Military Psychedelic Studies in Defense Bill, Another Federal Marijuana Reform Bill Filed, More... (12/8/23)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1200)

A South Dakota marijuana legalization initiative can begin signature-gathering, Wyoming's high court rules cops can seize cash from legal marijuana operations in other states, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Federal Marijuana Reform Bill Filed. A bipartisan group of lawmakers including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed a marijuana reform bill Thursday, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. The bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and open the door for interstate commerce in weed and eliminate the 280E tax barrier for the industry.

The bill would allow states to set their own marijuana policies but would not allow them to unilaterally permit or restrict interstate marijuana commerce.

The bill also says that state-legal marijuana businesses "shall not be subject to" section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, which would allow them to deduct business expenses like any other business entity.

"In the absence of federal movement, the illicit interstate trade in cannabis has persisted even in the face of significant state policy changes," the bill's text states. "The federal government should be responsible for regulating and tracking this interstate trade to ensure cannabis does not end up where it does not belong."

South Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative Can Begin Signature-Gathering. The final ballot explanation for a draft initiated measure, proposed by Emmett Reistroffer of Rapid City, that would legalize recreational marijuana and create dual-use licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries has been released filed with the Secretary of State by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office.

The proposed initiated measure would allow individuals 21 years old or older to possess, grow, sell, ingest, and distribute marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia. The initiated measure does not affect laws dealing with hemp. The measure also authorizes the South Dakota Department of Health to issue dual-use licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries. A dual-use license allows dispensaries to sell marijuana to persons 21 years or older.

If the required 17,509 valid signatures are gathered and approved by the South Dakota Secretary of State's Office, the proposed initiated measure will be placed on the 2024 general ballot. A majority of the votes cast in the general election will be needed to pass the measure.


House and Senate Reach Deal to Require Psychedelics Clinical Trials for Active for Active-Duty Military Service Members. Lawmakers have reached agreement on a massive defense bill containing language to fund studies into the therapeutic use of psychedelics for military service members. The language on psychedelic studies came from the House GOP.

The language is part of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act and appeared in a final conference report Wednesday evening.

The psychedelics provisions that have been adopted would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a process by which service members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury could participate in clinical trials involving psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT. The list of covered psychedelics was also expanded to broadly include "qualified plant-based alternative therapies."

"I am thrilled to see my amendment to fund clinical research into emerging therapies to treat combat-related injuries included in NDAA," said Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX), a veteran who has disclosed details of his own experience undergoing ibogaine and 5-MEO-DMT treatment in another country. "This is a huge win that will give us the chance to save the lives of those that have bravely served our country, while moving away from problematic opioids," he said. "I'm confident support for these innovative solutions will continue to gain momentum."

Asset Forfeiture

Wyoming's Top Court Says It's OK For Cops to Steal Money Obtained from Legal Drug Sales. A courier was delivering cash from a legal Illinois marijuana business to its California offices when he was stopped by police in Wyoming. Police found $75,000 in cash, which they seized, along with small quantities of marijuana and MDMA. The driver sued for the return of the money, noting that it came from legal business activities in states where marijuana is legal, and a lower court agreed. But the state appealed, and on Thursday the state Supreme Court ruled that the money was lawfully seized.

And it relied on some novel reasoning to do so, with Chief Justice Keith Kautz writing in the opinion that the state can keep the money because it was linked to drug transactions that would be illegal if committed in Wyoming. The drug transactions were legal and they were not committed in Wyoming.

The lower court had ruled that the courier had not violated the state's Controlled Substances Act because he did not do business in Wyoming but merely "passed through" with the currency.

But that did not matter to the state Supreme Court.

Harm Reduction

Biden-Harris Administration Calls on Housing Community to Help Expand Access to Life-Saving Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications Like Naloxone. On Thursday, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a joint letter to public health departments and health care systems to partner with housing providers, community development organizations, and other housing agencies to help expand access to naloxone and other life-saving overdose reversal medications in the communities they serve.

"With his Unity Agenda, President Biden set a clear directive: we must all come together to address the nation's overdose epidemic," said ONDCP Deputy Director Adam Cohen. "Not only are we working closely across federal agencies, but with partners at the state, local, and community levels to save lives and ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay healthy and thrive. Expanding access to overdose reversal medication is a key priority of this Administration, and we will continue doing all we can to get this lifesaving tool in communities throughout the country."

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