Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

Philly City Council Bans Safe Injection Sites, OR Interim Legislative Committee on Drug Policy, More... (10/2/23)

The Dutch are set to embark on a pilot project of creating a legal supply for the country's famed cannabis "coffee shops," Gavin Newsom signs a bill clearing the way for the prescribing of MDMA and psilocybin once they are federally descheduled, and more. 

An Amsterdam cannabis coffee shop. The Dutch are set to begin an experiment in a legal supply for the shops. (Creative Commons)

California Governor Signs Bill Allowing Doctors to Prescribe Psilocybin, MDMA Once Federally Rescheduled. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Saturday signed into law a bill that would let doctors start prescribing psilocybin and MDMA if and when they are federally rescheduled, Assembly Bill 1021.

Sponsored by Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks (D), Isaac Bryan (D) and Corey Jackson (D), the bill says if the federal government reschedules any Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, state health professionals will be automatically able to prescribe and dispense it. The most obvious candidates are psilocybin and MDMA, which have been designated as breakthrough therapies by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are expected to be approved for medical use as early as next year.

Among nearly a dozen marijuana and drug reform bills still on Newsom's desk is Senate Bill 58, which would legalize the possession of small amounts of certain natural psychedelics, excluding peyote.

Drug Policy

Oregon Legislature Creates New Committee to Address Drug Addiction, Review Drug Decriminalization. The legislature has created a Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety it a bid to tackle the state's drug use crisis. The committee's mandate is to make addiction services accessible, ensure that law enforcement has the tools to keep communities safe, and review drug policy, especially the drug decriminalizing Measure 110.

The decriminalization measure was approved by voters two years ago, but recent polling shows that a majority of voters (56 percent) are ready to repeal Measure 110 entirely, even though it includes hundreds of millions of dollars for drug treatment, prevention, and related services. An even higher number of respondents (64 percent) were willing to repeal just the decriminalization portion of Measure 110.



Upon announcing the creation of the interim committee last Friday, lawmakers said they will make sure the measure’s outcomes are "in-line with voters’ intent of connecting people to treatment instead of criminal punishment for low-level possession."

"The goal of this committee is simple: to save lives and make our communities safer," said Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) . "Oregonians are being harmed every day by this crisis and we all have a part to play in finding a path forward. It is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive solution and we are committed to working toward a solution this session and into the long term."

"Everyone has a family member or friend that has been impacted by addiction or behavioral health challenges" said House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis). "What we’re seeing in our streets and our communities is unacceptable. As leaders, it’s our job to provide oversight of our current crisis-to-care system and make sure we’re getting the outcomes we intended: a humane approach to addiction that centers the individual’s needs."

Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton) and Representative Jason Kropf (D-Bend) will co-chair the committee, which is meeting for the first time in the coming weeks.

Harm Reduction

Philadelphia City Council Overrides Mayor's Veto of Ban on Safe Injection Sites. The city council has overridden a mayoral veto to once again vote to ban safe injection sites in almost all of the city, leaving only one council district where they could possibly be permitted.

The council first passed the measure last month, but Mayor Jim Kenney (D) vetoed it last week. Now, the council has decisively overridden that veto on a 13-1 vote.  

Citizens addressing the council before the vote urged members to reverse themselves, with one man who identified himself as a registered nurse telling the council the ban is "dangerously anti-science" and would limit how the city can address addiction issues.

The measure creates a zoning overlay that would permit safe injection sites only in southwest Philadelphia 3rd council district. Council members defended their position as less of a ban and more of a way for city residents, especially those living near proposed safe injection sites, to have a say on community affairs.

"This bill allows the community to have input on where these sites would be selected, what would be happening around there and how that their input would be put in place if these sites were to ever be put up," said Councilman Mark Squilla (D-District 1).


Dutch Legal Marijuana Supply Pilot Project to Start Up in December. The startup phase for a pilot program to allow the limited legal cultivation and distribution of adult-use marijuana will begin in December, the Dutch government told Parliament last Friday.

The program is three years behind schedule and smaller than originally envisioned, with only two growers in the startup, as opposed to the 10 cultivators who were to supply dozens of cannabis cafes. The project is to address "the backdoor problem" for marijuana retail outlets, which can sell without penalty but have no legal source of supply.

"The cabinet has decided that the (startup) phase of the closed coffee shop chain experiment will start on December 15, 2023," according to the government letter. The most recent planning shows that two legal growers are expected to be ready for delivery to coffee shops in the fourth quarter of 2023. This is sufficient to start the (initial) phase of the experiment in Breda and Tilburg."

During this first phase of the pilot program, participating coffee shops in the two cities will be able to offer both legally-grown marijuana and unregulated products.

The Dutch government expects the startup phase to last a maximum of six months before expanding the program. 


Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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