New study shows legal-cannabis states have fewer vaping illnesses. Will N.J. adjust?
As New Jersey vape shop owners decried lawmakers’ efforts to ban the sale of flavored e-liquid, they often repeated the same claim: Our products aren’t causing the mysterious lung illness associated with vaping.
A new study from the Yale School of Public Health may vindicate them. Researchers found states with higher e-cigarette use and legal marijuana sales actually had fewer cases of vaping illness, EVALI, than their stricter counterparts.
“If e-cigarette or marijuana use per se drove this outbreak, areas with more engagement in those behaviors should show a higher EVALI prevalence,” Abigail Friedman, the study’s author, said in a statement. “This study finds the opposite result. Alongside geographic clusters of high EVALI prevalence states, these findings are more consistent with locally available e-liquids or additives driving the EVALI outbreak than a widely used, nationally-available product.”(By Amanda Hoover | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
Decriminalization bill sponsor demands a vote. Will Sweeney budge?
Outraged by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 and energized by the wave of rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, state Democratic Sens. Ronald Rice and Teresa Ruiz introduced legislation that would no longer treat the possession and distribution of up to a pound of marijuana as a crime.
Then…nothing. The bill, introduced June 4 has not been scheduled for a hearing — and that fall under the purview of Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari, D-Union.
On Tuesday, Rice issued a blistering statement that accused the lawmakers and his fellow Democratic colleagues of deliberate foot-dragging. (By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
GOP lawmaker says incremental progress better than no progress.
When it returns from its August recess, the House of Representatives will vote on removing the federal ban on cannabis has resurrected the argument over the best way to allow states to continue to legalize the drug.
One bill (the More Act) would remove the federal ban on marijuana and leave it to the states to decide whether to legalize the drug. It also will take steps to help communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.
But only one Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is a sponsor of that bill.
Meanwhile, the States Act, which simply prevents the federal government from enforcing its marijuana ban in states with legal cannabis, has 19 GOP co-sponsors in the House (including Gaetz) and five in the Republican-controlled Senate. Republican members argue that the more narrowly focused States Act has a better chance of becoming law.
Gaetz told NJ Cannabis Insider there wasn’t enough support among Republicans for a broader bill that included the social justice aspect.
“The reality is Democrats are demanding so much in reparations that we may lose the broad support in the Senate to make incremental progress,” Gaetz said. (By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
Just in time for Labor Day: Legal cannabis brings jobs, jobs, and more jobs (Opinion)
Cannabis-related job creation is outpacing just about every industry. For those states that legalized adult-use, for example, cannabis jobs saw a 62% increase from 2018 to 2019.
Here in the Garden State, the current total market value of the cannabis industry is $120 million, which supports 2,356 legal cannabis jobs. This reflects a relatively small, patients-only market.
However, with the expansion of the medicinal cannabis industry with 24 new licenses (currently delayed due to lawsuits) and the expected passage of adult-use in November, New Jersey will see a dramatic increase in jobs and revenue over the next several years.
This is a critical point to make considering the economic uncertainty New Jersey is facing as a result of COVID-related job loss and business closures.