2020

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Medical Marijuana Update

An Iowa medical marijuana expansion bill has gone to the governor's desk, a Kansas medical marijuana bill died a quick death, and more.

Iowa

Iowa Senate Votes to Expand Medical Marijuana Program. The state Senate last Wednesday voted 32-17 to expand the state's medical marijuana program by increasing the amount of medical marijuana products patients can purchase to up to 25 grams of THC every 90 days. The bill now goes to the House.

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

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.

Kansas Medical Marijuana Bill Dies as Special Session Ends. House Bill 2017, which would have set up a system of state-regulated medical marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sales, has died as a special short session ended without it moving in the Republican-led legislature. It will be next January before the legislature meets again, so the issue is effectively dead for the rest of this year.

Nebraska

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Still Seeking Signatures. Backers of a medical marijuana initiative say they have some 60,000 valid voter signatures, but that's only half the total they need to qualify for the ballot. Nearly 50,000 of those signatures were gathered before lockdowns imposed because of the coronavirus, which brought signature-gathering to a near halt for months. Now, the campaign has less than a month to gather another 60,000 valid voter signatures.

Congressional Dems File Justice in Policing Act, CO Police Accountability Bill Passes Senate, More... (6/10/20)

Police accountability is the topic of the day in Congress and in Colorado, a Nebraska medical marijuana initiative campaign is in a final sprint for signatures, and more.

Newly hired or returning truck drivers catch a break from drug testing during the coronavirus disruption. (Creative Commons)
Medical Marijuana

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Still Seeking Signatures. Backers of a medical marijuana initiative say they have some 60,000 valid voter signatures, but that's only half the total they need to qualify for the ballot. Nearly 50,000 of those signatures were gathered before lockdowns imposed because of the coronavirus, which brought signature-gathering to a near halt for months. Now, the campaign has less than a month to gather another 60,000 valid voter signatures.

Criminal Justice

Congressional Democrats Introduce Justice in Policing Act. In response to the outrage sweeping the nation over police killings of black Americans, on Tuesday House Democratic leaders introduced the Justice in Policing Act, the first-ever comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities. The bill bars discriminatory profiling, bans chokeholds and no-knock drug raids at the federal level, mandates the use of bodycams by federal police, and establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry, among other provisions. Look for a Chronicle feature article on the bill tomorrow.

Colorado Police Accountability Bill Passes Senate. The state Senate on Tuesday approved SB20-217, the Law Enforcement Accountability and Integrity Act, with only one dissenting vote. The bill creates a police officer duty to intervene in the presence of unlawful police use of force, outlaws chokeholds, protects protesters from police violence, and removes the shield of immunity from police officers acting unlawful, among other provisions. The bill now moves to the House, where it had a hearing in the House Finance Committee Wednesday.

Drug Testing

Federal Trucking Regulators Extend Waiver on Pre-Employment Drug Testing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended through September 30 a waiver on pre-employment drug testing requirements for truck drivers. The agency said that layoffs in the industry because of the coronavirus pandemic had reduced the pool of employees for random drug testing, the requirement for drug testing would impose burdens on trucking companies "at the very time they are attempting to return to expanded levels of operation."

NBA Foregoes Recreational Drug Testing, DC Psychedelic Init Gets Signature Boost During Protests, More... (6/9/20)

As a California psilocybin initiative bites the dust, a DC natural psychedelic initative gets a boost; the NBA gives up on recreational drug testing of its players, the Dutch move closer to a pilot program to supply legal marijuana to the country's cannabis cafes, and more.

caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Montana Democratic Party Endorses Marijuana Legalization. The state Democratic Party has formally endorsed marijuana legalization, making it part of its platform. The party supports the "removal of Marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Federal Controlled Substances Act," one plank states. The party also endorsed adding language to the state constitution to "establish the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana at 21 years of age or older." It also calls for "addressing substance abuse as a public health issue, rather than a criminal issue," among other reform policies. The move comes as a pair of marijuana legalization initiatives sponsored by New Approach Montana seek to gather signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Kansas Medical Marijuana Bill Dies as Special Session Ends. House Bill 2017, which would have set up a system of state-regulated medical marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sales, has died as a special short session ended without it moving in the Republican-led legislature. It will be next January before the legislature meets again, so the issue is effectively dead for the rest of this year.

Drug Testing

NBA Will Not Test for Recreational Drugs When Season Resumes. The National Basketball Association has not been testing players for recreational drugs during the coronavirus-inspired suspension of the 2019-2020 season, and the league will reportedly continue that approach once play resumes. The league will still test players for performance enhancing drugs, though.

Psychedelics

California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative Officially Dead for This Year. The state secretary of state's office announced Monday that the California Psilocbyin Decriminalization Initiative had failed to qualify for the November ballot. Like other initiative campaigns, this campaign struggled with signature-gathering as social distancing measures and lockdowns took hold in March. Look out for 2022.

Washington, DC, Natural Psychedelic Lowest Priority Initiative Campaign Gets Signature Boost Amidst Mass Protests. The measure, I-81, had been struggling to gather signatures during the coronavirus lockdown, but has received an unexpected boost as the streets of the city fill with demonstrators protesting police brutality. Organizers said they had added some 5,000 new signatures during the street protests. They have until July 6 to come up with 30,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The measure would not legalize or decriminalize natural psychedelics but would make them the city's lowest law enforcement priorities.

International

Dutch Government Announces Applications for Regulated Marijuana Grows to Open Next Month. The Justice Ministry announced Tuesday that marijuana growers who wish to take part in a pilot program to grow regulated marijuana for the country's famous cannabis cafes can sign up to apply beginning July 1. Up to 10 growers will be licensed to supply the cafes in a bid to address the country's lingering "back door problem," where cafes are allowed to sell marijuana products, but there is no legal source of supply. That has only strengthened black market producers.

Israel Coalition Government Will Push for Marijuana Legalization Reforms. The Likud/Blue and White coalition government says it will push legislation in the Knesset "to arrange the issue of decriminalization and legalization [of marijuana] via a responsible model." In the same statement, the government said both parties have also decided to push for reforms to medical marijuana to increase ease of access for patients and make it easier for growers to get licenses.

Mexico Plan to Decriminalize Drugs, House Drug War/Policing Resolution Gaining Cosponsors, More... (6/8/20)

A pair of Democratic House leaders is pressing Attorney General Barr on marijuana legalization and drug rescheduling, a House resolution linking the war on drugs and police brutality is picking up cosponsors at a very rapid clip, and more.

Mexican President Lopez Obrador is ready to push for drug decriminalization. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Initiative Campaign Can Do Electronic Signature-Gathering, But the Clock is Ticking. Arkansas for Cannabis Reform, the group behind a marijuana legalization initiative, has won a victory in the state Supreme Court as the court has ruled it can collect signatures electronically. The group needs 89,000 valid voter signatures by July 3 to qualify for the ballot, but only has 23,000 raw signatures right now.

Drug Policy

House Lawmakers Press Attorney General Barr on Drug Rescheduling, Marijuana Legalization. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, sent a letter last Friday to Attorney General Bob Barr criticizing a Justice Department move last week to allow the DEA to help police mass protests over the police killing of George Floyd. The two lawmakers also criticized the Trump administration's "counterproductive focus on non-violent drug offenses is a plain reminder that the DEA is out of touch with the Nation's shift from the drug war model to policies of substance abuse treatment, rescheduling drugs, legalizing marijuana, and reducing harsh drug sentences."

Law Enforcement

House Resolution That Cites War on Drugs as Factor in Police Brutality Rapidly Gaining Cosponsors. A House resolution citing the war on drugs as a major factor in police brutality was filed with 12 cosponsors little more than a week ago. By the end of last week, it was up to 50 cosponsors; now, as nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd morph into calls for structural reform, the number of cosponsors has more than tripled to 160.

International

Mexico President Releases Plan to Decriminalize Drugs, Push US to Do Same. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) last week released a new plan that calls for radical reforms on the country's drug laws and negotiations with the US to do the same. The plan calls for drug decriminalization and moving funding from waging the drug war to providing for drug treatment programs. "The 'war on drugs' has escalated the public health problem posed by currently banned substances to a public safety crisis," the policy proposal, which came as part of AMLO's National Development Plan for 2019-2024, read. Mexico's current "prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable," it argued. Ending prohibition is "the only real possibility" to address the problem. "This should be pursued in a negotiated manner, both in the bilateral relationship with the United States and in the multilateral sphere, within the UN," it explained.

AZ Poll Bodes Well for Marijuana Legalization Initiative, China Anti-Drug Crackdown, More... (6/2/20)

An Arizona poll shows strong support for a marijuana legalization initiative there, a Connecticut panel approves adding two new qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, and more.

Connecticut opens the door to two more qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. (Sandra Yruel/DPA)
Marijuana Policy

Arizona Poll Has Near Two-Thirds Support for Marijuana Legalization. If the Smart and Safe Arizona marijuana legalization initiative campaign can manage to make it onto the November ballot, a new poll suggests its prospects for victory are very good. The poll, from the lobbying and consulting firm HighGround, had support for the measure at 65%, with just 25% opposed. The polling came after respondents were given a detailed description of the initiative, as opposed to a generic question.

Medical Marijuana

Connecticut Legislative Committee Gives Final Approval for Two New Qualifying Conditions. The legislature's medical marijuana Regulation Review Committee has given final approval to adding chronic pain and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an inherited disorder that weakens the body's connective tissues. The additions were approved during a Tuesday video conference. The decision follows the recommendation of the state Medical Marijuana Program's Board of Physicians.

International

China Announces More Than 11,000 Arrests in Anti-Drug Campaign That Began in January. The Chinese narcotics control authority has reported more than 11,000 arrests in a yearlong anti-drug campaign that was launched in January. The campaign is aimed at Yunnan Province in southwestern China, which borders Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle of opium production. By contrast, the US arrests more than a quarter-million for drug offenses arrests during the same period each year.

COVID Impacts Cocaine Trade, Bolsters Dark Web Drug Market, More... (5/28/20)

Coronavirus is having differential impacts on the illicit drug trade, Michigan groups push to end the state's drug felon foodstamp ban, Colombian rebels call for a coronavirus ceasefire, and more.

Coca prices are down because of the pandemic, but the cocaine trade keeps on keeping on. (Pixabay)
Marijuana Policy

Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Initiative Campaign Gets Boost from Federal Judge's Signature-Gathering Ruling. A federal judge ruled Monday that a marijuana legalization initiative campaign, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform, can do electronic signature-gathering because of excessive burdens on in-person signature-gathering due to coronavirus pandemic social distancing. The judge ruled that the secretary of state must accept signatures not gathered in person or notarized. The campaign says it was on a path to gather sufficient signatures before in-person signature-gathering was suspended. It has until July 3 to hand in signatures.

Drug Policy

Michigan Bill Would Hike Heroin, Fentanyl Sales Penalties. State Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) has filed a bill, HB 5627, that would increase penalties for the manufacture and delivery of heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioid drugs. The bill is now before the House Judiciary Committee.

Michigan Groups Call on Governor to End Food Stamp Ban for Drug Felons. A coalition of 25 organizations led by the Center for Employment Opportunities is calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and legislative leaders to end a longtime state policy that permanently bans residents with two or more drug felony convictions from receiving food stamps. The ban is federal, but most states have already moved to receive waivers to avoid enforcing it. The groups say the ban makes it more difficult for people to make the transition from prison to civilian life.

International

Coronavirus Drives Dealers Online as Drugs Supply Soars. The cyber intelligence company Sixgill is reporting that dark web drug sales offers soared nearly 500% over the first few months of this year as drug dealers took to the web to continue doing business in a time of social distancing. The number of drug items for sale on dark websites monitored by Sixgill jumped from 4,154 in December 2019 to more than 24,000 by April 2020. MDMA postings more than doubled, marijuana postings increased more than five-fold, and cocaine postings jumped 10-fold. "Feedback, while an imperfect metric for purchase volume, is a reliable indicator of the rate of transactions," Sixgill explained. "Feedback volume for cannabis, cocaine, and MDMA all nearly doubled over the past half year."

Coronavirus Hits the Cocaine Supply Chain. The coronavirus pandemic is destabilizing the delicate balance in the Andes that the cocaine trade relies on. Lockdowns enforced by soldiers and police have caused trafficking routes to constrict, driving down the price of coca for the more than 237,000 families in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia who depend on it. In the latter two countries, the price of coca has dropped to from one-third to one-sixth of previous levels. "We're concerned about feeding our families because the price of coca continues to drop," said Bolivian coca union leader Albino Pinto. "We face restrictions in moving coca and other goods to the central market. This is blocking both local consumption and export, but our production continues at the same level." But the cocaine trade continues: "Drug traffickers have become more agile in shifting routes and modifying strategies," according to Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network. "Given the harsh reality for those who survive at the lowest rungs of the cocaine trade, pandemic control, just like drug control doesn't stop this business."

Colombia ELN Rebels Would Back Temporary Ceasefire to Help Contain Spread of Coronavirus. The National Liberation Army (ELN), which remains in rebellion against the government in Bogota and is involved in coca and cocaine production, has said it would be willing to take part in a three-month ceasefire to help quash the coronavirus. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire back in March. The ELN said it was waiting for a response from the government of President Ivan Duque.

Volunteers Needed: Online Signature Gathering for Psychedelic and Drug Decrim Initiatives

Dear reformer:

The pandemic has been hard on ballot initiative campaigns that need to gather signatures to get on the ballot. But there are some important drug policy initiatives that have a real chance of getting their needed signatures, but which need some help.

Initiative 81 in the District of Columbia would make enforcement against offenses involving entheogenic plants or mushrooms a lowest priority for law enforcement. Submitted in December to the DC Board of Elections by the group Decriminalize Nature DC, I-81's chances of getting onto the ballot were threatened by when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Earlier this month, though, the Board of Elections not only approved it for signature gathering, but granted permission for circulators of the initiative to sign their own petitions. This means that any DC voter can download, print and sign a copy, and return it to the campaign. The campaign is also mailing copies to people who request it.

Wherever you live, you can help get I-81 onto the ballot through phone banking. Today there's a virtual rally for volunteers with guest Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps CEO David Bronner. (It might be too late to join today's rally -- I'm sorry we didn't catch today's opportunity sooner, to let you know sooner.)

In Oregon, Initiative Petition 34 to legalize psilocybin mushroom-assisted therapy has also gone to online signature gathering. The campaign is within 10,000 signatures of what they need to qualify for the ballot, but needs your help for the rest too. Again, you can sign if you're an Oregon voter, but you can volunteer to help from anywhere. Please see our action alert for how to get involved.

And if you're helping with Oregon, you can help two initiatives at once. The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, IP-44, which would decriminalize illegal substances, needs help with electronic signature gathering too. IP-44 is only 5,500 valid signatures away from qualifying.

This is not a comprehensive list of drug reform initiatives that are trying to move forward despite the pandemic. Many have had to postpone their plans, but a number are still trying. For today at least, those are our suggestions for how to help, and I hope you can.

Sincerely,

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
Washington, DC
https://stopthedrugwar.org

US Army Unit Heads to Colombia to Fight Drugs, LA Senate Approves MedMJ Expansion Bill, More... (5/28/20)

One Arkansas marijuana legalization campaign calls it quits for this year, the Louisiana Senate has passed a medical marijuana expansion bill, Tyson Timbs finally gets his Land Rover back, and more.

Montana medical marijuana patients will soon be able to shop at any dispensary they wish. (Sandra Yreul/DPA)
Marijuana Policy

Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Initiative Campaign Stops Signature-Gathering. Arkansas True Grass, which sought to place a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana on the November ballot, has given up on this year, citing difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The group needed 90,000 valid voter signatures by July 3 to qualify, but now says it will turn its sights to 2022. Another initiative campaign, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform, continues to gather signatures.

Medical Marijuana

Louisiana Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill. The Senate voted 28-6 Wednesday to approve House Bill 819, which would end a rule requiring doctors to register with the state to recommend it and give them broad authority to recommend for any debilitating health condition. The bill has already passed the House but has to go back to the lower chamber to approve amendments made in the Senate.

Montana to "Untether" Medical Marijuana Users, Allowing Multiple Providers. As of next Tuesday, medical marijuana patients will no longer be stuck using a sole provider. Under a bill approved last year, patients will now be able to seek their medicine from any dispensary or provider. That bill allows patients to purchase up to one ounce per day, with a maximum of five ounces per month. But the daily purchase limit is temporarily suspended in a bid to reduce the number of in-store visits because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oklahoma Activists Call for Legislature to Reconvene to Override Governor's Veto of Medical Marijuana Delivery Bill. After Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) last week vetoed a bill that would have allowed for medical marijuana deliveries, activists are calling on lawmakers to reconvene to override that veto. While other vetoes by Stitt were successfully overridden, the Senate refused to vote on this one, with the Senate leader's office saying "there was not enough support to override the veto in the Senate and it was not close."

Asset Forfeiture

Indiana Man in US Supreme Court Asset Forfeiture Case Finally Gets His Vehicle Back. Tyson Timbs, the Indiana man whose seized Land Rover resulted in a Supreme Court decision scaling back civil asset forfeiture, has finally gotten his vehicle back -- six years after it was seized over a drug bust. After the Supreme Court decision, a state court judge ordered the state to return Timbs' vehicle "immediately." That was April 27. Now, it's actually happened.

Foreign Policy

US Army Unit to Arrive in Colombia on Drug Fighting Mission. The US Embassy in Bogota announced Wednesday that a US Security Force Assistance Brigade will arrive in Colombia early next month. "SFAB's mission in Colombia is an opportunity to demonstrate our mutual commitment against drug trafficking and support for regional peace, respect for sovereignty and the lasting promise to defend shared ideals and values," said US Southern Commander Admiral Craig Faller in a statement. The move comes as Colombia's coca cultivation and cocaine production are a record high levels.

OR Psilocybin and Decrim Initiatives Hand in Signatures, MA Pot Shops Reopen, More... (5/26/20)

Massachusetts marijuana stores see long lines as they do a limited reopening, two Oregon initiative campaigns handed in signatures last Friday, the Harris County DA throws out nearly a hundred drug convictions linked to a disgraced Houston police officer, and more.

An Oregon campaign to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocbyin mushrooms has handed in signatures. (Greenoid/Flickr)
Marijuana Policy

Massachusetts Marijuana Stores Reopen with Curbside Service, Long Lines Form. After a two-month forced shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, state marijuana retailers faced long lines of customers Monday as they reopened for curbside pickup of phoned in orders. While most legal marijuana states allowed pot shops to stay open as essential businesses, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) refused, saying that because Massachusetts was the only state in the region to have recreational retail sales, it was likely to draw customers from other states, endangering the public health of the commonwealth.

Psychedelics

Poll Show Growing Support for Access to Magic Mushrooms. A new poll from the marijuana research firm Green Horizons has 13% saying psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms should be outright legalized, with another 25% saying they should be legal under limited circumstances, such as for medical or spiritual reasons. Among people who said they had some knowledge of psychedelics, those figures jump to 18% and 35%, respectively. The poll was conducted by online surveys with a nationally representative sample of a thousand people.

Oregon Therapeutic Psilocbyin Initiative Campaign Hands in Signatures. The campaign to put a therapeutic psilocybin initiative, Initiative Petition 34, submitted signature petitions last Friday. The group handed in 133,000 raw signatures, 18% more than the 112,000 valid voter signatures required to qualify for the ballot. The group still has until July 2 to come up with the additional needed to ensure there are enough valid signatures..

Asset Forfeiture

Arizona Legislature Kills Move to End Civil Asset Forfeiture. A bill that would have ended civil asset forfeiture in the state died in the House last Thursday. SB 1556 had passed the Senate in March on a unanimous vote, but all 29 House Democrats and eight Republicans voted to kill it. Democrats who might have been expected to vote for the reform cited budgetary concerns amidst the coronavirus crisis, with one saying she couldn't support it without also ensuring counties would still have the money they need at a time of reduced state revenues due to the pandemic.

Drug Policy

Oregon Drug Decriminalization and Treatment Initiative Hands in Signatures. The campaign behind the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, Initiative Petition 44, handed in more than 147,000 raw voter signatures last Friday. It needs 112,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative would decriminalize the possession of personal use amounts of all drugs and fund drug treatment with marijuana tax revenues. The campaign still has until July 2 to gather more signatures.

Law Enforcement

Houston Overturns More Drug Convictions Linked to Officer Who Led Fatal Botched Raid. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced last Thursday that nearly a hundred more defendants convicted as part of cases made by former Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines will see their cases cleared. Goines now faces murder and records tampering charges over a raid that left two innocent homeowners dead, and investigations of Goines in the aftermath of the raid led to earlier and these latest dismissals. "We will continue to work to clear people convicted solely on the word of a police officer who we can no longer trust," Ogg said. "We are committed to making sure the criminal justice is fair and just for everyone."

Federal Marijuana Prisoner Killed by COVID-19, AL Mayoral Candidate Wants to Hang Drug Dealers, More... (5/22/20)

Ohio local decriminalization initiative campaigns can do electronic signature-gathering, an Alabama mayoral candidate draws attention with a call to hang drug dealers, and more.

At least 59 federal prisoners have died of the coronavirus. The latest was a man doing time for weed. (Pixabay)
Marijuana Policy

Most Recent Federal Inmate Death Was Man 18 Years into a Marijuana Sentence. A man serving a 20-year sentence for marijuana trafficking has become the latest federal prisoner to die of the coronavirus. Fidel Torres was sentenced in 2006 on charges of conspiracy to distribute more than a thousand pounds of pot. The same judge who sentenced him, Judge George Kazen of the Southern District of Texas, later denied him a sentencing reduction he would have qualified for under revised 2014 sentencing guidelines because of minor behavioral issues during the course of his imprisonment. "After the commission reduced the drug guideline retroactively in 2014, nearly 32,000 people got shorter, fairer sentences," said Kevin Ring, who heads the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Some 19,000 people were denied relief, Ring added. Less than 2% of those denials were due to prison misconduct, "and Mr. Torres appears to have been part of that very small and unfortunate minority," he said. Torres is the 59th federal prisoner to die of the coronavirus.

Ohio Local Decriminalization Initiatives Can Gather Signatures Electronically, Federal Judge Rules. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that campaigns to put marijuana decriminalization initiatives on local ballots across the state can turn to electronic signature-gathering after they were forced to suspend in-person campaigns because of the coronavirus pandemic. The court also ordered the state to push back the deadline for submitting signatures from July 1 to July 31.

Drug Policy

Alabama Mayoral Candidate Calls for Public Hanging of Drug Dealers. A man running for mayor in the small town of Sylacauga is calling for the public hanging of drug dealers as part of his campaign. Michael R. James posted his proposal on Facebook, where it has been shared and commented on hundreds of times. "Yes, I'm very aware public hanging is extreme and totally not possible without Federal Approvals and not from city or state officials. Extreme yes, but definitely brings attention to this scourge on Sylacauga, Alabama and the United States of America," he wrote in the Facebook post. His campaign materials say the hangings would only happen to third-time offenders.

Drug War Issues

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