Rerolled: January 17, 2023 | #STDW
A New York bill would end civil asset forfeiture, a Utah bill would decriminalize fentanyl test strips, and more.
GOP Congressman Files Bill to Protect Gun Rights of Medical Marijuana Patients. The first piece of marijuana reform legislation in the new Congress is a bill that would allow medical marijuana patients to purchase and possess firearms. Sponsored by Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), along with Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chair Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), the Second Amendment Protection Act seeks to amend federal law around the "sale, purchase, shipment, receipt, or possession of a firearm or ammunition by a user of medical marijuana." Under current law, people who use marijuana can't buy or possess guns because they're considered to be "an unlawful user of or addicted to"a federally controlled substance. Mooney filed a similar bill in 2019, but it did not advance.
New Hampshire Bill to Legalize Possession of Psychedelics Filed. Rep. Kevin Verville (R) has filed House Bill 328, which states that the "possession or use of a hallucinogenic drug by a person 21 years of age or older shall not be an offense."It would also reduce penalties for LSD manufacturing and possession by people under 21. The bill does not name specific drugs, but state statute lists mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, and LSD as examples of hallucinogenic substances. The bill has been referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
New York Bill Would End Civil Asset Forfeiture and Opt State Out of Federal Forfeiture Program. Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter (D) and eight Democratic cosponsors have filed Assembly Bill 641, which would end civil asset forfeiture in the state and replace it with a criminal process. Passage of the bill would also effectively opt the state out of a program that allows police to circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds. Under the bill seizures could occur only if the "prosecuting authority secures a conviction of a crime that authorizes the forfeiture of property and the prosecuting authority establishes by clear and convincing evidence the property is an instrumentality of or proceeds derived directly from the crime for which the state secured a conviction." The bill would also require that seized funds be deposited in the state's general fund. Under current law, police can keep up to 60 percent of asset forfeiture proceeds, creating an incentive for "policing for profit." The bill is now before the Assembly Codes Committee.
Utah Bill to Decriminalize Fentanyl Test Strips Filed. State Sen. Jenifer Plumb (D) has filed Senate Bill 86, which would legalize the use and possession of fentanyl test strips. Under current state law, the test strips are criminalized as drug paraphernalia, but the bill would create an exemption from liability under the state Controlled Substances Act. Test strips are an increasingly popular harm reduction measure in the fight to reduce fentanyl-related drug overdoses. The bill is now in the Senate Rules Committee.
.Former Bolivian President Evo Morales, forced out of office in the wake of disputed elections in 2019, will set up the headquarters of his plurinationalist, indigenist movement in the region in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The movement will convene next week with coca growers from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, as well as Bolivia as Morales commences what he described as a struggle for the "plurinational peoples of Latin America." Continuing strife in Peru after the arrest and jailing of leftist President Castillo in December, as well as continuing strife in Bolivia's Santa Cruz province after the arrest of rightist Gov. Luis Fernando Camacho have placed Bolivian coca growers under unprecedented hardships. Morales rose to power as a Bolivian coca grower leader and still controls six coca grower unions in the Chapare.