Skip to main content

CA State Fair Will Be First in Nation to Allow Weed Sales, AZ Governor Vetoes Psilocybin Services Bill, More... (6/19/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1215)

Federal legislation has been filed to ensure Job Corp applicants are not automatically canned for a second positive pot test, San Francisco takes aim at "drug-permissive" housing for the homeless, and more.

The California State Fair in Sacramento next month will feature not only weed sales and on-site consumption, but a competition. (Pixabay)

Marijuana Policy

Senate Bill Would Protect Job Corps Students from Automatic Expulsion for Marijuana Use. A new bill from Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Jack Reed (D-RI), the Job Corps for the Next Generation Act, would modify drug testing rules, including ending a statutory requirement that students are expelled after a second positive drug test.

The Job Corps is a federal job training program administered by the Department of Labor. It has already moved to show greater leniency for positive marijuana tests as it acknowledged that more than half the country now resides in states where it is legal.

The Corps touts itself as drug- and alcohol-free, but participants are not automatically deemed ineligible for a single failed drug test. Instead, both new and readmitted students must take a drug test upon arrival at a Job Corps facility. If they test positive, they engage in prevention and education services and then get tested again after 40 days. Under current law, a second positive drug test mandates expulsion.

Though Job Corps is a drug-free and alcohol-free program, participants are not automatically deemed ineligible as the result of a single positive test. Currently, all new and readmitted students are required to be tested for drug use upon arrival at a Job Corps center. If they test positive, they're enrolled in prevention and education services and then screened a second time about 40 days later. A second positive is disqualifying.

But Job Corps has adjusted its reckoning of what qualifies as a positive result on a second marijuana test to consider the results negative even if they show the presence of THC as long as there is a reduction of at least 50 percent from the THC level in the first test.

Even with the changes, Job Corps supports the Murphy-Reed bill, saying: "For many of the disadvantaged youth Job Corps is aiming to bring into the workforce, marijuana products are legal, commonplace, and, in the absence of alternative means of behavioral and mental health care, a publicly accepted means to address health issues ranging from sleep challenges to depression. The Job Corps for the Next Generation Act will allow marijuana use to be approached as a behavioral health and employability issue to be addressed and treated, so more young Americans can be reintegrated into the workforce to help address critical workforce shortages."

Murphy, in a release about the Job Corps for the Next Generation Act, called Job Corps "an amazing program that helps train and connect young people across the country to good-paying jobs in fields like manufacturing and healthcare," but added that "it’s in need of some serious updates."

California State Fair Will Be First in Nation to Have Weed Competition, Weed Sales, and Onsite Consumption. The California State Fair in Sacramento next month will be the first in the nation to allow the legal sale and consumption of marijuana. Not only that, it will host a "state-agency sanctioned cannabis competition" along with the standard judging of cows, pies, and the like.

"Hosting cannabis sales and consumption is a groundbreaking milestone in destigmatization by facilitating a deeper connection between consumers and the farmers who cultivate their products with such care," Lauren Carpenter, cofounder of Embarc, a local marijuana company that is "the fair's partner in facilitating onsite sales and consumption."

"The California State Fair took a historic leadership position in 2022 with the introduction of a cannabis exhibit and competition," Tom Martinez, CEO of the California State Fair, said in a statement. "This year, we've expanded our offerings to include onsite sales and consumption in a designated area to provide a platform to amplify California's rich agricultural bounty and facilitate storytelling for farmers from diverse backgrounds and experiences."

Around 600,000 people attend the 17-day event each year.


Arizona Governor Vetoes Therapeutic Psilocybin Bill. Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) has vetoed a bill that would have legalized psilocybin service centers where people could access the drug under medical supervision, Senate Bill 1570.

Sponsored by Sen. TJ Shope (R), the bill would have expanded on a previously passed law that provides $5 million a year to fund studies into psilocybin therapy. It would have created an Arizona Psilocybin Advisory Board to establish training criteria for service center workers, make recommendations on how the law should be implemented, and keep abreast of psychedelic science and policy developments.

But Hobbs said that while psilocybin may have therapeutic potential, "we do not yet have the evidence needed to support widespread clinical expansion. Arizonans with depression and PTSD deserve access to treatments that may be seen as outside the mainstream, but they should not be the subject of experiments for unproven therapies with a lack of appropriate guardrails," the governor said in a veto message.

Bill sponsor Sen. Shope said the veto is a "disappointing result after months of hard work and the overwhelming bipartisan support this received in both houses of the Legislature this year."

Shope added that if the legislature were still in session, he would try for a veto override, but since it is not, he will "settle for trying again next year."

Drug Policy

San Francisco Ordinance Would Restrict Funding for Public Housing for the Homeless Until One-Quarter of All Units are Drug-Free. Supervisors Matt Dorsey and Rafael Mandelman have sponsored an ordinance that could restrict funding for new subsidized housing for the homeless in a bid to increase the amount of housing that is drug-free. The bill authors say they want to create more options for homeless adults who want a sober living space.

While harm reductionists argue that having a home is as important as having a sober living space, the city has faced harsh criticism for laxity in the face of drug use. Three people die of drug overdoses in city-funded housing each week.

The ordinance would restrict funding for new "drug-permissive" housing for people seeking a way out of homelessness except for specially designated projects. Instead, housing would have to be at least 25 percent "drug-free" and recovery-focused in order to receive unrestricted funding.

"I feel empowered by this legislation," said Vincent Jones, 62, who has been sober for seven months after a 45-year addiction to crack cocaine. "I was lost at one point and lacked the ability to help myself," Jones added. "They send you to these places that are full of drugs. When I first got into my addiction, I could have really used a program like this."

Under current state law, 100 percent of supportive housing providers must accept applicants regardless of "sobriety" or "behaviors that indicate a lack of 'housing readiness.'" The proposed San Francisco ordinance would appear to clash with that law, but efforts are underway in Sacramento to amend the law to allow up to a quarter of state funding for housing to be allocated for recovery housing. A bill introduced last month by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D), Assembly Bill 2479, would do just that.

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.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.