Trump Tries to Blame Pot for Mass Shootings, AR Governor Signs Dealer Murder Bill, More… (4/17/23)
Rerolled: April 17, 2023 | #STDW
Canada's Supreme Court upholds a Quebec ban on home marijuana cultivation, the Illinois Senate approves bills deepening marijuana legalization, and more.
Candidate Trump Suggests "Genetically Engineered" Marijuana May Be Linked to Mass Shootings. During a campaign speech before America's most powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), former President Donald Trump suggested that "genetically engineered" marijuana could be behind some mass shootings. But marijuana is just one of the blame agents Trump pointed to instead of addressing the proliferation of weapons in the country. "We have to look at whether common psychiatric drugs, as well as genetically engineered cannabis and other narcotics, are causing psychotic breaks" that lead to gun violence, he said. He would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate, he added. He also pointed a finger at "transgender hormone treatments and ideology," Above all, he argued, don't blame the guns: "This is not a gun problem. This is a mental health problem," he said. "This is a social problem. This is a cultural problem. This is a spiritual problem."
Illinois Senate Approves Marijuana Search, Probation Bills. The Senate has passed a pair of bills aimed at deepening marijuana legalization in the state. Senate Bill 125 would bar police from searching a vehicle based solely on the odor of marijuana, while Senate Bill 1886 would allow some people on probation to consume marijuana and alcohol. Both bills now await action in the House.
South Dakota Poll Suggests Marijuana Legalization Could Win in 2024. A South Dakota State University poll released Monday had support for marijuana legalization at 49 percent, with 41 percent opposed. State voters approved a marijuana legalization initiative in the 2020 election by a margin of 54-45 only to have the measure overturned by the state Supreme Court. Legalization was on the ballot again last year, only to be defeated 53-47. The pollsters noted that 2022 turnout was much lower than 2020 and that a higher turnout in 2024 could lead to another marijuana legalization victory.
Nevada Senate Committee Approves Bill to Create Psychedelic Working Group. The Senate has approved Senate Bill 242, which would create a working group to study psychedelics and create a plan to allow for access for therapeutic purposes. The bill originally would have legalized psilocybin and promoted research on it, as well as MDMA, but was significantly narrowed in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Now, instead of legalization, the bill would create a Psychedelic Medicines Working Group to examine the use of the substances "in medicinal, therapeutic, and improved wellness." The bill now awaits a Senate floor vote.
Arkansas Governor Signs Bill Allowing for Drug Sellers to Be Charged with Murder in Cases of Overdose Death. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has signed into law House Bill 1456, popularly known as the "Death by Delivery" bill. Under the bill, people who sell a drug that leads to an overdose death face a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The same sentence applies to those who package fentanyl in a way that "entices" minors or who sell to minors, regardless of whether a fatal overdose takes place.
Vermont Senate Committee Amends Overdose Prevention Bill to Include Drug-Checking Sites. The Senate Health Committee has amended an overdose prevention bill, House Bill 222, to include a statewide network of drug-checking sites where street drugs can be tested for deadly concentrations of illicit drugs. Approved by the committee last Friday, the amendment would grant immunity from arrest and prosecution for people running the sites and collecting samples, as well as the drug users who bring their stashes to be tested. If the bill now passes the Senate, it will have to go back to the House for a concurrence vote on the new language.
Canada Supreme Court Rules Quebec Ban on Home Marijuana Cultivation Can Stand. Under federal marijuana law, people can grow up to four plants at home, but the province of Quebec barred home grows in 2019. Now, after a Quebecer challenged the ban, the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that the provincial ban is constitutional. "The Quebec legislature saw the possession and personal cultivation of cannabis not as a social evil to be suppressed, but rather as a practice that should be prohibited in order to steer consumers to a controlled source of supply," the court held. That controlled source of supply is held by the state—in this case, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the government agency that operates cannabis stores in the province. The court also held that even though the federal law permits growing up to four plants at home, there is no "positive right to self-cultivation," writing that: "It is true that, in everyday language and even in the speeches of some parliamentarians, the creation of exceptions or exemptions under a scheme of criminal offences is often described as a 'legalization effort,'" the ruling reads. However, this way of speaking is incorrect and falsely suggests that positive rights authorizing particular conduct have been granted to the public."
Taiwan Reaffirms Strong Opposition to Marijuana Legalization. Responding to street demonstrations calling for marijuana decriminalization, the Taiwanese Ministry of Justice on Saturday reaffirmed the government's strong opposition to marijuana legalization. The reformers, organized as Wave Green, rallied in front of the presidential office in Taipei Saturday, urging the Justice Ministry to "stop the war against cannabis." But the ministry said prohibition would remain and is aimed at keeping people healthy and keeping society safe and stable. It asserted that long term marijuana use damages people's health and causes other harm to them. Under current law, marijuana use is punishable by up to three years in prison, while growers and sellers face up to life in prison and a $491,000 fine.
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