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Chronicle AM: NM Pot Legalization Bill Filed, San Francisco Heroin/Fentanyl ODs Double, More... (1/24/20)

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 19:43
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pA New Mexico pot legalization bill backed by the governor has been filed, Montana activists file a second pot legalization initiative, San Francisco authorities report a doubling of heroin and fentanyl overdose deaths last year, and more.nbsp;/pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strongnbsp;nbsp;/ppa href=https://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/second-ballot-initiative-to-legalize-marijuana-filed-with-state/article_dbef3f69-1562-5388-a405-6ca224c81c63.html target=_blankMontana Sees Second Marijuana Legalization Initiative Filed/a. The activist group MontanaCan filed a marijuana legalization initiative, Ballot Issue 13, on Monday. That makes two potential legalization initiatives that could be on the ballot in November. The MontanaCan initiative would legalize marijuana for people 18 and up and cap the tax rate at 5%. That contrasts with the New Approach Montana initiative, which sets the age of consumption at 21 and the tax rate at 20%. Both are waiting to be cleared for signature gathering./ppa href=https://www.nhpr.org/post/nh-lawmakers-revisit-marijuana-legalization-home-grow-medical-cannabis#stream/0 target=_blankNew Hampshire Legislature Has Marijuana on Its Mind/a. As the legislative session gets underway, lawmakers are confronting at least a dozen marijuana bills that have already been filed. Some have to do with medical marijuana, including one that would allow patients to grow their own medicine. Similar legislation has passed the General Assembly in previous years, only to be vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Also on the agenda is a marijuana legalization bill, a href=http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2020amp;id=1363amp;txtFormat=html target=_blankHB 1686/a, which was set for a public hearing Friday. That bill would legalize the possession of up to frac34; ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of up to six plants, but does not envisage a legal commercial market./ppa href=https://www.krwg.org/post/new-mexico-cannabis-legalization-bill-introduced-house-floor target=_blankNew Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed/a. Reps. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque) and Antonio ldquo;Moerdquo; Maestas (D-Albuquerque) filed marijuana legalization legislation, a href=https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?chamber=Hamp;legType=Bamp;legNo=160amp;year=20 target=_blankHB 160/a, on Thursday. The bill would create a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce, as well as emphasizing social equity and local entrepreneurship. There would be a 9% excise tax on sales. The bill heads first in the House Consumer and Public Affair Committee and then in the House Judiciary Committee.nbsp;Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is pushing for the bill to be passed during the current 30-day legislative session./ppa href=https://www.texastribune.org/2020/01/23/austin-texas-will-stop-arrests-tickets-low-level-marijuana-cases/ target=_blankAustin, Texas, City Council Walks Away from Marijuana Arrests/a. The city council approved a resolution Thursday directing city police to not spend city funds on newly necessary lab tests to distinguish marijuana from low-THC hemp. The measure passed unanimously, and effectively ends arrests and prosecutions for small-time pot busts in most cases./ppa href=https://wgntv.com/2020/01/23/chicago-housing-authority-relaxes-recreational-marijuana-policy/ target=_blankChicago Housing Authority Relaxes Policy on Evicting Marijuana Users/a. The Chicago Housing Authority has relaxed its hardline approach to marijuana after the state legalized weed this year. Under federal law, people living in subsidized housing are subject to eviction for any drug law violations, and the CHA last year sent letters to its 63,000 households warning that families could be evicted for marijuana violations. But under pressure from Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), the CHA has revised its policy to now say that each marijuana complaint would lead to quot;consideration of relevant facts on a case-by-case basis.quot;/ppa href=https://www.newscenter1.tv/pine-ridge-reservation-to-vote-on-marijuana-legalization-alcohol-in-casinos/ target=_blankPine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in March/a. Members of South Dakota#39;s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation will vote on legalizing medical and recreational marijuana and allowing alcohol in casinos in May. The move comes after council members voted in favor of a referendum earlier this month./ppstrongHeroin and Prescription Opioids/strong/ppa href=https://www.nationalreview.com/news/san-francisco-heroin-fentanyl-overdose-deaths-double-in-2019-report/San Francisco Opioid Overdose Deaths Doubled Last Year/a. Preliminary statistics gathered by city officials show that overdose deaths involving heroin, fentanyl, or the two drugs together hit 290 last year, more than double the 134 reported in 2018. Of those 290 deaths, 234 resulted from fentanyl alone.nbsp;Just a decade ago, the number of city residents who overdosed on fentanyl and/or heroin was only 17.nbsp;quot;Itrsquo;s devastating. Itrsquo;s awful. Itrsquo;s the most deadly epidemic that wersquo;ve seen in our city since the HIV/AIDS crisis was killing thousands of people,quot; said Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the Tenderloin district where the opioid crisis has hit the city hardest. quot;It is painful that this is not something being talked about every day at City Hall.quot;/ppstrongDrug Testing/strong/ppa href=https://wcfcourier.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/capitol-digest-bill-makes-faking-drug-test-a-crime/article_1f21576d-9a9e-5e01-864a-2fb74f5adca3.htmlIowa Bill Would Make Cheating on a Drug Test a Crime/a. A bill that would make it a misdemeanor crime to cheat on a drug or alcohol test in a private-sector workplace has passed its first legislative hurdle, being approved Thursday by a Senate Commerce subcommittee. a href=https://legiscan.com/IA/bill/SSB3013/2019SSB 3013/a is being advanced by business interests concerned about the use of synthetic urine and urine additives to beat drug tests./p /div /div /div
Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: US Revokes Visa of Philippines Drug War Chief, VT Psychedelic Decrim Bill Filed, More... (1/23/20)

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 18:56
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pConnecticut and New York begin grappling with getting marijuana legalization passed, a Vermont bill would legalize several natural psychedelics, the Mexican Senate will take up marijuana legalization in the coming weeks, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.wtnh.com/news/politics/state-senate-democrats-propose-financial-literary-classes-marijuana-legalization/ target=_blankConnecticut Senate Democrats Prioritize Marijuana Legalization as Session Looms/a. Senate Democrats said Thursday that marijuana legalization was among their top agenda items in the upcoming General Assembly session that begins February 5. quot;There are very high numbers of Connecticut residents already traveling regularly to Massachusetts to buy this product and bring it home with them. I don#39;t think we want to put our heads in the sand,quot; said State Senator Martin Looney (D), Senate President Pro Tempore. quot;I think the time has come. There is broad base public support for it. We need to recognize it and find support for it.quot;/ppa href=http://drugpolicy.org/press-release/2020/01/drug-policy-alliance-statement-ny-governor-cuomo-adding-marijuana target=_blankNew York Marijuana Legalization Must Include Social Justice, Drug Policy Alliance Says/a. Responding to Gov. Andrew Cuomo#39;s budget proposal including marijuana legalization, the Drug Policy Alliance is reiterating its call for social justice. quot;We are pleased to see Governor Cuomo#39;s commitment to passing comprehensive marijuana legalization in the state budget this year, and to see him include social equity and small business incubator programs,quot; said Kassandra Frederique, the group#39;s state director. quot;We are disappointed Governor Cuomo doesn#39;t clearly guarantee that a portion of funds from marijuana sales will be reinvested into the communities most harmed by New York#39;s marijuana arrest crusade. Without this necessary component, the Governor#39;s proposal will not truly right the wrongs done to communities of color by disproportionate enforcement of marijuana.quot;/ppstrongPsychedelics/strong/ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-vermont-bill-would-decriminalize-psychedelics-and-kratom/ target=_blankVermont Psychedelic Decriminalization Bill Filed/a. Rep. Brian Cina (P/D) filed a bill Wednesday that would decriminalize psilocybin (magic mushrooms), ayahuasca, peyote, as well as kratom. Cina said he believes that quot;plants are a gift from nature and they#39;re a part of the web of life that humans are connected to. Plants, especially plant medicines, should be accessible to people,quot; he said. quot;Use of plant medicine should be considered a health care issue, not a criminal issue.quot; The bill is a href=https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2020/H.878 target=_blank_HB 878/a. It currently has three cosponsors and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee./ppstrongForeign Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/01/22/us-revokes-visa-philippines-drug-war-police-chief target=_blankUS Revokes Visa of Philippine Drug War Architect/a. The US government has revoked the travel visa of Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, the former police chief who led the Duterte government#39;s bloody crackdown on drugs, Dela Rosa confirmed Wednesday. The State Department has the authority to deny visas to people implicated in gross human rights violations, and Dela Rosa has been implicated in extrajudicial killings. The Philippines Commission on Human Rights estimates that more than 27,000 people have been killed in Duterte#39;s and Dela Rosa#39;s drug war. [Ed: Note that this move appears to have preceded passage by Congress of a href=https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/12/28/united-states-budget-law-philippine-officials-ban-.html target=_blankappropriations language barring officials involved in the incarceration of Philippine drug war critic Senator Leila de Lima/a. If so, the State Department must have done unpublished designations of one or more Philippine officials to ban, under existing authority it already had.]/ppstrongHarm Reduction/strong/ppa href=https://www.abccolumbia.com/2020/01/21/sc-lawmaker-looks-to-increase-access-to-life-saving-drugs-to-those-at-risk-of-overdosing/ target=_blankSouth Carolina Bill Would Increase Access to Overdose Reversal Drug/a. State Rep. Russell Fry (R-Columbia) has filed a href=https://openstates.org/sc/bills/2019-2020/H4711/ target=_blankHB 4711/a to increase access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. The bill would require prescribers to offer a naloxone prescription to patients who have a history of a substance use disorder or have overdosed in the past. It#39;s been referred to the Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs./ppstrongInternational/strong/ppa href=https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-22/mexico-senate-leader-seeks-to-legalize-marijuana-this-spring target=_blankMexico Senate Leader Seeks to Legalize Marijuana This Spring/a. The Mexican Senate will debate a marijuana legalization bill coauthored by Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal once the legislative session begins next month, his office said. The bill would set up an Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis to create rules for legal marijuana commerce./ppemThe Drug Policy Alliance is a funder of StoptheDrugWar.org./em/p /div /div /div
Categories: Latest News

Chronicle AM: NM NY Govs Call for MJ Legalization, NJ Gov Signs Criminal Justice Bills, More... (1/22/20)

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 20:26
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pTwo Democratic governors push for marijuana legalization, another Democratic governor signs a package of criminal justice reform bills, and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://cannabiswire.com/2020/01/21/new-mexico-governor-says-the-state-is-ready-for-cannabis-legalization/ target=_blank_New Mexico Governor Calls for Marijuana Legalization/a. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham used her State of the State address Tuesday to reiterate her call for marijuana legalization. quot;We#39;ve got to create more opportunity in rural communities, on Main Streets all through our state -- and so we#39;ve got to consider every single good idea. A perfect example is cannabis,quot; she said. quot;This is the fact: Recreational cannabis can be the next frontier of our economic expansion. We can get in on the ground floor or we can try to play catch up -- I know which one I prefer.quot; She wants to see the Cannabis Regulation Act (a href=https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/20%20Regular/bills/house/HB0160.pdf target=_blank_HB 160/a) passed during the legislature#39;s 30-day session that just got underway./ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-york-governor-includes-marijuana-legalization-in-new-budget-plan/ target=_blank_New York Governor Calls for Marijuana Legalization/a. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included marijuana legalization in his budget proposal Tuesday. The call for legalization comes after a similar effort foundered in Albany last year. quot;Legalize adult use cannabis,quot; Cuomo said during his budget speech. quot;I believe it is best done in the budget. I said that last year. I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues that without the budget can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget.quot; The bill to watch is the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (a href=https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?bn=A01617amp;term=2019 target=_blank_AB 1617/a)./ppstrongHemp/strong/ppa href=https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/capitol-watch/bill-to-legalize-hemp-in-idaho-introduced-senate/277-76f8c790-e040-4554-8691-543cc689efe9 target=_blank_Idaho Hemp Bill Moving/a. A bill to legalize hemp farming will get a hearing in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee after the committee voted Tuesday to approve it. The bill filed by Republican Rep. Dorothy Moon (Stanley) would allow hemp with tiny amounts of THC to be grown in the state. The bill also has an emergency clause that would allow farmers to grow hemp this year if signed into law./ppstrongCriminal Justice/strong/ppa href=https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/governor-murphy-signs-criminal-justice-reform-legislation/ target=_blank_New Jersey Governor Signs Three Criminal Justice Bills/a. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) used the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to sign three pieces of criminal justice reform legislation. a href=https://legiscan.com/NJ/bill/S761/2018 target=_blank_SB 761/a, also known as the quot;Earn Your Own Way Out Act,quot; requires the Department of Corrections to develop a reentry program for each inmate and streamlines the parole system. a href=https://legiscan.com/NJ/bill/A4970/2018 target=_blank_AB 4970/a bans civil asset forfeiture with limited exceptions. The law will make it easier for individuals with dismissed or acquitted cases to recover seized money and valuables. a href=https://legiscan.com/NJ/bill/S3309/2018 target=_blank_SB 3309/a creates the New Jersey Violence Intervention Program within the attorney general#39;s office. It will award grants to municipalities, health agencies, law enforcement agencies, and nonprofit organizations that implement effective, evidence-based violence intervention initiatives in communities with disproportionately high rates of gun violence./p /div /div /div
Categories: Latest News

Taking It to the Streets: States That Could Vote on Marijuana in November [FEATURE]

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 15:47
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pLast year wasn#39;t a great one for advancing marijuana legalization at the state level. Despite high hopes for New Jersey and New York, state legislatures in Trenton and Albany couldn#39;t quite get their acts together and promising efforts petered out. Illinois was the only state to approve marijuana legalization in 2019./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]It#39;s tough to push a legalization bill through the state legislative process. A single recalcitrant committee head can kill a bill, and even committed proponents can fail to reach agreement, squabbling over issues such as taxation, which agencies will have regulatory power, and ensuring social justice in the industry. And so the bill ends up dying. Of the 11 states that have so far legalized marijuana, only Illinois and Vermont have done it via the legislature, and in Vermont, they only legalized possession and cultivation, not a taxed and regulated market./ppIt could be different this year because this is an election year, and that means residents of a number of states will or could have a chance to vote directly on whether to legalize marijuana without having to wait for the politicos at the state house to support the will of the people./ppIn the case of marijuana prohibition, it is state legislatures that refuse to act that are out of step with the times. National opinion polls, such as a href=https://news.gallup.com/poll/267698/support-legal-marijuana-steady-past-year.aspx target=_blankGallup/a and a href=https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/14/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/ target=_blankPew/a, show support for legalization nationwide in the mid-60s, and even in states where legislatures haven#39;t yet approved full medical marijuana, let alone legalization, there is majority support for freeing the weed. In a href=https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/exclusive-poll-most-georgians-now-say-recreational-marijuana-should-be-legal/85-552373483 target=_blankGeorgia/a, for instance, 55 percent say legalize it, and in a href=https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/27/marijuana-democrats-young-adults-texas-poll/ target=_blankTexas/a, the figure is 53 percent./ppWhile there are serious prospects for legalization at the state house in a handful of state this year -- think a href=https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-marijuana-legalization-northeast-20200113-aouoqql6ybdr5g5nixw5z5vfka-story.html target=_blankConnecticut/a, a href=https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2020/01/15/new-mexico-governor-calls-for-marijuana-legalization-in-2020/ target=_blankNew Mexico/a, a href=https://buffalonews.com/2020/01/19/marijuana-legalization-wars-kick-off-this-week-in-albany/ target=_blankNew York/a, and a href=https://www.cannabisdispensarymag.com/article/rhode-island-governor-includes-cannabis-legalization-proposal-state-budget-plan/ target=_blankRhode Island/a -- a number of other states are seeing marijuana legalization or medical marijuana initiative campaigns get underway, and a couple of states in each category have already qualified for the ballot./ppThat an initiative campaign is underway is no guarantee it will make it onto the ballot -- a well-funded legalization initiative in Florida just came up short on signatures for this year -- but it is a signal that it could be. Here#39;s where things stand on 2020 marijuana reform initiatives as of mid-January./ppstrongStates Where Marijuana Legalization emWill/em Be on the Ballot /strong/ppstrongNew Jersey. /strongA a href=https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/SCR/183_I1.PDF target=_blankconstitutional amendment/a to legalize marijuana is on the ballot. It would legalize the possession, cultivation, processing, transport, and distribution of marijuana under the purview of the already-existing Cannabis Regulatory Authority, with sales subject to the state#39;s sales tax./ppThis is not a citizens#39; initiative -- the state doesn#39;t have those -- but a legislative one. After the governor and the legislature couldn#39;t manage to come to agreement on a legalization bill last year, the state#39;s elected officials punted, instead passing a resolution in December that refers the question to the state#39;s voters./ppProspects for passage in November appear good. The most recent polling -- now nearly a year old -- had support for legalization at a href=https://www.app.com/story/news/local/new-jersey/marijuana/2019/02/18/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-legal-weed-vote-poll-monmouth-university/2905563002/ target=_blank62 percent/a and trending upward over previous years./ppstrongSouth Dakota. /strongWith support from the Marijuana Policy Project and the New Approach PAC, a href=https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2020_CA_LegalizeMarijuana_Petition.pdf target=_blankConstitutional Amendment A/a has qualified for the November ballot. It would legalize the personal possession of up to an ounce and the cultivation of up to three plants by adults, as well as setting up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana sales. The measure would also compel the legislature to come up with regulations for medical marijuana and hemp by 2022./ppThe state has some of the harshest pot laws in the country, including a draconian quot;internal possessionquot; law that criminalizes testing positive for marijuana, even if it was consumed in a legal marijuana state./ppIt could also be a tough nut to crack. While a href=https://www.southdakotamarijuana.org/news target=_blankthe campaign says/a the initiative has quot;significant support among a majority of voters,quot; it has not publicly released any polling data, and there are no recent polls on voter attitudes toward weed. What is known is that this socially conservative rural state is the only one to twice defeat a medical marijuana initiative. A medical marijuana initiative is also on the ballot this year (see below), leading to the prospect that voters there could quot;split the difference,quot; showing their reformist bona fides by finally approving medical marijuana, but leaving approval of legalization for another day./ppstrongStates Where Marijuana Legalization emCould/em Be on the Ballot/strong/ppstrongArizona. /strongFour years after a marijuana legalization initiative was narrowly defeated, there are not one, not two, but three different campaigns trying to put legalization on the ballot this year. They have until July 2 to come up with the requisite number of valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Two of them need 237,645 valid signatures to qualify; the third, which has a higher bar as a constitutional amendment, needs 356.467./ppThe best positioned initiative is the industry-led a href=https://azmarijuana.com/arizona-medical-marijuana-news/18-must-know-facts-about-the-arizona-2020-cannabis-legalization-initiative/ target=_blankSmart and Safe Arizona Act/a, which would legalize the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana and allow for a system of state-regulated sales with a 16% excise tax. Those tax revenues would fund education, public health, and infrastructure programs. The campaign says it a href=https://azmarijuana.com/arizona-medical-marijuana-news/arizona-may-get-a-3rd-marijuana-legalization-ballot-initiative/ target=_blankalready has 100,000 raw signatures/a and expects to hand in 400,000 by June to ensure it has enough valid signatures to get past 237,645./ppMeanwhile, the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is promoting the a href=https://apps.azsos.gov/election/2020/general/ballotmeasuretext/I-08-2020.pdf target=_blankArizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative/a, which would also legalize adult-use possession, use, and cultivation and tax sales at 16%, but rather than aiming directly at voters, its organizers are hoping to a href=https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/marijuana/arizona-pot-legalization-2020-competing-ballot-initiatives-legislators-11391251 target=_blankpersuade the legislature/a to vote to put it on the ballot./ppAnd then there#39;s the a href=https://apps.arizona.vote/info/assets/18/0/BallotMeasures/C-01-2020.pdf target=_blankMarijuana Legalization, Ban on Taxes, and Automatic Pardons Initiative/a, which would legalize the use of marijuana, provide automatic pardons to people convicted of marijuana-related charges, and prohibit the government from taxing or regulating marijuana commerce. This is a constitutional amendment requiring 356,467 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. It#39;s the brainchild of a group called a href=https://www.facebook.com/RADArizona/ target=_blankRelegalize All Drugs/a, which is also circulating a a href=https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_Legalization_of_Drugs_Initiative_(2020) target=_blankLegalization of All Drugs Initiative/a./ppIf one or more of these measures make the ballot, the polling looks promising, if not overwhelmingly favorable. A a href=https://ktar.com/story/2471678/new-poll-shows-over-half-of-arizonans-support-legalizing-marijuana/ target=_blankFebruary 2019 poll/a had support for legalization at 52 percent; a a href=https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2019/09/03/marijuana-legalization-sees-falling-support-phoenix-area-poll-shows/2192224001/ target=_blankSeptember poll/a had it at 50 percent; and a a href=https://news.azpm.org/p/news-topical-politics/2019/11/21/162048-a-majority-of-arizona-voters-want-marijuana-legalized-a-poll-says/ target=_blankNovember poll/a had it at 54 percent. Initiative campaign organizers aren#39;t really comfortable, though, unless they#39;re polling in at least the high 50s months out because they expect opposition campaigns to eat into earlier support./ppstrongArkansas. /strongArkansans for Cannabis Reform is gathering signatures for a pair of initiatives, the a href=https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/260648e8-08b1-4718-b487-7e0949b750b0/downloads/ARKANSAS%20ADULT%20USE%20CANNABIS%20AMENDMENT%20(4).pdf?ver=1578763271663 target=_blankArkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment/a to allow the use of recreational marijuana and the a href=https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/260648e8-08b1-4718-b487-7e0949b750b0/downloads/Arkansas%20Marijuana%20Expungement%20Amendment%20(1).pdf?ver=1578763271663 target=_blankArkansas Marijuana Expungement Amendment/a, which would let people convicted of marijuana offenses to petition courts for relief, including release from prison and expungement of their convictions./ppAlso, a single individual, William Barger, filed the a href=https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/uploads/Recreational_Marijuana_Sample_Petition.pdf target=_blankArkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative/a, which would similarly free the weed, but does not appear to be doing much./ppInitiatives in Arkansas this year need 89,000 valid voter signatures by July 3 to qualify for the ballot, but that will be an uphill battle. a href=https://cannabiswire.com/2020/01/06/arkansas-a-legalization-effort-faces-an-uphill-climb/ target=_blankAs of January/a, the Arkansans for Cannabis Reform Group reported it had only 10,000 raw signatures and $10,000 in the bank. It really needs about 120,000 raw signatures to have a cushion for ones that could get thrown out as invalid. It is getting token support from the Marijuana Policy Project, but not staffing or funding./ppThere is no recent formal polling of support for legalization./ppstrongMissouri. /strongWith a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/missouri-activists-take-steps-to-put-marijuana-legalization-initiative-on-november-ballot/ target=_blanksupport from the national New Approach PAC/a, Missourians for a New Approach has filed a constitutional amendment, the a href=https://www.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/Elections/Petitions/2020-128.pdf target=_blankMarijuana Legalization Initiative/a, that would allow people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of weed purchased from a legal retailer and/or grow up to three plants. The initiative has been cleared for signature gathering, but organizers are still deciding whether to move ahead on what would be a costly effort. If they do, they have until mid-May to come up with about 160,000 valid voter signatures./ppAnother constitutional amendment, a href=https://www.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/Elections/Petitions/2020-070.pdf target=_blankthe Marijuana Legalization and Expungement Initiative/a, is a product of Colorado-based cannabis educator Mark Pedersen. It would legalize marijuana by removing all state restrictions on its cultivation, possession, consumption, and sales -- regardless of age -- and legally allow driving under the influence of marijuana. It would also destroy all state records of nonviolent marijuana-related crimes. It, too, has been cleared for circulation./ppVoters just approved medical marijuana in 2018, and there is no recent polling we know of on the issue (although the Marijuana Policy Project recently claimed a href=https://www.mpp.org/states/missouri/ target=_blankquot;polls indicate there is broad supportquot;/a), but let#39;s not get ahead of ourselves here. Signature gathering hasn#39;t even gotten underway, and the clock is ticking./ppstrongMontana. /strongIn mid-January, activists with New Approach Montana filed a pair of marijuana legalization initiatives with the state attorney general#39;s office. One is a a target=_blankconstitutional initiative/a that would set 21 as the legal age when people can use marijuana, while the other is a a target=_blankstatutory initiative/a that would set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. It also includes a provision for individuals to grow up to four plants. Both initiatives have until June 27 to qualify for the November ballot, but the constitutional initiative faces a higher signature gathering hurdle than the statutory initiative. The former will need 50,000 valid voter signatures, while the latter will need only 25,000./ppThe national New Approach PAC and the Marijuana Policy Project are backing the campaign, which is prepared to spend a href=https://www.missoulacurrent.com/government/2019/10/montana-recreational-marijuana/ target=_blankup to $3 million/a. A a href=http://news.umt.edu/2019/03/032119poll.php target=_blankMay 2019 poll/a had support for legalization at just 51 percent, suggesting that they#39;re going to need every cent of that money to get over the top./ppstrongNebraska. /strongFiled in August 2018 by Bill Hawkins of the Nebraska Hemp Company and Fred Shoemaker, the a href=https://sos.nebraska.gov/sites/sos.nebraska.gov/files/doc/elections/2018/Cannabis-Initiative-2020.pdf target=_blankNebraska Cannabis Legalization Initiative/a would create a constitutional right for people to grow, sell, and use any part of the cannabis plant./ppThe measure has been cleared for signature gathering, and proponents have until July 2nd to come up with enough valid voter signatures -- but because of a bizarre feature in state law, they wont know what that figure is until that July 2nd deadline, when it must exceed 10% of voters registered on that date./ppThere has been no recent polling on Cornhusker support for marijuana legalization./ppstrongNorth Dakota./strong The campaign committee ND for Freedom of Cannabis Act has filed a a href=https://vip.sos.nd.gov/pdfs/Measures%20Info/Petitions%20Being%20Circulated/approved%20copy%20of%20petition.pdf target=_blankproposed constitutional initiative/a to legalize marijuana and allow for up to 12 plants for personal cultivation. It has until February 10th to come up with 26,904 valid voter signatures. The group said last month it is a href=https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/government-and-politics/4808569-Legalize-ND-submits-legal-marijuana-petition-to-secretary-of-state-for-approval target=_blankquot;roughly about halfwayquot;/a to getting the 30,000 raw signatures it#39;s seeking./ppThat#39;s not the only game in town, though. The group Legalize ND has filed a a href=https://legalizend.homesteadcloud.com/the-measure target=_blankmarijuana legalization initiative/a that was approved for signature gathering in December. Now, the group needs 13,500 valid voter signatures by July 6 to get the measure on the 2020 ballot. It would allow any person over the age of 21 to use, possess, and transport up to two ounces of prepared marijuana, but it would ban home growing of the plant./ppstrongOklahoma. /strongState activists backed by the national New Approach PAC have filed a href=https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/questions/808.pdf target=_blankState Question 808/a, which would allow people 21 and over to possess, cultivate, and purchase marijuana from licensed retailers. Possession would be capped at one ounce, and individuals could grow up to six plants./ppA previous version of the measure was withdrawn after objections from the medical marijuana community, but this version specifies that a 15% excise tax on sales would not apply to medical marijuana and says only existing medical marijuana dispensaries would be eligible for recreational licenses for the first two years after implementation./ppOnce the measure is cleared for signature gathering, proponents will have 90 days to come up 177,598 valid voter signatures. If the latest survey data -- an a href=https://www.news9.com/story/40980919/soonerpoll-oklahoma-remains-strongly-opposed-to-recreational-marijuana-legalization target=_blankAugust 2019 poll/a -- is any indication, the measure face an uphill battle if it qualifies for the ballot. That poll had opposition to legalization at 50 percent./ppstrongStates Where Medical Marijuana emWill Be/em on the Ballot/strong/ppstrongMississippi. /stronga href=https://www.sos.ms.gov/elections/initiatives/InitiativeInfo.aspx?IId=65 target=_blankBallot Initiative 65/a is on the November ballot. If approved, it would allow patients with any of 22 specified medical conditions to possess up to 2 frac12; ounces of marijuana every two weeks./ppThe a href=https://newsms.fm/poll-67-in-state-support-medical-marijuana/ target=_blankmost recent polling data/a is a year old, but it#39;s very encouraging: That poll had support for legalizing medical marijuana at 67 percent./ppstrongSouth Dakota. /strongMaybe the third time will be the charm. South Dakota is the only state to twice defeat medical marijuana initiatives, in 2006 and by an even bigger margin in 2010.a href=https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Qbo3-t5u6xBFKosUvGjAEKW0n-6CWnXA/view target=_blank_Initiated Measure 26/a, another New Approach-supported campaign, would allow patients from a list of qualifying conditions possess up to three ounces and grow up to three plants, as well as create a system of dispensary sales./ppWe couldn#39;t find any recent public polls on local attitudes, but the Marijuana Policy Project said recently that polling suggests it holds a href=https://www.mpp.org/states/south-dakota/ target=_blankquot;majority support among South Dakota voters.quot;/a/ppstrongStates Where Medical Marijuana emCould Be/em on the Ballot/strong/ppstrongIdaho. /strongThe Idaho Cannabis Coalition has filed a a href=https://sos.idaho.gov/elect/inits/2020/MM_Final.pdf target=_blankmedical marijuana initiative/a that would set up a system of licensed dispensaries, growers, processors, and testers, as well as allowing qualified patients to possess up to four ounces. Patients could not grow their own medicine unless they qualify under a hardship exemption, for physical, financial, or geographic reasons. In that case, they could grow up to six plants./ppThe coalition needs to gather 55,057 valid voter signatures by May 1 to qualify for the ballot. If it manages to make the ballot, the most recent polling, from March 2019, suggests it could win. That a href=https://idahopoliticsweekly.com/politics/2532-idahoans-support-medical-but-not-recreational-marijuana target=_blankIdaho Weekly poll/a had 73 percent either quot;stronglyquot; or quot;somewhatquot; supporting medical marijuana, with only 26 opposed./ppstrongNebraska. /strongNebraskans for Medical Marijuana is sponsoring the a href=https://idahopoliticsweekly.com/politics/2532-idahoans-support-medical-but-not-recreational-marijuana target=_blankNebraska Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendment/a, which would give Nebraskans the right to grow, consume, and purchase marijuana for medical reasons, subject only to quot;reasonable laws, rules, and regulations.quot;/ppThis is another effort supported by the New Approach PAC and the Marijuana Policy Project. It has until July 2 to come up with a signature count equal to 10 percent of registered voters on that date, a figure estimated to a href=https://www.3newsnow.com/news/community/vista-semanal/local/medical-marijuana-petition-drive-running-strong-in-nebraska target=_blankbe around 122,000/a. Back in July 2019, a href=https://www.3newsnow.com/news/community/vista-semanal/local/medical-marijuana-petition-drive-running-strong-in-nebraska target=_blank_organizers said/a they had already collected 15,000 without using any paid signature gatherers, but they#39;ve been mum since then./ppAlthough a href=https://www.omaha.com/livewellnebraska/survey-finds-support-for-legalizing-medical-marijuana-in-nebraska/article_3cb127e9-5663-5d5f-a3c8-1d8c347db224.html target=_blankthe most recent polling is ancient/a -- from 2017 -- the numbers are good: 77 percent said they would vote quot;yesquot; on a medical marijuana initiative. That#39;s a good place to start from./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: NY MJ Legalization Poll Shows Strong Support, Tulsi Gabbard Calls for Drug Legalization, More... (1/21/20)

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 19:08
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pA New York poll shows strong support for marijuana legalization, Dutch opinion-shapers push for a new drug policy, a US presidential candidate calls for drug legalization and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-17/california-lower-pot-taxes-gavin-newsom target=_blankCalifornia Lawmakers Ponder Temporary Tax Cut for Legal Weed/a. Lawmakers last Friday revived a measure to temporarily cut taxes on marijuana in a bid to boost the state#39;s legal marijuana market. The bill would cut the state excise tax on marijuana from 15% to 11% and eliminate a cultivation tax for the next three years. The effort foundered last year when Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) objected, but it now appears he is open to changing his mind. Lawmakers estimated that up to 75% of the state#39;s marijuana is still sold in the black market./ppa href=https://nypost.com/2020/01/21/majority-of-new-yorkers-ever-say-they-want-to-legalize-recreational-marijuana/ target=_blankNew York Poll Shows Strong Support for Marijuana Legalization/a. As the state legislature prepares to try to pass marijuana legalization again this year, a new Sienna College poll finds the public is ready. The poll had support for legalization at 58%./ppstrongDrug Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2020/01/19/tulsi-gabbard-endorses-legalizing-drugs/#3100a6dc6ed4 target=_blankTulsi Gabbard Endorses Legalizing Drugs/a. Longshot Democratic presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HA) has come out for legalizing currently illicit drugs. quot;If we take that step to legalize and regulate, then we#39;re no longer treating people who are struggling with substance addiction and abuse as criminals and instead getting them the help that they need,quot; she at a campaign stop in Merrimack, New Hampshire on Friday. Her comments came in response to a voter#39;s question about whether she intended to emphasize harm reduction and treatment or move instead to legalization. quot;All of the above,quot; she said. quot;The costs and the consequence to this failed war on drugs is so vast and far reaching, socially and fiscally, that if we take these necessary steps, we#39;ll be able to solve a lot of other problems that we#39;re dealing with in this country.quot;/ppstrongInternational/strong/ppa href=https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/01/mps-health-experts-and-lawyers-call-for-new-approach-to-drugs/ target=_blankDutch Push for New Drug Policy/a. Parliamentarians, TV celebrities, health experts, lawyers, and dance scene personalities are among the 79 people who have signed a new manifesto calling for a major shift in Dutch drug policy. quot;The need for a new and realistic drugs policy is greater than ever. The international drug trade has taken root in the Netherlands and with serious consequences,quot; the online manifesto states. quot;Mayors are receiving death threats, a lawyer was murdered, and ecstasy waste dumping is threatening the environment. But the manifest powerlessness in the face of drug-related crime is making for ever greater repression.quot; The aim, signatories said, is to reduce drug harms and increase public safety, and that should be done by tackling black market drug revenues. quot;A regulated -- not a free -- drugs market [is] the starting point of a new drugs policy. lllegality fuels crime. That is why we must tackle the revenue model of the criminals and make a regulated --nbsp;not a free -- drug market the starting point of a new drugs policy.quot;/ppa href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-violence-murders/murders-in-mexico-hit-record-as-lopez-obrador-seeks-justice-system-reform-idUSKBN1ZK07C target=_blankMexican Murders Hit All-Time High/a. The country saw some 34,582 murders in 2019, demonstrating the challenge President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador faces while waging war on drug cartels. The 2019 figure is a 2.5% increase over 2018, despite Lopez Obrador#39;s less confrontational approach to drug cartels./ppem(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org#39;s 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)/em/p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: Federal Marijuana Prosecutions Drop, Drug Czar Touts Reduced Overdoses, More... (1/17/20)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 20:41
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pA New Mexico pot legalization bill gets filed, Rhode Island#39;s governor calls for legalization, the drug czar touts a drop in drug overdose deaths, and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://blog.norml.org/2020/01/16/report-federal-marijuana-prosecutions-declining/ target=_blankFederal Prosecutions Decline/a. Federal marijuana prosecutions declined by 28% from September 30, 2018 to September 30, 2019, according to a a href=https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/year-end/2019year-endreport.pdf target=_blankreport/a from Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. The year-end report also found that total federal filings for drug crimes was up 5% over the same period, with some 83,000 cases./ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-mexico-marijuana-legalization-bill-filed-after-governor-puts-issue-on-2020-agenda/ target=_blankNew Mexico Legalization Bill Filed/a. State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D) and Rep. Javier Martinez (D) have filed a bill, a href=https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/20%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0115.pdf target=_blankSenate Bill 115/a, that would allow adults in the state to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. The move comes just a day after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signaled that she supported legalizing marijuana this year. The bill would also automatically expunge prior possession convictions and promote participation by small and tribal-owned businesses. The bill would not allow home cultivation, but would decriminalize the growing up of to three plants and six seedlings./ppa href=https://www.cannabisdispensarymag.com/article/rhode-island-governor-includes-cannabis-legalization-proposal-state-budget-plan/ target=_blankRhode Island Governor Includes Marijuana Legalization Proposal in State Budget Plan/a. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has included marijuana legalization as a priority in the state budget plan she released Thursday. The plan envisions state-contracted private marijuana retailers with the state controlling location, price, potency, and quantity of sales. Revenues would be divvied up among the state (61%), the private contractors (29%), and local communities (10%). This is the second year Raimondo is including adult-use cannabis legalization in the state budget; she introduced a similar proposal last year, which was ultimately unsuccessful./ppstrongHeroin and Prescription Opioids/strong/ppa href=https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/478768-trump-drug-policy-director-touts-decline-in-overdose-related-deaths-in-30-years target=_blankDrug Czar Touts Decline in Overdose Deaths/a. Jim Carroll, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar#39;s office), said Friday that the country had seen a decline in drug overdose deaths for the first time in 30 years. quot;For the first time in almost 30 years, we#39;ve seen a decline in the number of Americans dying from an overdose -- it#39;s a 5 percent reduction,quot; he said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2017, with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl being the main driver behind those deaths./ppstrongForeign Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-usa-attorneygeneral/mexico-and-u-s-plan-to-reduce-illegal-arms-and-drug-trade-idUSKBN1ZF2WX target=_blankUS, Mexico Agree on Plan to Reduce Illegal Guns, Drug Trade/a. The Mexican government said Thursday it had reached agreement with the United States on a plan to combat the illicit trafficking of arms, drugs, and money. The announcement came after a meeting between US Attorney General William Barr and Mexican officials. The two countries said they agreed to cooperate on reducing drug consumption and combating addiction. The agreement came after President Trump threatened in November to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, prompting Mexican officials to quickly seek talks./ppstrongInternational/strong/ppa href=https://www.coastreporter.net/federal-health-minister-says-too-early-for-broad-drug-decriminalization-1.24054567 target=_blankCanadian Health Minister Says Time Not Right for Drug Decriminalization/a. Health Minister Patty Hadju said Thursday that talk about decriminalizing drugs to deal with the country#39;s opioid crisis is premature until people have enough help to fight their addictions. quot;My personal perspective on decriminalization is that it can#39;t be done in a broad sweep,quot; she said. quot;I think that having a comprehensive kind of approach that includes things like prevention, treatment, harm reduction, enforcement, housing, those are the kind of things that are actually going to start to move the needle,quot; Hajdu said. quot;It#39;s too premature to have a conversation about full decriminalization of substances until we get to the place where we have comprehensive support for people to get well.quot;/p /div /div /div
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 22:00
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pMore prison guards break bad, an Ohio trooper#39;s pill habit got the best of him, an ongoing Paterson, NJ, police corruption scandal snares another cop, and more. Let#39;s get to it:/pp[image:1 align:left]In Hazard, Kentucky, a href=https://www.hazard-herald.com/news/krrj-deputy-charged-accused-of-attempting-to-smuggle-drugs-into/article_1a88806e-326e-11ea-8c32-3b6b7aa3c074.html target=_blanka Perry County sheriff#39;s deputy was arrested January 1/a during a traffic stop and charged with trying to smuggle drugs into the jail. Deputy Shannon Adams, 42, went down after jail staff monitoring inmate phone calls heard incriminating information and contacted the local drug task force. Local reporting did not make clear precisely which criminal charges he faces./ppIn Mansfield, Ohio, a href=https://www.hazard-herald.com/news/krrj-deputy-charged-accused-of-attempting-to-smuggle-drugs-into/article_1a88806e-326e-11ea-8c32-3b6b7aa3c074.html target=_blanka former Highway Patrol trooper was arrested January 7/a for stealing pain pills. Preston Brooks, 33, went down after an internal investigation found he had mishandled quot;seized prescription drugsquot; and lied about it. He is charged with theft of drugs and tampering with evidence./ppIn Paterson, New Jersey, a href=https://www.nationofchange.org/2020/01/09/8th-new-jersey-police-officer-arrested-in-fbi-corruption-probe/ target=_blanka Paterson police officer was arrested last Tuesday/a in an ongoing corruption probe that has already scooped up seven other Paterson police officers. Sgt. Michael Cheff participated in stealing money and drugs from suspects along with the other officers, and was charged in a case where police illegally searched a vehicle and arrested a man, then went to his home and lied to his mother to gain consent for a search. He found a safe with $2,700 and took it, divvying some of it up to other officers involved. He is charged with conspiring to violate the civil rights of an individual and with falsifying a corresponding police report./ppIn Moberly, Missouri, a href=https://krcgtv.com/news/local/corrections-officer-charged-with-bringing-drugs-into-prison target=_blanka state prison guard was arrested Saturday/a for sneaking synthetic cannabinoids and tobacco into the prison where he worked. Guard Timothy Davis, 23, went down after investigators searched his car in the parking lot of the Moberly Correctional Center found 174 grams of synthetic cannabinoids and several unopened bags of tobacco. He is charged with delivery of a controlled substance with intent to distribute./ppIn New York City, a href=https://www.amny.com/bronx/six-rikers-island-corrections-officers-indicted-for-smuggling-drugs-into-jails-feds/ target=_blanksix Rikers Island prison guards were arrested Monday/a for allegedly smuggling drugs into the jail. They were among 21 people indicted in a scheme to import and distribute marijuana, synthetic marijuana (K2) and the narcotic suboxone into jail facilities on the island since early 2019. The indicted guards were Queens residents Darrington James, 30, Patrick Legerme, 29, and Aldrin Livingston, 31; Brooklyn#39;s Michael Murray, 28, and Christopher Walker, 28; and Bellport, NY resident Angel Rodriguez, 23. According to the charges, each of them allegedly accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to get the contraband items past security checkpoints./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: NM Governor Says Legalize This Year, KY Justice Reform Push, More... (1/16/20)

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 21:14
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pNew Mexico could legalize marijuana next month, Virginia activists says marijuana decriminalization is not enough, Kentucky prepares to go to work on criminal justice reforms, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://news.bloomberglaw.com/banking-law/cannabis-banking-bill-advances-in-california target=_blankCalifornia Bill to Protect Marijuana Financial Services Providers Advances/a. The Assembly Committee on Business and Professions unanimously approved a href=http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1525 target=_blank title=This external link will open in a new windowAssembly Bill 1525/a on Tuesday. The measure would protect financial institutions and accountants serving the legal marijuana industry by clarifying that they aren#39;t committing crimes under state law. The measure now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee./ppa href=https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2020/01/15/new-mexico-governor-calls-for-marijuana-legalization-in-2020/ target=_blankNew Mexico Governor Calls for Marijuana Legalization In 2020/a. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has made marijuana legalization part of her formal agenda for the year. In the agenda she sent to legislators Wednesday, she said she wants a bill quot;legalizing the use of recreational cannabis in New Mexico and establishing a regulatory framework for its use, including public safety considerations, public health safeguards, and the protection of the state#39;s existing medical cannabis program.quot; A similar effort came up short in the legislature last year, and Grisham created a working group to come up with recommendations in the interim. The legislature comes back for a 30-day session next week, so if all goes well, the state could be the next to free the weed./ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/virginia-marijuana-decriminalization-bill-moves-forward-in-spite-of-state-aclu-protest/ target=_blankVirginia Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Advances, Even as Protestors Demand More/a. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday sent a marijuana decriminalization bill, a href=https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?201+sum+SB2 target=_blankSenate Bill 2/a, to a subcommittee to be amended and then returned to Judiciary for further consideration. But the action came amid protests led by the state ACLU, which is calling for full legalization, and says decrim alone doesn#39;t do enough to protect the state#39;s minority communities./ppstrongAsset Forfeiture/strong/ppa href=https://wfpl.org/police-must-detail-seizures-or-lose-training-money-under-proposed-bill/ target=_blankKentucky Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Filed/a. Rep. Reginald Meeks (D-Louisville) has filed a href=https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/20RS/hb250/orig_bill.pdf target=_blankHouse Bill 250/a, which would require law enforcement agencies to reveal more details about cash and property seized through asset forfeiture or face financial penalties. The bill does not seek to end civil asset forfeiture but would impose stiffer reporting requirements than currently exist. Under current law, agencies are required to make annual reports on asset forfeitures, but only 11% have actually done so./ppbCriminal Justice/b/ppa href=http://rightoncrime.com/2020/01/kentucky-governor-lawmakers-agree-criminal-justice-reform-is-a-priority-in-the-bluegrass-state/ target=_blankKentucky Governor and Legislators Make Criminal Justice Reform a Priority/a. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the legislature have committed to advancing criminal justice reform this year and have several proposals for reducing the state#39;s prison population to consider. Among them: defelonization of simple drug possession, increasing the threshold for moving a theft from a misdemeanor to a felony from $300 to $500, and probation and parole reform./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: MI Jail Task Force Recommendations, Congress Wants Answers on Meth and Cocaine ODs, More... (1/15/20)

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 20:38
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe Czech Pirate Party reaches for the stars, House members want answers from the administration about rising meth and cocaine deaths, and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongStimulants/strong/ppa href=https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/478213-bipartisan-lawmakers-express-alarm-over-increase-in-cocaine-overdose-deaths target=_blankCongressional Concern Over Rising Cocaine, Meth Overdose Deaths/a. The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling on the Trump administration to brief them on rising cocaine and methamphetamine deaths and what it is doing about them by early next month. Deaths involving both drugs increased by more than 30% in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. quot;We are concerned that while the nation, rightly so, is devoting much of its attention and resources to the opioid epidemic, another epidemic -- this one involving cocaine and methamphetamine -- is on the rise,quot; wrote Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Greg Walden (R-OR), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY). The lawmakers requested briefings from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration./ppstrongCriminal Justice/strong/ppa href=https://upnorthlive.com/news/local/jail-task-force-release-18-ideas-for-lawmakers-to-overhaul-criminal-justice-system-01-15-2020 target=_blankMichigan Jail Task Force Releases Recommendations/a. A bipartisan task force created last year by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has released its recommendations for reducing the state#39;s jail populations. The Jail and Pretrial Incarceration Task Force a href=https://courts.michigan.gov/News-Events/Documents/final/Jails%20Task%20Force%20Final%20Report%20and%20Recommendations.pdf target=_blankreport/a came up with 18 recommendations, including reducing the number of driver#39;s license revocations for people dealing with crimes unrelated to traffic safety; expanding police discretion to write tickets instead of arresting and taking people to jail; providing crisis response training for law enforcement; and incentivize programs; creating partnerships between law enforcement and treatment providers to divert people with behavioral health needs from the system both before and after arrest, strengthening the presumption of pre-trial release on personal recognizance, and releasing people arrested on certain nonviolent charges prior to arraignment./ppstrongDrug Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/burgoyne-introduces-bill-to-decriminalize-some-drug-use-allow-forced/article_214755c6-07c7-5b69-993a-bdb524f23fe1.html target=_blankIdaho Bill Would Decriminalize Drug Use, Allow Civil Commitment for Drug Abuse/a. State Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) has introduced a href=https://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2020/legislation/S1222/ target=_blankSB 1222/a, which would decriminalize drug use in private places while at the same time allowing civil commitments for drug abuse. The bill would change the state#39;s criminal code by amending the penalties for drug possession so that they only apply to drug possession with intent to deliver, effectively decriminalizing drug possession. The bill is a private member#39;s bill and unlikely to even get a committee hearing, but Burgoyne said he was quot;hopeful that my legislation will start the conversation with lawmakers, law enforcement, and others about how we treat Idahoans, especially young Idahoans, who are suffering from drug addiction.quot;/ppstrongInternational/strong/ppa href=https://news.expats.cz/czech-culture/czech-pirate-party-to-push-for-legalization-of-cannabis-as-well-as-lsd-ecstasy-and-mushrooms target=_blankCzech Pirate Party to Push for Legalization of Marijuana; Prescribed Access to Ecstasy, Magic Mushrooms, LSD/a. Opposition MP Tomas Vymazal of the Pirate Party has announced plans to file legislation that would legalize recreational use of marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin. quot;Similar to the current practice of cannabis prescriptions, specialized medical workplaces would be able to prescribe the [above] substances,quot; Vymazal said. The plan is opposed by the Health Ministry. The Pirate Party holds 22 seats in the 200-seat chamber of deputies./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: MT Legalization Initiatives, NJ Forfeiture Reform, More... (1/14/20)

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 20:18
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pMontana activists have rolled out a pair of marijuana legalization initiatives, a Colorado bill aims to protect workers who use marijuana during their time away from work, New Jersey becomes the latest state to reform its civil asset forfeiture laws, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.denverpost.com/2020/01/14/colorado-legislature-marijuana-employees-fired/ target=_blankColorado Bill Would Protect Employees Who Use Marijuana on Their Own Time/a. State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) has filed a bill, a href=https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_1089_01.pdf target=_blankHB 20-1089/a, to protect workers who use marijuana when they#39;re off the clock. The bill would block businesses from firing employees for engaging in legal activities on their own time, even if such activities are only legal under state law. He anticipates having to make some compromises to address expected objections from the business community./ppa href=https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/new-approach-montana-aims-to-put-two-legalization-measures-on-2020-ballot target=_blankMontana Activists File Pair of Marijuana Initiatives/a. Activists with New Approach Montana filed a pair of marijuana legalization initiatives with the state attorney general#39;s office Tuesday. One is a a href=https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5da7564c642a85021b9a1363/t/5e1cec69f16207169271f777/1578953834104/New+Approach+Montana+Marijuana+Constitutional+Initiative+FINAL.pdf target=_blankconstitutional initiative/a that would set 21 as the legal age when people can use marijuana, while the other is a a href=https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5da7564c642a85021b9a1363/t/5e1cecc42ca8563a4ea7b9c8/1578953925557/New+Approach+Montana+Marijuana+Legalization+Regulation+and+Taxation+Statutory+Initiative+FINAL.pdf target=_blankstatutory initiative/a that would set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. It also includes a provision for individuals to grow up to four plants. Both initiatives have until June 27 to qualify for the November ballot, but the constitutional initiative faces a higher signature gathering hurdle than the statutory initiative. The former will need 50,000 valid voter signatures, while the latter will need only 25,000./ppa href=https://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/tn-bill-would-decriminalize-marijuana-possession-statewide-allow-counties-to-vote-on-legalization/51-45dd3fe1-7bf3-4c2c-b151-58a1c80cbd57 target=_blankTennessee Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Filed/a. Rep. Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) filed a marijuana decriminalization bill, a href=http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/111/Bill/HB1610.pdf target=_blankHB 1610/a, on Monday. The bill would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but it would also authorize counties to hold referendum elections to allow marijuana growing, manufacturing, delivery and retail sales within their boundaries./ppstrongAsset Forfeiture/strong/ppa href=https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/governor-murphy-signs-legislation-mandating-comprehensive-disclosure-transparency-requirements-civil-asset-forfeiture/ target=_blankNew Jersey Governor Signs Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill/a. Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday (D) signed into law a bill mandating comprehensive disclosure and transparency requirements for the system of civil asset forfeiture. Under the bill, county prosecutors will submit quarterly reports to the Attorney General detailing seizure and forfeiture activities by law enforcement agencies within their county. The new law will also require specifying the law enforcement agency involved in a confiscation; date, description, and details of a seizure; the amount of funds or estimated value of a property; the alleged criminal offense associated with a seizure; and whether the defendant was charged with an offense and if those charges were ultimately dismissed or the defendant was acquitted, among other information./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: Another MORE Act Vote, Austin Decrim, FL Init Shifts to 2022, More... (1/13/20)

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 21:46
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe MORE Act should get another committee vote this week, the Florida marijuana legalization initiative campaign has shifted its sights to 2020, Illinois#39; governor sketches out criminal justice reforms, and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://grizzle.com/marijuana-decriminalization-bill-more/ target=_blank_MORE Act Set for Another Congressional Committee Vote Wednesday/a. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (a href=https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3884/ target=_blank_HR 3884/a) goes before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Wednesday. The bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act#39;s schedules and encourage states to expunge prior low-level convictions. It has already passed the House Judiciary Committee and the House Small Business Committee has waived jurisdiction, leaving five committees to go./ppa href=https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/marijuana/article239239383.html target=_blank_Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiative Effort Shifts to 2022/a. Sunshine State residents will not vote on a a href=https://makeitlegalflorida.com/read-the-amendment/ target=_blank_marijuana legalization initiative/a this year after the Make It Legal Florida campaign announced it was giving up on efforts to get the measure on the 2020 ballot. The campaign cited a looming February 1 deadline for signature gathering. The state had certified only 295,000 valid voter signatures on Monday; less than 40% of the total needed. The signatures it has already gathered are valid for two years, and the campaign said it will use them for a 2022 effort./ppa href=https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/marijuana/article239239383.html target=_blank_Florida Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed/a. On the same day an initiative campaign called it quits for 2020, state Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed a href=https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1860 target=_blank SB 1860/a, a bill that would legalize marijuana for adult use and replace the current vertical integration structure by allowing growers to wholesale to independent processors or retailers. The bill would also expunge low-level criminal records and study the impact of home-grown marijuana./ppa href=https://theappeal.org/austin-texas-marijuana-arrests-fines-city-council-resolution/ target=_blank_Austin, Texas, May End Marijuana Arrests and Fines/a. In the wake of hemp legalization and the wrench that has thrown into enforcing marijuana laws, the Austin city council will consider a resolution next week that would effectively end arrests and fines for simple marijuana possession. City Council Member Gregorio Casar introduced the resolution last Friday. It would bar the city of Austin from using funds to develop testing procedures for THC or pay for lab tests in minor possession cases and direct police to not take any enforcement actions against people solely suspected of marijuana possession. In July, Travis County (Austin) prosecutors dropped dozens of marijuana cases, but Austin police have continued to arrest people for minor pot busts anyway./ppstrongCriminal Justice/strong/ppa href=https://chicagomorningstar.com/gov-pritzker-shares-plans-for-criminal-justice-reform target=_blank_Illinois Governor Sketches Out Criminal Justice Reform Plans/a. Gov. JB Prtiztker (D) laid out plans for criminal justice reform last Thursday. He and Lt. Gov. Julia Stratton (D) said they would quot;work to end cash bail for low-level crimes, push drug offenders towards treatment, and reduce mandatory sentencingquot; as part of a Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative. The two said they wanted to build a quot;fairquot; criminal justice system and cited current racial bias, especially in the war on drugs./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: Decriminalize Nature Hits DC, Colombia Coca Eradication Fight, More... (1/10/20)

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 21:29
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pVermont lawmakers begin a push to tax and regulate marijuana sales, the Decriminalize Nature movement arrives in the nation#39;s capital, Colombia#39;s president and governors disagree about aerial eradication of coca crops, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Some-Vermont-lawmakers-push-for-marijuana-sale-system-566847931.html target=_blankVermont Lawmakers Push for Legal Marijuana Sales/a. Lawmakers who want to pass a law to tax and regulate marijuana sales in the state held a news conference Thursday to urge the legislature to move forward on a bill that passed the Senate last year. It has not been acted on in the House, and proponents are hoping it will move in the next few months. Proponents are hopeful a bill can be acted upon with the next few months./ppstrongLaw Enforcement/strong/ppa href=https://www.wdtv.com/content/news/Gov-justice-issues-executive-order-creating-West-Virginia-Narcotics-Intelligence-Unit-566849911.html target=_blankWest Virginia Governor Creates Narcotics Intelligence Unit/a. Gov. Jim Justice (D) issued an executive order Thursday creating the West Virginia Narcotics Intelligence Unit to crack down on drug trafficking. The unit will be under the state Department of Military Affairs (!) and Public Safety#39;s Intelligence Fusion Center. quot;Tonight I am ordering Secretary Jeff Sandy to form a new unit called a Narcotics Intelligence Unit -- a new unit at the Fusion Center -- it will be a strike force,quot; Justice said. quot;I#39;m going to ask you for $1.9 million and I#39;m going to ask you to give us that to stop this terrible effort. That#39;s all there is to it.quot;/ppstrongPsychedelics/strong/ppa href=https://wamu.org/story/20/01/09/this-d-c-group-wants-to-decriminalize-magic-mushrooms-and-some-psychedelic-plants/ target=_blankDC Group Wants to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms, Natural Psychedelics/a. A group calling itself Decriminalize Nature DC is beginning an effort to reduce penalties for the use, possession, and cultivation of magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics. Members are working on a ballot initiative that would ask Metro police to make enforcement of drug laws against psychedelics the lowest law enforcement priority. The DC Board of Elections will weigh in next month on whether the language violates a congressional ban on easing any laws regarding Schedule I substances./ppstrongInternational /strong/ppa href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-drugs/colombia-eradicates-record-amount-of-coca-fields-last-year-president-says-idUSKBN1Z82AJ target=_blankColombia Says It Eradicated a Quarter Million Acres of Coca Crops/a. President Ivan Duque announced Tuesday that Colombia had eradicated 247,000 of coca fields in 2019. That#39;s up from about 200,000 acres eradicated in 2018. quot;From now on we will without a doubt face the challenge of re-planting, but Colombia has clear its goal to reduce by 50% the area that is planted with illegal crops by the end of 2022 or 2023,quot; Duque said in a televised statement. The government used manual eradication teams to destroy the crops but wants to return to the aerial spraying of herbicides, a practice ended in 2015./ppa href=https://colombiareports.com/governors-reject-government-plans-to-resume-aerial-fumigation-of-coca-in-colombia/ target=_blankColombia Governors Reject Plans to Resume Aerial Spraying of Coca Crops/a. The governors of Colombia#39;s coca growing provinces have come out against the government#39;s plans to resume aerial spraying of coca crops. The governors of Antioquia, Narino, Cauca, Putumayo, and Norte de Santander said they supported alternative development and voluntary crop substitution and want President Duque to implement the 2016 peace deal with demobilized FARC guerrillas./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: MS MedMJ Initiative Qualifies for Ballot, DPA Executive Director to Step Down, More... (1/9/20)

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 21:23
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pA search for a permanent new executive director is underway at the Drug Policy Alliance, Mississippians will vote on a medical marijuana initiative this year, New York#39;s governor vows to legalize marijuana this year (again), and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/477471-cuomo-pledges-to-legalize-marijuana-in-new-york-in-2020 target=_blank_New York Governor Pledges to Legalize Marijuana This Year/a. In his annual State of the State speech Wednesday night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) vowed to legalize marijuana by year#39;s end. He said the same thing last year, but a bill never got through the legislature before the session ended. Now he#39;s ready to give it another go: quot;For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws,quot; Cuomo said in his address. quot;Let#39;s legalize adult use of marijuana.quot;/ppstrongMedical Marijuana/strong/ppa href=https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/08/medical-marijuana-mississippi-2020-ballot/2848988001/ target=_blank_Mississippi Medical Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for 2020 Ballot/a. A medical marijuana initiative has officially qualified for the November 2020 ballot. The measure will now be known as a href=https://www.sos.ms.gov/elections/initiatives/InitiativeInfo.aspx?IId=65 target=_blankBallot Initiative 65/a and was formally filed with the legislature on Tuesday, as required by state election law. The Mississippians for Compassionate Care campaign needed 86,000 valid voter signatures to qualify; it came up with 106,000. The initiative would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for certain medical conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson#39;s, multiple sclerosis and others. The Department of Health would regulate the program, including centers that would sell the drug./ppa href=https://www.thehour.com/news/article/House-passes-bills-to-expand-medical-marijuana-14960051.php target=_blank_New Hampshire House Approves Medical Marijuana Expansion Bills/a. The House on Wednesday approved a pair of bills aimed at making medical marijuana available to more patients. One bill added insomnia to the list of qualifying conditions, while the other added opioid use disorder. The latter carries a requirement that certifying doctors have specialized knowledge in addiction treatment. Efforts to add anxiety and Lyme Disease were stripped from the bills before passage./ppstrongHeroin and Prescription Opioids/strong/ppa href=https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/major-drugstore-chains-sue-doctors-in-sprawling-federal-opioid-case/2020/01/07/3ac9cd70-317d-11ea-9313-6cba89b1b9fb_story.html target=_blank_Major Drugstore Chains Sue Doctors over Liability for Opioid Epidemic/a. Drugstore chains including CVS, Walgreen Co., Walmart, Rite Aid and other major pharmacy chains are suing doctors across northeast Ohio, claiming that prescribers should bear responsibility for the opioid crisis, not the chains. The chains are being sued by Cuyahoga and Summit counties, and in court papers filed Monday, they argued that the doctors should have to pay part of the penalty if the drugstore chains are found liable at trial./ppstrongDrug Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.eturbonews.com/539198/drug-policy-alliance-executive-steps-down-to-join-human-rights-watch/ target=_blank_Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno Resigns as Drug Policy Alliance Head/a. Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, announced Wednesday that she will step down on March 6 to assume a new position with her former employer, Human Rights Watch. DPA#39;s board of directors is actively discussing the process for identifying its next permanent leader and will announce next steps in coming weeks. Meanwhile, Richard Burns, who has experience as a long-time executive director and interim ED in many settings, including most recently at Lambda Legal, will step in as interim ED of DPA./ppemThe Drug Policy Alliance is a funder of StoptheDrugWar.org./em/p /div /div /div
Categories: Latest News

The Top Ten International Drug Policy Stories of 2019 [FEATURE]

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 15:35
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pem(See our Top Ten Domestic Drug Policy Stories of 2019 feature a href=https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2019/dec/18/top_ten_domestic_drug_policyhere/a.)/em/ppWe#39;re looking at 2019 through the rearview mirror now, but before we turn our sights to 2020, it#39;s worth taking a few moments to look back at the last year in international drug policy. From marijuana law reform to the push for drug decriminalization, from the coca fields of Colombia to the poppy fields of Afghanistan, and from the killing fields of Mexico and the Philippines, there was a lot going on. Here are ten of the biggest international drug policy stories of 2019, in no particular order./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strong1. Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Advances/strong/ppThe wall of marijuana prohibition continued to crumble in 2019, albeit at an achingly slow pace./ppA lot of the activity was in Europe. In March, a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-marijuana/swiss-may-let-5000-people-use-marijuana-legally-for-studies-idUSKCN1QH17A target=_blankSwitzerland/anbsp;announced plans to let up to 5,000 people legally smoke marijuana in pilot studies aimed at shaping rules for recreational use of the drug./ppIn the a href=https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49508526 target=_blankNetherlands/a, the government finally moved in August to address the longstanding quot;backdoor problem,quot; where marijuana is allowed to be sold but there is no legal source of supply. It announced a pilot program to begin in 2021 in which cannabis cafes in ten Dutch cities will be supplied with legally grown marijuana. The big cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam opted out because of worries that problems could arise if they all abandoned their illicit suppliers simultaneously./ppIn a href=https://grizzle.com/copenhagen-legalize-recreational-cannabis/ target=_blankDenmark/a, the city council in Copenhagen, the country#39;s capital and largest city, voted overwhelmingly in August to support a pilot program that would see marijuana sold legally across the city. The council has long pushed for this, but now there is a new left-wing government, so perhaps it will be allowed to happen./ppAlso in August, a href=https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/07/luxembourg-to-be-first-european-country-to-legalise-cannabis target=_blankLuxembourg/a looked set to become the first European country to free the weed, as the government confirmed plans to legalize it, saying that residents 18 and over should be able to use and purchase it within two years. In December, though, the government said it will still be at least two years, a href=https://today.rtl.lu/news/luxembourg/a/1446123.html target=_blankciting/a quot;delays in working on policy related to the legislation.quot;/ppAnd just at year#39;s end, in a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-cannabis-ruling/italy-court-rules-home-growing-cannabis-is-legal-reigniting-dispute-idUSKBN1YV14H target=_blankItaly/a, the Supreme Court ruled that the small-scale personal cultivation of marijuana is legal, triggering calls for further legalization. The court declared that laws against growing drug crops should not apply to quot;small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower.quot;/ppAnd a href=https://www.timesofisrael.com/partial-decriminalization-of-public-cannabis-use-to-come-into-effect/ target=_blankIsrael/a decriminalized marijuana possession as of April 1. Possession of small amounts of marijuana in private homes is no longer to be treated as an offense, criminal or otherwise, while public possession will generate a fine of around $275, with that fine doubling for a second offense within five years. Only people who commit a third public possession offense within seven years will face the possibility of criminal prosecution./ppIn a href=https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/25/asia/australia-cannabis-legal-intl-scli-hnk/ target=_blankAustralia/a, Canberra, the national capital, became the first city in the country to legalize marijuana personal use and cultivation. The law legalizes up to 50 grams and two plants per person, but not sales. It is set to go into effect on January 31, 2020, but conflicts with national marijuana prohibition, so stay tuned. And in nearby a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-zealand-government-releases-details-of-marijuana-legalization-referendum/ target=_blankNew Zealand/a, the governing coalition announced in May it would hold a binding referendum on marijuana legalization during the 2020 elections. In December, it unveiled a government a href=http://www.referendum.govt.nz/ target=_blankweb site/a with information on the proposed legalization bill that will be put before the voters./ppIn the Western hemisphere, Uruguay and Canada have led the way on marijuana legalization, but a href=https://mjbizdaily.com/supreme-court-gives-mexican-congress-until-april-30-to-legalize-cannabis/ target=_blankMexico/a looks set to be the next over the line. After legislators there failed to pass legalization by a Supreme Court-imposed deadline at the end of October, the court gave them an extension until June 1 to get it done. Lawmakers got very close late in 2019 but were unable to close the deal because of disputes among competing business interests. There was action in a href=https://colombiareports.com/colombias-ruling-party-cornered-after-santos-alleged-to-support-bill-to-regulate-marijuana/ target=_blankColombia/a, too, where an opposition senator filed a legalization bill in August. That bill is reportedly backed by former President Juan Manuel Santos, but it is the votes of the Liberal Party that will determine whether it advances./ppThere was progress in the Caribbean, too. In a href=https://newsday.co.tt/2019/12/21/president-declares-ganja-bill-law-takes-effect-monday/ target=_blankTrinidad amp; Tobago/a, non-commercial marijuana legalization went into effect in December, allowing people to possess up to 30 grams and grow four plants. A regulated marijuana marketplace is likely coming in 2020. In a href=https://timesofcbd.com/island-nation-st-kitts-and-nevis-to-introduce-new-cannabis-legalization-bill/ target=_blankSt. Kitts and Nevis/a,the government in midsummer filed a bill to legalize marijuana for quot;medicinal and scientific, religious, and recreational purposes.quot; It remains pending at year#39;s end. A similar effort is underway in the a href=https://bvinews.com/draft-bill-on-legalising-marijuana-in-bvi-being-reviewed-wheatley/ target=_blankBritish Virgin Islands/a, where a draft bill to legalize marijuana is being reviewed by government officials./ppstrong2. Medical Marijuana on the Move/strong/ppAcceptance of medical marijuana on the global stage continued to increase in 2019, and the year got off to a good start in January when a href=https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/house-judiciary-panel-takes-up-bill-to-create-family-drug/article_bfccc9ef-432d-5265-99f3-d78e3658d729.html target=_blankthe Israeli Cabinet gave final approval to exports/a, making it the third country, after Canada and the Netherlands, to do so. The following month, a href=https://www.forbes.com/sites/javierhasse/2019/02/13/european-parliament-passes-cannabis-resolution-joins-who-in-supporting-medical-marijuana/#47465cdffd5b target=_blankthe European Parliament approved a resolution to advance medical marijuana/a in countries that form the European Union./ppMeanwhile, a href=https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/20/maha-vajiralongkor-thailand-king-legalizes-marijua/ target=_blankThailand/a formally embraced medical marijuana when King Maha Vajirlongkorn signed a decree legalizing it and kratom; and later in the year, a member of the country#39;s ruling coalition government filed a href=https://www.physiciansweekly.com/thais-allowed-six-cannabis/ target=_blanka bill that would allow people to grow up to six plants for personal medicinal use. /aAnd in the a href=https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/699446/medical-marijuana-bill-refiled-at-house/story/ target=_blankPhilippines/a, a bill to legalize medical marijuana was reintroduced in 2019. Similar bills have been filed each year since 2014. Last year, the bill passed the lower house but failed to get out of the Senate./ppIn Latin America, a href=https://www.peruviantimes.com/23/peru-approves-regulations-for-medicinal-marijuana/31095/ target=_blankPeru/a joined the ranks of medical marijuana countries more than a year after it became law when the government finally approved regulations to cover its production and use. In a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-drugs/mexicos-top-court-demands-regulation-on-medical-marijuana-after-long-delays-idUSKCN1V508B target=_blankMexico/a, the Supreme Court in August gave the federal health ministry until January to issue regulations on medical marijuana./ppIn the Caribbean, in August, a href=http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/2019-was-a-mixed-year-for-the-caribbean_183170 target=_blankBarbados/a introduced legislation to establish the legal foundation for a local medical marijuana industry, joining Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Antigua and Barbuda in approving marijuana cultivation./ppMedical marijuana was sort of on the move at the United Nations too. In late January, the a href=https://faaat.net/blog/ecdd41-outcome/ target=_blankWorld Health Organization recommended the removal of marijuana from Schedule IV of the global drug treaties/a, the most restrictive category, along with other related reclassifications of substances involving marijuana#39;s components or synthetic substitutes for them. This would stop short of the kind of full stamp of approval WHO gives to many drugs -- marijuana would not become an quot;essential medicinequot; -- but it would eliminate a designation that some governments might find constraining in terms of allowing medical use in their own countries. Most importantly, it would be widely seen as recognition by the UN of marijuana as a medicine (though international law does not ban medical use of marijuana now)./ppThe Commission on Narcotic Drugs -- the subset of UN member states that sets drug policy for the UN -- was supposed to vote on the WHO recommendations during its March meeting, but that a href=https://mjbizdaily.com/un-commission-on-narcotic-drugs-delays-vote-who-cannabis-recommendations/ target=_blankdidn#39;t happen/a because the recommendations were delayed at the end of 2018, leaving several countries to complain that they needed more time to study them./pp[image:2 align:right caption:true]strong3. Drug Decriminalization on the Move/strong/ppBeyond marijuana legalization, the decriminalization of drug use and possession is probably the most significant means within current political striking range for reducing the criminal justice harms of drug prohibition. Portugal, which decriminalized in 2001, remains a shining example to emulate./ppIn a href=https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/commons-committee-urges-feds-to-consider-decriminalizing-simple-drug-possession-2 target=_blankCanada/a, in May, the House of Commons Health Committee called on the federal government to study Portugal#39;s drug decriminalization and see how the model could be quot;positively applied in Canada.quot; The following month, a href=https://www.straight.com/news/1282826/thousands-bc-nurses-call-province-save-lives-decriminalizing-drugs target=_blankBritish Columbia nurses called urgently for decriminalization/a, but in September, as he campaigned for reelection, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a href=https://globalnews.ca/news/5946329/trudeau-liberals-decriminalize-drugs/ target=_blankdecriminalization was not on the agenda/a, even though the national Liberal Party caucus in 2018 passed a resolution calling to quot;reclassify low-level drug possession and consumption as administrative violationsquot; rather than criminal ones. The conversation is advancing north of the border./ppThe conversation is also advancing in the United Kingdom, where the a href=https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50036173 target=_blankScottish National Party formally endorsed drug decriminalization/a, as did the a href=https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50147580 target=_blankBritish Parliament#39;s Health and Social Care Committee/a and a href=https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-50262647 target=_blankParliament#39;s Scottish Affairs Committee/a. Britain#39;s leading medical journal, emThe Lancet/em, came out hard for decriminalization in a a href=https://www.thelancet.com/series/drug-use target=_blankspecial drugs issue/a released in October. The following month, Britain#39;s a href=https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/drug-policy-deaths-decriminalisation-addiction-treatment-heroin-a9215191.html target=_blanklargest drug treatment providers called for radical drug policy reforms, including decrim./a But the ruling Conservative Party with Boris Johnson freshly installed as prime minister, remains opposed -- for now./ppIt#39;s not just Canada and Great Britain, either. In a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/mexicos-president-proposes-drug-decriminalization-with-legal-supply-via-prescription/ target=_blankMexico/a, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in May submitted a decriminalization plan to Congress, while in a href=https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-06-28/malaysia-plans-to-decriminalize-drug-use-to-battle-addiction target=_blankMalaysia/a, the government announced in June that it planned to drop criminal penalties for drug use and possession. The following month, in a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-york-city-council-passes-two-marijuana-reform-resolutions/ target=_blankColombia/a, the legislative opposition and the center-right block filed a bill to decriminalize there./ppIn a href=https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/professional/decriminalisation-of-personal-drug-use-to-be-recom target=_blankAustralia/a, the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into Ice (methamphetamine) released recommendations in October calling for harm reduction approaches and decriminalization. In the a href=https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2019/sep/30/will_oregon_be_first_state target=_blankUnited States/a, an effort to put a decrim initiative on the 2020 Oregon ballot got underway in the fall, and a a href=https://www.facebook.com/decriminalizenature/ target=_blanknational movement/a to decriminalize psychedelics got underway./ppThe push to decriminalize is also working its way through the global drug control bureaucracy, as was evident in March when a a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/un-organizations-unite-in-call-for-international-drug-decriminalization/ target=_blankkey UN organization called for global drug decriminalization/a. The UN Chief Executives Board (CEB), representing 31 UN agencies including the Office on Drugs and Crime, adopted a position calling on member states to adopt science-based, health-oriented approaches to drug policy -- namely decriminalization. The policy shift -- or rather, recognition of what the policies of UN agencies on this already were -- came in January but was not publicly announced./ppstrong4. Harm Reduction and Human Rights/strong/ppAlong with decriminalization, harm reduction and concern about human rights gained momentum in 2019./ppIn March, a coalition of UN Member States, UN entities and leading human rights experts meeting at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna launched a href=https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2019/mar/19/transforming_global_drug_policy target=_blank_a landmark set of international legal standards around drug policy/a: the a href=https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/hiv-aids/international-guidelines-on-human-rights-and-drug-policy.html target=_blankInternational Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy/a. The following month, a href=https://idpc.net/alerts/2019/04/ngos-call-on-world-leaders-to-address-global-health-and-human-rights-crisis target=_blankmore than 300 NGOs called for harm reduction and drug decriminalization/a at the 26th International Harm Reduction Conference in Lisbon./ppIn the United Kingdom, both the a href=https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/04/labour-supports-trials-of-consumption-rooms-to-cut-drug-deaths target=_blankBritish Labour Party/a and a href=https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-50262647 target=_blankParliament#39;s Scottish Affairs Committee/a called for safe injection sites, while in a href=https://www.98fm.com/news/bord-pleanala-overrules-city-planners-approve-injection-centre-dublin-8-942516 target=_blankIreland/a, a Dublin safe injection site was moving closer to reality at year#39;s end./ppIn a href=https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/professional/decriminalisation-of-personal-drug-use-to-be-recom target=_blankAustralia/a, the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into Ice (methamphetamine) recommended harm reduction approaches in October, and the a href=https://themusicnetwork.com/new-zealand-pill-testing/ target=_blankNew Zealand/a government in December announced a pilot program to examine pill-testing at festivals, marking the first time such a study will have been done in the country./ppstrong5. Mexico Ravaged by Prohibition-Related Violence for Another Year/strong/ppIn January, Mexican authorities reported that the number of a href=https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/22/americas/mexico-murder-rate-2018/index.html target=_blankmurders in 2018 hit an all-time high/a with more than 33,000, many of them directly linked to violence among competing drug cartels and between cartels and the state. A lot happened between then and now, but at the end of 2019, this year#39;s death toll was at a href=http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/nearly-32-000-homicide-victims-recorded-in-mexico-in-2019/article/564122 target=_blankjust under 32,000/a. At least it didn#39;t get worse, but those numbers are still horrifying, and the year-old administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hasn#39;t been able to turn the corner yet. It#39;s not for lack of trying or willingness to embrace new ideas./ppIn February, the a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-politics-military/mexicos-national-guard-wont-be-military-led-in-government-step-down-idUSKCN1QA31C target=_blankMexican Senate approved a plan for a new National Guard to fight crime and drug trafficking/a, but only after amending it to ensure that the new security force is headed by civilians, not the military, which has been linked to numerous human rights violations./ppIn May, Lopez Obrador a href=https://news.yahoo.com/mexico-president-says-no-us-security-plan-202731275.html target=_blankcalled for an end to Plan Merida/a, under which the US provided security assistance to fight the drug war, with the president saying he wants the US to end the anti-drug Merida Initiative and instead invest in economic development in southern Mexico and Central America. Saying the plan quot;hasn#39;t worked,quot; Lopez Obrador added that, quot;We don#39;t want cooperation on the use of force, we want cooperation on economic development. We don#39;t want the so-called Merida Initiative.quot;/ppIn June, a href=https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/murder-mexico-drug-cartel-violence-midyear-2019 target=_blankthe murder rate topped 2,000 a month for this first time/a, a toll linked to the rise of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which is seeking to supplant the Sinaloa cartel formerly headed by Joaquin quot;El Chapoquot; Guzman, who is now serving a sentence in the US. In north-central a href=http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/nearly-32-000-homicide-victims-recorded-in-mexico-in-2019/article/564122 target=_blankGuanajuato/a state, the JNGC has been duking it out with yet another faction, the Santa Rose de Lima cartel, leaving more than 3,200 dead in that state alone by year#39;s end./ppBy August, a Catholic bishop issued a href=http://catholicphilly.com/2019/08/news/world-news/mexican-bishop-says-criminal-groups-seeking-an-exit-urges-dialogue/ target=_blanka call for dialogue between the government and armed groups, including drug cartels/a. That was Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza of Chilpancingo-Chilapa (Guerrero state), a key opium-growing region. Responding to the government#39;s announcement that it was in talks with so-called community police groups and self-defense militias, but not the cartels, the bishop chided the government, saying, quot;To get peace you have to dialogue, even with Satan, with whomever it might be to get peace.quot;/ppAs cartel clashes raged through the summer and fall, the government tentatively explored alternatives to continuing drug war. In September, Lopez Obrador said he was considering a href=http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2019-09/21/content_75230056.htm target=_blanka referendum on drug legalization/a, and in October, the ruling MORENA Party#39;s leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Mario Delgado Carrillo, a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/key-mexican-lawmaker-proposes-legalizing-all-drugs-to-combat-cartel-violence/ target=_blankproposed legalizing all drugs to combat cartel violence./a His comments were in response to one of the more brazen cartel actions in 2019, when a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-violence-sinaloa/cartel-gunmen-terrorize-mexican-city-free-el-chapos-son-idUSKBN1WW34M target=_blankSinaloa Cartel gunmen forced the release of El Chapo#39;s son/a after he was captured by security forces in the cartel heartland city of Culiacan and they turned the city into a war zone until Ovidio Guzman was freed, greatly embarrassing the government./ppThat same month, in another brazen attack, a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-violence/more-than-a-dozen-police-killed-in-ambush-in-violent-mexican-state-idUSKBN1WT23A target=_blankgun men from the JNGC ambushed police in Michoacan, killing more than a dozen/a and leaving signed placards on their bodies warning police not to support rival crime groups, such as Los Viagras./ppIn yet another act of gruesome violence -- and one that caught the attention of Americans long bored with the violence south of the border -- in November, a href=https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-mexico-war-us-army-troops-drug-cartels-twitter-a9185881.html target=_blankcartel gun men killed nine women and children with dual US-Mexico citizenship/a, prompting President Trump to suggest he could use the US military to quot;wage warquot; against the cartels. Lopez Obrador declined that offer [Ed: wisely, for them and for us]./ppstrong6. Coca, Cocaine and Chaos in Colombia/strong/ppAccording to both the a href=https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2019/06/27/cocaine-production-hit-record-levels-in-2017-infographic/ target=_blankUN/a and the a href=https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/ondcp-reports-cocaine-production-colombia-leveling-off/ target=_blankUS/a, Colombia accounted for around 70% of global cocaine production in 2017, when the country produced 1,275 tons of cocaine, the most ever. In 2018, production declined by a tiny percentage, but remained near record high levels. There are no figures available yet for 2019, but there is no reason to suspect much has changed./ppThe high levels of coca cultivation and cocaine production have made a return to aerial spraying of coca crops a key goal of the rightist government of President Ivan Duque, who in March a href=https://www.wral.com/colombia-leader-asks-for-renewed-herbicide-use-to-fight-coca/18241829/ target=_blankasked the Constitutional Court to ease restrictions on spraying/a, which President Juan Manuel Santos banned after the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a likely carcinogen. That position won the support of a href=https://colombiareports.com/us-secretary-of-state-doubles-down-on-backing-aerial-spraying-of-coca-fields target=_blankUS Secretary of State Pompeo/a in June, when, ignoring the global criticism of glyphosate and any other strategies for reducing cultivation, he called spraying quot;an important tool they needquot; to reduce coca production./ppBut in July, the a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-politics/colombia-court-upholds-conditions-for-restarting-aerial-coca-fumigation-idUSKCN1UE01Q target=_blankConstitutional Court upheld the ban/a, although it also said spraying could resume if the government met certain conditions. At the end of December, a href=https://www.kxly.com/i/colombia-proposes-to-resume-aerial-spraying-of-coca-fields/ target=_blankthe government announced plans to resume spraying/a, publishing a draft law that would allow fumigation flights under supervision of the national police. The proposal also calls for the creation of an independent agency that would oversee complaints related to aerial spraying including any potential impacts on rural communities./ppMeanwhile three years after a peace deal between former President Santos and the leftist guerrillas of the FARC was signed, violence and chaos in the countryside are increasing. In March, a href=https://colombiareports.com/protesters-clash-with-police-in-northern-colombia-as-farmers-return-to-coca-cultivation/ target=_blankcoca farmers clashed with police in Cordoba/a, saying they were returning to coca after two years of waiting for economic and security assistance that never arrived. In April, a href=https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/uptick-colombia-massacres-shifting-criminal-dynamics/ target=_blanka UN report found massacres on the increase/a, reflecting new criminal dynamics in key areas of the country./ppIn June, a href=https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/bitter-fight-former-farc-areas-colombia-homicides/ target=_blankthe government reported a jump in murders/a, driven largely by battles for control over coca-growing areas that had previously been controlled by the leftist the FARC, leaving FARC dissidents, other guerrilla groups, and criminal drug trafficking groups fighting over who will control the fields. And in August, a href=https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/08/colombia-border-venezuela-war-farc-report target=_blanka new report from Human Rights Watch/a found that renewed fighting over control of the cocaine trade in the Catatumbo region had forced some 40,000 people to flee their homes. Human Rights Watch accused the Colombian government of quot;not meeting its obligationsquot; to protect civilians in the area./ppAnd speaking of the FARC, they#39;re back. In June, a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-rebels-exclusive/exclusive-thousands-of-colombian-farc-rebels-return-to-arms-despite-peace-accord-military-intelligence-report-idUSKCN1T62LO target=_blanka military intelligence report said as many as a third of FARC fighters had picked up their guns again/a. They were joining dissident FARC groups operating in coca-growing regions. Disarmed FARC rebels were supposed to have been reintegrated into society, but that has been stymied by violence and discrimination. At least 139 former FARC members have been killed since disarming./ppA couple of month later, FARC dissidents made it official. In August, a href=https://www.npr.org/2019/08/29/755425619/former-farc-leaders-announce-new-stage-of-fighting-upending-colombia-s-peace-dea target=_blankdissident FARC leaders announced they were rejoining the path of armed struggle/a. Three years after an historic peace agreement between the leftist guerrillas of the FARC and the Colombian state, the dissidents said that the rightist government of President Ivan Duque had betrayed the peace accord. Led Ivan Marquez (Luciano Marin), they said they were ready for a quot;new stage of fightingm,quot; citing the murders of more than a hundred former FARC members and labor activists, as well as the government#39;s failure to provide sustainable development assistance to areas formerly under their control. quot;The state has not fulfilled its most important obligation, which is to guarantee the life of its citizens and especially avoid assassinations for political reasons,quot; said Marquez. The number of dissidents affiliated with Marquez is estimated at around 2,000-3,000. The civil war with the FARC that began in 1964 left more than 220,000 people dead./ppPresident Duque also faces challenges to his hardline approach to drug policy in both the courts and the congress. The a href=https://colombiareports.com/court-squashes-colombias-ban-on-smoking-pot-and-drinking-beer-in-public/ target=_blankConstitutional Court threw out his ban on public pot smoking and drinking/a, meaning police can no longer confiscate drugs considered to be for personal consumption, and people are again allowed to smoke marijuana and drink beer in public. But it#39;s unclear whether Duque will abide by the ruling./ppAnd in June, the legislative opposition and a center-right bloc a href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-york-city-council-passes-two-marijuana-reform-resolutions/ target=_blankfiled a package of four bills/a that seek to decriminalize drug use and ban glyphosate, the chemical the government wants to use to fumigate coca. What opposition lawmakers want is to curb drug abuse by strengthening health care and to fight drug trafficking via voluntary crop substitution and rural development./pp[image:3 align:left caption:true]strong7. Farewell to Bolivia#39;s Coca Grower President/strong/ppLong-time Bolivian leader Evo Morales, a former coca growers union leader who won the presidency in 2005 and was reelected twice was a href=https://d.docs.live.net/a830724ce5ca8084/Documents/Evo%20Morales target=_blankforced from office/a and fled the country after extended protests in the wake of disputed elections in November. Morales resigned after he lost the support of the military, which called on him to quit after weeks of sometimes violent protests./ppAs president, Morales broke with US drug policy in the region and legalized the production of coca in the country. He also lifted millions of Bolivians out of poverty, through heavy investments in public works projects. He began to lose support after ignoring a referendum calling on him not to run again, which had followed a series of controversies and scandals. Chaos escalated after an unexplained 24-hour delay in vote-counting before he was declared the victor. The country is now ruled by an interim hard right regime, but elections are supposed to happen in the next three months./ppstrong8. /strongstrongPhilippines Drug War Faces International Pushback/strong/ppThe international community turned up the heat on Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody drug war in 2019, but Duterte was undeterred./ppIn 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary examination into human rights abuses in the drug war, and that March, Duterte responded a href=https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/world/Philippines-due-leave-ICC/4552918-5029118-13tm7j3z/ target=_blankby quitting the ICC/a. But the ICC said its preliminary investigation into Filipino drug war abuses would continue. In December 2019 the ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the examination was in the quot;very late stages,quot; and that a decision on whether to open an investigation would be made during 2020./ppIn April, a href=https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/05/02/1914391/rights-activists-protest-drug-war-portugal-policy-conference target=_blankhuman rights advocates and harm reductionists rallied against the Philippine drug war/a at the 26th Harm Reduction International Conference in Porto, Portugal. quot;The Philippine government#39;s barbaric campaign against the drug trade is severely harming the health and security of its communities. The evidence that punitive drug policies don#39;t work is irrefutable. People around the world have sent a clear message to the government today -- stop the killings and invest in the health and human rights of your people,quot; Naomi Burke-Shyne, Harm Reduction International executive director, said./ppIn June, the Philippines National Police put the drug war#39;s a href=http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Official-death-toll-from-war-on-drugs-reaches- target=_blankofficial death toll at 6,600/a, up from just under 5,000 seven months earlier. Human rights groups put the toll much higher, some as high as 30,000, with killings divided between police and shadowy vigilante groups./ppThat same month, a href=https://theglobepost.com/2019/06/07/philippines-drugs-un-human-rights/ target=_blankUN experts called for a human rights probe of the Philippines drug war/a. A group of 11 United Nations human rights experts called or the UN#39;s Human Rights Council to start an independent probe into rights violations in the Philippines, including illegal killings in President Rodrigo Duterte#39;s bloody crackdown on drugs. The call gained momentum when a group of a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-rights-un/philippines-faces-call-for-u-n-investigation-into-war-on-drugs-killings-idUSKCN1TZ22M target=_blanktwo dozen countries called for a UN investigation of drug war killings/a. A draft resolution submitted by Iceland and supported mainly by West European countries urged the government to halt extrajudicial executions and called on the UN Human Rights Council to address the crisis. And a href=https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2019/jul/10/philippine_drug_war_killings target=_blank_a major report from Amnesty International /aon drug war atrocities added fuel to the fire./ppIn July, a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-drugs/u-n-to-probe-philippines-drug-war-deaths-idUSKCN1U61FV target=_blankthe full UN Human Rights Council voted to begin an investigation into the mass killings/a. The Duterte government responded by a href=https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3026744/philippine-minister-refuses-grant-un-access-investigate target=_blankrefusing to grant the UN access to the country to investigate the killings and other human rights abuses/a. And Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin called the UN experts quot;bastards.quot;/ppIn November, a href=http://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2019/11/dpa-representatives-51-countries-stand-behind-efforts-stop-killings target=_blankrepresentatives from 51 countries called for the Philippines to quot;STOP THE KILLINGSquot; /aat the Drug Policy Alliance#39;s International Drug Policy Reform Conference in St. Louis. quot;With the world watching, we felt compelled to use our platform to draw attention to the horrendous crimes taking place every day in the Philippines, with the full-throated support of that country#39;s president,quot; said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. quot;The Philippines is a stark example of how the drug war can so easily serve as an excuse for targeting vulnerable people, and harassing critics, and punishing opponents.quot;/ppAlso in November, Duterte engaged in some political flim-flam when he named strong drug war critic Vice President Leni Robredo as drug czar, then a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-drugs/philippine-leader-sacks-drugs-tsar-after-18-days-idUSKBN1XY0BJ target=_blankfired her less than three weeks later/a. Duterte accused Robredo of embarrassing the country by drawing international attention to his bloody war on drugs. But a href=https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/11/25/world/asia/25reuters-philippines-drugs.html target=_blankRobredo vowed to carry on the fight/a. quot;When I took this job, I asked you, are you ready for me? My question to you now is what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of what I might discover? Are you afraid of what the public might discover?,quot; Robredo said at a news conference. quot;If they think I will stop here, then they don#39;t know me, I am just starting,quot; Robredo said./ppquot;They cannot remove my determination to stop the killings and hold those responsible to account and win the fight against illegal drugs.quot;/ppMeanwhile, another prominent political figure and drug war critic, Senator Leila de Lima remains behind bars, where she has been since arrested on bogus drug charges in February 2017. But she got some support from the US Congress late this year. In two separate moves in December, the Senate approved a href=https://d.docs.live.net/a830724ce5ca8084/Documents/US%20Senate%20Resolution%20142.pdf target=_blanka Free Leila resolution/a (Senate Resolution 42) and approved a href=https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/116th-congress/senate-report/126/1 target=_blanka State Department spending bill/a that includes a provision barring entry quot;to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of Senator Leila de Lima.quot;/ppThe Duterte government has responded in typical fashion: It has now a href=https://www.rappler.com/nation/248359-philippines-bars-entry-us-senator-backing-de-lima-release target=_blankdenied entry to three US senators/a, Ed Markey (D-MA), who authored the de Lima resolution, and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT)./ppstrong9. Sri Lanka and the Death Penalty for Drugs/strong/ppUnder the baleful influence of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, now former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena early in the year announced plans to end a 43-year moratorium on the death penalty so drug offenders could be executed, kicking off his campaign with an advertisement announcing a href=http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Sri-Lanka-advertises-job-vacancy-for-hangman-46236.html target=_blank_job vacancies for executioners/a. In April, a href=https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation/sri-lankan-authorities-publicly-destroy-770kg-of-cocaine/ target=_blankSirisena announced the first executions would be coming soon/a as he presided over the burning of seized cocaine./ppquot;To curb the illegal drug menace, it is necessary to implement the death penalty,quot; he said. quot;The death penalty will be implemented in the coming days. The list has been prepared and we have decided on the date too.quot;/ppBut with the country in shock after the Easter Islamic terror attacks that left more than 200 people dead, Sirisena had other issues on his mind -- although in July, a href=https://www.news18.com/news/world/to-discredit-my-anti-narcotics-drive-sirisena-blames-international-drug-barons-for-easter-bombings-2231949.html target=_blankSirisena falsely blamed drug gangs for the attacks/a, saying they were designed to discredit his anti-drug drive./ppSirisena#39;s blood lust has so far been thwarted by the courts. In June, the a href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-drugs/sri-lankas-top-court-delays-first-executions-in-43-years-idUSKCN1U00WC target=_blankSupreme Court delayed the execution of four people set to be hanged in October for drug offenses./a/ppIn October, as Sirisena#39;s term was running out, his plans to make the executions his last act of state was again thwarted, with the a href=http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Supreme-Court-stays-drug-traffickers-execution-48809.html target=_blankSupreme Court again staying the executions/a until March 20, 2020. Now it will be up to newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaska to decide whether to continue Sirsena#39;s aberration./ppstrong10. The Extent of the US#39;s Drug War Fiasco in Afghanistan Becomes Achingly Apparent/strong/ppIn late October, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) a href=https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2019/nov/20/americas_afghanistan_antidrug target=_blank_issued its latest report/a on the seemingly endless US occupation of Afghanistan, and its analysis of American anti-opium efforts was particularly devastating. SIGAR found that although we#39;ve spent nearly $9 billion trying to suppress the opium poppy, Afghanistan remained far and away the world#39;s largest opium producer throughout the US occupation./ppThe country produced a record high nine tons of opium in 2017, and although drought reduced last year#39;s crop, SIGAR noted that quot;it remained at the second-highest level since the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) began monitoring it in 1994.quot;/ppWhen it comes to suppressing illicit drug crops, there are three main approaches: eradication, interdiction and alternative development. According to the new SIGAR report, all three have proven ineffectual in Afghanistan. Interdiction activities -- drug busts -- have quot;minimal impact on the country#39;s opium cultivation and production,quot; SIGAR found, while eradication efforts quot;have had minimal impact on curbing opium-poppy cultivation.quot; Alternative development was funded at low levels, and SIGAR found it quot;ineffectual at curbing opium cultivation.quot;/ppWhew, that#39;s pretty bad, but it gets worse. This month, the emWashington Post/em published a href=https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/ target=_blankThe Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War/a, an extensive piece of investigative reporting that showed US officials consistently lied about making progress in the war even though they knew they weren#39;t. The papers contain a section on opium, quot;a href=https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-opium-poppy-production/ target=_blankOverwhelmed by Opium/a,quot; that makes a thoroughly depressing read as it documents the myriad ways US anti-drug policy imploded. quot;Of all the failures in Afghanistan, the war on drugs has been perhaps the most feckless,quot; the emPost/em noted. That#39;s saying something./p /div /div /div
Categories: Latest News

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 22:17
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pA pervy Florida cops heads to prison, a New Mexico narc is in trouble for sampling forbidden substances, a Virginia narc pays for outing snitches to drug traffickers, and more./pp[image:1 align:right]In Roswell, New Mexico, a href=https://www.krqe.com/news/crime/roswell-narcotics-officer-charged-with-possession-tampering-with-evidence target=_blanka former Roswell narcotics officer was arrested December 19/a after an investigation that began when detectives found a white powdery substance in his home and at a hotel where he stayed. Gerald Juarez eventually admitted to deputies that he had been using cocaine for about a month and had now been charged with cocaine possession and evidence tampering./ppIn Wilsonville, Oregon, a href=https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2019/12/correctional-officer-at-oregon-womens-prison-accused-of-smuggling-heroin-meth-behind-bars-for-inmates.html target=_blanka state women#39;s prison guard was arrested December 23/a for allegedly smuggling heroin, meth, and other drugs into the prison. Guard Richard Steven Alberts II, 31, was arrested by federal agents along with a co-defendant who was already in custody on separate charges. Both are charged with conspiring with one another and other, unnamed individuals to distribute controlled substances and distribution of heroin stemming from a federal investigation that is ongoing./ppIn Muscogee, Georgia, a href=https://www.ajc.com/news/crime--law/georgia-youth-corrections-officer-arrested-drug-charges-after-raid/r2iNO5eDycrL87unKBUt8K/ target=_blanka state juvenile detention guard was arrested December 24/a after an early morning raid at the detention center turned up drugs. Guard Darrion Tarver, 28, is accused of bringing enough marijuana into Muscogee Youth Development Campus to distribute it, although the particular charges he faces were not specified. He was fired following his arrest./ppIn Jackson, Georgia, a href=https://www.ajc.com/news/crime--law/monroe-county-deputy-arrested-drug-possession-distribution-charges/iUBOMfRr2nzebYQu1WZX3N/ target=_blanka Monroe County sheriff#39;s deputy was arrested last Friday/a in neighboring Butler County following an investigation by authorities there. Details of what went down are hard to come by, but Deputy Paul Nicholas Stewart is charged with possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute and using a communication facility in the commission of a felony involving a controlled substance./ppIn Edgefield, South Carolina, a href=https://www.wsav.com/news/local-news/south-carolina-news/south-carolina-correctional-officer-arrested-for-giving-cell-phones-drugs-to-inmate/ target=_blanka state prison guard was arrested last Friday/a for smuggling drugs and other contraband into the Trenton Correctional Institute. Guard Kembria Merriweather, 24, is accused of providing cell phones and methamphetamine to an inmate with whom she had developed an intimate relationship. She is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, providing contraband to an inmate and misconduct in office./ppIn Hampton, Virginia, a href=https://wydaily.com/local-news/2019/12/19/ex-hampton-narcotics-cop-pleads-guilty-to-drug-conspiracy/ target=_blanka former Hampton narcotics officer pleaded guilty December 19/a to working with local drug dealers while he was part of the Special Investigations Unit of the Hampton Police. Deangelo Freeman, 31, admitted providing information about a federal criminal investigation to one dealer even as he was on the team investigating him, including disclosing the identity of a snitch. He copped to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and is looking at a mandatory minimum five-year federal prison sentence./ppIn Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a href=https://miami.cbslocal.com/2019/12/18/former-police-officer-sentenced-prison-threatening-teens-strip-run-naked/ target=_blanka former Miccosukee police officer was sentenced December 18/a to 10 years in prison for forcing a teenage couple to strip and run naked through the Everglades after he busted them with alcohol and marijuana. Michael Martinez, 30, pulled the young couple over in 2016 after they ran a stop and told them follow him down an isolated road where he ordered them to take their clothes off and run, or go to jail. The teens testified they thought they had no choice but to follow his orders. He also tried to solicit sex from the teenage girl. He was found guilty of two counts each of extortion and unlawful compensation./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: MD Marijuana Poll, USAID Bolivia Mission, Atlanta PD Disbands Dope Squad, More... (1/8/20)

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 21:03
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe Atlanta Police are shutting down their dope squad to concentrate on violent crime, the Florida legislature and state attorney general try to block a marijuana legalization initiative, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/os-ne-florida-marijuana-amendment-challenge-20200107-gp6y2ttourhbfkgkptlaqkc36i-story.html target=_blankFlorida Legislature and Attorney General Seek to Block Marijuana Legalization Initiative/a. Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) and the House and Senate have asked the state Supreme Court to reject a proposed a href=https://makeitlegalflorida.com/read-the-amendment/ target=_blankconstitutional amendment/a to legalize marijuana. They filed a brief with the court Monday arguing that the initiative should be invalidated because it doesn#39;t fully inform voters that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Because of federal pot prohibition, the initiative would not quot;permitquot; marijuana legalization and thus deceives the voters, the motion argued./ppa href=https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/01/07/poll-maryland-recreational-marijuana-crime-hogan-trump-impeachment target=_blankMaryland Poll Has Strong Support for Marijuana Legalization/a. A new Gonzales Maryland poll released Tuesday has support for marijuana legalization at nearly 57%, with 38% opposed and 5% undecided. Democrats (65.5%) and independents (59%) both support it, but only 39% of Republicans do./ppstrongForeign Policy/strong/ppa href=http://www.startribune.com/trump-sending-aid-mission-to-bolivia-ahead-of-election/566794982/ target=_blankTrump Sending Aid Mission to Bolivia After Evo#39;s Ouster/a. In the wake of the ouster of former Bolivian President Evo Morales after disputed elections late last year and his replacement with a temporary right-wing government, the Trump administration will send an assessment team to La Paz this week to discuss the possible resumption of foreign aid. Morales expelled USAID from the country in 2013, accusing it of political interference. His replacement, Interim President Jeanine Anez, seeks improved relations with the US and a tougher line on coca farmers. Morales is a former coca grower union leader. The White House also announced Monday it was lifting a longtime ban on foreign aid imposed on Bolivia for failing to cooperate in US anti-drug efforts. Morales threw the DEA out of the country in 2008./ppstrongLaw Enforcement/strong/ppa href=https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/apd-disbands-narcotics-unit-focus-violent-crime/3VFNXDD4BJHI3M36VPYF3XHGHQ/ target=_blankAtlanta Police Disband Narcotics Unit, Will Focus on Violent Crime Instead/a. The Atlanta Police Department will disband its narcotics unit and reassign its officers to other units in a move to emphasize fighting violent crime. The department isn#39;t ignoring drugs, it said, but is quot;de-centralizing its Narcotics Unit in recognition that the violence that surrounds this trade should be the focus of the entire Department, not just one team.quot;/p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: South Dakota MJ Legalization Vote, Mexico's Toll of Disappeared, More... (1/7/20)

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 19:51
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe MORE Act gets another push, there will be no decriminalization of marijuana in New Jersey during the lame duck session, a South Dakota marijuana legalization initiative qualifies for the ballot, and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://blog.norml.org/2020/01/06/house-small-business-committee-moves-marijuana-bill-forward/ target=_blankHouse Small Business Committee Moves Marijuana Bill Forward/a. The House Small Business Committee has waived jurisdiction over the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (a href=https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3884/text target=_blankHR 3884/a), making it the second House committee in the 116th Congress to advance legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition. The bill passed in the House Judiciary Committee in November. It would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and incentivize states to facilitate the expungement of criminal records related to low-level marijuana offenses, among other changes./ppa href=https://newjerseyglobe.com/legislature/decrim-dead-in-lame-duck-sweeney-says/ target=_blankNew Jersey Senate President Says No Decriminalization During Lame Duck Session/a. Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) said Monday that lawmakers will not pass a bill to decriminalize marijuana during the lame duck session, which ends next Tuesday. quot;It#39;s not getting done in lame duck,quot; Sweeney said. After a legalization bill stalled last year, Sweeney had insisted that decrim could get done during this short session, but there is little evidence it was a top priority for any Democratic leaders. A binding voter referendum on whether to legalize marijuana will be on the November ballot./ppa href=https://www.stltoday.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/south-dakotans-to-vote-on-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/article_c1bb19cb-b449-528d-88e6-f963fd6826f6.html target=_blankSouth Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Ballot/a. Secretary of State Steve Barnett said Monday that a a href=https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2020_CA_LegalizeMarijuana_Petition.pdf target=_blankmarijuana legalization initiative/a sponsored by New Approach South Dakota has qualified for the November ballot. The measure would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana, as well as require the state legislature to pass laws regarding hemp. South Dakotans will also be voting on an initiative to legalize the medical use of marijuana./ppstrongInternational /strong/ppa href=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-missing/mexican-drug-wars-hidden-human-toll-includes-61000-disappeared-idUSKBN1Z6037 target=_blankMexico#39;s Toll of the Disappeared Doubles, According to Government Figures/a. The government on Monday issued new figures on the number of people gone missing in the country, the vast majority of them victims of the country#39;s prohibition-related violence. As recently as last June, the government put the toll at about 40,000, but it now says the number is 61,000. Nearly 98% of the missing have disappeared since then-President Felipe Calderon sent the army into the streets to fight cartels./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: CA Racial Profiling Study, VA Governor Pushes for Marijuana Decrim, More... (1/6/20)

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 20:33
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pVirginia#39;s Democratic governor is ready to push for marijuana decriminalization as part of a broader criminal justice reform package, federal opioid funds will soon be available to address meth and cocaine as well, the Philippines#39; vice-president rips Duterte#39;s bloody drug war, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/kansas-governor-says-shed-sign-marijuana-legalization-bill-but-medical-cannabis-is-her-priority/ target=_blankKansas Governor Says She Would Sign a Marijuana Legalization Bill/a. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said in an interview last week she would likely sign a bill legalizing marijuana if it arrived at her desk. But she added that legalization isn#39;t her main focus; medical marijuana is. quot;I do believe medical marijuana needs to be legalized,quot; she said. As for legalization: quot;I don#39;t have a personal ideology regarding it. If the folks want it and the legislature passes it, would I sign it? Probably.quot;/ppa href=https://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/northam-backs-marijuana-decriminalization-raising-felony-larceny-threshold-to/article_3407c645-e860-5aea-b8e9-0273915afb05.html target=_blankVirginia Governor Says He Will Push for Marijuana Decriminalization This Year/a. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Friday that he would push for the decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia this year but wants to study full legalization before going further. He announced legislation that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense carrying a $50 penalty, instead of a criminal misdemeanor. The proposal is part of a broader criminal justice reform agenda that includes parole reforms, raising the age youthful offenders could be tried as adults, and a higher threshold for making theft a felony./ppstrongDrug Treatment/strong/ppa href=https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/feds-ok-use-of-opioid-funding-toward-other-substances/article_de0eb2a8-1c85-5637-a527-c48653adde6c.html target=_blankFederal Opioid Funds Will Soon Be Able to Be Used for Addressing Methamphetamine and Cocaine/a. States will soon be able to use opioid funding from the federal government to address rising methamphetamine and cocaine use. That#39;s because a 2020 funding bill passed by Congress last month incorporates Ohio Sen. Rob Portman#39;s (R) Combating Meth and Cocaine Act, which expands the use of the State Opioid Response Grant funding to address rising use and overdose deaths attributed to the abuse of methamphetamine and cocaine. Those grants totaled a billion dollars each in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and $500 million in fiscal year 2019./ppstrongRacial Profiling/strong/ppa href=https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/02/california-police-black-stops-force target=_blankMajor California Study Finds Black People Stopped Far More Often by Police/a. Black people were more likely to be stopped by police and more likely to have force used against them by police, a study of statistics from eight large law enforcement agencies in the state has found. In Los Angeles, black people account for 9% of the population, but 28% of all people stopped in the last six months of 2018. In San Francisco, the numbers were 5% and 26%. According to a href=https://openjustice.doj.ca.gov/exploration/stop-data target=_blankthe new data/a, black people are much more likely to have firearms pointed at them by police officers. They also are more likely to be detained, handcuffed and searched. At the same time, when the police search black, Latino and Native American people, they are less likely to find drugs, weapons or other contraband compared to when they search white people./ppstrongInternational/strong/ppa href=https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1209779/govt-drug-war-a-massive-failure-robredo target=_blankPhilippines Vice President Rips Duterte#39;s Policies as Deadly But Failing/a. Vice-President Leni Robredo, a harsh critic of President Rodrigo Duterte#39;s bloody war on drugs whom Duterte briefly hired as co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs and then fired, said Monday that her brief tenure there allowed her to find that the government has only been going after small-time drug pushers, and that treatment and rehabilitation programs are inadequate. She called on the government to end the deadly Oplan Tokhang (quot;Operation Knock and Pleadquot;), bring proceedings against high-value targets and improve its collection and interpretation of drug-related data./ppa href=http://www.startribune.com/thailand-launches-full-time-clinics-dispensing-cannabis-oil/566742932/ target=_blankThailand Launches First Full-Time Clinics for Dispensing Medical Marijuana Products/a. Two full-time clinics for dispensing cannabis oil opened in Thailand Monday. It is an early step in the government#39;s policy of promoting the licensed use of marijuana products to relieve the symptoms of a range of ailments. About 400 patients, many of them suffering from cancer, were provided with free cannabis oil at the clinic at the Public Health Ministry in suburban Bangkok. About two-dozen other clinics have been operating part-time since the legislature amended the country#39;s drug laws in 2018 to allow for medical marijuana./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: TX MJ Prosecutions Halved, Random Drug Tests for Truck Drivers to Double, More... (1/3/20)

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 20:38
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pNew York#39;s governor vetoes a bill easing access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction for Medicaid patients, but not for patients with private insurance; Illinois sold $3.2 million worth of marijuana on day one of legalization, and more./pp[image:1 align:right caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/01/02/illinois-sells-32-million-of-marijuana-on-1st-day-of-legalization/ target=_blankIllinois Sold $3.2 Million Worth of Weed on Day One of Legalization/a. On the first day of legal marijuana sales, retailers racked up 77,000 transactions totaling $3.2 million. Among those first day customers was Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, who was spotted buying gummies at a dispensary, which generated applause from other customers./ppa href=https://www.texastribune.org/2020/01/03/texas-marijuana-prosecution-drop-testing-hemp/ target=_blankTexas Marijuana Prosecutions Drop by Half Since Hemp Legalization/a. Since lawmakers legalized hemp last year, the inability of police officers, drug dogs, and field drug tests to differentiate between non-psychoactive hemp and marijuana has resulted in a 50% decline in marijuana possession prosecutions. Some agencies that still pursue charges are having to spend significantly more money on private labs that can tell the difference./ppstrongDrug Testing/strong/ppa href=https://www.freightwaves.com/news/carriers-advised-to-update-drug-test-practices-after-rule-change target=_blankTruck Driver Random Drug Testing Rate Set to Double This Year/a. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on December 26 that trucking companies will have to double the random drug testing of their drivers, from 25% of drivers each year to 50%. That will cost the industry an estimated $50 million to $70 million each year. The increase in testing rates was triggered by the amount of positive drug tests passing the 1% mark, which in turn was likely triggered by the Department of Transportation adding four semisynthetic opioids -- oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone -- to its federal drug-testing program in 2018, as well as the spread of marijuana legalization./ppstrongDrug Treatment/strong/ppa href=https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/01/ny-governors-veto-outrages-activists-fighting-for-medicaid-patients-who-need-opioid-addiction-treatment/ target=_blankNew York Governor Vetoes Bill to Ease Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids for Medicaid Patients/a. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has outraged activists by vetoing a bill intended to make it easier for poor residents on Medicaid to access medication-based treatment for opioid addiction -- while at the same time signing a similar bill that does expand access to these medications for people on private insurance. Both bills ban the use of prior authorizations by insurance companies, which takes time and resources and prevents some people from getting the treatment at all. Both bills passed in July, but Cuomo didn#39;t act on them until now. quot;After six months of pleading for a signature, Governor Cuomo callously vetoed the bill to expand lifesaving treatment to thousands of low-income New Yorkers grappling with substance use disorders,quot; said Jasmine Budnella, drug policy coordinator for the New York chapter of the group Voices Of Community Activists amp; Leaders (VOCAL-NY)./p /div /div /div
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Chronicle AM: IL Legal Marijuana Sales Begin, FDA Bans Flavored Vape Cartridges, More... (1/2/20)

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 22:10
div class=field field-type-text field-field-body div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pLegal marijuana sales get underway in Illinois, the Italian Supreme Court gives the okay to personal marijuana cultivation, Colombia wants to resume aerial spraying of coca crops with herbicides, and more./pp[image:1 align:left caption:true]strongMarijuana Policy/strong/ppa href=https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/backers-legalized-marijuana-want-more-time-gather-petition-signatures target=_blankFlorida Legalization Initiative Campaign Sues Over Early Deadline/a. The Make It Legal Florida a href=https://makeitlegalflorida.com/read-the-amendment/ target=_blankmarijuana legalization initiative/a campaign filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the state#39;s new law regarding initiatives violates their rights by imposing a quot;stealth deadlinequot; that effectively shortens the signature gathering period by a month. The campaign is seeking another month to submit petition signatures. The campaign has until February 1 to come up with 766,000 valid voter signatures, but says the new law creates a quot;stealth deadlinequot; of January 2 to submit signatures to county supervisors for verification./ppa href=https://blog.norml.org/2019/12/31/illinois-governor-issues-over-11000-pardons-ahead-of-marijuana-legalization/ target=_blankIllinois Governor Pardons 11,000 Marijuana Offenders Just Ahead of Legalization/a. Gov. JB Pritzker (D) on Tuesday issued more than 11,000 pardons to people with low-level marijuana possession convictions. The move came one day ahead of the commencement of legal marijuana sales in the state./ppa href=https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/history-made-first-legal-cannabis-sales-complete-as-dispensaries-open-in-illinois/2195119/ target=_blankIllinois Marijuana Legalization, Sales Now in Effect/a. The first legal marijuana sales in the state began at 6:00am New Year#39;s Day, with hundreds of people lined up at shops in Chicago and its suburbs. That makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana, and the first to also legalize sales through the legislative process as opposed to via an initiative./ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/oklahoma-activists-file-revised-2020-marijuana-legalization-measure-to-protect-medical-program/ target=_blankOklahoma Activists File Revised 2020 Marijuana Legalization Measure to Protect Medical Program/a. The activists behind a marijuana legalization initiative filed in December have withdrawn it and replaced it with a new initiative, a href=https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/questions/808.pdf target=_blankState Question 808/a, that contains revised language aimed at protecting the state#39;s existing medical marijuana program. The new initiative specifies that a 15% excise tax on sales would not apply to medical marijuana and says only existing medical marijuana dispensaries would be eligible for recreational licenses for the first two years after implementation./ppa href=https://www.marijuanamoment.net/virginia-prosecutor-announces-his-office-will-not-pursue-marijuana-possession-cases/ target=_blankVirginia Prosecutor Announces His Office Will Not Pursue Marijuana Possession Cases/a. Incoming Fairfax County Commonwealth#39;s Attorney Steve Descano used his first day on the job Thursday to announce that his office will not prosecute low-level marijuana possession cases. But the local judiciary is not cooperating: One judge has already rejected Descano#39;s guidance and denied a motion to dismiss one such case, saying each case needs to be reviewed individually./ppstrongVaping/strong/ppa href=https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-finalizes-enforcement-policy-unauthorized-flavored-cartridge-based-e-cigarettes-appeal-children target=_blankFDA Announces Ban on Flavored Vaping Cartridges/a. The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday a href=https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/enforcement-priorities-electronic-nicotine-delivery-system-ends-and-other-deemed-products-market target=_blank_issued a policy prioritizing enforcement/a against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions. The only vaping cartridges that will be allowed are those with tobacco and menthol flavors./ppstrongInternational/strong/ppa href=https://www.kxly.com/i/colombia-proposes-to-resume-aerial-spraying-of-coca-fields/ target=_blankColombia Proposes Resumption of Aerial Spraying of Coca Fields/a. The Ministry of Justice on Monday published a draft law that would allow for the aerial spraying of herbicides on coca fields. The previous government ended such spraying four years ago, citing health concerns. The new proposal also calls for the creation of an independent agency that would oversee complaints related to aerial spraying including any potential impacts on rural communities./ppa href=https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/27/world/europe/italy-marijuana-growing-cannabis.html target=_blankItalian Supreme Court Rules Growing a Little Marijuana at Home Not a Crime/a. The Supreme Court ruled on December 27 that growing small amounts of marijuana for personal use is not a crime. The court held that quot;at home, small-scale cultivation activities are to be considered excluded from the application of the penal code.quot; It#39;s unclear just what qualifies as quot;small-scale cultivation.quot; The case before the court involved two plants./p /div /div /div
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