Breaking News:Initiatives 2020 -- Legalization Sweep, Psychedelic Sweep, Medical Marijuana, Decrim

Chronicle AM: CA Racial Profiling Study, VA Governor Pushes for Marijuana Decrim, More... (1/6/20)

Virginia's Democratic governor is ready to push for marijuana decriminalization as part of a broader criminal justice reform package, federal opioid funds will soon be available to address meth and cocaine as well, the Philippines' vice-president rips Duterte's bloody drug war, and more.

Gee, guess who gets harassed most often by the cops in California? (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Kansas Governor Says She Would Sign a Marijuana Legalization Bill. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said in an interview last week she would likely sign a bill legalizing marijuana if it arrived at her desk. But she added that legalization isn't her main focus; medical marijuana is. "I do believe medical marijuana needs to be legalized," she said. As for legalization: "I don't have a personal ideology regarding it. If the folks want it and the legislature passes it, would I sign it? Probably."

Virginia Governor Says He Will Push for Marijuana Decriminalization This Year. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Friday that he would push for the decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia this year but wants to study full legalization before going further. He announced legislation that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense carrying a $50 penalty, instead of a criminal misdemeanor. The proposal is part of a broader criminal justice reform agenda that includes parole reforms, raising the age youthful offenders could be tried as adults, and a higher threshold for making theft a felony.

Drug Treatment

Federal Opioid Funds Will Soon Be Able to Be Used for Addressing Methamphetamine and Cocaine. States will soon be able to use opioid funding from the federal government to address rising methamphetamine and cocaine use. That's because a 2020 funding bill passed by Congress last month incorporates Ohio Sen. Rob Portman's (R) Combating Meth and Cocaine Act, which expands the use of the State Opioid Response Grant funding to address rising use and overdose deaths attributed to the abuse of methamphetamine and cocaine. Those grants totaled a billion dollars each in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and $500 million in fiscal year 2019.

Racial Profiling

Major California Study Finds Black People Stopped Far More Often by Police. Black people were more likely to be stopped by police and more likely to have force used against them by police, a study of statistics from eight large law enforcement agencies in the state has found. In Los Angeles, black people account for 9% of the population, but 28% of all people stopped in the last six months of 2018. In San Francisco, the numbers were 5% and 26%. According to the new data, black people are much more likely to have firearms pointed at them by police officers. They also are more likely to be detained, handcuffed and searched. At the same time, when the police search black, Latino and Native American people, they are less likely to find drugs, weapons or other contraband compared to when they search white people.

International

Philippines Vice President Rips Duterte's Policies as Deadly But Failing. Vice-President Leni Robredo, a harsh critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs whom Duterte briefly hired as co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs and then fired, said Monday that her brief tenure there allowed her to find that the government has only been going after small-time drug pushers, and that treatment and rehabilitation programs are inadequate. She called on the government to end the deadly Oplan Tokhang ("Operation Knock and Plead"), bring proceedings against high-value targets and improve its collection and interpretation of drug-related data.

Thailand Launches First Full-Time Clinics for Dispensing Medical Marijuana Products. Two full-time clinics for dispensing cannabis oil opened in Thailand Monday. It is an early step in the government's policy of promoting the licensed use of marijuana products to relieve the symptoms of a range of ailments. About 400 patients, many of them suffering from cancer, were provided with free cannabis oil at the clinic at the Public Health Ministry in suburban Bangkok. About two-dozen other clinics have been operating part-time since the legislature amended the country's drug laws in 2018 to allow for medical marijuana.

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