Breaking News:Initiatives 2020 -- Legalization Sweep, Psychedelic Sweep, Medical Marijuana, Decrim

Opioid Settlement Looms, NJ Legislature Moves on Voter-Authorized MJ Legalization, More... (11/6/20)

State elected officials react in different ways to marijuana legalization votes, a major settlement looms over prescription opioids, and more.

An opioid manufacturer and three distributors are nearly a major settlement on thousands of opioid lawsuits. (Pixabay)
Marijuana Policy

New Jersey Governor Appoints Top Marijuana Regulator Following Legalization Vote. Moving quickly to implement the will of the voters, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has named the people who will administer the implementation of legalization as the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. He named former policy counsel to the state ACLU and current administration staffer Dianna Houenou to head the commission. She is emphasizing social equity. "Cannabis legalization and regulation is just one illustration of much larger work that is needed to reform our drug policies wholesale. We really are looking to make sure that equity is built into a regulated structure at the onset," she said. The legislature is also quickly swinging into gear.

South Dakota Republican Legislators Look for Ways to Undo the Will of the Voters. After the resounding victory of the state's medical marijuana initiative and the clear victory of its legalization initiative, the state's Republican governor and legislature are now pondering how to try to undo what the voters chose. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said voters made "the wrong choice" in approving the initiatives. The legislature is limited in its ability to mess with the legalization initiative because it was a constitutional amendment, but the medical marijuana initiative is a statutory one, which the legislature can nullify, repeal, or gut such measures, as it did with a voter-approve campaign finance reform initiative in 2016. And lawmakers could vote to propose a future amendment to nullify marijuana legalization. Stay tuned.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

$26 Billion Settlement Offer in Opioid Lawsuits Gains Wide Support. A large pharmaceutical drug maker and three distributors are nearing a $26 billion deal with state and local governments to settle thousands of lawsuits over the companies' role in the opioid epidemic that began in the late 1990s. The four companies are McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and Johnson & Johnson. A settlement would mean those companies would face no risk of further lawsuits from those state and local governments. The bulk of the money would go to help pay for treatment and prevention programs in areas hard-hit by the epidemic.

International

Final Results Confirm New Zealand Marijuana Legalization Referendum Failed. Vote totals tightened after initial results had the country's marijuana legalization referendum failing with only 46% of the vote, but not enough to overcome the vote deficit. The final tally ended with the referendum getting 48%, 51% opposed.

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What's it even about in So. Dak.?

If over-the-counter marijuana possession and sale was legalized by constitutional amendment in South Dakota, doesn't that moot the medical marijuana issue?  Who cares about getting marijuana by medical permission if you can get it without special permission?  There must be more to the story.

Jean Boyd's picture

med mar

In WASHINGTON state, medical marijuana is much cheaper than the expensive pot shops. Also, I grew up with a friend named Robert Goodman in NY on 191st St. We both went to St. Elizabeth School on 189th St.

borden's picture

Hi Robert. South Dakota

Hi Robert. South Dakota legislators have a lot of latitude to interfere with or undo measures passed by voters. So if they gut the legalization law, perhaps they'll at least leave the medical law in place.

I'd have to review this more closely to say whether this is relevant to the South Dakota law, but in some states there are advantages or privileges that medical users have that non-medical users don't, such as not paying sales tax. I'm not sure if this is the case anywhere, but one can imagine medical users being allowed to grow their own plants where others can't, or to grow more than others can.

The main thing might be that advocates didn't know in advance whether legalization would pass, again an argument for also having a medical initiative with a higher likelihood.

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