Drug War Chronicle #1097 - May 20, 2020

1. House HEROES Act COVID Relief Bill Calls for Prisoner Releases, Marijuana Banking [FEATURE]

The House Democrats' latest coronavirus relief bill doesn't leave prisoners behind nor the legal marijuana industry.

2. Medical Marijuana Update

The Department of Health and Human Services is messing with Maine's mental health grants because it allows medical marijuana use by students, a ban on potentially kiddie-enticing edibles is headed for the Missouri governor's desk, and more.

3. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Meet a trio of cops who aren't really corrupt but who got caught with the personal goodies and, of course, a crooked jail guard.

4. House Includes Marijuana Banking in COVID Bill, Mexico Soldiers to Stay on Streets, More... (5/12/20)

A Mexican cartel leader is struck down by the coronavirus, the House leadership is including help for state-legal marijuana businesses in its latest COVID bill, and more.

5. Amnesty International on Cambodia Drug War Abuses, Deadly Botched Drug Raid in Louisville, More.... (5/13/20)

Coronavirus hobbles yet another drug reform initiative, Amnesty International goes after Cambodia's drug war human rights abuses, and more.

6. GOP Criticize COVID Bill Cannabis Provisions, Honduran Congress Head Tied to Traffickers, More... (5/14/20)

It looks like there will be a fight over marijuana provisions in the HEROES Act coronavirus relief bill, an Oklahoma pot breathalyzer pilot project bill passes the House, another member of the Honduran political elite is tied to drug traffickers, and more.

7. MJ Industry Group Seeks Action from Northeast Governors, HEROES Act Vote Looms, More... (5/15/20)

El Paso moves to reduce small-time marijuana possession arrests, drug policy and criminal justice groups call on the House to pass the latest coronavirus relief bill, and more.

8. ME Loses Federal Student Mental Health Aid Over Medical Marijuana, MA Safe Injection Site Bill Moves, More... (5/18/20)

Missouri lawmakers cast a baleful eye on medical marijuana gummies, a safe injection site bill is moving in Massachusetts, and more.

9. MA Pot Shops Beginning Curbside Delivery, LA House Advances MedMJ Expansion, More... (5/19/20)

The Louisiana House votes to expand the state's medical marijuana program, the Georgia Department of Revenue gets caught mishandled seized asset forfeiture funds, and more.

1. House HEROES Act COVID Relief Bill Calls for Prisoner Releases, Marijuana Banking [FEATURE]

When, in mid-May, House Democrats rolled out the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, H.R. 6800, the latest congressional response to the coronavirus pandemic, they also included a handful of criminal justice and drug policy reforms in the broad-ranging, 90-page, $3 trillion bill. Most of those reforms are aimed at shrinking the prison population in this time of public health crisis, but also on the list is language that would finally allow state-legal marijuana businesses to gain access to banking and other financial services.

The bill passed the House on Friday, but faces clouded prospects in the Senate.

The spread of the coronavirus within the federal prison system is a real concern. The story of the first female federal prisoner to die of the coronavirus, South Dakota Native American Andrea Circle Bear, brought media attention to the plight of federal prisoners. Sent into the federal system on a two-year drug charge in March, the pregnant Circle Bear came down with coronavirus symptoms within a week, gave birth to a premature baby via c-section while on a ventilator, then died three days later on April 4.

But by then, 31 other federal prisoners had died of the disease. And as of May 14, the federal prisoner death toll had risen to 51, with more than 3,600 inmates infected across the system.

Facing the carceral coronavirus crisis, the Justice Roundtable, a broad-based coalition of more than 100 organizations working to reform federal criminal justice laws and policies, released a set of recommendations for supporting prisoner releases as a public safety response to the pandemic. Those included spending $12 billion on supporting access to housing for released prisoners and another $1 billion incentivizing states and localities to release prisoners and support critical reentry services, as well as ending federal bans on various forms of assistance for people with criminal records, making Medicaid available before prisoners hit the streets, ensuring that people impacted by the criminal justice system get access to federal relief funds, and spending another $650 million to expand federal workforce and educational programs for former prisoners.

The HEROES Act does not do all that, but in Title II it does provide $250 million for reentry programs and another half-billion for efforts to reduce the spread of the virus among arrestees and prisoners at all levels. There is also another $200 million for the Bureau of Prisons to response to the crisis, with funding for medical testing and services and necessary protective supplies.

And there is more. Incorporating various already existing pieces of legislation, Title XI of the act (Prisons and Jails) is the Emergency Community Supervision Act, which during a declared emergency related to communicable diseases "mandates the release into community supervision of federal prisoners and pretrial detainees who are non-violent and, for instance, pregnant women, older prisoners and detainees, and those with certain medical conditions."

Title XI also modifies probation and supervised release policies to reduce unnecessary in-person contact with probation officers, mandates pretrial release of non-violent defendants without cash bail, and gives federal courts more authority to reduce sentences and order compassionate release for prisoners, with a special provision for elderly prisoners.

On another important drug policy front, the HEROES Act incorporates wholesale the SAFE Banking Act, which provides much needed access to the banking and financial services sector for the state-legal marijuana industry. Republicans are already sniping at that, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell complaining about a provision that would fund studies about diversity and inclusion in the industry.

"There's a lot in this bill," said Kara Gotsch, who heads up federal advocacy for the Sentencing Project, a Washington, DC-based criminal justice reform group and member . "What's critical is to address the inability to do social distancing within correctional facilities," she said.

"We've had a huge spread of the virus in prisons -- not just federal, but state and local, too. Letting those people out into home confinement is critical not just to their health, but also for the health of the people who might stay behind. It creates space, an opportunity to follow the guidelines," Gotsch continued.

The HEROES Act is the work of House Democrats, and while it passed the House, that's only half the battle. In what is certain to be a titanic political struggle, Senate Republicans are pondering their own version of yet another massive coronavirus relief package. In such a huge -- and hugely important -- struggle, the fate of some federal prisoners and legal marijuana entrepreneurs may not loom large, but it hangs in the balance.

"It's clear that McConnell doesn't have the same sense of urgency to move another stimulus package, but I think the pressure is going to increase on the Senate to take some action," said Gotsch. "This pandemic and its consequences are not going away, and the consequences are severe -- more and more people are likely to be infected and lose their lives."

And that means Gotsch and the other criminal justice reform advocates will be hard at work in the coming weeks to see that as many of the House-passed reform measures make it into the final bill as possible.

"I'm hopeful we could see the Senate moving in June, and as far as our priorities are concerned, I'm hopeful we'll can get some of those provisions in the final package," said Gotsch. "We'll be taking the next few weeks to talk to and educate Senate offices. Federal judges are growing increasingly frustrated with the Justice Department's obstruction on compassionate release and its stinginess on home confinement, which is having a disastrous effect. Our goal is to get the word out to Senate staff to make them aware of how dire the situation really is."

She pointed to the sad story of Andrea Circle Bear.

"I think that galvanized a lot of people," said Gotsch. "She puts a human face on the concerns we've been trying to articulate about the tragic circumstances the prisons are facing. With more education and as these tragic stories come to light, I think we'll be able to get some change."

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2. Medical Marijuana Update

The Department of Health and Human Services is messing with Maine's mental health grants because it allows medical marijuana use by students, a ban on potentially kiddie-enticing edibles is headed for the Missouri governor's desk, and more.

Maine

Maine Loses Federal Mental Health Grants Because of Medical Marijuana. The federal government is cutting off $3.3 million in already approved funding for student mental health services because state law allows students access to medical marijuana. State education officials said "a new requirement" at the federal level cut off the funding for the ongoing program "because of our state's medical marijuana law, which requires schools to allow students who have written certification from their medical provider indicating their need for medical marijuana to receive such treatment while at school." The federal agency making the change is the Department of Health and Human Services.

Missouri

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Bill to Ban Edibles Attractive to Children. Both the House and the Senate voted late last week to approve House Bill 1682, which would ban the sale of edible medical marijuana shaped like fruit, gummy bears, cartoons, or other characters that might be attractive to children. Circles, squares, and other shapes would be okay, though. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Michael Parson (R).

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Court Rules Worker Fired After CBD Use Caused Failed Drug Test Can Receive Unemployment Benefits. A Commonwealth Court panel has ruled that a health care worker who used legal CBD oil to ease her cancer symptoms, subsequently failing a drug test and getting fired, is entitled to unemployment compensation. The court held that even though CBD is derived from marijuana, the woman violated neither the law nor any work rule of her employer by using it. The decision confirms an earlier ruling by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, which was appealed by the employer, Washington Health.

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3. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Meet a trio of cops who aren't really corrupt but who got caught with the personal goodies and, of course, a crooked jail guard. Let's get to it:

In Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, a Sierra County sheriff's deputy was arrested May 7 after his supervisor busted him for a meth pipe in his marked patrol unit. Deputy Grant Taylor, 37, now faces a fourth degree felony charge for possession of a controlled substance. The sheriff said he was "heartbroken" and "more importantly, disappointed."

In Tallassee, Alabama, a Tallasee police officer was arrested last Monday after a 10-day investigation into whether he might have some weed. Officer Raymond Clark apparently did have some weed, since he is now charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree possession of marijuana.

In Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana, a Plaquemines parish jail deputy was arrested last Tuesday after he was searched upon arriving at work and was found in possession of multiple cell phones and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as two firearms in his vehicle. He is facing "multiple narcotics charges." He's out on a $185,000 bond.

In Augusta, Georgia, a Paine College public safety officer was arrested last Wednesday after deputies smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle during a traffic stop. Officer Antonio Burton was in uniform and on-duty at the time and ended up being charged with possession of cocaine after deputies searched the car. No word yet on his employment status.

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4. House Includes Marijuana Banking in COVID Bill, Mexico Soldiers to Stay on Streets, More... (5/12/20)

A Mexican cartel leader is struck down by the coronavirus, the House leadership is including help for state-legal marijuana businesses in the latest coronavirus relief bill, and more.

The House leadership has included relief for state-legal marijuana businesses in the new COVID bill. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

House COVID Package Includes Cannabis Banking Relief, But Not Small Business Support. The House leadership has included banking relief for the state-legal marijuana industry in its latest coronavirus relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. It has done so by incorporating HR 1595, the SAFE Banking Act, within it. That bill amends federal law so that banks and other financial institutions may work directly with state-legal marijuana businesses. The House already approved the SAFE Banking Act back in September. Still, language to amend eligibility for Small Business Administration loans for small businesses was not included.

Maine's Long, Long Road to Legal Marijuana Sales. Nearly four years ago, the state approved a marijuana legalization initiative, but it has yet to see a legal marijuana retailer open. Then Tea Party Republican Gov. Paul LePage threw up obstacles until he left office, and nearly a year ago, the state adopted rules for adult-use marijuana businesses, and the hope was to launch retail this spring, but then coronavirus appeared. This is as the state is waiting for approval from state and local government, including Portland, the state's largest city. The city council there could vote on a local ordinance later this month, but the state says it still can't provide a timeline for the launch of legal sales. Any year now...

International

Mexican President Renews Orders Keeping Military on Streets to Curb Rising Violence. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has ordered the military to take on organized crime and violence for another four years, extending a policy he had previously criticized. He ordered the military to participate "in an extraordinary, regulated, and complementary manner with the National Guard" in public security tasks. Lopez Obrador won office in 2018 with a plan to reduce crime and violence by focusing on the root causes of crime, but the violence has only continued, with a record 35,000 people killed in 2019. "His security strategy is not working and that is why he has had to order with this decree for the Armed Forces to support public security," security specialist Juan Ibarrola told the Milenio newspaper.

Mexican Los Zetas Leader Killed by Coronavirus in Jalisco Prison. Moises Escamilla May, a Los Zetas leader imprisoned for beheading 12 people in Cancun has died of coronavirus at the Puente Grande Federal Prison in Jalisco. He was 45 years old. Security analysts have warned that the impact of the virus on the leadership of criminal organizations, which tend to be older males, could be destabilizing as more experienced leaders who have developed negotiating skills are killed off by the bug, only to be replaced by less experienced and more violent mid-level commanders.

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5. Amnesty International on Cambodia Drug War Abuses, Deadly Botched Drug Raid in Louisville, More.... (5/13/20)

Coronavirus hobbles yet another drug reform initiative, Amnesty International goes after Cambodia's drug war human rights abuses, and more.

Louisville drug raid victim, EMT Breonna Taylor (Handout)
Marijuana Policy

Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative Suspends Campaign Due to Coronavirus. The Ohio Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign is suspending its efforts to get on the November 2020 ballot. The group's initial petition was rejected by state officials, and the group has struggled with signature-gathering amidst social distancing measures inspired by the pandemic. "We made the decision early on that the health of our volunteers, supporters, medical marijuana patients and the general public would be our primary concern," said Tom Haren, a spokesman for the campaign. "As Ohio begins the process of reopening, we are evaluating our options and hope to have more to share soon." The campaign would need more than 450,000 valid voter signatures by July1 in order to make the ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Court Rules Worker Fired After CBD Use Caused Failed Drug Test Can Receive Unemployment Benefits. A Commonwealth Court panel has ruled that a health care worker who used legal CBD oil to ease her cancer symptoms, subsequently failing a drug test and getting fired, is entitled to unemployment compensation. The court held that even though CBD is derived from marijuana, the woman violated neither the law nor any work rule of her employer by using it. The decision confirms an earlier ruling by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, which was appealed by the employer, Washington Health.

Law Enforcement

Family of Louisville Woman Killed in Botched Drug Raid Files Lawsuit. A 26-year-old black Louisville woman who worked as an EMT was killed March 13 when police executing a no-knock search warrant for drugs shot her eight times after taking fire from her boyfriend, another apartment resident. Now, the family of Breonna Taylor has filed a lawsuit accusing officers of wrongful death, excessive force, and gross negligence. The lawsuit alleges that the man police were seeking did not live in the apartment and was already in custody when the raid took place. None of the officers involved have been charged in the shooting, but Taylor's boyfriend, who was not injured in the incident, now faces charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer.

International

Amnesty International Denounces Cambodia Drug War Excesses. The Cambodian government's three-year long "war on drugs" campaign has fueled a rising tide of human rights abuses, dangerously overfilled detention facilities, and led to an alarming public health situation -- even more so as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds -- while failing in its stated objective of curbing drug use, a new investigative report by Amnesty International published Wednesday charges. The new 78-page report, Substance abuses: The human cost of Cambodia's anti-drug campaign, documents how the authorities prey on poor and marginalized people, arbitrarily carry out arrests, routinely subject suspects to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and dispatch those who can't buy their freedom to severely overcrowded prisons and pseudo "rehabilitation centers" in which detainees are denied healthcare and are subjected to severe abuse. "Cambodia's 'war on drugs' is an unmitigated disaster -- it rests upon systematic human rights abuses and has created a bounty of opportunities for corrupt and poorly-paid officials in the justice system," said Nicholas Bequelin, Regional Director at Amnesty International.

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6. GOP Criticize COVID Bill Cannabis Provisions, Honduran Congress Head Tied to Traffickers, More... (5/14/20)

It looks like there will be a fight over marijuana provisions in the HEROES Act coronavirus relief bill, an Oklahoma pot breathalyzer pilot project bill passes the House, another member of the Honduran political elite is tied to drug traffickers, and more.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is throwing jabs at marijuana provisions in the HEROES Act. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Mitch McConnell and Other GOP Lawmakers Slam Marijuana Banking Provisions in Coronavirus Bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized marijuana banking provisions included in the latest coronavirus relief package, complaining that Democrats had included funding to study diversity in the industry as part of the bill. McConnell also more broadly attacked the incorporation of language allowing the industry access to banking and other financial services. McConnell's plaints were echoed by several other Republican lawmakers.

Arizona Court Rules Marijuana Initiative Can't Collect Signatures Online The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request to allow online signature-gathering for proposed ballot initiatives, including the Smart and Safe Arizona marijuana legalization initiative. The good news is the initiative says it already has sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Oklahoma Bill for Marijuana Breathalyzers Passes House. A bill that would allow marijuana breathalyzers to be used for traffic law enforcement across the state has passed the House and now heads to the Senate. The bill would allocate $300,000 for a pilot project with a company that has developed a breathalyzer for marijuana.

International

President of Honduran Congress Linked to Cachiros Drug Cartel: Report. A report from the Central American magazine Expediente Publico details links between the head of the Honduran congress and a major drug trafficking clan, further exposing links between the drug underworld and the country's political elite. President of the National Congress Mauricio Oliva Herrera is named as buying a series of properties in Tegucigalpa from a company linked to a notorious Honduran drug trafficking family known as the Cachiros. Oliva Herrera has confirmed that he will run for president of the country in 2021. The current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, also a member of the National Party, has also been implicated in drug trafficking scandals.

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7. MJ Industry Group Seeks Action from Northeast Governors, HEROES Act Vote Looms, More... (5/15/20)

El Paso moves to reduce small-time marijuana possession arrests, drug policy and criminal justice reformers call on the House to pass the latest coronavirus relief bill, which has reform provisions, and more.

trtue
Marijuana Policy

Industry Group Asks Seven Governors to Legalize Marijuana to Aid Coronavirus Recovery. The National Association of Cannabis Businesses sent a letter to seven Northeast state governors asking them to push for marijuana legalization in order to assist economic recovery amidst the coronavirus crisis. The letters went out to the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. "Legalizing cannabis sales and encouraging retailers to be proactive with strategies like home delivery and curbside pickup is not only a safe way to serve consumers, it will also generate millions of dollars in desperately needed tax revenues for their states," said Mark Gorman, NACB executive vice president.

New York Lawmakers Push to Legalize Marijuana Amid Coronavirus Crisis. At least three state lawmakers are calling for movement on marijuana legalization even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. "We urgently need marijuana legalization rooted in racial and economic justice," said New York State Senators Jamaal Bailey, Brad Hoylman and Jessica Ramos in a press release issued Thursday, "rooted in racial and economic justice." The three senators joined the Legal Aid Society in calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and legislative leaders to enact legalization and other measures to mitigate the pandemic's disproportionate impact on communities of color.

El Paso City Council Approves Measure to Reduce Arrests for Low-Level Marijuana Possession. The city council Thursday approved a measure that encourages police to issue tickets for small-time pot possession cases instead of making arrests. The measure passed on a 7-0 vote. It calls on the city manager to implement the policy change.

Drug Policy

Drug Policy and Justice Reform Groups Call for Passage of HEROES Act. With the House expected to vote on CARES 2 ("The HEROES Act") any time, drug policy and criminal justice groups have called for its passage. Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement urging Congress members to support the bill: "We are pleased that today the House is considering CARES 2... This measure will specifically provide life-saving relief for people at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, including justice-involved individuals and people who use drugs. Many of DPA's legislative priorities are included in CARES 2. The bill includes the Emergency Community Supervision Act (H.R. 6400), which prioritizes releasing certain incarcerated individuals from federal custody into community supervision, including young people, medically vulnerable individuals, people over 50 years of age, and individuals within 12 months of release. The bill also includes the COVID-19 Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act of 2020 (H.R. 6414), which incentivizes states and localities to reduce their jail and prison populations, in addition to providing critical reentry funding. CARES 2 includes language that gives states flexibility to reinstate Medicaid coverage up to 30 days prior to the release of an incarcerated individual, which is pivotal to aiding smooth transition to MAT and other community-based providers. It also authorizes $10 million in discretionary grants intended to support harm reduction providers during the pandemic. We urge the House to vote favorably for CARES 2 today and for the Senate to swiftly take up and pass this essential measure."

The Drug Policy Alliance is a funder of the Drug War Chronicle.

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8. ME Loses Federal Student Mental Health Aid Over Medical Marijuana, MA Safe Injection Site Bill Moves, More... (5/18/20)

Missouri lawmakers cast a baleful eye on medical marijuana gummies, a safe injection site bill is moving in Massachusetts, and more.

A bill to ban medical marijuana edibles that might appeal to children is headed to the Missouri governor's desk. (CC)
Medical Marijuana

Maine Loses Federal Mental Health Grants Because of Medical Marijuana. The federal government is cutting off $3.3 million in already approved funding for student mental health services because state law allows students access to medical marijuana. State education officials said "a new requirement" at the federal level cut off the funding for the ongoing program "because of our state's medical marijuana law, which requires schools to allow students who have written certification from their medical provider indicating their need for medical marijuana to receive such treatment while at school." The federal agency making the change is the Department of Health and Human Services.

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Bill to Ban Edibles Attractive to Children. Both the House and the Senate voted late last week to approve House Bill 1682, which would ban the sale of edible medical marijuana shaped like fruit, gummy bears, cartoons, or other characters that might be attractive to children. Circles, squares, and other shapes would be okay, though. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Michael Parson (R).

Drug Policy

White House Announces Comment Period for Emerging Drug Threats Criteria. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Jim Carroll last Friday announced the start of a public comment period to assist ONDCP in its development of criteria for designating emerging drug threats. The advance notice comment period will be open from May 15, 2020, through June 30, 2020. The accouncement says: "ONDCP's objective is to develop criteria that will enable the United States to proactively identify emerging drug threats and take necessary action to prevent these threats from becoming public health emergencies. The period for comment on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Designation of Emerging Drug Threats in the United States, closes June 30, 2020. Comments may be submitted to the Federal Register."

Harm Reduction

Massachusetts Bill to Allow Safe Injection Sites Advances. The Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery voted last Friday to approve a bill that would authorize the Department of Public Health to set up at least two safe injection sites as part of a 10-year pilot program. Local boards of health would have to agree to opt-in before a site would be considered in their communities. "The message we send to those who are faced with the disease of addiction is that we see you, we value you, and we want you to live," Rep. Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat and House chair of the committee, said in a press release. The measure is House Bill 4723.

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9. MA Pot Shops Beginning Curbside Delivery, LA House Advances MedMJ Expansion, More... (5/19/20)

The Louisiana House votes to expand the state's medical marijuana program, the Georgia Department of Revenue gets caught mishandled seized asset forfeiture funds, and more.

Seized drug money provides temptation to ethically impaired police departments and government offices. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Massachusetts Pot Shops Can Start Curbside Pickup Next Week. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has announced that recreational marijuana stores can reopen on May 25 for curbside pickup only. The move is part of a comprehensive statewide plan for reopening after the coronavirus shutdown. Massachusetts was the only legal marijuana state to not designate pot shops as essential businesses.

Medical Marijuana

Louisiana House Votes to Expand Medical Marijuana Program. The House last Friday overwhelmingly approved a pair of bills that allow dispensaries to deliver medical marijuana products to patients' homes and expand the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The bills are House Bill 792 and House Bill 819. They now head to the Senate, which has less than two weeks to act before the session ends.

Asset Forfeiture

Georgia Department of Revenue Gets Caught Mishandling Seized Funds. The state Department of Revenue has ended its practice of keeping cash and assets seized in criminal investigations and returned $2.1 million to the state treasury after being outed in March for spending millions of dollars in seized cash on "engraved firearms, pricey gym equipment, clothing, personal items, even $130 sunglasses." The office spent $2.9 million of this money over the past four years. It only returned the $2.1 million after local media exposed the shenanigans.

Oklahoma City Police Department Can't Account for Some Seized Cash. An audit of the department office that handles seized cash and other assets was unable to account for some $27,000 and found the office failed to make timely deposits of currency and lacked adequate controls to prevent theft. The audit came in response to allegations of mishandled money. It found that two envelopes holding $10,775 had gone missing and that another $16,296 could not be accounted for. The department is instituting reforms, the audit said.

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

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