Recent studies found that states with legalized medical marijuana laws have seen lower opioid overdose death rates compared to states that ban it. Due to this, many states are turning to medical marijuana as an alternative to the addictive prescription painkillers that have driven the public health crisis. According to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and two-thirds of them were from heroin, prescription opioids and synthetic opioids. On average,115 Americans die from an opioid overdose on a daily basis .
In a move that was first announced in June, New York has expanded the use of medical marijuana as a substitute for an opioid prescription. According to the state’s health department, overdose deaths involving opioids have increased in New York by roughly 180% from 2010 (over 1,000 deaths) to 2016 (over 3,000 deaths). New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker stated that, “[a]dding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combating the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.”
Pennsylvania added opioid addiction to the Medical Marijuana Program’s list of qualifying conditions in May. Gov. Tom Wolf also licensed eight universities in the state to conduct clinical research on medical marijuana. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will soon make a final decision on whether to sign legislation which would allow patients to buy medical pot from licensed dispensaries based on their doctors’ orders, into law. The measure would prevent patients from waiting up to four months for approval and being denied access because of past criminal convictions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed U.S. attorneys to enforce federal law prohibiting marijuana possession and us, thus increasing confusion over how marijuana can be used in states where it’s legalized and making research about medical benefits more difficult.
Frank T. Luciano is a highly successful and experienced drug crime attorney operating in multiple areas throughout Northern New Jersey, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Elmwood Park and Fort Lee. In nearly 40 years as a criminal defense attorney, there is almost no legal situation that Mr. Luciano has not seen and successfully navigated his clients through.
Give yourself the best chance at a positive legal outcome by contacting Frank T. Luciano’s New Jersey law office immediately at 973-471-0004.