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Delaware Releases Draft Rules for Legal Pot Commerce, New Zealand Call for Drug Legalization, More... (5/7/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1211)

A proposed psychedelic initiative is now drawing organized opposition in Massachusetts, a psychedelic study bill is moving in Vermont, and more.

Natural psychedelics could be on the ballot in Massachusetts in November. (Greenoid/Flickr)
Marijuana Policy

Delaware Releases Proposed Regulations for Legal Marijuana Commerce. The Office of the Marijuana Commissioner (OMC) has released draft rules and regulations for legal marijuana commerce set to roll out next year. Pot businesses, other interested parties, and the general public have until June 3 to comment on the proposed rules.

The OCM's plan is to approve final rules by mid-July and be ready to issue business licenses as early as September, with cultivation licenses coming in November and manufacturing licenses coming in December.

Among the highlights: All plants and products must be tracked from seed to sale, cultivation sites must have an environmental and sustainability plan, licensees must become operational within 18 months, and applicants must undergo complete financial and criminal background checks.

Proposed rules around packaging include restrictions on similarities to commercial candy or cartoon characters, restriction on the amount of THC that can be sold in a packaged product (50 milligrams), no neon colors, no depictions of celebrities or celebrity likenesses, or "anything likely to appeal to children."

Marijuana delivery services would be banned, as would product samples. Any advertising is banned within 500 feet of a school, daycare center, church, or other site where children gather.

The OCM will implement a lottery to award a minimum of 125 business licenses, with at least 47 earmarked for social equity applicants.


Massachusetts Group Forms Organized Opposition to Potential Psychedelic Initiative. The forces of reaction are gathering in the Bay State. A Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon, Dr. Anahita Dua, is leading a newly formed group, the Coalition for Safe Communities, to oppose a potential psychedelic initiative, the Natural Psychedelic Substances Act.

The initiative is two-pronged: On the one hand, it would allow for the therapeutic use of psychedelics under supervision; on the other hand; it would allow for the home cultivation of natural psychedelics. It is the latter provision that is sparking the opposition.

"We're not arguing against the therapeutic value," coalition spokesman Chris Keohan said. "We see real danger in the ability to grow at home, especially the square footage it allows. This allows for 144 square feet of home growth, which is the equivalent of the average bedroom in Massachusetts. Since the measure allows individuals to give out the psychedelics they grow at home to others, it creates a massive loophole that will open the door to an unregulated and unsafe black market," Keohan said.

The coalition is allying itself with anti-reform organizations the Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions and Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

The initiative is being backed by New Approach PAC, which has lined up a multi-million-dollar campaign war chest, including a million from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. A spokesperson for the campaign, Jennifer Manley, said it was "reckless and irresponsible to disregard top medical research institutions studying and working with psychedelics."

"Now isn't the time to limit mental health options in Massachusetts," she said. "We owe it to people that are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other treatment-resistant issues to give them another option that may really help them."

Adults could possess up to one gram of psilocybin, one gram of psilocyn, one gram of dimethyltryptamine, 18 grams of mescaline, and 30 grams of ibogaine on their person at one time under the proposal, and they could also give away that amount to another adult so long as they do not charge for it or promote it publicly. If someone grows more than the possession limit, he must keep it at home.

After a successful first round of signature-gathering last year and the legislature's inaction on the issue, the initiative campaign now has until July 3 to come up with 12,429 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Vermont Psychedelic Working Group Bill Advances. The House Human Services Committee has approved a bill to create a psychedelic-assisted therapy working group to make recommendations on whether and how the state should regulate legal access to substances like psilocybin and MDMA, Senate Bill 114.

The bill has already passed the Senate, but its scope was narrowed by the House committee, which removed a provision that would have called on the working group to reconsider the "criminalization of psychedelics under State law" as well as provide "potential timelines for universal and equitable access." That means that if it now passed the House, it will have to go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote or see differences resolved in conference committee.

The committee also removed members of the Psychedelic Society of Vermont and the Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric and addiction hospital, from the task force. It replaced them with representatives from the state Department of Mental Health and the nonprofit Vermont Medical Society.

The bill now awaits a House floor vote.


New Zealand Experts Sign Open Letter Calling for Drug Legalization. More than 150 experts enlisted by the Harm Reduction Coalition Aotearoa (HRCA) have signed an open letter to the government calling for drug legalization. The signatories include experts in drug policy and criminology including professors, academics, researchers, clinicians and health professionals.

The HRCA is calling for a new, "fit-for-purpose drug law."

"It is clear that the Misuse of Drugs Act is not fit for purpose," said HRCA founding member Wendy Allison. "After 50 years it has failed to reduce drug use or drug harm. In fact, every problem we have around drugs in Aotearoa has developed under prohibition. It is time for a new approach."

HRCA chair Lachlan Akers added to the statement, saying a new drug law would "benefit our society as a whole."

"It's time to stop funding criminal organizations by letting them control New Zealand's drug market. We need to end prohibition to prioritize the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs," said HRCA Chair Lachlan Akers.

In the letter, HRCA calls for the "failed and damaging prohibitionist drug laws" to be rescinded and replaced by a new Psychoactive Drugs Act that would legally regulate the supply of all psychoactive drugs. "It's time to chart a new pathway forward -- one guided by compassion, science, evidence, experience and human rights," the letter reads. "Aotearoa New Zealand has the opportunity to be a world leader with transformative, fit for purpose, evidence-based drug laws. Together we can build a more just, humane and coherent approach to legal and illegal drug use in Aotearoa New Zealand."

Health Minister Shane Reti has yet to comment.

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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