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NH Senate Approves Legal Pot Bill, CA Psychedelics Bill Dies, More... (5/17/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on

Yet another poll has a strong national majority for marijuana legalization, employment drug test cheating is at record high levels, and more. 

No therapeutic magic mushrooms for you, California, not this year after a bill dies in the Senate. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Poll: Registered Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana by a Margin of More Than Two-To-One. A new poll commissioned by Fox News has nearly seven out of 10 registered voters saying yes to "legalizing the recreational use of marijuana on a national level." Some 69 percent of respondents, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, were in favor, with only 30 percent opposed. 

 The poll also indicated rising support for legalization, with the percentage of those expressing "strong support" up by six points since 2019, the last time Fox News asked the question. 

The poll is only the latest in a long series of polls dating back at least at decade that show majority support for marijuana legalization, including a YouGov poll released last week that found a majority of adults in the US have consumed marijuana and most found their experience "mostly positive."

New Hampshire Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill. For the first time, the state Senate has approved a marijuana legalization bill, House Bill 1633, after amending the House-passed version of the bill to bring it in line with the wishes of Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who has demanded that it incorporate a franchise model rather than a licensed retail model. 

But because the bill was substantially amended in the Senate, both the House and the Senate will have to vote again before it can pass. The bill has now gone to the Senate Finance Committee for an initial review. It will then head to the House for approval before going back to the Senate for one last vote. 

Under the bill adopted by the Senate, the state would see no more than 15 retail outlets franchised from the state. The Senate version also gives more control to the state government and regulators and allows localities to opt out of the program. 

The franchise model would cap store numbers at 15 and give more control to the state government and regulators.


California Therapeutic Psychedelics Bill Dies as Time Runs Out. A bill that would have paved the way for the therapeutic use of certain psychedelic substances, Senate Bill 1012, is dead for this session after failing to move out of the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. But bill sponsor Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) says he will be back next year. 

The legislature last year passed a broader bill that would have decriminalized specified natural psychedelics, but Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed it, saying he would be able to support a narrower bill for therapeutic psychedelics if it had sufficient guardrails. So Wiener came back this year with SB 1012, but now that effort has been blocked for the year. 

Weiner responded with this statement on Thursday: 

"We’ve been working for four years to legalize access to psychedelics in California, to bring these substances out of the shadows and into the sunlight, and to improve safety and education around their use," said Sen. Wiener. "We’re in a terrible budget year, where all bills with significant costs are at risk. Nevertheless, it’s disappointing for this bill not to move forward. Psychedelics have massive promise in helping people heal and get their lives back on track. It makes enormous sense for California to lead in creating regulated access under the supervision of a licensed professional. I’m highly committed to this issue, and we’ll continue to work on expanding access to psychedelics."

Drug Testing

Employee Drug Test Cheating Hits Record High, Says Quest Diagnostics. The national drug testing company Quest Diagnostics reports that the percentage of workers cheating on drug tests skyrocketed last year, jumping six-fold over the number for 2022. 

The surge in employee drug test cheating comes as marijuana legalization spreads across the land, with more than half of the nation's population now residing in states where it is legal. Some companies have begun shifting away from testing for marijuana while others are reviewing their drug testing policies. 

Quest also found that the positive rate for employee drug tests remained at record high of 4.6 percent, up from a low of 3.5 percent between 2010 and 2012. 

Workers cheated the tests either by substituting their urine specimens by replacing them with synthetic formulas or even animal urine, or submitting invalid specimens, suggesting they'd been tampered with in order to conceal drug use. 

"Given the growing acceptance and use of some drugs, particularly marijuana, it may be unsurprising that some people feel it necessary to try and cheat a drug test," said Dr. Suhash Harwani, senior director of science for workforce health solutions at Quest. "It is possible that our society's normalization of drug use is fostering environments in which some employees feel it is acceptable to use such drugs without truly understanding the impact they have on workplace safety."

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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