Drug Coverage Alliance: Marijuana Reform and Legalization Should Restore Harms of Mass Criminalization of Communities of Shade Ensuing From Marijuana Prohibition Enforcement
Analysis Exhibits Entry to Authorized Marijuana Can Cut back Overdose Deaths
The New York State Meeting voted yesterday to move a invoice to seal marijuana convictions for people who’ve been unjustly and unconstitutionally arrested for easy possession of marijuana in public view (A.2142, the Marijuana Sealing Invoice, sponsored by Assm. Crystal Peoples-Stokes–Buffalo). That is the third time the Meeting has handed this laws, underscoring the chamber’s name for marijuana reform to middle those that have been impacted by prohibition’s disproportionate enforcement.
The passage of this laws comes at a time when marijuana reform and broader legalization is being often mentioned by elected officers and candidates for elected workplace throughout the state, a lot of whom have spoken about and acknowledged the injustice that these arrests symbolize. Over the past 20 years, greater than 800,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for easy possession of marijuana. These convicted face vital limitations to accessing schooling, employment, housing alternatives, and different state companies.
The Speaker of the Meeting, amongst others, known as for the clearing of information to be part of any dialogue about legalization. The Governor, who earlier this 12 months launched a research of marijuana legalization, has the flexibility to deal with this challenge head on by following the lead of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and pardoning those that had been arrested underneath the general public view loophole—regardless of marijuana decriminalization in 1977.
“As New York strikes ahead to reform marijuana enforcement and research the useful outcomes of legalization for the state, it’s crucial that any efforts to legalize marijuana for grownup use additionally handle the mass criminalization of communities of colour that has come as a product of the enforcement of marijuana prohibition,” mentioned Christopher Alexander, coverage coordinator on the Drug Coverage Alliance.
The Meeting additionally handed laws that might add opioid use dysfunction to the record of qualifying situations for the state’s medical marijuana program—an essential step ahead for affected person entry throughout New York (A.9016, sponsored by Assm. Daniel O’Donnell). This transfer is aware of the present overdose disaster New York is experiencing and lack of efficient affected person entry to medical marijuana. It has lengthy been recognized that marijuana is an efficient analgesic; furthermore, there may be some proof to recommend that some folks use marijuana to switch opioids. In states with medical marijuana legal guidelines analysis has proven decreased admissions for opioid-related therapy and dramatically diminished charges of opioid overdoses. There’s a rising physique of scientific literature suggesting the potential for marijuana to assist scale back opioid withdrawal signs and subsequently assist ease sufferers away from opioid use.
Full marijuana legalization in New York for adults over 21 might be an extra essential device in combating the overdose disaster. Research present a correlation between jurisdictions which have essentially the most liberal authorized framework for marijuana entry (i.e., people who lined extra situations and created simpler affected person entry) garnering essentially the most vital profit in diminished overdose deaths. A latest journal article suggests there are no less than three main methods marijuana can play a task in decreasing opioid use and misuse: as a therapy for power ache earlier than turning to opioids; as a part of an opioid discount technique for sufferers already utilizing opioids; or along with methadone therapy to extend success charges.
“Research have proven that sufferers see marijuana as a viable different to prescription opioid ache medicine, with fewer unintended effects and decrease potential for problematic use,” mentioned Melissa Moore, New York Deputy Director, Drug Coverage Alliance. “Clearly marijuana alone won’t be the reply to America’s drawback with opioid misuse and overdose deaths, however out there proof signifies that it needs to be used with different hurt discount methods (comparable to increasing naloxone entry, establishing safer consumption websites, and the decriminalizing all substance use) as a part of a essentially numerous and modern method to this combating this disaster.”