A hearing scheduled today in the Senate Law & Justice Committee will be the first time a legislative committee in the General Assembly has discussed the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. Committee Chairman Mike Regan has invited representatives from law enforcement and the criminal justice arena to speak at this first in a series of hearings. The committee expects to hold at least two more hearings to hear from regulators and operators from some of the 18 states that have legalized recreational marijuana as well as advocacy groups on either side of the issue.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is banning the use of more than 600 inhaled products in the state's medical-marijuana program. The banned items are used in vapor products and contain additives not approved by the FDA for inhalation. The department has also asked growers and processors to stop selling the items, which are listed on the state Department of Health's website. The Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition issued a statement expressing their disappointment in the ban and asked the Department of Health to stay its order and to meet with medical and industry experts to develop product standards.
A home is badly damaged after a Lehigh County fire over the weekend. It happened at a mobile home development on Jackal Lane in North Whitehall Township. There were no reports of any injuries. It's unclear how the fire started.
Alcohol may have played a factor in a weekend fatal crash in Warren County, New Jersey. Investigators say 27-year-old John Nunn was driving at a high rate of speed early Sunday morning when he tried to pass two other vehicles. He lost control, went airborne and slammed into the second floor of a home On Route 57 in Washington Township. Nunn suffered only minor injuries. His passenger, 24-year-old Tyler Balog, was killed. Officials say a woman was in bed on the second floor of the home at the time of the crash. She was seriously injured and was flown to Morristown Hospital for treatment.
A new trial date has been set for a 28-year-old woman who is accused of killing Murphy Jeweler's owner Patrick Murphy of Pottsville. Megan Hall is now set to go on trial for second-degree murder, armed robbery and obstruction of justice charges on April 18th in New Orleans. She is alleged to have stabbed Murphy in February of 2019 in a hotel room. A housekeeper discovered Murphy's body eight hours later. The coronavirus pandemic and hurricanes caused delays in the trial.
Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson is sounding the alarm about the state's blood supply. "With COVID-19 and other illnesses really impacting blood donors for going on two years now, we find ourselves in a very difficult position with a very, very low blood supply," Johnson says. She says the pandemic has prevented some regular donors from giving blood. She says you can donate blood regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status, as long as you meet other donation requirements. Johnson also says there's no waiting period to donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 or flu vaccine.
The Pennsylvania primary is a little more than three months away and the race for Senate continues to heat up. There are eight announced GOP Senate candidates in the race. However, over the weekend, the state's Republican Party decided against endorsing any of them nor any of the 14 announced candidates for governor.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will reportedly end the mask mandate in Garden State schools. Murphy tells the New York Times the mask requirement will end in the second week of March. The governor is expected to give more details on lifting the mandate at a COVID briefing this afternoon.
New Jersey's coronavirus surge continues subsiding as the state confirmed some 1600 new cases Sunday. That's the fewest number of cases since the beginning of December. The state also reported 18 new deaths related to the virus on Sunday. Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy said the omicron tsunami is washing out as fast as it washed in, but is urging New Jerseyans to stay vigilant.