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It’s not every day that New York City’s political puzzle actually fits together in a cohesive manner, but when it does, it can help guide the rest of the nation.

That is precisely what New Yorkers, and Americans as a whole, are hoping to achieve now that the city of Manhattan is taking a far less archaic approach to the issue of recreational marijuana.

Faced with fresh evidence of the racial disparity in marijuana enforcement across New York City, Manhattan’s district attorney said Tuesday he will largely stop prosecuting people for possessing or smoking marijuana.

The move by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. came the same day that Mayor Bill de Blasio promised that the city’s police department would overhaul its marijuana enforcement policies in the next 30 days. Brooklyn’s district attorney also said he would scale back prosecutions.

“We must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement,” de Blasio said at a conference of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

Around the country, the issue of legal cannabis is becoming everyday, dinner-table talk.  With the science and the long-term study data conclusively showing that the plant’s uses far outweigh any negative side effects, a vast majority of American states allow for some sort of marijuana consumption.

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As far as recreational use goes, there are still only a handful of states our there, with Colorado having led the way back in 2014.  In the time since, The Centennial State has not only been experiencing incredible economic windfalls from wacky tobacc-y taxes, but the rate at which Coloradans suffer from opioid overdose has fallen dramatically.

Marijuana legalization in Colorado led to a “reversal” of opiate overdose deaths in that state, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years,” write authors Melvin D. Livingston, Tracey E. Barnett, Chris Delcher and Alexander C. Wagenaar.

The authors stress that their results are preliminary, given that their study encompasses only two years of data after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014.

While numerous studies have shown an association between medical marijuana legalization and opioid overdose deaths, this report is one of the first to look at the impact of recreational marijuana laws on opioid deaths.

Marijuana is often highly effective at treating the same types of chronic pain that patients are often prescribed opiates for. Given the choice between marijuana and opiates, many patients appear to be opting for the former.

Then, when you throw the massive scale at which this particular industry operates, the job growth possibilities are darn near endless.

 

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