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NY Regulators Clear Way to Breaking Pot Licensing Logjam, WA Cities Could See Psychedelic Reform Efforts, More... (11/29/23)

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) says he is open to home grows but not just yet, Arizona regulators take the first steps toward clinical trials for psilocybin, and more.

Psilocybin is going to get som clinical trials in Arizona. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

New Jersey Governor Open to Marijuana Home Grows, Just Not Yet. Responding to a questioner, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he was "very much open-minded" about allowing people to grow their own weed but added that he wants to give the legal industry more time to mature before okaying home cultivation.

"I’m very much open-minded to this. I would bet—if I were a betting man—that down the road that that’s exactly where this would land," he said. "I understand, having said that, why wasn’t in our initial regs, because I think there’s a rightful objective to get this industry up on its feet and make sure that the folks who are in this as a matter of commerce are successful and, again, with a huge amount of focus on equity."

While Murphy has repeatedly said he is open to future home grows, he has not offered a concrete ideas of what exactly he wants to see in terms of industry maturation before he would be willing to move on allowing home grows.

"Social justice is how I got here to begin with, to support it. What we’ve done, by the way, has gone really well. We just haven’t done enough. We’ve just got to do more—get this more proliferated," he added. "But I think once the industry is up on its feet, and it is getting there…I think at some point [home grow is] a consideration we’ll get back on the table."

Murphy has been repeatedly pressed on the state’s lack of a home cultivation option, and he’s maintained his openness to the policy before and after New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis market launched last year.

What he hasn’t offered, however, is a concrete sense of what exactly he’d want to see in terms of industry maturation before he’d be willing to seriously engage on the issue administratively or legislatively.

New York Cannabis Board Votes to Settle Lawsuits That Have Blocked Rollout of Legal Pot Shops. The state's Cannabis Control Board on Monday approved a deal to settle lawsuits that have blocked licensed marijuana retail shops from opening, leaving the legal market struggling as a grey market flourishes.

New York cannabis regulators approved a deal on Monday to settle lawsuits that have blocked recreational marijuana dispensaries from opening, as officials move to restart the state’s troubled legal market. The settlement must still be approved by a judge before it can take effect.

The proposed deal would lift a court order that blocked the state from issuing or processing retail marijuana licenses. That court order came in response to lawsuits filed by groups that were edged out of competition because the state rules promised the first licenses to people with drug convictions.

If the deal is approved, the board more than 400 provisional retail licenses will be able to advance and more than a thousand new licenses to grow process, distribute, or sell marijuana will be issued to jumpstart the market.

Because of the lawsuits, the court order, and bureaucratic issues, only about two dozen legal marijuana retailers have opened while hundreds of unlicensed pot shops are doing business.


Arizona Takes First Step Toward Legalizing Use of Psilocybin Mushrooms—At Least for Some People. The state Department of Health Services has published a notice that it is set to begin accepting applications for clinical trials of psilocybin's efficacy in treating various conditions, disorders, and diseases. The move comes after the legislature earlier this year approved a bill specifically mandating studies to see whether magic mushrooms can help those suffering from PTSD.

But the studies won't be limited to PTSD. Health officials also want to see whether psilocybin can be effective in treating eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, and long COVID, among other conditions

The enabling legislation allocated $5 million for the research.

The enabling legislation also specifies that the use of psilocybin would not be allowed unless the federal government approves it as a prescription drug. Still, the state is getting a head start with its own clinical trials and research, setting the state up to move quickly if and when the federal government acts.

Washington State Activists Eye Six Cities for Psychedelic Decriminalization Initiatives, With Eye to Laying Groundwork for Statewide Reform. A group calling itself the Psychedelic Medicine Alliance WA is setting some intermediate goals even as it eyes state-level psychedelics reform. On the way to the statehouse, the group says it is currently trying to put psychedelic decriminalization measures on the ballot in six cities or counties: Olympia, Bellingham, Spokane and Tacoma as well as King and San Juan counties.

Three years ago, Seattle and Port Townsend passed psychedelic decriminalization measures.

Washington organizers pointed to the success of a similar strategy around psychedelic reform in Massachusetts, where local activists carefully built a string of local psychedelic reform successes as part of an ongoing effort to force the legislature to deal with the issue before possibly putting the issue on the 2024 ballot.

"You need that grassroots support. You need to show that there’s public appetite for this change somewhere," said group spokesperson Cody Zalewski adding that often state lawmakers look to local matters as an indicator of public sentiment. "It’s really building up that grassroots support and showing that, you know, there’s an appetite for this and it’s not going to jeopardize your career in politics."

Activists are currently in the process of drafting the proposed measures.  

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

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