Incase you may have missed the news, let us give you a little recap.
Leaders offer blueprint for legal pot sales in Connecticut
Top lawmakers outlined a marijuana legalization blueprint Thursday that includes erasure of certain criminal records, a tax of roughly 20 percent, and “equity” incentives for communities where large numbers of pot-related arrests have occurred.
Leaders of the General Law, Judiciary and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees also said that while they would discuss incentives to encourage marijuana retail outlets in all regions of the state, they would not propose any mandates that would override local zoning restrictions.
“It is the first draft in a complicated and complex process,” Rep. Mike D’Agostino, D-Hamden, co-chair of general law, said of the initial wave of marijuana-related bills being released this week or soon thereafter. “It’s a long way to June. We expect these bills to evolve.”
D’Agostino and other committee leaders said initial plans call for numerous marijuana-related bills to advance simultaneously, each dealing with different components of the legalization and taxation process.
Three measures are being raised in the Judiciary Committee. These bills would legalize possession of less than 1.5 ounces of pot by those age 21 and older and allow for erasure of criminal records for those previously convicted of possession of this level of the drug.
They also would create a new offense of driving under the influence of marijuana for those who are smoking or ingesting while driving, or for passengers who might be smoking pot inside a vehicle under operation. The measure would allow for training of Connecticut law enforcement personnel by drug recognition experts.
A final component of the bills raised in judiciary would make clear employers don’t have to make special accommodations for those who show up at work impaired by or under the influence of cannabis, said Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport.
D’Agostino said bills being raised Thursday and Friday in the General Law Committee would establish a licensing process for marijuana growers, manufacturers and retailers.
Judicial Committee Hearing concerning retail legalization will be this Friday at the Legislative Office Building Friday March 22nd, 2019. Committee starts at 10am.
H/T: CT Mirror – Read More
Legalizing Marijuana With Focus on Social Justice
“It’s not enough to legalize marijuana at the federal level — we should also help those who have suffered due to its prohibition,” Senator Cory Booker
People in Colorado still remember John Hickenlooper’s crack after the state legalized marijuana, a move he opposed: “Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
But Mr. Hickenlooper, the governor at the time of the 2012 initiative allowing recreational use of cannabis, eventually changed his mind. He acknowledged that fears of increased use by children did not materialize, and he boasted of the tax revenues for social programs that regulated sales delivered.
Entering the Democratic presidential race this month, Mr. Hickenlooper joined a field already jammed with pro-legalization candidates, a reflection of swiftly changing public opinion since Colorado became the first of 10 states with legal recreational marijuana.
The issue today is a pillar of progressive politics, but not because of graying hippies who like their Rocky Mountain High. Rather, for many Democrats, legalization has become a litmus test for candidates’ commitment to equal treatment for all races in policing and criminal justice as well as fighting economic inequality.
“A Democrat who is not on board with legalization or addressing it in terms of repairing harms brought by prohibition for decades is going to have a tough time convincing any voter they’re serious about racial justice,” said Vincent M. Southerland, executive director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at New York University Law School.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey last month introduced the pointedly named Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize the drug nationwide and expunge past convictions. Supporters note that African-Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, even though rates of use are similar.
“It’s not enough to legalize marijuana at the federal level — we should also help those who have suffered due to its prohibition,” Mr. Booker said in a tweet.
Other 2020 candidates in the Senate quickly signed on as sponsors, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.
Beto O’Rourke, who often hedges when asked about contentious policy issues, has endorsed the federal legalization of marijuana unequivocally. Asked about it Thursday — at his first event as a presidential candidate, in Keokuk, Iowa — Mr. O’Rourke framed his position as a matter of practicality and racial justice, given that people of color are imprisoned at disproportionate rates for drug offenses.
“I say this as the father of a middle school student, where middle schools are one of the fastest growing markets for marijuana sales today,” he told a coffeehouse crowd. “In the black market, they do not ID — they do not care — as long as they can make that sale.”
The 2020 Democratic hopeful who may be most vulnerable on marijuana policy is former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who in the 1980s and 90s was a leader in the “war on drugs.’’ He championed laws that set tough mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, including possessing large amounts of marijuana. This led to an era of mass incarceration, with a lasting economic and social toll for minorities.
H/T: New York Times
Police Searched a Cancer Patient’s Room for MMJ
When police officers wanted to search Nolan Sousley’s medicine bag, he said no.
One of the officers said police had received a call that marijuana could be smelled in the hospital room in Bolivar, in western Missouri — where the substance is illegal, though medical marijuana will soon be available in the state. Sousley, who said he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, told the officers that he had taken THC oil pills in the parking lot of Citizens Memorial Hospital but that he did not have marijuana and he did not want them going through his things.
“There is no way they could smell it, doc, because I don’t smoke it,” Sousley said to a medical professional who was in the room Wednesday during a Facebook Live video. The video was streamed from the page “Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer.” “I don’t ever use a ground-up plant. It’s an oil that I use in a capsule.”
Then he told her about his bag of medication.
“I’m not letting them dig through it. It has my final-day things in there, and nobody’s going to dig in it,” Sousley said, his voice cracking.
Sousley said in a subsequent video that he ultimately let one of the officers go through the bag and that no marijuana was discovered.
The video of the search, which has been viewed more than 600,000 times, prompted outcry from people advocating for such oils and for Sousley, who has said that he does not know how long he has to live. The Facebook page for Sousley said he was diagnosed around Memorial Day with pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his liver. He said he takes THC oil to manage pain.
A Facebook post from Thursday talked about the viral response.
“This is what I’ve worked for. It finally got here. Here we go fellow fighters. We goin viral. I’m gettin calls from weed companies, attorneys I am crying I’m so happy. I can quit workin so hard now,” it read.
The comment added, “I told you I was gonna do this and I did. I want the world to see how we treat our own people. Forget immigration we have criminals laying in the hospital I guess. I am so happy. Look what we’ve done. All of us together. Thank you all so much for caring and believing. Let it go. Let it grow.”
Amid the uproar, Sousley told the Bolivar Herald-Free Press that he did not blame the police and hopes the incident can be used for good.
Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb told the Herald-Free Press that officers responded to a call last week about possible marijuana in a patient’s room at Citizens Memorial Hospital and obtained consent to conduct a search. It is not clear who placed the call. But Sousley told the newspaper that a security guard entered his room, saying he could smell marijuana smoke, then phoned police.
The Facebook Live video started after police arrived. In the video, an officer is seen searching bags in Sousley’s room.
During the search, a woman in a white lab coat, whom Sousley referred to in the video as his doctor, asked the officers, “Just from a legal standpoint, do you have probable cause to search his stuff? Do you have the right to search his stuff or do you need a warrant for that?”
Officers told the doctor that they had the right because it was on private property.
“So what’s the proceeding here?” she asked them. “Because he needs to be here.”
The officers explained that if they discovered marijuana, they would give Sousley a citation but would not take him to jail. Soon after, the broadcast ended.
Webb, the police chief, told the Herald-Free Press that “nothing was found.”
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Washington Post.
After the incident, Tamera Heitz-Peek, a hospital spokeswoman, said in a statement to The Post that “respect is part of our core values” and “our actions in this recent event did not reflect who we are as an organization.”
“We pride ourselves in providing compassionate care to all patients and we fell short of expectations,” she said in the statement Sunday. “We apologize to our patient and his family and friends who were affected by our actions. We are reviewing the incident and will retrain our employees in the core values and the importance of respect and dignity to our patients and the community.”
In November, Missourians voted to legalize medical marijuana for patients with serious illnesses or medical conditions. However, the rules and regulations needed to implement the law may not be in place until the summer, and the substance will not be available for purchase until at least January, according to the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, and chronic or terminal conditions may qualify for treatment.
Recreational marijuana is illegal in the state.
Webb told the Herald-Free Press that his department’s social media account has been overrun with negative comments since the incident.
In a statement to the newspaper Saturday, Sousley said that “we are all human beings” and then called on people to “treat everyone the way you want to be treated.”
“It is my desire that this entire situation be used for good — politicians should stop trying to limit our right to use cannabis and its derivatives,” Sousley said in the statement, which was provided to the newspaper by a lawyer with the same last name as his. “There are many issues that are demanding the attention of politicians. This is not one of them.”
He added that he hopes “CMH and the City of Bolivar will train officers to treat everyone with whom they interact with respect and refrain from treating people as if they all belong in jail, regardless of economic status, race, culture, religion.”
H/T: Washington Post