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Central New York Bad Dope Warning, CA Cannabis Cafe Bill Advances, More... (6/11/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
Consequences of Prohibition

Facing a court challenge, the DEA cancels an administrative hearing on its proposed ban of two psychedelic substances; a new poll suggests the Florida legal weed initiative will win, and more.

A cannabis cafe in Amsterdam. Soon we could see something similar in California. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

California Cannabis Café Bill Advances in Senate. A bill that would allow onsite marijuana consumption in so-called cannabis cafes is advancing in the Senate after successfully passing the House. The Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee approved Assembly Bill 1775 on a 9-2 vote Tuesday.

A similar bill passed the legislature last year only to be vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), but bill sponsor Assemblymember Matt Haney (D) is undeterred. 

The bill would allow licensed marijuana businesses to offer not only onsite consumption of weed but also non-marijuana food and non-alcoholic drinks. Licensees could also host live events such as concerts with permission from local authorities. 

In his veto message last year, Newsom said that while he understood that the bill sought to "provide cannabis retailers with increased business opportunities and an avenue to attract new customers," he felt "concerned this bill could undermine California's longstanding smoke-free workplace protections. "Protecting the health and safety of workers is paramount," the governor said. "I encourage the author to address this concern in subsequent legislation."

Addressing the Senate committee Tuesday, Haney stressed that the bill does not create new consumption lounges but only allows existing pot businesses to add a new revenue stream. That was good enough for the committee; we shall see if it is good enough for the Senate as a whole and the governor.

Florida Poll Has Marijuana Legalization Initiative Winning. A new Fox News poll has strong support for Amendment 3, the marijuana legalization initiative from Smart and Safe Florida. The poll had support at 66 percent. 

While that is a strong showing, Florida law requires initiated amendments to win at least 60 percent of the vote instead of the usual 50 percent, so the polling lead is little cause for comfort for campaign organizers. The rule of thumb around initiative campaigns is that they want a cushion of at least 10 points to account for late drop-offs in support. 

The new Fox poll is strikingly more positive for the campaign than a trio of polls earlier this year. In April, a USA Today/Ipsos poll had support at only 50 percent, a Florida Atlantic University poll had support at under 50 percent, and a Fox News poll had support at 49 percent.

Whether the latest Fox poll is an outlier or whether attitudes are shifting remains to be seen. Voters will make the final call in November. 


DEA Cancels Hearing on Banning of Two Psychedelics. There was supposed to be an administrative hearing Monday on a DEA proposal to ban two psychedelic substances, but it never happened. The DEA indefinitely postponed the hearing last Friday after an administrative law judge ordered a stay in the proceeding in a case challenging the constitutionality of the drug scheduling process in federal court. 

The DEA was moving to ban 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-chloroampetamine (DOC) by placing them in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

But the action was halted about a month after Panacea Plant Sciences (PPS) sued for injunctive relief against the DEA in federal district court in the Western District of Washington. PPS is challenging the hearing process that occurs before final rulemaking, saying it is unconstitutional given recent Supreme Court decisions. 

"Panacea Plant Sciences is glad that the DEA has provided the public notice that the hearing is canceled. We expect to win in federal court and force the rule to be withdrawn," CEO David Heldreth said last Friday. "We wish the DEA would do the scientific community and country a favor and withdraw the rule itself."

The hearing is stayed until the federal court in Washington state renders a decision in the PPS case challenging the process. 

Harm Reduction

New York State Health Department Warns of Dangerous Dope. The state Department of Health last Friday issued a public health alert warning residents of a dangerous mix of black market drugs found in the Central New York area.

The alert was around dope marketed as "Super Mario," which the department's Drug Checking Program partner ACR Health tested and found consisted of a combination of fentanyl, xylazine, and trace amounts of heroin and carfentanil — a potent drug considered to be up to 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

Two samples were collected on May 20 and confirmed by the lab on June 6. A third sample is being tested now. 

"Carfentenil is a veterinary drug that is no longer marketed because it is so dangerous," state Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Our Drug Checking Program at ACR Health was able to quickly identify this dangerous substance and continues to be vital to our harm reduction and public health surveillance efforts and connecting people who use drugs with resources and support."

In addition to overdose risks, Super Mario has been associated with severe lesions needing emergency treatment within two or three weeks of use. In Monroe County (Rochester) alone, 124 people overdosed and six people died of overdoses in May.


Slovenia Referenda Have Majorities for Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana. In voting held on the same day as continent-wide elections for the European Parliament, Slovenians provided majority support for a pair of referenda on medical marijuana and adult use marijuana. 

The consultative referenda produced a vote with 66.5 percent supporting medical marijuana and 51.5 percent supporting adult-use marijuana legalization.

After the vote, Slovene Prime Minister Robert Colob said that "the legal framework has already been formed as much as possible" on the issues and that legislation to enact the will of the people could be ready by year's end 

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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