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California Lawmakers Approve Bill To Legalize Psychedelics Possession

California Lawmakers Approve Bill To Legalize Psychedelics Possession

California psychedelics possession has been legalized by legislators

A California Assembly committee on Tuesday approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize possession of psychedelics, clearing its first major hurdle in the chamber.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee advanced the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), in a 5-3 vote.

This comes one day after the senator held a rally with military veterans, law enforcement and health officials to build support for the proposal.

SB 519 would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.

The sponsor supported a committee amendment that removed ketamine from the list of psychedelics included in the reform. That’s in addition to a series of technical revisions that were made to the legislation.

The full Senate approved the bill earlier this month, and it still has two more Assembly panel stops—the Public Health and Appropriations Committees—before moving to the floor and then, potentially, to the governor’s desk.

“Under SB 519, we will no longer arrest people and incarcerate them for the simple personal possession of psychedelics for personal or shared use,” Wiener told the committee on Tuesday. “That’s really the question here: Do we believe that we should be arresting someone because they possess psychedelics for personal use? I don’t think we should. Frankly, I think most people don’t think we should be doing that.”

A California Assembly committee on Tuesday approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize possession of psychedelics, clearing its first major hurdle in the chamber.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee advanced the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), in a 5-3 vote.

This comes one day after the senator held a rally with military veterans, law enforcement and health officials to build support for the proposal.

SB 519 would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.

The sponsor supported a committee amendment that removed ketamine from the list of psychedelics included in the reform. That’s in addition to a series of technical revisions that were made to the legislation.

The full Senate approved the bill earlier this month, and it still has two more Assembly panel stops—the Public Health and Appropriations Committees—before moving to the floor and then, potentially, to the governor’s desk.

“Under SB 519, we will no longer arrest people and incarcerate them for the simple personal possession of psychedelics for personal or shared use,” Wiener told the committee on Tuesday. “That’s really the question here: Do we believe that we should be arresting someone because they possess psychedelics for personal use? I don’t think we should. Frankly, I think most people don’t think we should be doing that.”

Wiener has described its prospects going forward as “very challenging,” but he made the case at Monday’s press event that it is a necessary policy change to advance mental health reform and end criminalization.

Under the measure, the state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group “to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts.” Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.

For psilocybin specifically, the legislation would repeal provisions in California statute that prohibit the cultivation or transportation of “any spores or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material” that contain the psychoactive ingredient.

The bill originally included record sealing and resentencing provisions for people previously convicted of psychedelics possession offenses, but that language was removed in its last committee stop prior to the Senate floor vote as part of an amendment from the sponsor.

Mexico top court decriminalizes recreational marijuana use

Mexico top court decriminalizes recreational marijuana use

Mexico cannabis legalization has been passed in the supreme court
Mexico’s Supreme Court on Monday decriminalized recreational marijuana use for adults, drawing a cautious welcome from activists who said users face a “legal vacuum” until lawmakers pass a stalled legalization bill.

“Today is a historic day for liberties,” court president Arturo Zaldivar said, after eight of the 11 judges backed the decision declaring the drug’s prohibition under the health law to be unconstitutional.

The ruling comes after Congress failed to enact legislation allowing recreational marijuana use by an April 30 deadline set by the country’s highest court. The landmark bill was approved by the lower house in March but still needs final approval by the upper house, the Senate.

In April, the ruling majority in the Senate said it was considering postponing the final discussion on the law until September. The Supreme Court urged Congress to issue the necessary legislation “in order to generate legal certainty.”

Legal obstacles

Pro-legalization campaigners said the Supreme Court ruling left cannabis users facing many uncertainties. Mexico United Against Crime, a non-governmental organization, said the decision “does not decriminalize the activities necessary to carry out consumption” such as production, possession and transportation of marijuana.

The ruling “leaves a legal vacuum with respect to the consumption, cultivation and distribution of cannabis,” it added, calling on Congress to issue the necessary legislation. Veteran pot legalization activist Jorge Hernandez Tinajero, who is part of the Mexican Association of Cannabis Studies, was also skeptical about the announcement.

“They do not dare to go further,” he said, adding that recreational users still faced legal obstacles to possessing marijuana.

​Massive market

One consequence of the court ruling is that recreational users will be able to obtain a permit from national health regulator Cofepris more easily, said Adriana Muro, director of rights group Elementa.

“What had happened on previous occasions was that Cofepris denied those permits,” she told AFP.

“Now that permission has to be given automatically,” she added.

But that does not open the door to commercialization or personal possession of more than the five grams already allowed, said Francisco Burgoa, a constitutional lawyer and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“Congress urgently needs to legislate, but I think that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is not personally in favor,” he told AFP.

The legislation would make Mexico, home to 126 million people, one of just a few countries, including Uruguay and Canada, to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Cannabis use for medicinal purposes has been decriminalized in Mexico since June 2017. Experts say the legal recreational market could be worth billions of dollars in Mexico, where authorities seized 244 tons of marijuana in 2020.

The legalization push is partly aimed at curbing drug-related violence that claims thousands of lives each year in the Latin American nation. More than 300,000 people have been murdered since the government deployed the army to fight the drug cartels in 2006.

United Nations calls for global ban on cannabis advertising

United Nations calls for global ban on cannabis advertising

United Nations cannabis advertising law

The United Nations on Thursday called for a global ban on all advertising that promotes cannabis products, in a move that it said could mimic its efforts to lead a global effort to limit tobacco marketing and use.

The UN can only recommend such a move, and it would be up to member nations to implement and enforce any kind of advertising ban.

A comprehensive ban on advertising, promoting and sponsoring cannabis would ensure that public health interests prevail over business interests,” the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime wrote in its annual World Drug Report.

“Such a ban would need to apply across all jurisdictions,” the global agency added.

The agency noted in its report that pot products “have almost quadrupled in strength in the United States of America and have doubled in Europe in the last two decades.”

Even as the products have become more potent over the last 20 years, the percentage of adolescents who view the drug as harmful has decreased by as much as 40 percent over the past 20 years, the UNODC said.

It added that marijuana can lead to mental health disorders in long-term, heavy users.

“Aggressive marketing of cannabis products with a high THC content by private firms and promotion through social-media channels; can make the problem worse,” the UN officials wrote in their report.

The UNODC did not specify how such a ban would work, but noted that “the measures could work in a way similar to the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

Rhode Island Cannabis Legalization Bill Passed by Senate

Rhode Island Cannabis Legalization Bill Passed by Senate

Rhode Island cannabis legalization bill passed in Senate

The Rhode Island Senate approved legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults on Tuesday, marking the first time either chamber of the state Legislature has voted on a bill to legalize cannabis.

The proposal was introduced by longtime proponent Sen. Joshua Miller, a Cranston Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee. It now heads to the state House of Representatives.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, has said the Democratic-controlled Legislature will likely end up taking up the question on how to structure a legal cannabis industry in a special session later this year.

Gov. Daniel McKee has his own plan for legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis, but legislative leaders didn’t include it in their proposed $13.1 billion state budget for the coming fiscal year.

Miller’s proposal would impose a 20% tax on cannabis sales, create an independent cannabis control commission to license and oversee cannabis operations, and allow for home cultivation. It would also create a “Cannabis Equity Fund” to help cannabis businesses from disadvantaged communities.

McKee’s proposal would have the state Department of Business Regulation oversee the industry and ban home growing cannabis, among other differences.

Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adults over the age of 21, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 
Everything to Know about Connecticut Cannabis Legalization

Everything to Know about Connecticut Cannabis Legalization

Connecticut cannabis legalization starts July 1st

Connecticut cannabis legalization has been signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont, setting the date for the law to take effect on July 1, 2021.

Connecticut joins 19 other states plus the District of Columbia in legalizing adult use recreational cannabis after the state legislature passed multiple revised versions of the Connecticut cannabis legalization bill, finally sitting at over 300 pages.

While Connecticut will follow in the steps of other states in regards to some popular aspects of cannabis legalization, such as expungement of criminal records for cannabis and setting up enforcement for intoxicated driving, they are also adding some of their own changes.

Cannabis may be officially legal in Connecticut starting July 1st, but that doesn’t mean dispensaries will be open by then, or that consumers will even be able to purchase cannabis legally. Here’s everything to know about what actually changes when Connecticut cannabis legalization takes effect on July 1st.

When Connecticut cannabis legalization takes effect

Cannabis legalization takes effect in Connecticut on July 1st, 2021. This means that all rules and regulations proposed in the legislation signed by the governor will be official on that date.

Cannabis possession limits

The new law will allow and individual to possess up to 1.5 ounces on their person, and up to 5 ounces in a locked container, glove box or trunk of a car.

Home growing

Home growing is permitted in the Connecticut cannabis legalization bill, however it will not be allowed immediately. The bill says anyone 21 and older can grow up to six plants in their home (three mature and three immature plants) as of July 1, 2023. Households can grow no more than 12 cannabis plants at any given time.

In other words, while cannabis use and possession will be legal in 2021, home growing will not be allowed until 2023.

Cannabis consumption

Smoking cannabis would generally not be allowed in places where cigarette smoke is already prohibited, including restaurants, health care facilities, state or municipal buildings and most workplaces.

The use of cannabis is banned in state parks, with $250 fines for offenders. Hotels are also required to prohibit guests from smoking cannabis, but they cannot ban possession and use of other forms of the drug in nonpublic areas. Cannabis use is illegal in motor vehicles by both drivers and passengers as well.

When dispensaries will open

The Connecticut cannabis legalization bill does not include a specific date in which dispensaries will be permitted to open. Legislators have said that May 2022 is the current deadline for allowing dispensaries to being operations. However due to the legislation being delayed and approved late in the legislative session, this deadline could end up being pushed further.

Connecticut cannabis business licensing

Business licensing for dispensaries or grow operations will be given out in a lottery system. Fees to enter the lottery for a license range from $250 for a food and beverage manufacturer or delivery license to $1,000 for a cultivator license.

If an applicant is selected, additional licensing fees must be paid. Half of the licenses would be reserved for “social equity applicants” that come from economically disadvantaged areas that have been most harmed by the war on drugs. Those applicants would pay reduced licensing fees.

Businesses involved in the state’s existing medical marijuana program could pay to enter the recreational market, with fees ranging between $1 million and $3 million.

Cannabis taxes

Connecticut expects to pull in over $26 million in tax revenue in its first full year of operation, which will start July 1, 2022 and end June 30, 2023. Currently cannabis sales will be subject to the state sales tax of 6.35%, with additional state and municipal cannabis taxes that have yet to be finalized.

The state anticipates over $76 million in revenue by the end of 2026.

Resolving prior cannabis convictions

Who is eligible to have a prior conviction expunged depends on the specific charge and when the individual was charged. People charged with possession of 4 ounces or less of cannabis before Jan. 1, 2000, or from Oct. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2021, can petition a court beginning July 1, 2022, to have their criminal record erased.

Those charged with that same offense from Jan. 1, 2000, through Sept. 30, 2015, will have their records automatically erased on Jan. 1, 2023. More serious marijuana charges would not be eligible for erasure.

Conclusion

Connecticut cannabis legalization follows in the footsteps of other legal states when it comes to some of their regulations, while making their own rules in regards to other aspects of the industry. The final bill approved by the governor went through numerous revisions, which is can be seen as a sign that the legislators does not have a hardened, solid plan for implementing a legal industry.

Setting a deadline for 2023 will allow the state to thoroughly plan and establish an adult use cannabis industry, giving more time to focus on the application and licensing process, one of the most common roadblocks that cause issues in a new cannabis industry. Issues will likely arise when individuals can possess cannabis, but cannot grow it themselves or buy it from a licensed dispensary for two years. With no access to legal cannabis many will resort to the black market to obtain their cannabis, which is completely unregulated, and potentially harmful to consumers.

The District of Columbia resolved this same issue by creating a gift/donation grey market for cannabis. Due to a rider in the District’s legalization bill, no government funds can be used to establish a recreational cannabis industry, leaving consumers to “gift” cannabis to each other in exchange for a “donation”, skirting around the legal language of the bill.

It is likely that we see a similar trend develop over the next year in Connecticut as consumers seek out reliable cannabis without access to legal dispensaries.

Connecticut Cannabis Legalization Bill Headed to Governor

Connecticut Cannabis Legalization Bill Headed to Governor

Connecticut cannabis legalization has been passed in the senate
Connecticut has become the latest U.S. state to pass legislation authorizing adult recreational use of marijuana. Washington D.C., Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island have also legalized adult recreational use.

On Thursday, the state’s legislature voted to broaden its policy that so far has limited use of the drug for medical purposes. Gov. Ned Lamont, who helped introduce the bill, is expected to sign the bill into law.

“It’s fitting that the bill legalizing the adult use of cannabis and addressing the injustices caused by the war of drugs received final passage today, on the 50-year anniversary of President Nixon declaring the war,” Lamont said in a statement on Thursday. “The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety.”

Under Senate Bill 1201, approved by the state’s senate on Thursday, slated to become effective on July 1, adults 21 and older can legally purchase and possess marijuana for recreational use. Individual possession limits are capped at 1.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent cannabis concentrate, with up to 5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent cannabis concentrate permitted in a locked container.

Recreational retail sales are not scheduled to begin until May of next year, according to the measure. And residents looking to grow marijuana plants for their own recreational use will have to wait to do so until 2023. Home cultivation for authorized medical patients can begin as soon as October this year.

In February, Lamont published revenue projections estimating that sales from an adult-use cannabis program starting in May 2022 would generate tax revenues of approximately $33.6 million by fiscal year 2023. According to the estimate, that number would jump to $97 million by fiscal year 2026.

The vote by Connecticut’s lawmakers comes amid a wave of recent state legalizations, including by regional neighbors New Jersey and New York, and others still scheduled to take effect this year.

New Jersey residents officially voted to legalize recreational weed beginning January 1. New York followed and green-lighted adult use on March 31.

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