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Marijuana

Decriminalized Marijuana Reinvents Racism And Poisoning

The decriminalization which is sweeping across the US carries with it the obvious facts that (a) pot is not and never has been a dangerous drug, and (b) criminalizing drugs has never brought anything positive. This suggests that those who have been victimized were done so wrongfully and therefore should be compensated for the wrongs done to them.  However, victims have been predominantly people of color and American racism reappears during the decriminalization phase in the form of trivializing harms done and offering restitution that barely scratch the surface of what is needed. Prior to addressing the shortcomings for wrongful damages for marijuana laws, the US should publicly apologize for the wrongheaded and thoroughly racist “War on Drugs” and pledge to compensate those who have suffered from it in ways that are comparable to cannabis-related issues below.

‘We’re Reversing 90 Years Of Prohibition’

On Tuesday night, New York went from being the marijuana arrest capital of the world to passing one of the most progressive legalized cannabis laws in the country. Update: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Wednesday morning [more details below]. As expected, the State Assembly and the State Senate both overwhelmingly passed the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, which permits adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana and grow the plant in their home. The legislation's two main sponsors, Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, had fought for the bill's passage for more than seven years. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had repeatedly tried to impose his own legalization plan on the legislation, agreed to sign the MRTA last week, as he continues to govern amid multiple scandals and investigations.

NYPD’s Enforcement Of Marijuana Laws Plagued By Extreme Racial Disparities

New York City - On March 4th of last year, Fitzroy Gayle was stopped by a plainclothes police officer in his neighborhood of Canarsie, Brooklyn. Video shows the 20-year-old, who is Black, begging to know why he was being detained. Moments later, close to a dozen NYPD officers sprinted toward the young man, tackling him to the ground as he cried out that he did nothing wrong. An NYPD spokesperson later claimed that Gayle was approached after he was spotted with a "lit marijuana cigarette" inside a nearby park. He was charged with possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. The incident, which drew widespread outrage, was one of 437 marijuana arrests made by the NYPD in 2020. That number is a fraction of the tens of thousands of New Yorkers arrested for smoking pot in previous years in New York City.

Maine: Medical Cannabis Is Now State’s Third Largest Economic Market

Augusta, Maine: Patients purchased an estimated $112 million worth of medical cannabis-related products in 2019, according to newly released Maine tax data. The annual revenues related to medical cannabis are more than the total revenues generated by the sales of blueberries, maple syrup, apples, herring, and oysters combined.

Los Angeles To Dismiss 60,000 Felony Marijuana Convictions

The Office of the District Attorney for Los Angeles County (population: 10 million) has announced that it will be dismissing an estimated 66,000 marijuana convictions. Some 53,000 people are anticipated to have their records expunged. Nearly 60,000 of the cases under review are marijuana-related felony convictions, some of which date back to the 1960s.

Big Pharma Losing Money As Patients Switch From Opioids To Cannabis

The news that cannabis is effective in treating most types of pain is shaking business and political institutions. Politicians and investors must come to grips with Big Pharma losing money due to the rise of cannabis. The findings could have huge consequences for medical practice and public policy. For example, cannabis could reduce the number of accidental overdoses and providing avenues for critically ill patients to re-enter the workforce.

Kansas Man Facing 25 Years For Cannabis That Stopped Chronic Seizures

“No seizure medication helped. In fact, my seizures got progressively worse over time. It was terrible. Terrible. At my lowest I contemplated suicide,” Burgess told KCTV5 News. At one point, he was taking 23 pills per day to combat the seizures with little effect. Fredonia, Kan., authorities were possibly tipped off when Burgess chronicled his marijuana-growing endeavors on Instagram.

11 States Where You Might Be Voting On Major Marijuana Reforms This November

Last year wasn’t a great one for advancing marijuana legalization at the state level. Despite high hopes for New Jersey and New York, state legislatures in Trenton and Albany couldn’t quite get their acts together, and promising efforts petered out. Illinois was the only state to approve marijuana legalization in 2019. It’s tough to push a legalization bill through the state legislative process.

Alaska Becomes First State To Allow Public Use Establishments

Juneau, AK: Officials with the Alaska's Marijuana Control Board have issued their first-ever permits to retailers who wish to allow customers to consume cannabis on the premises. While a handful of cities in other states — such as West Hollywood, California and Springfield, Illinois — have similarly issued municipal licenses to allow for on-site cannabis consumption, Alaska is the first jurisdiction to provide state approval for such facilities.

Marijuana Reform Advances Around The World

As we have welcomed a new year, it’s worth taking a look back at last year to ponder how far the world has come on marijuana law reform – and how far it has to go. The wall of marijuana prohibition continued to crumble in 2019, albeit at an achingly slow pace. A lot of the activity was in Europe. In February, Switzerland announced plans to let up to 5,000 people legally smoke marijuana in pilot studies aimed at shaping rules for recreational use of the drug.

House Committee Holds Hearing: Cannabis Policies For The Next Decade

Washington, DC: Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health on Wednesday held a legislative hearing, "Cannabis Policies for the New Decade," during which they considered multiple legislative bills aimed at amending federal cannabis laws. This marks the first time that members of the Energy and Commerce Committee have debated issues specific to marijuana policy reform.

‘Just The Beginning’: Illinois Gov. Pardons Over 11,000 On Eve Of Recreational Cannabis Legalization

"This is just the first wave of Illinoisans who will see a new world of opportunities emerge as they shed the burden of their nonviolent cannabis-related convictions and records." On Tuesday, just one day before "equity-centric" legislation legalizing sales and adult use of recreational marijuana took effect in Illinois, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker granted pardons to more than 11,000 individuals with low-level cannabis convictions. Pritzker, who signed the bill in June, announced the pardons during an event at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side...

California Illegal Pot Seizures Top $1.5 Billion In Value

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities seized more than $1.5 billion worth of illegally grown marijuana plants in California this year — an amount an industry expert said is roughly equal to the state’s entire legal market — as part of an annual eradication program, officials said Monday. The raids netted more than 950,000 plants from nearly 350 growing operation sites this year through the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program, an effort known as CAMP that dates to 1983 and is considered the nation’s largest illegal marijuana eradication program.

FBI: Marijuana Arrests Rise For Third Year In A Row, Outpace Arrests For All Violent Crimes

Washington, DC: The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the third consecutive year, according to data released by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, police made 663,367 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2018. That is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrested for the commission of violent crimes (521,103). Of those arrested for cannabis-related activities, some 90 percent (608,776) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses only.

Marijuana Goes To House Floor With Landslide Victory For SAFE Banking Act

For the first time since the war on marijuana was declared by President Richard Nixon, progressive marijuana law reform was considered on the Floor of the House of Representatives, and won by a landslide. Now, it is likely to be considered by the Senate. Yesterday, members of the House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, which amends federal law so that explicitly banks and other financial institutions may work directly with state-legal marijuana businesses.  If the SAFE Banking Act becomes law it will be a major advancement for legal and medical marijuana sales.
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