You might actually be able to legally buy weed soon after election if N.J. voters approve referendum, top lawmaker says
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New Jersey’s medical marijuana dispensaries could begin selling recreational marijuana to the public shortly after voters approve a ballot question seeking to legalize it, according to a state lawmaker involved in potential legalization.
Sen. Nick Scutari, D-Union, said Tuesday during an interview broadcast live on NJ.com’s Facebook page that he hopes dispensaries are preparing to have more marijuana available and exceed the need of their patients to begin selling to customers over the age of 21.
“The currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries would have an opportunity to sell to the general public for people over 21, if they can certify that they enough product to satisfy their patients that they’re already treating,” Scutari said.
“We might be able to flip the switch and people might be able to get marijuana, legally, right after the vote,” he said.
That’s a big if, because there are 92,000 registered patients, and the dispensaries have long struggled to supply cannabis to the state’s registered patients. Patients have complained about long lines and drives, as well as product shortages, in the limited program. The number of patients has ballooned since Gov. Phil Murphy took office and signed legislation expanding the list of medical conditions that make a person eligible for a medical marijuana card.
But this is the first time that Scutari or anyone intimately involved with cannabis law and public policy has said that the intent is to start selling this year. Insiders and industry experts have said the market would not be ready until sometime in 2021.
“My top priorities are to get it passed, and secondly, let’s get it passed quickly,” Scutari said. “It’s not like we didn’t know this was coming, so we already have a draft that we are continually working on. Right now we are working with co-sponsors and the governor’s office. We want to be able to get this thing passed quickly.”
“Finally, I think one of the most important things is to allow people to buy legal cannabis immediately,” Scutari said. “My hope is the medical dispensaries are going to get up to speed — if they are not already — to sell the adult, 21-and-over market right away.”
But Jeff Brown, assistant commissioner of the Department of Health who oversees the medical marijuana program, said logistical concerns remain.
“If it happened tomorrow, I don’t think we have an operator that would be ready to start selling adult use,” he said during a NJ Cannabis Insider webinar Tuesday that followed Scutari’s interview. “They still have a lot of work to do.”
Brown said the department has pushed operators to expand, and in 2018 moved to allow each to open two satellite dispensaries. Only three satellites have opened their doors so far.
And while some have expanded cultivation, others have struggled to do so.
“The industry as a whole would have
The American Society of Nephrology’s virtual Kidney Week featured a slew of research advancements and options for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Some of the new findings presented included the investigational anti-mineralocorticoid agent finerenone for the slowing of CKD, new insights into dapagliflozin’s (Farxiga) renoprotective and cardioprotective benefits, and the best course of treatment for primary membranous nephropathy.
Below are highlights of several other noteworthy studies from the meeting.
Novel Anemia Treatment
In a pre-specified regional analysis of the PRO2TECT program, Akebia’s investigational agent vadadustat for the treatment of anemia in patients with CKD not on dialysis showed no increased cardiovascular risk compared with darbepoetin alfa.
Previous phase III findings showed that the oral, hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor was non-inferior to darbepoetin alfa in the average change in hemoglobin levels over a 52-week follow-up period. However, in this original trial vadadustat failed to meet the primary safety endpoint, with a quicker time to first occurrence of a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) versus darbepoetin alfa.
But the pre-specified analysis presented at Kidney Week found no increased cardiovascular risk associated with vadadustat across the U.S. patients treated to a target hemoglobin range of 10-11 g/dL.
“The newly presented analysis showed that there were regional differences with respect to MACE, expanded MACE, and all-cause mortality, consistent with well-known, differing regional hemoglobin treatment target guidelines,” said Glenn Chertow, MD, MPH, of Stanford University in California, in a statement.
Glomerular Diseases & Heart Risk
Both before and after the onset of end-stage kidney disease, people with glomerular disease carry an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Looking at a centralized kidney pathology registry of Canadian patients with various glomerular diseases, patients with nearly all types saw a relatively high rate of cardiovascular events. Specifically, cardiovascular risk was about 2.5-fold higher among those with glomerular diseases versus the general population (standardized incidence ratio 2.5, 95% CI 2.1-2.8).
When the results were broken down by type of disease, people with membranous nephropathy (HR 2.6, 95% CI 1.7-3.9) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (HR 3.7, 95% CI 2.6-5.3) had a significantly higher risk for a cardiovascular event compared with immunoglobulin (Ig) A nephropathy. However, those with minimal change disease saw a similar rate of cardiovascular events compared with IgA nephropathy (HR 1.3, 95% CI 0.8-2.4).
“Consideration of glomerular disease-specific factors can help improve cardiovascular risk prediction. Failure to take these novel factors into account will lead to underestimation of cardiovascular risk and underutilization of cardiovascular primary prevention strategies,” the study’s lead author, Heather Gunning, MBChB, of the University of British Columbia in Canada, explained in a statement.
“Further research is ongoing into the impact of glomerular disease activity and therapy over time on cardiovascular risk. This will allow better understanding of the impact of glomerular disease on cardiovascular risk and whether treatment may modify this,” she added.
Racial Disparities in Kidney Failure
Black and Hispanic patients had a more rapid decline in kidney function after new-onset CKD compared with white patients.
In a large
(Reuters) – Novavax Inc on Tuesday delayed the start of a late-stage U.S. trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by roughly a month to the end of November, citing delays in scaling up the manufacturing process.
The U.S.-based drug developer said data from a separate phase 3 trial being conducted in Britain was expected by the first quarter of 2021 and could be the basis for regulatory approval, sending its shares up 3.4% in early trading.
Data from an early-to-mid stage or phase 2 trial of the vaccine is now expected on Friday, the company said. Early-stage data had showed the vaccine produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
A handful of companies, including larger rivals Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc, have begun testing their vaccines in late-stage trials, though none of them is yet to win regulatory approvals.
Novavax in August said it will supply 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate to the UK from as early as the first quarter of 2021.
The company is also preparing to deliver 100 million doses to the United States by January after it was awarded $1.6 billion for its potential vaccine and has also signed supply agreements with Canada and Japan.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
BETHESDA, MD — Montgomery County added 134 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the sixth day in a row with more than 100 cases.
The addition pushes the local total to 25,281 — and it’s giving health officials pause as they cautiously plan their next steps.
The county, which is currently in phase two of its pandemic recovery plan, has typically reopened at a slower rate than the rest of the state due to higher COVID-19 numbers. Health officials say the county will not enter phase three until they see low and medium transmission levels — or 10 to 35 cases a day. Over the last three months, daily COVID-19 cases have hovered between 47 and 171.
The county’s head of emergency management, Earl Stoddard, recently said the county planned to issue an amended executive order that would lift restrictions on escape rooms, live performances, and youth sports activities. But they put the changes on hold as they investigate the recent uptick in cases.
Despite seeing an increase in cases, Stoddard said the county won’t be imposing more phase two restrictions — at least just yet. If the upticks persist for a few more weeks, he said officials will seriously consider rollbacks.
Unlike case totals, the number of people dying daily from COVID-19 in recent months has been between zero and five.
On Monday, the county did not record any new deaths. The death toll remains at 827.
The latest fatality count does not include the 40 others whose deaths were linked to the virus, but never confirmed by a lab test. For now, they are considered “probable deaths.”
Montgomery County has the second highest number of deaths and cases in the state, after Prince George’s County, which has 830 fatalities and 32,292 infections, according to the latest figures.
Across Maryland, there have been 140,844 cases, 3,953 confirmed deaths, and 146 “probable deaths.” Of the 456 people that are currently hospitalized, 112 are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
This article originally appeared on the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Patch
CNN’s Jake Tapper presses White House chief of staff after top Pence aides test positive for coronavirus
CNN anchor Jake Tapper grilled White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday, hours after it was revealed that top aides to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the coronavirus, a development that under CDC guidelines would call for Pence, who has been in close contact with them, to go into quarantine. But Pence is continuing to hit the campaign trail.
In a heated interview on “State of the Union,” Meadows insisted that Pence was “essential personnel” and therefore exempt from the guidelines. Pence hosts a Sunday campaign rally in North Carolina and on Monday is hosting one in Minnesota.
“CDC guidelines say that Vice President Pence should quarantine for 14 days,” Tapper said.
“He’s not just campaigning,” Meadows insisted. “He’s working.”
At least four aides to Pence, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days. According to the New York Times, which cited anonymous sources, Meadows had sought to keep the White House from disclosing the latest outbreak. The news was released late Saturday night. On CNN, Meadows said he was concerned about the privacy of the infected staffers.
The revelation marks the second round of infections within the White House’s top ranks after many senior officials, including President Trump, who was hospitalized and given treatment for someone with severe symptoms, tested positive earlier this month.
According to the latest tracking data from Johns Hopkins University, about 225,000 Americans have died so far from the virus. But Trump has repeatedly downplayed the danger from the virus ahead of the Nov. 3 election, insisting that the nation has “turned a corner” in the fight.
Friday saw the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. since the outbreak began, which Trump, as he has for months, dismissed as an artifact of increased testing. But the percentage of positive tests has been increasing, along with hospitalizations.
Trump has held mass rallies in some of the hardest-hit states, including Wisconsin, where he campaigned Saturday night in Waukesha, and has continued to attack local governments for maintaining lockdown efforts.
Mark Meadows: “We’re not going to control the pandemic, we are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”
Jake Tapper: “Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 25, 2020
On CNN, Meadows admitted the White House was no longer trying to “control” the virus.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation,” he said.
“Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?” Tapper pushed back.
MOSCOW — Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 1.5 million on Sunday as authorities reported 16,710 new infections amid a rapid resurgence of the outbreak that has swept the country in recent weeks.
Russia’s caseload remains the fourth largest in the world. The government’s coronavirus task force has also registered a total of over 26,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.… Read More
(Reuters) – A new coronavirus outbreak at the White House involving Vice President Mike Pence’s staff comes as the United States reported a near-record number of new cases on Saturday.
The United States reported 79,852 new infections on Saturday, close to the previous day’s record of 84,244 new cases. Hospitalizations are also rising and have hit a two-month high and deaths are also trending upwards, according to a Reuters tally. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
Late on Saturday a spokesman for Pence said Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Pence and his wife tested negative earlier in the day and the vice president will not alter his schedule as he campaigns ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the spokesman said.
Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, told CNN on Sunday that Pence was an essential worker and did not need to quarantine as recommended by guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of Pence’s aides also tested positive, Meadows said.
The latest outbreak follows what health experts described as a super-spreader event at the White House on Sept. 26 where President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
So far in October, 29 states have set records for increases in new cases, including five states considered key in the presidential election: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Hospitals are strained in several states including North Dakota, which is the hardest hit based on recent new cases per capita, according to a Reuters analysis.
(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
BALTIMORE — A day after the U.S. set a daily record for new confirmed coronavirus infections, it came very close to doing it again.
Data published by Johns Hopkins University shows that 83,718 new cases in the U.S. were reported Saturday, nearly matching the 83,757 infections reported Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the United States on a single day had been 77,362 on July 16.… Read More
One day after the final presidential debate of 2020 , Vice President Mike Pence told supporters in Ohio that President Donald Trump “won the debate hands down.” (Oct 23)
WASHINGTON – Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday, Pence’s spokesman said in a statement Saturday night after reports that another senior adviser had also tested positive.
Short began isolating Saturday and assisting in the contact tracing process, according to Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley.
Both Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative Saturday and Pence is not curtailing his movements despite having been in close contact with Short.
“While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel,” O’Malley said in the statement.
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, speaks with members of the media outside the White House, Nov. 19, 2019, in Washington. (Photo: Patrick Semansky, AP)
Pence is head of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
Bloomberg said it wasn’t immediately clear whether Obst had developed symptoms of COVID-19.
CNN reported that Obst tested positive earlier this week.
Obst did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Vice-president Mike Pence addresses supporters at a campaign rally Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo: Steve Cannon, AP)
Both Obst and Short often travel with Pence.
Short, but not Obst, traveled with Pence to Indiana Thursday and interacted with the supporters who came out for Pence’s rally in Fort Wayne.
Short did not travel with Pence to Florida on Saturday. Aides who had been in close contact with Short were pulled from the trip before departure.
The New York Times reported that at least one additional Pence aide has also tested positive.
Pence has had a heavy traveling schedule, making at least one campaign stop most days this month.
“When Joe Biden is talking about shutting down our economy, we are opening up America again,” Pence said in Lakeland, Florida, before his second rally in Tallahassee.
He’s traveling to Kinston, North Carolina, on Sunday.
Karen Pence, is headlining an event in New Hill, North Carolina, Monday. On Tuesday, the vice president is scheduled to travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina.
During the vice presidential debate this month, Pence was asked how the administration can expect Americans to follow COVID safety guidelines when those at the White House haven’t done so.
Pence said he and Trump trust people to make choices that are in the best interest of their health.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates,” Pence said. “We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the
Cases of the coronavirus in Palm Beach County since the pandemic began surpassed 50,000 Saturday, rising to 50,316 cases.
The 328 new cases reported in the county is the fourth time in five days that new cases have topped 200, a spike not seen since Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the full reopening of businesses on Sept. 25.
Statewide cases soared by 4,471 to 776,251. That raises new cases in the past week to 23,770, the most since early September.
More: Cerabino: Florida’s response to pandemic? Just stop it (from being reported)
The numbers are even more staggering when you consider the ripples they set off.
The pandemic numbers do not simply tell the stories of individuals affected by a disease — they are indicators of COVID’s domino effect on families and communities, said one social service strategist working with hard-hit families.
“It’s impacting every part of people’s lives. That’s what we’re seeing,” said Jaime-Lee Bradshaw, chief strategic initiatives officer at Community Partners of South Florida in Riviera Beach. “What we’re seeing is not just that they’re getting sick — they’re getting sick and losing their jobs. They’re getting sick and losing their homes.”
The impact of the pandemic and the efforts to curb it is even greater in communities where access to healthcare and technology is limited, she said.
“We are seeing families that were already on the brink and now have no income. We’re seeing people who are six months behind on their rent, just praying they can access the funds to catch up. We’re seeing children that are lagging because they don’t have adequate access to technology,” Bradshaw said.
More: Coronavirus Florida: Latest charts and case counts
She pointed to the case of one Belle Glade family served by her agency. There are 14 children in the home and one computer provided by the school district.
“Tell me what one Chromebook is going to do for that family,” she said.
A broader approach is required to prevent further damage to communities, Bradshaw said.
“We’ll continue to see as these numbers plummet and skyrocket and those families are going to experience that up and down,” she said. “How do we stabilize families? It doesn’t come from serving silos, it comes from serving systems.”
Demand jumps for mental health services
From last year to this pandemic year, visits to therapists and psychiatrists have doubled at Caridad Center, a suburban Boynton Beach social service agency that operates the largest free clinic in Florida, one frontline manager