Fed Court Says Pot Smokers Can Own Guns, Australia OKs Psychedelics as Medicines, More… (2/6/23)
Rerolled: February 7, 2023 | #STDW
Legal adult marijuana sales have commenced in Missouri, the Maryland legislature is moving to pass bills to set up a system of taxed and regulated legal marijuana commerce, and more.
Federal Judge Rules Ban on Marijuana Users Owning Guns Unconstitutional. Citing last year's US Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights, a federal judge in Oklahoma has ruled that a federal law barring marijuana users from owning guns is unconstitutional. US District Court Judge Patrick Wyrick threw out an indictment of a ban charged with violating that ban, saying it infringed on his 2nd Amendment rights. While the federal government can protect the public from dangerous people owning guns, it could not argue that the man's "mere status as a user of marijuana justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm," Wyrick held, adding that using marijuana was "not in and of itself a violent, forceful, or threatening act."The Justice Department has not said whether it will appeal the ruling. This is just the latest decision to expand gun rights after the Supreme Court's conservative majority ruled in June that the 2nd Amendment protects a person's right to carry a handgun in public. Just a day earlier than this case's ruling last Friday, an appeals court in New Orleans found unconstitutional a federal law barring people with domestic violence restraining orders from owning guns.
Senate Democrats Look for Way to Move Forward on Marijuana Banking Bill. Just weeks after an effort to pass marijuana banking legislation died at the end of the last session, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met with several other key Democrats last week to "ponder the path" to passage in this Congress, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said. "Hopefully we can find a formulation and have bipartisan support and get it done." Also meeting with Schumer and Merkley were Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Jackie Rosen (D-NV). But while the Democrats still control the Senate, Republicans now control the House, complicating the prospects for progress on the issue.
Maryland Lawmakers Roll Out Bill to Launch Marijuana Sales. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate rolled out identical bills to tax and regulate legal marijuana commerce last Friday. The move comes after voters approved a marijuana legalization referendum on last November's ballot. House Bill 566 and Senate Bill 516 set a tax rate of six percent for the first fiscal year, which would increase by one percent a year until reaching 10 percent in 2028. Thirty percent of those revenues would go to a community reinvestment fund for at least the next decade, with another 1.5 percent going to localities. The bills also include an Office of Social Equity to promote participation in the industry by people impacted by marijuana prohibition. Lawmakers are aiming to launch legal sales by July 1, but there is still a lot of work to between here and there.
Missouri Legal Marijuana Sales Have Begun. That didn't take long. Voters approved marijuana legalization last November, and the first legal sales came last Friday. The first sales came at already existing medical marijuana dispensaries that had upgraded their licenses to include adult sales, and opening day crowds were sizeable at stores such as Good Day Farm, Fresh Green Dispensary, and Greenlight, among others. State officials previously said that 318 of 322 licensed dispensaries had applied to convert to adult sales licenses.
. In a surprise decision, the federal government's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the use of the psychedelic substances in magic mushrooms and MDMA for people with certain mental health conditions. MDMA and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, are now considered Schedule 8 drugs, meaning they can be prescribed by a psychiatrist for controlled use. MDMA will be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, while psilocybin is approved for treatment-resistant depression. They will still be considered prohibited substances (Schedule 9 drugs) for all other purposes. "Prescribing will be limited to psychiatrists, given their specialized qualifications and expertise to diagnose and treat patients with serious mental health conditions,"a TGA statement published on Friday said.
But the TGA has not yet approved any products containing MDMA or psilocybin, so psychiatrists will have to obtain and supply unapproved medicines for the specific authorized uses. There is also a dearth of qualified psychiatrists, said Stephen Bright, director of the Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine NGO. "The details so far from the TGA are thin. There are no products available, and aside from myself and a handful of colleagues, there’s no-one trained to provide the treatment. We’re waiting for a bit more information, to get an idea of what this looks like in practice," he said.
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