Drug Decrim Bills Filed in MA, NY; Colombia to Reduce Forced Coca Eradication, More… (1/26/23)
Rerolled: January 26, 2023 | #STDW
Delaware bills to legalize marijuana are moving, a North Carolina medical marijuana bill is filed, and more.
Delaware Marijuana Legalization Bill Wins Committee Vote. The House Health and Human Development Committee on Wednesday approved House Bill 1, which would legalize marijuana. The vote comes just one day after another committee approved House Bill 2, which would set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. Rep. Ed Osienski (D), sponsor of the bills, said he expected House floor votes in March.
DC Council Files Bill to Allow Legal Marijuana Sales. Despite an ongoing congressional ban blocking the District of Columbia from allowing legal marijuana sales, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and six other council members have introduced a revised bill, Bill 25-0052, to create a regulated legal marijuana commerce market. DC voters legalized marijuana in 2014, but the congressional rider in place since then has thwarted efforts to allow legal sales. The bill would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants, three of which could be mature. It also creates a regulatory agency, which would approve licenses for cultivators, manufacturers, microbusinesses, retailers, and testing facilities, and sets a tax rate of up to 13 percent (6 percent for medical marijuana).
North Carolina GOP Senators File Medical Marijuana Bill. On the first day bills could be filed in the new General Assembly session, Senators Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) filed Senate Bill 3, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, the bill allows the use of medical marijuana for a specified list of debilitating conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The pair filed a similar bill last year that passed the Senate but never got any traction in the House.
Massachusetts Drug Decriminalization Bill Filed. Rep. Samantha Montaño (D) has filed HD 2741, which would eliminate a section of state stature that prescribes criminal penalties for drug possession. Instead of fines or jail, people caught with drugs would be required to participate in "a needs screening to identify health and other service needs, including but not limited to services that may address any substance use disorder and mental health conditions, lack of employment, housing, or food, and any need for civil legal services." Anyone who provided proof they had completed a screening within 45 days would see their citations dismissed.
New York Drug Decriminalization Bill Filed. Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D) has filed a bill, Senate Bill 2340, that would eliminate criminal and civil penalties for drug possession while also creating a task force that’d be responsible for studying and making recommendations about additional reforms. Under the bill, people caught with drugs could either pay a $50 fine or take part in a "needs screening to identify health and other service needs, including but not limited to services that may address any problematic substance use and mental health conditions, lack of employment, housing, or food, and any need for civil legal services." The bill also calls for a drug decriminalization task force that would be charged with making "recommendations for reforming state laws, regulations and practices so that they align with the stated goal of treating substance use disorder as a disease, rather than a criminal behavior."
Colombia Will Reduce Forced Coca Eradication Efforts. The government of President Gustavo Petro announced Tuesday that it will be reducing coca eradication efforts in what would be a major shift of policy for Colombia. A new National Policy will reduce forced eradication efforts by 60 percent as the government experiments with alternative approaches to the coca cultivation problem. The Petro government is considering implementing a program agreed to a part of the 2016 peace deal with the FARC that provides subsidies to coca farmers in exchange for voluntary eradication. Although that agreement was part of the deal, it was never implemented by former President Duque, who opposed the overall treaty.
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