NH Marijuana Legalization Bill Wins House Vote; Bolivia, Colombia Seek UN Move on Coca, More… (2/23/23)
Rerolled: February 23, 2023 | #STDW
An Idaho medical marijuana initiative didn't get past the signature gathering stage, US correctional populations declined in 2021, and more.
New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Bill Wins Initial House Vote. The House voted 234-127 Wednesday to send a marijuana legalization bill, House Bill 639, to the House Ways and Means Committee, clearing a path for it to win final passage in the House. The bill would set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce with the Liquor Commission in charge. Cultivation would be taxed at 15 percent, with most revenues going toward reducing the state's pension liability and the state's education trust fund. The House has repeatedly passed legalization bills in recent years, only to see them die in the Senate. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has also been an opponent; he says he does not expect a legalization bill to reach his desk this year.
Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Comes Up Short on Signatures. Kind Idaho, the group behind an effort to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2024 ballot, announced Wednesday that it had come up short on signatures. The group said it had managed to collect only about 10 percent of the nearly 70,000 valid voter signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. It cited organizational problems and a lack of national support for the effort.
Minnesota Lawmakers File Bills to Create Psychedelics Task Force to Plan for Legalization. Lawmakers have filed identical bills in the House and Senate that would create a task force to study the potential legalization of substances such as ibogaine, MDMA, and psilocybin. Senate File 1954 and House File 1884 would establish a Psychedelic Medicine Task Force to "advise the legislature on the legal, medical, and policy issues associated with the legalization of psychedelic medicine in the state." The task force "survey existing studies in the scientific literature on the therapeutic efficacy of psychedelic medicine in the treatment of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder, and any other mental health conditions and medical conditions for which a psychedelic medicine may provide an effective treatment option." The bill says the number of substances under its purview "may include but is not limited to the use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, bufotenine, DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, 2C-B, ibogaine, salvinorin A, and ketamine."
US Correctional Population Continued to Decline in 2021. The total correctional population in the United States fell 1 percent from yearend 2020 to 2021, according to statistics in Correctional Populations in the United States, 2021 – Statistical Tables and Probation and Parole in the United States, 2021, two reports released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The number of persons held in prison or jail or supervised in the community on probation or parole decreased by 61,100, down to an estimated 5,444,900. Overall, an estimated 1 in 48 U.S. residents age 18 or older were under correctional supervision at yearend 2021, down from 1 in 47 in 2020. Over the 10-year period from 2011 to 2021, the U.S. correctional population declined 22 percent. A drop in the number of persons supervised in the community on probation accounted for 65 percent of this overall change, while decreases in the number of persons incarcerated in state and federal prison accounted for 26 percent of the change.
In 2021, the U.S. incarceration rate increased for the first time in 15 years. However, the rate was still lower than the pre-COVID-19 pandemic rate of 810 per 100,000 in 2019. The increase in the incarceration rate was driven by a 16percent growth in the number of persons housed in local jails, which held an additional 87,200 persons from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, the community supervision rate fell to a 21-year low of 1,440 persons on probation or parole per 100,000 adult U.S. residents, after declining each year since it peaked at 2,240 persons per 100,000 in 2007. At yearend 2021, an estimated 3,745,000 adults were under community supervision, down 136,600 persons from January 1, 2021.
Changes in the demographic characteristics of the US correctional population were small from 2020 to 2021 but were greater than 20 percent over the decade from 2011 to 2021. The number of males in the total correctional population declined less than 1 percent (down 28,300) from 2020 to 2021, while the number of females decreased 3 percent (down 32,800). Compared to 2011, the number of males under correctional supervision in 2021 declined by 21percent and females decreased 25 percent. Over that same decade, the number of black persons under correctional supervision decreased more than 27 percent, while the number of Hispanic persons declined 21 percent and whites declined 20 percent.
Bolivia and Colombia Ask UN to Remove Coca from List of Prohibited Narcotics. The government of Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced Wednesday that it and the government of Bolivia will jointly ask the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to drop coca leaf from its list of prohibited substances and acknowledge the plant's traditional uses in Andean culture. "Bolivia and Colombia consider it is the moment to once again put this issue on the table," said Colombian vice-minister for multilateral affairs Laura Gil. "To remove the coca leaf – the leaf, not cocaine – from the prohibited substances list," she said. Bolivian President Luis Arce said last month that his government would seek for coca leaves to be removed from the list so they can be commercialized.
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