use disorder to use medical marijuana in conjunction with a treatment program. The regulations also permit patients with certain medical conditions to obtain a prescription for medicinal marijuana in place of an opioid. There are now more than 62,250 patients certified to use the drug, and about $12.4 million worth of marijuana products were sold in the first third of the year. Read the full story at Politico New York.