N.J.’s medical marijuana chief douses senator’s pipe dream of legal weed for sale immediately after the election
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Not long after state Sen. Nick Scutari claimed on Tuesday legislators and regulators may “be able to flip the switch and people might be able to get marijuana, legally, right after the vote,” the head of the state medical cannabis program doused that pipe dream with a bucket of cold water.
“(Some dispensaries) literally do not even have the space to accommodate the level of demand that personal-use sales would bring,” said Jeff Brown, who helms the Department of Health’s Medicinal Marijuana Program. “I could say unequivocally that opening up sales even a few months after the election would be a disaster and would really hurt access for patients who need this as medicine. My number one priority is to ensure that the patients have access — that’s going to be our priority first and foremost.”
Since the passage of Jake Honig’s Law, the medical program continues to grow in terms of patients and demand — about 7,000 patients per month on average and nearly 95,000 patients enrolled in total — but the program continues to face supply challenges for just the current patient population due to the small number of operational cultivators and canopy space.
Scutari, in his comments during an interview with NJ Cannabis Insider streamed live on NJ.com’s Facebook page Tuesday, that “(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 have enough product to satisfy their patients that they’re already treating.”
Brown, who also participated in a closed portion of the webinar, tamped down the senator’s suggestion at the time. He said he wants to keep an open dialogue with legislators and make the program’s priorities clear to medical patients and Garden State citizens as a whole.
“Inventories at alternative treatment centers are increasing, too, but it’s uneven,” he said. “We have some that are expanding capacity and then we have others that are simply maintaining and have really no room to expand cultivation in their current footprints.”
For the past six months, Brown said, the medical cannabis program has averaged about only 2,100 pounds in sales per month, rising to nearly 2,500 in September with a similar trend in October. Based on an average of the patient population, patients typically only buy a half-ounce each month, he said.
As of this past Friday, Brown said, there were about 10,000 pounds of medical cannabis in the market — about evenly split between flower and extracts, though flower tends to have higher sales. That means there’s enough medical cannabis to last about four months, given current sales trends and more limited choices for patients.
Part of the challenges dispensaries face, Brown said, is the small indoor canopy. There’s a dozen cultivators in New Jersey, but the average dispensary only has a canopy of
Nationwide use of face masks could bring the spread of Covid-19 under control if 90% to 95% of the U.S. population wore such face coverings, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
In an interview with the editor of JAMA, Fauci advocated all Americans wear masks as a key way to bring an end to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly as a measure to reign in the spread of the virus until vaccines are widely available against the disease.
“If you don’t want to shut down at least do the fundamental basic things . . . the flagship of which is wearing a mask,” Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor of JAMA during an interview Wednesday afternoon.
Fauci’s live interview builds on a viewpoint he and NIH colleagues Andrea Lerner and Gregory Folkers wrote for JAMA published earlier this week called “Preventing the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 With Masks and Other ‘Low-tech’ Interventions.” In the article, Fauci and colleagues from the NIH said wearing masks is critical along with a “toolbox” of low-tech interventions that include “physical distancing, hand hygiene, prompt testing (along with isolation and contact tracing), and limits on crowds and gatherings.”
If the American public embraced masking and other of these “low tech interventions,” the U.S. Covid-19 outbreak could be under control with deaths and cases of the virus dropping dramatically, Fauci and NIH colleagues wrote, echoing statements by the head of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention many times throughout the pandemic.
“We can’t have this very inconsistent wearing (of masks) where you have some states that absolutely refuse to wear a mask,” Fauci said. “It almost becomes a political statement. We have got to get away from that.”
The CDC first recommended that Americans wear face masks to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in early April but not all states have followed through and the Donald Trump White House has been inconsistent in advocating that all Americans wear masks, further politicizing the issue. Trump and his wife Melania Trump were among several who work in the White House not wearing masks who were infected with Covid-19 earlier this month and – in the last week – several of Vice President Mike Pence’s staffers that didn’t regularly wear masks were infected with the Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, cases of Covid-19 are surging to their highest levels since the outbreak with 70,000 infections being diagnosed every day along with an estimated 1,000 deaths from the deadly virus. There have been nearly 9 million Americans infected with Covid-19, according to the latest New York Times tally.
Several companies including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax
The president has often been critical of his opponents for wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic
President Donald Trump has been critical of his opponents for wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, he turned that criticism on to one of his biggest supporters: Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
Ingraham was attending Trump’s campaign rally in Waterford Township, Michigan when Trump spotted the conservative TV personality and pointed her out in the crowd. Noticing that she was wearing a protective mask, he went off-script and began drawing attention to her.
“I can’t recognize you. Is that a mask? No way,” Trump said. “Are you wearing a mask? I’ve never seen her in a mask. Look at you. Oh, she’s being very politically correct. Whoa. Whoa.”
Read More: Trump supporters say masks are harmful, would wear if Trump said so
Trump previously mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing a mask at their first debate earlier this month. At that same debate, his inner circle who attended opted not to wear masks while in the audience.
The president repeatedly said publicly that wearing masks shouldn’t be mandatory, despite several doctors and experts, including the nation’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stating that wearing protective masks can decrease the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Fauci wants a national mandate for wearing masks but concedes that Trump would keep that from happening, reported Forbes.
Read More: Trump White House blocked effort to mail every US household face masks
Trump’s mocking of Ingraham stands out as she is one of his biggest sympathizers in the media. Ingraham gave an emotional statement of support to Trump on Fox News following his diagnosis of COVID-19. “We’ll take up the slack. Because you fought for us,” Ingraham said. “Do not fear for a moment. Because now we’re going to fight for you.”
Ingraham is the same Fox News host who famously coined the phrase “shut up and dribble,” after criticizing NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant for condemning the president on social media. This prompted a backlash from NBA players, including the late Kobe Bryant, who addressed it in his Oscar acceptance speech in 2018.
In 2019, James would go on to executive produce a Showtime documentary series called Shut Up and Dribble, which chronicled the history of NBA players speaking out against social and political injustice.
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New coronavirus cases are increasing in 42 states and territories, according to an internal Health and Human Services memo obtained by ABC News.
Six jurisdictions are at a plateau, and new cases are decreasing in eight, the memo said.
The number of new cases reported from Oct. 21 to 27 increased by 21.7% compared to the previous seven-day period, according to the memo.
New deaths increased 8.8% during that same time period.
The national test-positivity rate also increased to 6.2% from 5.8% in week-to-week comparisons.
Across the country, 23% of hospitals have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled, according to HHS. That number was 17% to 18% during the summertime peak.
Hospital strain is a concern in several states, including Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Hospitals in New Mexico are seeing higher numbers of younger patients, while ones in Oklahoma City are reducing elective surgeries and calling for volunteers with medical backgrounds due to a surge in COVID-19 patients, the memo noted.
ABC News’ Josh Margolin contributed to this report.
Oregon could become the first U.S. state to decriminalize possessing hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD in a ballot measure during Tuesday’s election.
If voters pass Measure 110, users found in low-level possession of the substances would have the option of paying $100 fines or attending new, free addiction recovery centers instead of being arrested and facing jail time, The Associated Press reported.
The recovery centers would be funded by tax revenue from retail marijuana sales in the state, which was the country’s first to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Yes on 110, the organization sponsoring the ballot measure, stresses that the act does not legalize any drugs.
“No change is made in the criminal code for delivery, manufacture, and other commercial drug offenses. These offenses will remain a crime,” according to the website. “No change is made for other crimes that may be associated with drug use, such as driving under the influence and theft.”
Approximately one in 10 Oregonians struggle with substance use disorder, according to Yes on 110.
“This measure expands access to treatment and removes unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, so people with addiction can more easily recover. People will no longer be arrested and put in jail simply for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they will receive a health assessment and be connected to the right treatment or recovery services, including housing assistance, to help them get their lives back on track.”
The ballot measure is backed by the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon chapter of the American College of Physicians and the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians.
“Punishing people for drug use and addiction is costly and hasn’t worked. More drug treatment, not punishment, is a better approach,” the groups said in a statement obtained by the outlet.
The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions for possession of a controlled substance would decrease by 3,679 or 90.7 percent.
“Every hour, police in Oregon arrest someone for drugs – at a time when Oregon has missing children, unsolved murders and a long backlog of cold cases. This measure will free-up police to focus more on what matters,” according to Yes on 110.
Measure 110 is also supported by the Democratic Party of Oregon and several human and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP Portland.
It is opposed by two dozen district attorneys who argue the measure “recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs (and) will lead to an increase in acceptability of dangerous drugs.”
“This is a terrible idea. It’s disconnected to what’s best for Oregonians. It will lead to increased crime and increased drug use,” Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton said.
Former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), a former emergency room physician and the longest-serving governor in Oregon history, also urged voters to reject Measure 110 earlier this month in a blog post.
“I understand that a
I’m isolated home because of a pre-existing condition, and my mother needed to protect her own health. So she was forced to make an impossible choice.
On the night of Sunday, Oct. 25, my stepfather died of COVID-19. He died of pneumonia. He died of a stroke. But most importantly, he died alone. Because of President Donald Trump.
It didn’t have to be like this. How many lives were lost or ruined, that didn’t have to be? As White House chief of staff Mark Meadows put it, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” He said that just hours before my stepdad passed away.
For over 20 years Randy has been a big, bold part of my life, and I can’t quite grasp yet what this life will look like without him in it. In my quiet, Midwestern and introverted family, he stood out with his exuberance and his stories that you could never quite tell which were wholly true. He shook up my family’s world, and repainted it in brighter colors. Now those colors are fading to black.
He suffered a stroke in early September and moved to a nursing home on Sept. 30, after a stint in the hospital. By Oct. 10, he had a fever and, on Oct. 12, a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Pneumonia set in a few days before he died. The nursing home didn’t allow any visitors because of the pandemic. Period. Mom was sometimes allowed to FaceTime him during this time, but that was all. She was able to mask and glove up and see him briefly in the end, but she could not be there when he finally left us forever.
Tired of impossible choices
Because of how we’ve failed to handle this pandemic, my mom had to choose whether to risk her own life to be in the room to say goodbye to her dying husband. His son and daughter couldn’t say their goodbyes in person since they live many miles away in California, and my sister and I are helpless bystanders several states away.
Due to the incompetence of this administration, we’re forced into an impossible dilemma: our family versus our own safety.
Randy Cavanaugh and Kathy Carlson Cavanaugh, Laura Packard’s mother, on April 18, 2018, in Cookeville, Tennessee. (Photo: Family handout)
Trump may be “tired” of hearing about coronavirus, but we have to live with the consequences of his actions and inaction. Even after his own diagnosis, he continues to hold rallies, unmasked, around the country, leaving a trail of likely super spreader events behind him and in the White House. After all the sacrifices our country has made, he sacrifices nothing.
I’m tired too. Because of the raging pandemic, there is no completely safe way to travel across the country right now that doesn’t carry germs with me. I cannot bear the possibility of infecting my mom, and
WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of Americans who have lost health insurance in an economy shaken by the coronavirus can sign up for taxpayer-subsidized coverage starting Sunday.
It’s not a new COVID relief program from the government but the return of annual sign-up season under the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” Open enrollment lasts through Dec. 15.… Read More
For Germany, the breaking point could come in December. France and Switzerland might crack by mid-November. Belgium could hit its limit by the end of the week.
Europe, in the throes of a savage second wave of the pandemic, is on the verge of a medical crisis, with intensive care units quickly filling to the breaking point. Governments are finding that when confronted by the unforgiving reality of an exponentially spreading virus, even vast investments to expand hospital capacity can be washed away in days.
Germany, Europe’s best-resourced nation, risks being swamped even after increasing its intensive care beds by a quarter over the summer. Belgium, which had doubled its intensive care capacity, is now preparing for decisions about which needy patient should get a bed.
“This huge capacity we’ve built gave a false impression of security. It gave a higher buffer, but ultimately it only represents a week when you’re in an exponential phase,” said Emmanuel André, a leading Belgian virologist who has advised the government on the pandemic — and has bitterly criticized leaders for acting too slowly this fall.
In retrospect, the warning signs could be seen as early as July, when cases in Europe started ticking up again after the relaxation of spring lockdowns. In absolute terms, the numbers were still tiny. Spanish emergency room doctors enjoyed a respite, after being hammered in March and April. Italian nurses headed to the beach. Central European leaders — among the worst hit now, but back then largely untouched — gathered at the end of August for a triumphant conference to discuss the post-pandemic era.
But the math for exponential growth is as simple as it is scary. When two coronavirus cases double to four, and four cases double to eight, it doesn’t take long for the numbers to reach the tens of thousands — and beyond.
[Gloom settles over Europe as days darken and coronavirus surges]
“An exponential phenomenon starts with very small numbers, and it is not tangible for weeks and weeks and weeks for people out there,” André said. “If you look at the numbers, you have very strong indicators early on that things are going wrong, but it is only at the very end that things explode.”
Europe is now feeling the explosion.
The continent reported 1.5 million cases over the past week, the highest yet during the pandemic, the World Health Organization’s Europe director, Hans Kluge, told an emergency meeting of health ministers on Thursday. Deaths rose by a third in seven days. Occupancy of intensive care units doubled in 17 days leading up to Oct. 25 in countries tracked by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
“Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” Kluge said.
A week ago, French intensive
Nearly 46 million people have now been infected with the coronavirus world-wide, and nearly 1.19 million have died.
U.K.: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet was due to meet Saturday to discuss plans for a new nationwide lockdown in England to curb the virus’s spread, according to a government official, who stressed a final decision hasn’t been made. Scientists at Imperial College London estimate infections are running at almost 100,000 a day in England, and hospitalizations and deaths are creeping up. The seven-day average for deaths hit 213 on Tuesday, its highest tally since May.
The government has been experimenting with localized restrictions in England but cases have continued rising. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own public-health policies and have already closed some businesses and imposed curbs on household mixing. Mr. Johnson is due to hold a televised press conference at 4:00 p.m. London time on Saturday.
Greece: New restrictions, including mandatory mask wearing indoors and outdoors, will be take effect in Greece starting Tuesday. Other measures include a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew, and university courses will revert to online learning. In the Athens region and northern Greece, where the virus is circulating at higher levels, the government has also ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, theaters, museums and gyms.
While Greece has among the lowest infection rates in Europe, new cases are rising rapidly. Announcing the new measures, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the goal was to prevent the virus from spreading out of control.
“We must act now, before the intensive-care units are overwhelmed by people fighting for their life. Now, while we still have the ability to detect and track cases,” he said in a televised address.
India: The new-case count was below 50,000 for the sixth day in a row, with the country reporting 48,268 cases over the preceding 24 hours, and 551 deaths. Confirmed cases now exceed 8.1 million, with a death toll of 121,641.
Japan: The 778 new cases reported Saturday pushed the total past 100,000, and the 11 deaths brought the toll to 1,755. Starting Sunday, the government will allow business travelers returning from trips of seven days or less to any country to skip the two-week quarantine, provided they meet conditions including a negative test result.
The government has also lowered travel alerts on nine countries including China, South Korea and Australia. From Sunday onward, travelers from those countries won’t be required to take a coronavirus test upon arrival.
South Korea: With 127 new Covid-19 cases reported, it was the fourth consecutive day above 100. Locally transmitted infections have been rising this week, with new clusters around workplaces and social gatherings. Local authorities are on high alert this weekend, concerned that Halloween festivities could prompt a fresh wave.
China: Mainland Chinese authorities reported six new locally transmitted symptomatic cases, all in and around the city of Kashgar in the far western Xinjiang region and previously classified as asymptomatic. Chinese health authorities typically highlight and focus on positive cases showing
Here you can get the latest information on the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in North Carolina and surrounding region, and resources to be prepared and keep your family safe.
Click the video player above for the latest information from Gov. Roy Cooper.
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What’s New — Week of Oct. 25:
- More than 9.0 million people in the country have been infected with the virus and more than 230,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
- The latest surge of COVID-19 infections has brought the seven-day average of new daily cases to heights not seen since the pandemic began. The seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday, topping the previous peak of 67,293 reported on July 22. The two highest single days of new cases were Friday and Saturday, with more than 83,000 new cases added each day.
- The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is driving up food insecurity across America. 54 million Americans are going hungry. Here is how you can get help if you are facing food insecurity today.
- Immunity to COVID-19 infection lingers for at least five months, researchers reported — and probably longer than that.
- As voters get ready to head to the polls on Election Day, many will do something they have never done before: put on a mask to go vote. Here are coronavirus guidelines for in-person voting.
- Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 171 Wednesday to strengthen eviction protections and keep more North Carolinians in their homes.
- Millions of Americans who have lost health insurance in an economy shaken by the coronavirus can sign up for taxpayer-subsidized coverage starting Sunday.
North Carolina Numbers:
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has not updated its coronavirus numbers for Friday because of a technical delay, it reported. It is working to provide an update as soon as possible, which is when this article will be updated.
- There have been 274,635 cases and 4,378 deaths in the state as of Saturday
- There are currently 1,184 people hospitalized
- The state has completed 4,043,698 tests
- 6.1% of tests returned positive, with 2,805 new cases reported Saturday
- Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the goal for this benchmark is 5%.
Piedmont Triad County Numbers:
- Alamance County has 5,511 positive cases, 89 deaths
- Alleghany County has 311 positive cases, 2 deaths
- Caswell County has 640 positive cases, 5 deaths
- Davidson County has 3,836 positive cases, 44 deaths
- Davie County has 786 positive cases, 11 deaths
- Forsyth County has 9,121 positive cases, 121 deaths
- Guilford County has 11,877 positive cases, 210 deaths
- Montgomery County has 1,208 positive cases, 40 deaths
- Randolph County has 3,921 positive cases, 64 deaths
- Rockingham County has 2,125 positive cases, 26 deaths
- Stokes County has 710 positive cases, 12 deaths
- Surry County has 1,961 positive cases, 33 deaths
- Wilkes County has 1,846 positive cases, 38 deaths
- Yadkin County has 1,084 positive cases,