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WA Natural Psychedelic Legalization Initiative Filed, Mexican Fentanyl Seizures Plummet, More... (7/10/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1217)
Consequences of Prohibition

Lawmakers in Kansas will spend two days of an interim session on medical marijuana hearings, Malaysian drug experts laud their government for moving toward drug decriminalization, and more.

Mexican federal forces are seizing loads of methamphetamine, but fentanyl? Not so much. (Creative Commons)
Medical Marijuana

Kansas Lawmakers to Devote Two Days of Interim Session to Medical Marijuana Hearings. The state's Legislative Coordinating Council, which is made up of Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, has acceded to a request from Sen. Michael Fagg (R) for a hearing on options for developing a medical marijuana bill ahead of the 2025 legislative session.

"Although the Legislature has worked to address medical marijuana, further study is needed," Fagg said.

Fagg also pointed to the looming federal rescheduling of marijuana as another reason to hold the hearings. "The special committee would also study the impact of this reclassification," he said.

Kansas is one of only a handful of states that have yet to adjust their marijuana laws to accommodate medical marijuana.

The legislative leadership has allocated two days for medical marijuana discussions out of 56 days to debate various policy issues in the interim.


Washington State Ballot Measure to Legalize Natural Psychedelics Looms. A campaign calling itself the Responsible Entheogen Access and Community Healing Coalition (REACH WA) has submitted a natural psychedelic legalization initiative to the secretary of state's office, the first step in putting the potential measure before the voters.

The initiative would legalize the personal possession of several plant- and fungi-based psychedelics, including psilocybin, mescaline, and DMT, and people could grow and share their own psychedelics without remuneration. However, it would not allow commercial sales of the hallucinogens. Instead, it would permit paid "supportive services" where people who facilitate psychedelic experiences could get paid for their efforts, as is already the case in Oregon and Colorado.

REACH WA submitted the initiative to state officials about a month ago and was granted a formal ballot title and summary two weeks ago. That means signature gathering can now begin, but not for this year because the deadline for submitting signatures for initiatives to appear on the November ballot passed last week.

REACH WA's "submission for this legislative season was largely symbolic and to generate awareness for our campaign," the group said in a statement. "We are still working diligently to finalize our strategy, mobilize our supporters, and find financial backers. We are committed to refining and improving the language of our initiative, whether it's for a ballot initiative in 2026 or in hopes of finding a legislative sponsor. Ongoing input remains invaluable to us, particularly on key issues such as the advisory council, penalties for minors, and public use regulations."

The measure is now officially known as Initiative Measure 2076. If it appears on a ballot as currently written and is approved by voters, it would legalize the "noncommercial cultivation and transfer of natural psychedelics and the provision of supportive services for adults aged 21 and older."


Malaysia Drug Experts Laud Government for Moving in Direction of Drug Decriminalization. A group of drug policy experts organized as Drug Policy Program Malaysia is lauding the government for its efforts to move in the direction of more progressive and less repressive drug policies.

The group congratulated Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution "for his courageous decision in referring the amendments to the Drug Dependents (Treatment and Rehabilitation) (Amendment) Bill 2024 to the Parliamentary Special Committees on Health and Security."

It also commended the minister and members of parliament "for advancing a supportive and health-focused approach to addressing drug addiction, advocating for a shift away from punitive measures against drug users."

The Drug Policy Program Malaysia also said that "the outcome of the parliamentary debate favoring future decriminalization policies is particularly laudable, and we stand ready to assist the government in designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating these initiatives."

The group cited "significant negative consequences" of criminalizing drug use," including incarceration, overcrowded prisons, disease transmission, economic loss, stigma, discrimination, and substantial costs to both the government and the population."

"We urge the government, including the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Health, to utilize the newly formed National Task Force on Drug Decriminalization and concurrently revise major acts such as the DDA 1952 and Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969, to ensure a comprehensive decriminalization policy for Malaysia," the group added.

Mexican Fentanyl Seizures Drop Sharply. The Mexican Defense Department released figures Tuesday showing that seizures of fentanyl have declined dramatically in the first half of this year. Mexican federal forces seized only 286 pounds of fentanyl so far this year, down 94 percent from the 5,135 pounds seized in 2023.

At the same time, during the first half of this year, Mexican federal forces seized 168 tons of methamphetamine, on pace with the 400 tons seized last year.

While both fentanyl and meth are exported to the US, meth is much more widely consumed inside Mexico than fentanyl, and Mexican security forces appear to be concentrating on that drug rather than fentanyl, which is blamed for about 70,000 overdose deaths a year in the US.

Another factor could relate to conflicts between rival drug trafficking organizations. With internal disputes in the Sinaloa cartel between the "Mayitos" (followers of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada) and "Chapitos" (traffickers associated with the sons of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, now imprisoned in the US), the two factions may be ratting out the others' meth loads to authorities, accounting for more meth seizures. The conflict may also be affecting the fentanyl trade.

"The war within the Sinaloa cartel between Mayo Zambada and the "Chapitos" may also be playing a role in reducing the number of shipments of fentanyl," said Mexican security expert David Saucedo. "The war between those groups is occurring in cities and on routes that are used for shipping drugs to the border. The violence (between the two factions) inhibits shipments, for fear of losing them along the route to the border."

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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