Advocates push for marijuana legalization in New England to battle opioid addiction
Apr 20, 2016 07:46 AM EDT
Advocates for the legalization of marijuana is now eyeing New England to be the next to legalize pot. Supporters are constantly extending their efforts in expanding the legalization throughout the country.
According to reports, this part of the country has been struggling with opioid abuse. Opioid addiction has been breaking families apart and taking lives with it. Because of the ordeal, lawmakers and public officials are now hesitant to legalize any banned substance which may cause potential social crisis as per the New York Times.
Shap Smith, the speaker of the House in Vermont, said the destructive shadow of heroin addiction has been the road block for any forms of legalization. Smith believes that it will be hard to convince the people to support the bill.
Governor Peter Shumlin passed a bill in Vermont that would create a regulated market for recreational marijuana for New England's proud hippie haven. But the said bill has a hard time passing the Congress, stripping it of certain provisions and only allowing home-grown and possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The reason for the revision of Shumlin's bill is the opiate crisis which was said to kill more than 2,000 people in New England last year. These statistics has complicated the efforts of legalization throughout the region and turned it into an anti-legalization political alliance.
As reported by CBS News, supporters believe that marijuana has been prescribed for opiate addiction in other states that have few restrictions on its medical attributes like Massachusetts and California. They are now considering Maine to be the first to specifically add opiate addiction to its benefits according to the Maine Medical Association.
According to the Press Herald, medical doctors, and other health care providers, on the other hand, strongly opposed the proposal. They said that there is very little to no scientific evidence to support the claim. They added that the legalization may create another drug dependency for addicts.
It is yet to be seen if the Vermont bill will be able to pass as a bid to place the proposal on the ballot in Massachusetts was strongly opposed by the state politicians. Other parts of New England are also moving slowly, reading in between the signs if legalization will be possible.