VA gov signs marijuana bill in ceremony; Another poll shows legal cannabis support; WA lawmakers advance drug bill as AG says don’t recriminalize .
For the second day in a row, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on President Joe Biden’s marijuana stance. This time she misstated the impact that modest rescheduling would have on cannabis prisoners whom Biden made a campaign pledge to free.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the marijuana legalization bill—even though he didn’t really have to, as it took effect when lawmakers approved his amendments earlier this month. But the cannabis win was one he wanted to celebrate with a ceremony.
A new poll found that 55% of Americans support legalizing marijuana in their own state. It also found broad backing for clearing past cannabis conviction records.
As Washington State’s attorney general urges lawmakers not to recriminalize drug possession following a state Supreme Court case that invalidated prohibition, a House committee advanced a bill to reinstate penalties—though only as a misdemeanor.
A Drug Enforcement Administration agent claimed that New Mexico will actually lose money by legalizing marijuana.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service tweeted, “Hemp farmers can be conservationists, too! Our Environmental Quality Incentives, Conservation Stewardship, Regional Conservation Partnership, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Programs are all available to hemp producers.”
The House of Representatives, on a voice vote, approved the extension of a Trump-era policy expanding mandatory minimum sentencing for a range of fentanyl-related substances. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) led a letter opposing the policy earlier this week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Legislators in New York not only legalized marijuana—but ensured restorative justice for those harmed by the War on Drugs. This is the right approach and a model for how we should deal with this issue in Congress. I will keep working to end the federal marijuana prohibition.” He also tweeted, “For decades, young men and women—disproportionately men and women of color—have been arrested and jailed for carrying even small amounts of marijuana. I’m working to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) defended the shifting drug decriminalization positions of associate attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta in a floor speech ahead of the successful vote on her confirmation.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) cited her state’s legalization of marijuana in a Senate floor speech defending Gupta’s nomination.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) posted on Facebook, “Ban private prisons. Legalize marijuana. End the Failed War on Drugs. It’s time we fix our savagely broken criminal justice system and focus on restorative justice.”
Sen. Angus King (I-ME) spoke about changing societal views on marijuana.
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) said he thinks marijuana banking legislation will be enacted within the next two years.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) posted a video of herself and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) wearing matching marijuana masks and discussing the prospects for reform.
Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “We need to make sure that the booming legal #cannabis industry does not become consolidated in the hands of a few big companies.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “Legalize recreational cannabis nationwide, expunge the records and seek amnesty for those incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses.”
Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Karen Carter Peterson tweeted, “It’s time for real change to transform a broken criminal justice system that targets our communities — starting with legalizing marijuana, expunging past convictions, banning private prisons, and ending mandatory minimum sentences.”
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed a bill reforming hemp regulations.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted information about how people can apply to have past marijuana convictions pardoned.
Nebraska’s secretary of state certified that the Legal Marijuana Now Party met the requirements to be recognized as an official political party.
The Nevada Assembly approved a bill to require more than a blood test showing the presence of THC to prove someone is driving while impaired.
An Illinois representative filed an amendment to increase the number of marijuana dispensaries in the state, with priority given to social equity applicants.
Washington, D.C. regulators will begin requiring medical cannabis patients to present valid ID cards at dispensaries as of July 1 as part of the resumption of various enforcement activities that were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Maryland regulators issued a bulletin saying that medical cannabis patient and caregiver ID card will no longer include photographs.
Washington State regulators sent an update on efforts to modernize their systems.
Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.