Opiate ‘Crisis’ Hampering MJ Legalization in New England

Proponents for legal recreational marijuana in two New England states have run into headwinds because of the region’s growing problem of opiate abuse.

The opiate outbreak has made New England lawmakers and public officials more wary of legalization, posing a potentially serious obstacle to the marijuana industry’s expansion in the region.

Vermont, for example, was widely expected this year to become the first state to legalize rec through legislation – versus a popular vote. But a legalization bill has stalled in the legislature amid concerns over opiates, which have led to the deaths of more than 2,000 people in New England over the past year, The New York Times reported.

In Massachusetts, heroin is the big worry, prompting the governor and the speaker of the state House of Representatives to mount a bipartisan effort to oppose a rec legalization measure being pushed by the Marijuana Policy Project, according to the Times.