Biden Won't Commit On Marijuana Legalization Bill, Alabama Forfeiture Reform Advances, More... (4/21/21)

Asset forfeiture reform stalls in Hawaii but advances in Alabama, the Denver city council votes to approve marijuana deliveries and consumption lounges, and more.

Denver. Marijuana deliveries and consumption lounges are coming to the Mile High City. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Biden Won't Commit to Sign Marijuana Legalization Bill If Passed by Congress, Press Secretary Says. President Biden's stance toward a forthcoming marijuana legalization bill is noncommittal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. She declined to say whether he would sign or veto such a bill. "The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts and, at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records," she said. "He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana so that's his point of view on the issue." When pressed, Psaki added: "He'll look at the research once that's concluded. Of course we understand the movement that's happening toward it. I'm speaking for what his position is and what long, consistently has been his position. He wants to decriminalize, but again, he'll look at the research of the positive and negative impacts."

Denver to Get Marijuana Deliveries and Consumption Lounges. The city council voted Monday night to allow marijuana deliveries and consumption lounges, and Mayor Michael Hancock says he supports the move. Once signed into law, some of the changes could go into effect immediately, but it could take a few months to get delivery services up and running.

Asset Forfeiture

Alabama Senate Approves Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. The state Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a bill that reforms but does not end civil asset forfeiture, Senate Bill 210. The bill, passed with support from prosecutors and law enforcement, would bar the seizure of less than $250 in cash or cars worth less than $5,000, require a finding of probable cause before a forfeiture can occur, require a post-seizure seizure order for property seized without a warrant, bar law enforcement from inducing or requiring a person to waive his interest in a property, and prohibit "disproportionate" seizures. The bill now heads to the House.

Hawaii Asset Forfeiture Reform Effort Fails. A move to reform asset forfeiture procedures and eliminate civil asset forfeiture, Senate Bill 294, has stalled amid disagreements between House and Senate legislators. Under the bill, property cold still be seized without a conviction, but not sell it. House leadership was demanding that the entire section on civil asset forfeiture reform be removed, leading Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Karl Rhoads to say: "The House's position on this issue has changed fairly substantially. I think I still have a very difficult time with the fundamental fairness of having someone's property taken away in a criminal context when they haven't been convicted of anything. "I don't see a way forward."

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