WA Drug Sentencing Fix Fails, SC 4/20 Pot Pardon Bill Filed, More… (4/24/23)
Rerolled: April 24, 2023 | #STDW
Dispensaries are finally coming to Georgia (though product choice is limited), a trio of 4/20 week polls show continuing strong support for marijuana legalization, and more.
Three New Polls Show Continuing Strong Support for Marijuana Legalization. Polls from CBS News, YouGov, and Civic Science released during 4/20 week all show continuing strong support for marijuana legalization. CBS News had 64 percent of respondents wanting marijuana legalized in their states, including 73 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents, and even 53 percent of Republicans. YouGov had support for legalization in the respondents' state at 58 percent, while Civic Science had 64 percent supporting legalization.
South Carolina Bill Would Pardon One-Fifth of Marijuana Possession Inmates Each Year. Introduced on informal marijuana holiday 4/20, a bill from Rep. JA Moore (D-Berkeley, Charleston), House Bill 4358, would pardon one fifth of people convicted of simple marijuana possession each year on 4/20. Under state law, simple possession is possessing less than an ounce and typically involves a jail sentence of no more than 30 days, but a second offense can garner up to six months. "We need to make sure that people that are doing petty crimes, like simple possession of marijuana, aren't filling up our justice system; we need to save those spaces for violent criminals or people that are victimizing our community," Moore says. The state has the second-highest marijuana possession arrest rate in the country, and Black people are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for it.
Georgia Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Finally Coming, Maybe Next Month. Nearly eight years after the state first approved a medical marijuana program, dispensaries are finally set to open their doors within weeks, as early as late May. But the state's 26,000 registered patients will be limited in their purchases to "low THC oil" with less than 5 milligrams of THC. Buds, edibles, and vaping cartridges are banned under the state's limited program. The state issued production licenses to two firms last September, but legislators and regulators have been slow to pass laws to implement the program. Under rules approved in January, the state will eventually license up to six companies to make and sell the oil.
Washington Drug Sentencing Deal Fix Falls Apart. After the state Supreme Court threw out the state's felony drug possession law, legislators had until July to come up with a replacement. They thought they had one in Senate Bill 5536, which would have made simple drug possession a gross misdemeanor, but the bill unexpectedly failed in the House Saturday night as several Democrats joined 40 Republicans in voting no. The dissident Democrats felt that the bill was too harsh, while the Republicans thought it was too soft. Now, with no chance of passing the bill before the regular legislative session ends, pressure is mounting on Gov. Jay Inslee (D) to call a special session to clean up the mess. Without legislative action, the state would no longer have a uniform policy on drug possession, leaving localities to set their own laws.
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