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No MedMJ for South Carolina This Year, Mexico Deploys Troops to Border Amid Cartel Clashes, More... (5/2/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1211)
Politics & Advocacy

A House panel advances a bill aimed at therapeutic psychedelics for military veterans, a South Carolina committee chair pronounces a medical marijuana bill dead, and more.

The Rio Grande River marks the US-Mexico border in Texas. Mexican troops are now deployed nearby. (Creative Commons)
Medical Marijuana

South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bil Won't Get Vote This Session, Committee Chair Says. State Rep. Sylleste Davis (R), chair of the House Medical Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee said Tuesday that a medical marijuana bill that has already passed the Senate, Senate Bill 423, is unlikely to get a vote before the session ends next week.

The committee held a hearing on Tuesday, but no vote was taken. Rep. Davis said the committee would not meet again to advance the bill before the session ends.

"We just don't have a lot of time," Davis said. "But I do think this was a worthwhile effort. It certainly isn't time wasted. We learned a lot today and got some good information."

The bill's slow walk in the House did not make bill sponsor Sen. Tom Davis (R) happy.

"I intentionally, you know, got the Senate to move it up and move it quickly," he said. "It got passed out, I think, the first or second week in February to get it over to them in time. And, so, they've had over two months, and it's just been sitting in committee. And, look, that is frustrating."

"I just implore you to please send it to the House so that the full body of legislators can give it the vetting, and hopefully the support that the Senate did after six years of contentious consideration," said Margaret Richardson, a patient with trigeminal neuralgia -- a chronic pain disorder -- who's worked for years to bring medical marijuana to South Carolina.

But the committee wasn't listening, at least not this time.


Federal Therapeutic Psychedelics for Vets Bill Advances in Committee. The House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee voted Wednesday to approve a GOP-sponsored bill focused on therapeutic psychedelics for veterans, advancing it as part of a bloc of legislation packaged together.

The legislation sponsored by Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to notify Congress if any psychedelics are added to its formulary of covered prescription drugs. The VA would have to notify Congress within 180 days of federal approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA currently has not approved any psychedelics to be prescribed as medicines, but that could change soon: The FDA is reviewing a new drug application for therapy with MDMA (Ecstasy) on an expedited basis and it has designated both psilocybin and LSD "breakthrough therapies." Meanwhile, the VA is preparing to support research on the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD and depression.


Mexico Sends Hundreds of Troops to US Border Amid Uptick in Cartel Violence. The Mexican army has deployed 600 soldiers to the border states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon following a spurt in violence there, including mass kidnappings and an attack on a military base.

The area, once under the control of the Gulf Cartel, was then dominated by the Zetas, who began an enforcers for the Gulf Cartel. But now the Zetas have been hampered by the arrest of their leadership, leading to factional fighting to see who will replace them. The Northeast Cartel and the Zetas Old School are the main contenders.

Recent weeks have seen the killing of a mayor running for reelection in Tamaulipas, Noe Ramos Ferretiz, and an attack on a military installation in the Tamaulipas town of Migel Aleman. Repeated armed clashes between cartel factions were reported in the area as well.

"The Zetas are not a congruent entity anymore, but some offshoots are quite active. We are seeing major factions operating in cities along the border, said Michael Ballard, vice president of intelligence for Virginia-based Global Guardian. "It's a small slice of what they used to control, but those two states are still among the primary routes for heroin and cocaine to make its way to the border and the U.S. There's a reason why border cities and states remain hotly contested and you have a lot of violence."

Ballard said that while the levels of control and violence are lower than they were under the Zetas, "make no mistake, they are still dangerous, and we broadly recommend against travel to Veracruz or Tamaulipas unless it's absolutely necessary."

Citing a "Mexico first" policy, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has refused to expand the fight against the cartels on US orders. "We are not going to act as police officers for any foreign government," he said.

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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