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MA Governor Pardons Pot Offenders, CO Social Media Bill Would Ban Marijuana Talk, More... (3/13/24)

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An Arizona bill to allow therapeutic psilocybin centers advances, so does an Idaho bill that would ban marijuana advertising.

The psilocbyin molecule. Those molecules could soon be aiding patients under an Arizona bill. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Colorado Social Media Bill Would Ban Users from Talking About Marijuana, Legal Medications. A measure aimed at reining in social media companies filed last month in the Senate, Senate Bill 24-158, contains provisions that would make it unlawful to talk about marijuana or legal prescription medications online. 

While ostensibly seeking to boost data privacy protections and protect young social media users, the bill would require all social media platforms to state that "the use of the social media platform for the promotion, sale, or advertisement of any illicit substance" is prohibited and that users who violate this rule must be removed. The bill defines an "illicit substance" as one that is a controlled substance under federal law, which includes marijuana, as well as prescription drugs. As written, the bill would effectively ban pro-marijuana free speech in a state where marijuana is legal, as well as making it impossible to advertise prescription drugs on social media. 

The Democratic-sponsored bill currently sits in the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee with no hearings or votes scheduled. 

Hawaii Senate Committee Guts House-Approved Marijuana Expungement Bill. A bill passed by the House last week that would automatically expunge thousands of arrest and conviction records for low-level marijuana offenses, House Bill 1595, has been effectively gutted in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Instead of agreeing to the automatic expungement, the committee voted unanimously to limit expungements to a one-county pilot program and limit them only to arrests not followed by convictions. 

"Instead of the bill’s statewide automatic expungement program for arrests and convictions," said Sen. Karl Rhodes (D), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, , "I propose that we adopt the attorney general’s pilot program for state-initiated expungement of marijuana possession arrests."

Rep. David Tarnas (D), the sponsor of the original legislation, said "approximately 30,000 people" would be eligible for automatic expungement, but if the legislature adopts the amended Senate version, only a small fraction of that number would be eligible. 

The Senate is following the lead of Attorney General Anna Lopez (D, whose department is calling for the pilot project 

 "Instead of the bill in its current form, the Department proposes a pilot project whereby certain individuals who have been arrested solely for marijuana possession…and whose arrest resulted in a non-conviction disposition, have the arrest expunged via a state-initiated process," the Lopez’s office said in submitted testimony. Without amendments, it continued, the department "reiterates its strong opposition to this bill."

Idaho House Approves Bill Banning Marijuana Advertising. The House on Tuesday gave its approval to a measure that would ban commercial advertising in the state, House Bill 613. The bill has now been sent over to the Senate, where it is before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Red-state Idaho is bordered by the legal marijuana states of Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, and advertising seeking to entice Idahoans across state lines to take advantage of legal weed has appeared in the state. 

Lawmakers addressed concerns about the constitutionality of the bill by saying that speech promoting unlawful activities is not protected by the First Amendment. 

Massachusetts Governor Issues Pardons for Thousands Upon Thousands of People with Small-Time Marijuana Convictions.  Gov. Maura Healey (D) on Wednesday announced that she is pardoning thousands of Bay Staters with misdemeanor marijuana convictions. 

"This is the most sweeping cannabis pardon [initiative] ever proposed by a Governor," she said. "No exceptions. No qualifications," she added. 

In just one 13-year period early in this century, there were more than 68,000 marijuana arrests or tickets, suggesting that the actual number of marijuana misdemeanants in the state's history could well exceed 100,000. 

Pardons will be issued automatically. People who want a printed pardon certificate will be able to obtain one by filling out an online form. 


Arizona House Committee Advances Psilocybin Service Center Bill. The House Health and Human Services Committee has approved a Senate-passed bill to allow for psilocybin service centers where people could ingest the psychedelic under medical supervision, Senate Bil 1570. The bill advanced out of committee on an 8-2 vote. 

The bill would authorize the Department of Human Services to license therapeutic psilocybin centers where trained facilitators could supervise the administration of the drug. It would significantly expand the state's existing law allowing for psychedelic research, which currently funds studies into psilocybin therapy to the tune of $5 million a year. 

Co-sponsored by Senate President Warren Peterson (R), the bill specifies that the Department of Human Services would need to start accepting applications for therapeutic psilocybin centers by January 1, 2026.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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