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Chronicle AM: Philly Safe Injection Site Gets Favorable Final Ruling, San Diego to Dismiss Pot Convictions, More... (2/26/20)

A federal judge has issued a final order saying a proposed Philadelphia safe injection site does not violate federal law, Kansas lawmakers vote to keep a third pot possession conviction a felony, the Virginia legislature has passed a smokeable hemp bill, and more.

The Mexican congress is on a path to legalize marijuana ahead of a Supreme Court-imposed April deadline. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Kansas Lawmakers Kill Bid to Lower Marijuana Penalties. The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to reject House Bill 2686, which would have reduced third time simple pot possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and released people serving prison time for felony marijuana possession. I thought this was mild enough that it might get through the committee," said Democratic Rep. Boog Highberger, of Lawrence, home to the liberal University of Kansas main campus. "I can't explain it." But Republican committee members said it was a step toward legalization, which they don't support.

San Diego DA Files Motion to Reduce and Dismiss Marijuana Convictions.The San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that it has filed a motion to reduce nearly 25,962 felony marijuana convictions to misdemeanors, while also moving to dismiss 1,040 misdemeanor marijuana convictions completely. The office said it had already reduced or dismissed more than 1,600 marijuana-related convictions since 2016, when Proposition 64 was voted into law, legalizing recreational marijuana use in California. The DA's Office's reduction and dismissal motions are pending review by a judge.

Hemp

Virginia Lawmakers Pass Smokeable Hemp Bill. The Senate voted 37-3 Tuesday to approve House Bill 962, which clarifies that smokeable hemp products can lawfully be sold to people 21 and over. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Harm Reduction

Philadelphia Safe Injection Site Gets Final Approval from Federal Judge. A federal judge Tuesday issued a final order in a case where he earlier ruled that a proposed safe injection in the city would not violate federal law. The final order upholds that previous ruling and clears the way for the nonprofit group Safehouse to move forward with opening the site. The Trump administration had challenged the legality of the harm reduction measure and could still appeal the ruling, but Safehouse says it is moving forward anyway.

International

Mexican Congress Moving Closer to Marijuana Legalization. Sen. Ricardo Monreal of the ruling MORENA Party said Monday that marijuana legalization is "on track" and that several congressional committees are meeting this week to work on the issue. Four committees were set to meet to review a draft bill Wednesday. The congress is working under an April Supreme Court deadline to get legalization done.

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