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SD Poll Has Both Legal Pot, MedMJ Initiatives Winning; Canada Sees First Legal Magic Mushroom Harvest, More... (10/26/20)

A new poll has both of South Dakota's marijuana initiatives winning, a Glasgow activist who runs an unauthorized mobile safe inject site has been arrested but is unbowed, and more.

Psilocbyin molecule. Canada has just seen its first legal harvest of psychoactive mushrooms. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

South Dakota Poll Has Narrow Lead for Marijuana Legalization, Big Lead for Medical Marijuana. A Sioux Falls Argus-Leader/KRLO-TV poll has support for the Constitutional Amendment A marijuana legalization initiative at 51%, with 44% opposed, and only 5% undecided. The same poll also asked respondents about the Measure 26 medical marijuana initiative and shows it with a much larger lead, with 74% supporting it only 23% opposed, with 3% undecided.

International

Canada Sees First Legal Magic Mushroom Harvest. Numinus Wellness, Inc., a Vancouver-based company, had completed the first ever legal harvest of psilocybin mushrooms in the country. The company was issued the first license to produce and extract psilocybin from mushrooms by Health Canada back in June. "The first harvest of legally grown Psilocybe mushrooms is a significant milestone for the whole industry" said CEO Michael Tan. "Now, we can progress with research and development of standardized cultivation, extraction, and testing methods and exploring product formulations to support safe, evidence-based, accessible psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, as well as build a sequenced spore library." 

Canada Health Minister Calls on Alberta to Keep Prescription Heroin Program Going. Health Minister Patty Hajdu is calling on the government of Alberta to keep open its program providing pharmaceutical grade heroin and Dilaudid to patients diagnosed with severe opioid misuse disorder. Provincial Premier Jason Kenney has said he intends to stop funding the program in the spring. "We are disappointed by this decision from the Alberta government, and we urge them to reconsider," said a spokesperson for Hajdu.

Scottish Safe Injection Site Van Operator Arrested. Peter Krykant, who operates a mobile safe injection site was arrested last Friday by Glasgow police after they searched his van. But he was not arrested for violating the Misuse of Drugs Act. Instead he was charged with obstructing police who sought to search the van. Glasgow is at the center of the country's deepening opioid use crisis and the worst HIV epidemic in more than 30 years. An unbowed Krykant says only a change in the law to allow legal consumption of heroin and cocaine would allow for the issue to be fully addressed./p>

Bipartisan Policy Center Recommends Safe Injection Sites, Marijuana Busts Declined Last Year, More... (10/2/20)

The House includes marijuana banking language in its latest COVID relief bill, pot busts declined last year, an Arizona poll is looking good for marijuana legalization there, and more.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signs a pack of marijuana business bills. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

After Climbing Three Years in a Row, US Marijuana Arrests Fell by 18% Last Year. According to the just-released FBI Uniform Crime Report 2019, there were some 545,600 marijuana arrests in the US last year, 92% of them for simple possession. That's an 18% decline from 2018. Marijuana arrests peaked at nearly 873,000 in 2007.

House Democrats Include Marijuana Safe Harbor in Latest COVID Relief Bill. The House is including language to allow financial services for the marijuana industry in its latest $2.2 trillion COVID relief bill. It does so by including the text of the SAFE Banking Act (HR 1595) within the relief bill. No word yet on how the Republican-led Senate will respond.

Arizona Poll Has Strong Support for Marijuana Legalization Initiative. A new statewide poll of likely voters has support for the Prop 207 legalization initiative at 57%, with 38% opposed. The numbers are basically unchanged from the same poll in August, which had 57% in favor, with 37% opposed.

California Governor Signs Four Bills Affecting Marijuana Industry. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed into law four bills relating to the marijuana industry. Assembly Bill 1458 eases requirements for edibles manufacturers, Assembly Bill 1525 lets the state or local governments share financial information with the consent of marijuana licensees, Senate Bill 67 establishes marijuana appellations, and Senate Bill 1244 clarifies that marijuana labs may tests samples provided by law enforcement in a bid to reduce illicit cultivation.

Colorado Governor Mass Pardons People Busted for Marijuana Possession. Gov. Jared Polis (D) on Thursday signed an executive order pardoning people convicted of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana prior to legalization. "We are finally cleaning up some of the inequities of the past by pardoning 2,732 convictions for Coloradans who simply had an ounce of marijuana or less. It's ridiculous how being written up for smoking a joint in the 1970's has followed some Coloradans throughout their lives and gotten in the way of their success," Polis said. "Today we are taking this step toward creating a more just system and breaking down barriers to help transform people's lives as well as coming to terms with one aspect of the past, failed policy of marijuana prohibition."

Harm Reduction

Bipartisan Policy Center Report: Use Federal Money for Syringe Exchange Programs. The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report Wednesday looking at how federal money is being used to combat the opioid epidemic. The report recommended states do more to combat rising overdose deaths, including adding more syringe exchange programs to help reduce overdose deaths and disease transmission. "(Syringe exchange services) don't increase drug use, but rather facilitate entry into treatment as well as access to naloxone, which, as you know, is a lifesaving antidote for an opioid overdose," BPC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anand Parekh said.

CA Safe Injection Site Bill Killed, Good Polls on MS MedMJ and DC Natural Psychedelic Initiatives, More... (9/3/20)

There are good polling results for medical marijuana in Mississippi and a natural psychedelic initiative in DC, Pennsylvania's top elected officials call for marijuana legalization, and more.

A psilocybin molecule. The plant-based drug would be effectively decriminalized if a DC initiative passes. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Pennsylvania Governor, Lt. Governor Call on Legislature to Legalize Marijuana. Governor Tom Wolf (D) and Lt. Governor John Fetterman (D) called Thursday for the General Assembly to go beyond medical marijuana and legalize marijuana outright, not just medical, in Pennsylvania. According to the governor's office, legalization will provide a revenue stream that will help the state's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Medical Marijuana

Mississippi Poll Has Very High Support for Medical Marijuana Initiative. Polling firm FM3 Research recently conducted a survey of state voters and found a whopping 81% supported legalizing the use of medical marijuana. Voters will have the chance to vote on two competing initiatives, one championed by Mississippians for Compassionate Care, and another watered-down created by state legislators. The survey found voters preferred the original initiative, Initiative 65, over the watered-down one, Alternative 65A.

Harm Reduction

California Safe Injection Site Bill Killed. Legislative leaders in Sacramento last week killed Assembly Bill 362, which would have allowed the cities of Oakland and San Francisco to establish safe injection sites in a bid to reduce drug overdoses. The bill had already passed the Assembly but was shelved in the Senate.

Psychedelics

DC Poll Has Solid Support for Psychedelic Decriminalization Initiative. A new poll of DC residents has support for Initiative 81 at 60%, up nine points since the poll was last conducted in April. The measure would make natural psychedelics the lowest law enforcement priority in the nation's capital.

International

Australian Officials Ponder Allowing MDMA, Magic Mushrooms for Mental Health Treatment. The country's medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, is seeking feedback on a proposal to legalize MDMA and psilocybin -- the active ingredient in magic mushrooms -- for mental health treatment purposes. Mind Medicine Australia, a non-profit that advocates for new treatments for depression and PTSD has asked the regulator to allow psychiatrists to use MDMA and the hallucinogenic psilocybin in therapy sessions.

House Passes Bill to Block DOJ Meddling in State Marijuana Programs, Scots Want Safe Injection Sites, More... (7/30/20)

The House has voted to block the Justice Department from interfering with state-legal marijuana programs, a populous Maryland county moves to end no-knock raids for drugs, and more.

Marijuana Policy

House Passes Measure to Protect State Marijuana Laws from Federal Interference. The House on Thursday took up an amendment to protect all state, territorial, and tribal marijuana programs from interference by the Justice Department. The amendment passed on a voice vote.

Law Enforcement

Maryland's Montgomery County Bans No-Knock Raids for Drugs, Restricts Use of Force. The Montgomery County Council approved changes to the county police department's use of force policy on a unanimous vote Wednesday. No-knock raids would be banned except when involving crimes of violence, and chokeholds and other restraints would also be banned. "When there is state-sanctioned violence and discrimination, people feel it and that's why we've awoken right now," Councilman Will Jawando, one of the lead sponsors of the bill, told the council Wednesday. "Drug possession or distribution would not be allowed under this bill," Jawando said. "The vast majority of cases for no-knock warrants in the county are for drug possession." Actually, only about 40% of no-knock raids in 2017 and 2018 were for drug offenses, but this measure would eliminate those. County Executive Marc Elrich, who voiced support for police reforms earlier this summer, is expected to sign the bill.

International

New Zealand Roadside Drug Testing Bill Proposed. Police Minister Stuart Nash is pushing a proposed new law that would give police the power to conduct random, suspicionless roadside drug testing of drivers. Under the new bill, police will be able to saliva-test drivers for commonly used drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, opiates and benzodiazepines. "Under this law, drivers who test positive for the presence of drugs will be fined, immediately suspended from driving for 12 hours, and lose half their demerit points," Nash said. "Drivers would also face harsher criminal penalties where blood tests confirm impairing levels of drugs in their system, or drugs combined with alcohol." Specific criminal limits for different drugs would be set later, giving an expert review panel time to weigh in. The bill is set for a first reading next week.

Scots Back Safe Injection Sites, Poll Finds. A majority of people in Scotland support setting up safe injection sites, according to a poll published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. The study, conducted by academics in Glasgow and Liverpool, questioned more than 1,500 people in Scotland and found 61% agreed with introducing the facilities, while 15% were against and 24% unsure. The poll comes as proposals to set up a safe injection site in Glasgow have been blocked by the British Home Office in London.

SF Supes Approve Safe Injection Site Measure, OK Pot Init Can Start Collecting Signatures, More... (6/24/20)

The Kansas City and Los Angeles city councils advance marijuana measures, San Francisco supervisors approve a measure to allow safe injection sites, marijuana legalization is advancing in the Isreali Knesset, and more.

Safe injection sites could be coming to San Francisco--if the state and federal governments clear the way. (CC)
Marijuana Policy

Oklahoma Supreme Court Clears Marijuana Legalization Initiative for Signature-Gathering. The state's high court has ruled that the initiative, State Question 807 to legalize marijuana may proceed to the signature-gathering stage. The initiative would legalize marijuana for adults over 21 and impose a 15% marijuana sales tax. Supporters would have to gather about 178,000 signatures of registered voters in 90 days to qualify the question for the ballot.

Kansas City Ordinance Removing Marijuana Prosecutions and Penalties Wins Committee Vote. An ordinance that would remove marijuana prosecutions and penalties from the city code was passed out of the Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee Wednesday on a 4-2 vote and now heads for a full city council vote on July 9.

Los Angeles Ordinance to Reset Legal Marijuana Market Wins Committee Vote. The city council's Rules Committee voted Tuesday to approve a series of changes to help the city's struggling legal marijuana market, including strengthening programs aimed at helping operators from communities that suffered most from the nation's war on drugs. One proposed change would limit delivery licenses only to businesses that meet social equity benchmarks until 2025. The committee also approved allowing businesses to relocate while being licensed, clarify what employees are required to have background checks and streamline the application process.

Harm Reduction

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Approves Bill to Allow Safe Injection Sites. The Board on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow nonprofits to operate safe injection sites in the city. The legislation, backed by Mayor London Breed, passed the Board unanimously. It creates a system for issuing permits to nonprofits who want to undertake such activities. There are still obstacles to overcome, though. A state bill, Assembly Bill 362, which would authorize the city to open a safe injection site, has yet to pass the Senate, and the Trump administration remains opposed to any such moves.

Sentencing Reform

California's Prop 47 Reduced Racial Disparities in Arrests and Jailings, Study Finds. A study by the Public Policy Institute of California has found that Prop 47,  the 2014 ballot measure that lowered penalties for many property and drug crimes in California, has reduced but not eliminated the gap between African Americans and whites in arrests and jailings. In the first two years after Prop 47 went into effect, racial disparities in arrests for crimes covered by the initiative dropped 24.4%, while disparities in booking dropped 36.2%. But for drug crimes, the decline in racial disparity was even more stark, about 55%.

International

Israeli Knesset Gives First Approval to Marijuana Legalization Bills. The full Knesset voted Wednesday to advance a pair of bills that would legalize marijuana. That's only the first step in a legislative process that could take months to reach fruition. Under the bills, possession of up to 50 grams and up to two marijuana plants in a private place would not be a crime. Possessing more than the legal limit would result in a large fine, and public use would be prohibited.

Dem Congresswomen File COVID Decarceration Bill, Vancouver Activists Rally for Safe Drug Supply, More... (6/23/20)

Iowa's capital and largest city moves toward marijuana law reform, Vancouver activists march to demand a safe drug supply, progressive Democratic congresswomen roll out a public health-minded bill to reduce incarceration, and more.

The InSite safe injection site in Vancouver. Now activists are calling for a safer drug supply, too. (vch.ca)
Marijuana Policy

Des Moines Creates Task Force to Study Marijuana Decriminalization. Iowa's capital and largest city is moving toward making enforcement of marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority. On Monday night, the city council took the first step in that process by voting unanimously to create a task force to study marijuana decriminalization. That task force will study the issue and make recommendations to the council by October 1. The resolution was part of an anti-racial profiling ordinance also unanimously passed by the council Monday.

Psychedelics

Iowa Amendment to Decriminalize Psilocybin Defeated. State Rep. Jeff Shipley (R-Fairfield) last week filed an amendment to a budget bill that would have removed psilocybin and psilocin from the state's controlled substances list. But members questioned how germane the amendment was to the budget bill and the presiding officer agreed, ruling the measure "not germane." Still, it got a vote and was handily defeated,76-17. Shipley last year filed a bill to legalize psilocybin and MDMA for medical use.

Sentencing Policy

Democratic Congresswomen File Bill to Dismantle Mass Incarceration. Last week, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Barbara Lee (CA) introduced the as yet unnumbered Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act, which would require the release of eligible individuals who are currently in custody in a jail or prison during the COVID-19 crisis and for one year after the crisis ends. "This pandemic should not be a death sentence for anyone," said Congresswoman Tlaib. "We already know that Black and Brown folks are disproportionately affected by this virus outside prison walls. We also know that they’ve been disproportionately incarcerated for decades. These factors make for a unique urgency to get this bill passed, so we ensure incarcerated individuals and their loved ones have a fighting chance to see each other again."

International

Vancouver Activists Rally and March in Downtown Eastside for Safe Drug Supply. With last month being the deadliest for drug overdoses in years with more than 170 dead in the city, Vancouver activists rallied and marched through the Downtown Eastside, the epicenter of hard drug use in the city, to demand access to a safe supply of drugs for users. While acknowledging federal and provincial government efforts to ease access to such drugs, lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in interruptions to the drug supply and led to the local manufacture of substitutes cut with more dangerous and toxic ingredients. The rally was led by the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU).

Feds Claim "Drug Trafficker" Presence Required "Escalated Force" Use at George Floyd Protests, More...(6/5/20)

Medical marijuana is moving in the Heartland, a New Jersey decriminalization bill gets filed, Colorado lawmakers are moving a police reform bill, and more.

It's looking like the Garden State could see both marijuana decriminalization and legalization this year. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

New Jersey Decriminalization Bill Filed. Senate Democrats have filed Senate Bill 2535, which would decriminalize the possession and distribution of one pound or less of marijuana. A first offense would earn a written warning, while subsequent offenses would garner a $25 fine. The bill sponsors are Sens. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City) and Ron Rice (D-Newark).

Medical Marijuana

Iowa Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Heads to Governor's Desk. The state Senate has given final approval to a medical marijuana expansion bill, HF-2589, which adds autism and PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions and limits patients to 4.5 grams of THC over a 90-day period. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).

Kansas Lawmakers File Medical Marijuana Bill. Nine House members have cosponsored House Bill 2017, which would set up a system of state-regulated medical marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sales. The bill would cap allowable amounts at four ounces, the equivalent of a 30-day supply. The bill does not specify which diseases or conditions would be included.

Law Enforcement

Feds Assert (With No Evidence) Force Against George Floyd Protestors Was Necessary Because of Drug Traffickers. US Customs and Border Protection claimed in a memo Wednesday that the supposed presence of "drug trafficking organizations" at protests after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police justified the use of "escalated force" at demonstrations. It provided no evidence to support the claim beyond asserting that "due to nefarious actors and drug trafficking organizations using these protests as façades, there have been incidents where law enforcement (LE) officials have needed to respond with nonlethal and escalated force -- incidents including the use of pepper spray, riot shields, and rubber bullets." The claim came less than 48 hours after the Justice Department okayed letting the DEA act as federal law enforcement at the protests, even though it noted that "the federal crimes being committed in the wake of Mr. Floyd's death are largely not drug-related."

Colorado Police Reform Bill Filed. The state Senate president and all Senate Democrats are supporting Senate Bill 20-217, which was introduced this week in the wake of the George Floyd protests. The bill passed out of the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Thursday and is likely to get a Senate floor vote either Saturday or early next week. The bill is an effort to bring transparency, accountability and better oversight for law enforcement who abuse their power. It would mandate the use of body camerasby July 2021, with failure to record creating a rebuttable presumption of officer misconduct. It also prohibits the use of chokeholds by police and requires public reporting on policing. Failure to record creates a rebuttable presumption of officer misconduct. It would also rein in deadly police shootings and block the rehiring of bad cops.

International

Australia's Melbourne to Get Second Safe Injection Site. The Victoria state government is now planning a second safe injection site in Melbourne after a report showed demand had surged at the North Richmond safe injection site. Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement today following a two-year trial of the medically supervised North Richmond site. Andrews said he was "absolutely convinced" the second facility would save lives. "There is a need for us to do more to save lives and to change lives not just in North Richmond, but according to our expert panel in the City of Melbourne as well," he said.

Bermuda Government Releases Draft Marijuana Legalization Bill for Public Feedback. The Bermuda government has released a draft marijuana legalization bill under which adults 21 and over could purchase and possess up to seven grams of marijuana. The bill envisions a system of licensed retailers, and a prior marijuana conviction would be no bar to participating in the industry.

ME Loses Federal Student Mental Health Aid Over Medical Marijuana, MA Safe Injection Site Bill Moves, More... (5/18/20)

Missouri lawmakers cast a baleful eye on medical marijuana gummies, a safe injection site bill is moving in Massachusetts, and more.

A bill to ban medical marijuana edibles that might appeal to children is headed to the Missouri governor's desk. (CC)
Medical Marijuana

Maine Loses Federal Mental Health Grants Because of Medical Marijuana. The federal government is cutting off $3.3 million in already approved funding for student mental health services because state law allows students access to medical marijuana. State education officials said "a new requirement" at the federal level cut off the funding for the ongoing program "because of our state's medical marijuana law, which requires schools to allow students who have written certification from their medical provider indicating their need for medical marijuana to receive such treatment while at school." The federal agency making the change is the Department of Health and Human Services.

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Bill to Ban Edibles Attractive to Children. Both the House and the Senate voted late last week to approve House Bill 1682, which would ban the sale of edible medical marijuana shaped like fruit, gummy bears, cartoons, or other characters that might be attractive to children. Circles, squares, and other shapes would be okay, though. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Michael Parson (R).

Drug Policy

White House Announces Comment Period for Emerging Drug Threats Criteria. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Jim Carroll last Friday announced the start of a public comment period to assist ONDCP in its development of criteria for designating emerging drug threats. The advance notice comment period will be open from May 15, 2020, through June 30, 2020. The accouncement says: "ONDCP's objective is to develop criteria that will enable the United States to proactively identify emerging drug threats and take necessary action to prevent these threats from becoming public health emergencies. The period for comment on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Designation of Emerging Drug Threats in the United States, closes June 30, 2020. Comments may be submitted to the Federal Register."

Harm Reduction

Massachusetts Bill to Allow Safe Injection Sites Advances. The Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery voted last Friday to approve a bill that would authorize the Department of Public Health to set up at least two safe injection sites as part of a 10-year pilot program. Local boards of health would have to agree to opt-in before a site would be considered in their communities. "The message we send to those who are faced with the disease of addiction is that we see you, we value you, and we want you to live," Rep. Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat and House chair of the committee, said in a press release. The measure is House Bill 4723.

Chronicle AM: INCB Head Suggests UN Drug Treaties Are Out of Date, Houston Dope Squad Reforms, More... (2/28/20)

A top UN drug official suggests international drug treaties are out of step with the times, a hemp bill is moving in Idaho, Malawi legalizes hemp and medical marijuana cultivation, and more.

The House has voted to ban flavored e-cigs and tobacco, including menthol. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Maine Plans for Special Marijuana Crimes Unit Sparks Outrage. The state plans to spend $649,000 in marijuana taxes to fund a four-person unit in the its Drug Enforcement Agency to deal with regulatory compliance and monitoring illegal marijuana activities, but the plan announced earlier this week isn't sitting well with some lawmakers and marijuana business owners. "We do not want to see one additional person incarcerated for marijuana," said Mark Barnett, a Portland coffee shop owner applying for a recreational cannabis license. "It’s a move in the wrong direction and counter to the very idea of legalization." Rep. Charlotte Warren (D-Hallowell, co-chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, concurred: "I thought we legalized cannabis," she said. "If we have spent a total of $33.2 million over just the time I’ve been in the legislature, why are we adding more agents for something that we actually legalized?"

Hemp

Idaho Senate Passes Bill to Legalize Hemp Production. The Senate on Thursday approved Senate Bill 1345, which would allow farmers in the state to legally grow and process industrial hemp. The bill now heads to the House.

Law Enforcement

Houston Police Chief Announces Reforms for Tarnished Narcotics Unit. Police Chief Art Acevedo announced a series of reforms for his department's Narcotics Division on Wednesday, just hours after Harris County DA Kim Ogg said 69 defendants convicted on the testimony of disgraced former drug cop Gerald Goines might have their cases overturned. Goines was the lead officer in a fatal raid last year that left two innocent homeowners dead. Among the changes announced by Acevedo are requiring more oversight and signoff from superiors for drug operations, tighter controls on informants and payments, and restating the already announced policy of requiring high-level approval for "no-knock" raids like the one Goines led.

Vaping

House Votes to Ban Flavored E-Cigs, Tobacco, Including Menthol. The House on Friday approved a bill, House Resolution 2339, that would ban the manufacture and sale of flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes, including menthol. The vote divided House Democrats and drew opposition from Republicans. Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus slammed the bill over its ban on menthol, which is popular with African-American smokers. The bill's fate is uncertain in the Senate.

International

Top UN Drug Official Questions Whether Drug Control Treaties Are Out of Date. International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) President Cornelius P. de Joncheere said Thursday the United Nations drug conventions may be outdated, especially when it comes to marijuana. "We have some fundamental issues around the conventions that state parties will need to start looking at," he said, adding, "We have to recognize that the conventions were drawn up 50 and 60 years ago." Joncheere said 2021 is "an appropriate time to look at whether those are still fit for purpose, or whether we need new alternative instruments and approaches to deal with these problems."

Australiana New South Wales Commission Calls for Drug Decriminalization. A government-commissioned special inquiry into drug use has called the criminalization of drug users "a profound flaw" in the state's criminal justice system and recommended the complete decriminalization of drugs in the state. The report called current state drug laws "tired" and "lacking in imagination." It calls for pill testing, ending the use of drug dogs at music festivals, and more safe injection sites. But the NSW state government has already rejected some of those recommendations.

 

. Malawi's parliament on Thursday approved legislation to allow the cultivation of medical marijuana and hemp. The country is looking at an alternative to its tobacco crop, its main earner of foreign exchange, which is under pressure from anti-smoking campaigns. "Legalization of this crop will contribute to economic growth as it will contribute in the diversification of the economy and boost the country’s exports, especially at this time when tobacco exports are dwindling," agriculture minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said. Marijuana for recreational use remains illegal.

Chronicle AM: Philly Safe Injection Site Gets Favorable Final Ruling, San Diego to Dismiss Pot Convictions, More... (2/26/20)

A federal judge has issued a final order saying a proposed Philadelphia safe injection site does not violate federal law, Kansas lawmakers vote to keep a third pot possession conviction a felony, the Virginia legislature has passed a smokeable hemp bill, and more.

The Mexican congress is on a path to legalize marijuana ahead of a Supreme Court-imposed April deadline. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Kansas Lawmakers Kill Bid to Lower Marijuana Penalties. The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to reject House Bill 2686, which would have reduced third time simple pot possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and released people serving prison time for felony marijuana possession. I thought this was mild enough that it might get through the committee," said Democratic Rep. Boog Highberger, of Lawrence, home to the liberal University of Kansas main campus. "I can't explain it." But Republican committee members said it was a step toward legalization, which they don't support.

San Diego DA Files Motion to Reduce and Dismiss Marijuana Convictions.The San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that it has filed a motion to reduce nearly 25,962 felony marijuana convictions to misdemeanors, while also moving to dismiss 1,040 misdemeanor marijuana convictions completely. The office said it had already reduced or dismissed more than 1,600 marijuana-related convictions since 2016, when Proposition 64 was voted into law, legalizing recreational marijuana use in California. The DA's Office's reduction and dismissal motions are pending review by a judge.

Hemp

Virginia Lawmakers Pass Smokeable Hemp Bill. The Senate voted 37-3 Tuesday to approve House Bill 962, which clarifies that smokeable hemp products can lawfully be sold to people 21 and over. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Harm Reduction

Philadelphia Safe Injection Site Gets Final Approval from Federal Judge. A federal judge Tuesday issued a final order in a case where he earlier ruled that a proposed safe injection in the city would not violate federal law. The final order upholds that previous ruling and clears the way for the nonprofit group Safehouse to move forward with opening the site. The Trump administration had challenged the legality of the harm reduction measure and could still appeal the ruling, but Safehouse says it is moving forward anyway.

International

Mexican Congress Moving Closer to Marijuana Legalization. Sen. Ricardo Monreal of the ruling MORENA Party said Monday that marijuana legalization is "on track" and that several congressional committees are meeting this week to work on the issue. Four committees were set to meet to review a draft bill Wednesday. The congress is working under an April Supreme Court deadline to get legalization done.

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