A West Virginia legislator has proposed an innovative solution to the opioid epidemic that could reduce death rates: legalizing marijuana.
Craig Blair, President of the State Senate spoke last week at a press conference in support of the legalization of the plant to be consumed. He stated that this would reduce the number affected by fentanyl which is often mixed with street drugs and coming over the southern border.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Virginia is expected to have more fatal fentanyl overdoses per capita in 2022 than any other state.
According to West Virginia Watch the Senate President noted that he often saw West Virginia license plates displayed on marijuana dispensaries when he visited other states.
Blair, who addressed the fentanyl problem at the event, said there was also a “problem”, in West Virginia where marijuana tested for fentanyl. He supports legislation that would allow for the death penalty to be applied to those who sell fentanyl.
Blair’s statement is not clear. Partnership to End Addiction says that “there is no evidence” that marijuana is laced with fentanyl.
There has been much debate about the extent to which marijuana contains fentanyl. Although many reports claim this, they have not been substantiated.
Many people have claimed that even though marijuana is illegal, the overdoses caused by fentanyl and other problems would be better if it were legalized.
Cannabis sold on an unregulated market can be of varying purity and quality. Some sellers may even use controlled substances to contaminate the cannabis. Fentanyl may be rare but it is not impossible.
Cannabis products are sold in retail stores under a legal system. Cannabis products are grown and produced according to good manufacturing practices. Lab tests and labeling ensure that the products are pure and powerful.
There are currently 19 states that regulate the adult-use cannabis market. This has largely worked to disrupt, but not eliminate, the illicit market. There are fewer contaminated products available to consumers.
Legalizing marijuana has become a popular idea among Americans. This includes Republicans, who usually oppose it.
Although it is not clear how marijuana use will impact the fentanyl crisis, it would seem reasonable to assume it may help reduce other issues caused by street drug purchases.
Blair said that it could be some time before West Virginians can consume marijuana without being worried about the law.