Ireland's first safe injection site will open in September, New York regulators release draft rules for adult use home grows, and more.
New York Regulators Release Proposed Rules for Home Cultivation. The state's Cannabis Control Board has released proposed rules for home cultivation of marijuana as the board meets today to formally consider them.
Under the proposal, adults could grow up to six plants -- three mature and three immature -- per residence. Home growers would be able to keep up to five pounds of trimmed weed or the equivalent weight of raw flower if turned into concentrates. Weed and concentrates could be combined up to that equivalent weight.
Plants grown under the proposed regulations would need to be stored in a secure location "that is not plainly visible from public view" and in a manner that "prevents theft, loss or access to residents under the age of 21," according to a preview from the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Homegrown marijuana would need to be for personal use and could not be sold, though cannabis currently can be shared with other adults so long as it's below legal possession amounts.
Medical marijuana patients can already grow their own. The state's adult use marijuana law said that adult home grow would have to begin within 18 months of the launch of recreational retail sales.
If regulators approved the proposed rules today, a 60-day public comment period would begin. If there are no significant changes made after that, regulators would then weight whether to give final approval. If there are significant changes, a new proposal would be followed by another public comment period.
Oregon Democrats Unveil Proposal to Recriminalize Drug Possession. Democrats, who control the state legislature, have unveiled plans to undo the voter-approved Measure 110 by recriminalizing the possession of small amounts of drugs. The Democratic proposal would leave intact, however, the funding for drug treatment, prevention, and harm reduction derived from marijuana tax revenues that Measure 110 included.
Under Measure 110, possession of small amounts of drugs is punishable only by a $100 ticket, which can be waived if the offender seeks an assessment. This new Democratic proposal would make possession a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail.
Democrats said their goal was not to jail addicts but that the current system is not working and they are seeking a middle ground.
"Our goal was to create the best policy that we can for Oregonians while still listening to everybody," said Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton). "We've spread a wide net on this. And we believe that this is really the compromise path."
The Democratic plan is being criticized from the left and the right. Republicans, who seek harsher measures, called it "window dressing," while Measure 110 supporters said it would reverse progress and mark a return to a failed war on drugs that targets people of color.
"The legislature today rolled out a proposal to recriminalize addiction with jail and fines," said Tera Hurst, executive director of Health Justice Recovery Alliance, a statewide group with members who provide Measure 110-funded services. "This is a complicated, costly and ineffective approach that is doomed to fail. Instead of writing the criminal justice system a blank check that will ultimately divert dollars away from treatment services, they should be investing in expanded treatment services without threat of arrest."
The measure would also increase the length of time for welfare holds, which force people into sobering or treatment center, from 48 hours to 72 hours, which sponsors said would give people more time to decide to enter treatment.
The proposal would also change the law so someone found with a large quantity of drugs and paraphernalia could be charged with delivery of a controlled substance, a move that comes after a 2021 court decision that limited the ability to do so. And it would create steeper penalties for drug sales in a public park or within 500 feet of homeless shelters and treatment centers.
The state's 35-day legislative session begins February 5.
Ireland to Open First Safe Injection Site in Dublin in September. After permission was granted in late 2022 to open a safe injection site in the country, numerous hurdles have been vaulted, and now comes the announcement that the first safe injection site will open in Dublin in September.
The facility has been a long time coming. It was first proposed in 2015 by the minister of state for the National Drugs Strategy.
The facility will open as an 18-month pilot project and will operate seven hours a day for seven days a week.
"We'll be looking for the impact on the person, to make sure they don't go into overdose," said Eddie Mullins, chief executive of Merchant's Quay Ireland (MQI) and former governor of Mountjoy Prison, who will supervise the program. "But also to use the conversation -- ask where are they at, what they want to do, whether they're ready to start engaging in recovery or detox program. We'll encourage them to go upstairs [where there is a cafe], for a meal or a cup of coffee."
Mexico's Chiapas Sees Hundreds Displaced by Cartel Battles. More than 700 residents of a pair of communities in the southern Mexican state have fled their homes as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel battle over control of the area.
The communities of Chicomuselo and La Concordia have been hardest hit. In Chicomuselo, authorities reported that 20 people -- 18 gunmen and two locals -- were killed in battles earlier this month.
They described "the pain at seeing children and youths trembling in fear and getting sick from having to live through these traumatic experiences" and accused the state of failing to protect them. They also accused the state of failing to protect them.
The military has been deployed to the region, but locals say they are now getting caught in the crossfire when the army confronts the cartels.
Entire families have fled, crossing the nearby Angostura Lake and fleeing to the city of Comitán, local officials said.