Minnesota regulators provide some hints on what it is going to take to get legalization up and running, four people busted after an informant planted drugs on them are suing a Texas sheriff, and more.
Minnesota Regulators Lay Out Roadmap for Implementing Marijuana Legalization. At an information meeting Wednesday night, officials with the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) laid out the long process of implementing the state's decision to legalize marijuana, including an update on the search for an OCM director, as well as outlining an array of issues still to be decided through an expedited rulemaking process.
'This is really a unique opportunity for us to assess the business needs, to evaluate the authorities that the legislature and the governor have given to the Office of Cannabis Management and then to meet those business needs in a way that really helps us ensure the success of the cannabis industry in Minnesota,' Charlene Briner, OCM's implementation director, said at the meeting.
Although legalization took effect earlier this month, meaning possession and home cultivation is now legal, officials said it could be close to two years before the state sees its first licensed retailers. (An exception is retail outlets on Native American reservations; at least two pot shops are already open on Native American land.)
Among the tasks to be completed before sales can begin are setting up OCM governance, filling the 51 seats on the Cannabis Advisory Council, consulting with the public, and crafting rules to guide the new industry.
"This is really an all-hands-on-deck endeavor," Briner said. "There is a tremendous hunger for information about what this will look like, about how we're going to go about rulemaking," she said. "We're trying to be very proactive, as much as possible, to provide external communications."
Ohio GOP Governor Opposes Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has come out unequivocally against the marijuana legalization initiative sponsored by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The measure will go before voters in November.
The measure would allow people 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot and grow up to six plants, as well as setting up a system of taxed and regulated legal marijuana commerce.
"I think it would be a real mistake for us to have recreational marijuana," DeWine said.
DeWine said that he visited Colorado shortly after that state made recreational marijuana legal. "I went out there and talked to the people at the children's hospital, law enforcement and to people in business. It is an unmitigated disaster," he claimed. "I would just ask people to look what's happened in other states and see if we really want to bring that to Ohio."
The 76-year-old governor also warned that today's marijuana "is not your grandparents' marijuana; it's much more potent."
DeWine's comments drew a quick retort from Tom Haren, a spokesman for the legalization campaign.
"I'll tell you why it's not your grandfather's marijuana: your grandfather's marijuana wasn't tested in a pharmaceutical-grade testing lab. It wasn't produced in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) quality cultivation facility, right? It wasn't subject to a statewide rigorous regulatory framework."
As for the Colorado "disaster," Haren said: "The governor must not have spoken to anybody from Colorado recently, because what I can tell you is their program is a huge success."
Seattle City Council Votes Down Effort to Fast-Track Law Empowering City Attorney to Prosecute Drug Users. The city council Tuesday night narrowly rejected a proposal to fast-track a municipal ordinance that would have allowed the city attorney to prosecute people for drug possession and public use. The council instead voted to have the bill go through the regular committee process, meaning that any action will be delayed until after the August recess.
The latest version of the bill says that in the future police will adopt alternative to arrest such as diversion and treatment as "the preferred approach" to drug possession and public drug use, but that is not good enough for some council members. They argue that the language does not require diversion, does not fund alternatives to arrest, or provide examples of when diversion would be appropriate.
"It seems important that the resources be sufficiently invested into the alternative strategies so that people are not being given a false promise that there will be a diversion strategy, [but] we don't have those resources," said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said. "And where will that funding come from?"
Texas Sheriff's Office Sued by Victims of Drug-Planting Informant. Four people who were sent to prison based on drugs planted by an informant are now suing Bexar County (San Antonio) Sheriff Javier Salazar and two deputies, Ferman Guzman and Alex Uriegas, who did not properly vet the informant.
In July 2021, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office admitted that drugs had been planted in the four cases. The informant in the cases was supposed to share information about drug cases with law enforcement and prosecutors, but instead he just framed people.
Two of the four served two years in prison before being released in 2020 while a third died in jail before his innocence could be vindicated.
The plaintiffs are suing over the unlawful entry and search of the home, seizure of property, unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, and official oppression in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.