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Schumer Touts Legalization’s Chances in New Senate
Speaking with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the leader of the Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, explained why legislation to legalize marijuana federally that passed the House is going nowhere.
Schumer explained how his Republican counterpart is blocking the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act that passed the House from getting a vote in the Senate.
Control of the Senate hangs on the results of two runoff elections in Georgia tomorrow. Should Democrats win both races, Schumer will likely become the Democrats’ majority leader. But Schumer holds out hope that no matter what, legalization can move forward in 2021.
Judge Approves Medical Marijuana for New Mexico Prisoners
The law that allows for the medical use of marijuana in New Mexico even applies to people who are incarcerated, according to a ruling from District Court Judge Lucy Solimon.
Marijuana Moment reports that New Mexico’s medical cannabis law broadly protects registered patients, and those protections extend to people serving time in jails or prisons, according to the ruling.
The correctional facility “shall comply with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act…and shall not penalize persons in custody or under the supervision of the Metropolitan Detention Center, including those in the Community Custody Program, for conduct allowed under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act,” Judge Solimon wrote on Tuesday.
That’s consistent with an amendment to the state’s medical marijuana law that was approved last year.
It stipulates that a “person who is serving a period of probation or parole or who is in custody or under the supervision of the state or a local government pending trial as part of a community supervision program shall not be penalized for conduct allowed under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.”
Illinois Governor Expunges Half-Million Marijuana Records
The governor of Illinois on Thursday announced more than 500,000 expungements and pardons for people with low-level marijuana offenses on their records.
The massive clemency and records clearing sweep comes about one year after the state’s legal cannabis market launched.
Illinois’s marijuana legalization law includes restorative justice components that require the state to proactively expunge certain cannabis convictions—but this development puts Illinois four years ahead of schedule.
Illinois has sold half a billion dollars’ worth of legal cannabis products since the launch of the program.
New Hampshire Supreme Court Upholds Religious Use of Psilocybin
The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled last week that a man convicted of possession of psilocybin mushrooms was wrongfully tried because his use of the psychedelic was part of his religious practices.
Jeremy Mack was part of a Native American church that authorized the use of the fungi under controlled circumstances. But in 2018, he was convicted for possession following a search for weapons under a confiscation order.
The high court cited the state Constitution and case law in their unanimous ruling, saying that the trial court where Mack was convicted failed to accurately interpret the religious freedom rights he is entitled to, at least under state statute.
Unlike the First Amendment freedom of religious belief under the U.S. Constitution, New Hampshire’s Constitution explicitly protects actual religious practices so long as they do not “disturb the peace.” That was a question before the justices: did Mack’s personal consumption of psilocybin mushrooms constitute an unlawful disturbance?
The court determined that it did not.
Marijuana Legalization Official in Montana & New Jersey
The possession of marijuana is now legal in two states where there is no legal way to acquire it.
January 1, 2021 marked the effective date of the initiatives to legalize marijuana that were passed in the states of Montana and New Jersey.
In Big Sky Country, adults age 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to four mature cannabis plants. The legislature must still act to create the commercial market, with a deadline of October 1, 2021, to set up the regulations and begin accepting license applications.
In the Garden State, the situation is murkier. The state constitution now says that “cultivation… and consumption of cannabis by persons 21 years of age or older… shall be lawful.” But the laws criminalizing cannabis still exist, opening up the potential of arrest for a constitutionally-legal activity.