Legalizing it could stop the overdoses
We citizens in the Granite State are living in a state of emergency. It might not feel too different to you or I, but for those whose lives have been affected by the use of synthetic marijuana, whether by their own use or a loved one’s, the emergency is real.
Synthetic marijuana, which users smoke in an attempt to legally mimic the effects of marijuana, has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The drug is legally available; it stays legal because manufacturers are constantly changing the chemical compound used to make it, staying one step ahead of the government’s attempts to ban certain chemicals. Those chemicals, when ingested, can easily cause the user to overdose, dip in and out of consciousness, black out and, in some cases, suffer from seizures.
Earlier this month, over 40 cases of synthetic marijuana-related overdoses were reported in a week’s time, in the Manchester and Concord area alone. People were dropping like flies after ingesting the substance — all in the name of chasing a legal high — sending them to emergency rooms for treatment.
Some communities around the state, including Keene, have already banned the sale or use of synthetic marijuana. A similar ordinance was considered in Rindge last summer, but those efforts have come to a halt as members of Rindge Crime Watch learned just how difficult it is to keep up with the manufacturers’ changing blends.
However, it seems myopic to ignore another potential solution, which leaps to mind: legalizing marijuana. It’s a step that’s already taken place in both Colorado and Washington state. How is legalization playing out in those states? What’s working and not working, and what can New Hampshire learn from their experience?
New Hampshire, of course, is still in the process of working out the kinks in its medical marijuana rollout. And Governor Maggie Hassan has said she will veto any legalization or decriminalization bill that passes across her desk. But perhaps this recent emergency will have her reconsidering. We’re not saying it would be easy, and we’re not saying it’s a guaranteed fix to the synthetic marijuana problem, but legalizing marijuana may be worth another look.
At the very least, it should be part of the conversation as we approach the General Election in November to elect, or re-elect, our governor. And if not legalizing marijuana, the question remains, what will New Hampshire do to keep ahead of the synthetic drug crisis?