Monday, March 20, 2023

Regulatory Update: Congress Asks Biden To Pardon Cannabis Offenses And More

PA Gov. urges cannabis legalization; proposed California bill aims to legalize some psychedelics; and Malta’s Prime Minister says cannabis may be decriminalized.

By Nina Zdinjak

Congress Members Ask President Biden To Pardon Federal Cannabis Offenses

Thirty-seven members of Congress have issued a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for a blanket pardon to those with federal nonviolent cannabis-related offenses. (h/t NORML)

The letter was first signed by Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, who led the initiative.

The lawmakers wrote:

  • “During your previous tenure at the White House, President Obama understood that decades of harsh and discriminatory federal drug laws unfairly trapped minority individuals and communities in cycles of despair. That is why he used the tools of justice to grant clemency for 1,927 individuals convicted of federal crimes. Most of these individuals had been convicted on drug charges and would not have been sentenced so harshly, if at all, under today’s standards.”
  • “During your campaign, you committed that you would “automatically expunge all past marijuana convictions for use and possession.” Therefore, we urge you to grant executive clemency for all non-violent cannabis offenders. We look forward to working with you and the incoming Attorney General on quickly making this a reality.”

It is estimated there are millions the U.S. citizens with cannabis-related arrests and criminal convictions, many of whom are very young, or a part of a minority group.

California Bill Proposes Legalization Of Specific Psychedelics

A new Senate bill that proposes the legalization of possession of specific psychedelics in California was presented on Wednesday.

The bill was filed by Senator Scott Wiener and three Assembly cosponsors (h/t Marijuana Moment).

Under the new legislation, the possession of magic mushrooms, LSD and DMT would be legal, and also people with criminal records in relation to the possession or use of these psychedelics could ask for expungement.

sorry but the science of microdosing psychedelics is slim
Photo by eskymaks/Getty Images

What’s more, the bill proposes forming a group that will tackle the issues of potential future regulatory structures for psychedelics.

Other psychedelics covered in the legislation count ketamine, mescaline, MDMA, and ibogaine.

Social sharing would also become legal.

“Policy should be based on science and common sense, not fear and stigma,” Wiener stated. “The War on Drugs and mass incarceration are destructive and failed policies, and we must end them. Moreover, given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions.”

RELATED: Cannabis Regulatory Update: Hawaii Legalization, NJ Still In Question, South Dakota AG Won’t Defend Adult-Use

It’s worth noting that the Senator’s office says the bill is not supposed to mimic a “cannabis model,” or to create the ground for retail trade in psychedelics. It is, however, aimed at helping to “end the failed War on Drugs approach to addressing psychedelics while building on the science and research in the psychedelic field to create the potential for a therapeutic framework that could help people struggling from the effects of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other health conditions.”

Pennsylvania Governor Urges Cannabis Legalization

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has often expressed his support for cannabis legalization (h/t High Times).

The latest push came in a series of tweets, by which Wolf repeated his appeal to end prohibition in recreational cannabis use.

Revenue from the adult-use market would significantly help the Keystone State economy recover from the damages caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, he explained.

pennsylvania senators unveil bill to foster an adult use cannabis program
Photo by Igor Oliyarnik via Unsplash

“I want to see Pennsylvania begin the process to legalize adult-use marijuana this year,” Wolf said Wednesday morning. “The profits from this measure would be used to help us recover from COVID. Plus, it’s past time that we restore justice to those harmed by marijuana criminalization.”

RELATED: Pennsylvania Gov. Demands State Legalize Marijuana To Boost Economy

In another tweet, Wolf noted that legislators should aim to “keep up with other states and legalize adult-use marijuana.”

Malta’s Prime Minister Says Cannabis May Be Decriminalized

Robert Abela, the Prime Minister of Malta revealed on Thursday that the government works on legalizing “responsible use” of cannabis. (h/t leafie)

“The reform proposes the elimination of police arrests on cannabis for personal use,” the Prime Minister’s office told Lovin Malta in a written statement.

According to Abela, cannabis consumers may soon be allowed to cultivate their own plants as well.

This is the first time that a government official in Malta has provided “a clear indication of the direction the promised reform will take.”

“By pushing up the limits of possession to reasonable levels, users will avoid police interrogation and legal proceedings. Government is also considering allowing the cultivation of a small number of plants strictly for personal use.”

Malta recently hit the headlines for the arrest of a couple caught with cannabis on Valentine’s Day. The arrest was welcomed with strong and widespread disapproval.

Roberta Metsola, Member of the European Parliament representing Malta, tweeted: “Are we really still charging teenagers for smoking a joint? If only we went after the corrupt with the same fervour, our country might just move forward…”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.



Pot Products With THC-O Acetate Could Cause EVALI Lung Disease, New Study Warns

Products with THC-O acetate, which is believed to be three times more potent than delta-9 THC, are being advertised online and sold on the black market. 

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