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Cannabis Legalization

Hawaii to Decriminalized Cannabis in the US

Jordan Webber

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Hawaii Decriminalize Cannabis

The state of Hawaii recently announced that it no longer considers possession of small amounts of cannabis a criminal offense. The decriminalization makes Hawaii one of the states and territory of the United States’ jurisdiction to do so.

Hawaii is recognized as the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in 2000. Governor David Ige clarified that the state is not yet ready to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Moreover, Ige “declined to sign” the law that decriminalized possession in small amounts.

However, the law will be implemented on January 11, 2020, despite the lack of the governor’s signature. This occurred because Ige failed to make his move before the deadline to veto the legislation.

With this bill in place, individuals who carry small amounts of marijuana will not be charged with a misdemeanor. The law states that individuals with “3 grams or less of weed” will be fined $130. No jail time applies for such instances.

In the past, a misdemeanor charge in Hawaii warrants up to 30 days in prison. A penalty of $1000 in fines also applied.

According to the governor of Hawaii, there are aspects of the legislation which “[he does not] like.” Ige also did not place the law on the list of laws he is deliberating for a veto.

In a news conference, the governor said that he did consider the decriminalization legislation. However, he expressed disapproval of the lack of stipulations regarding substance abuse treatments for younger individuals.

Ige remarked that while Hawaii continues to study issues encountered by other states with legal recreational marijuana, legalizing the recreational use is not yet on the agenda. He also emphasized that governors of other states “acknowledge significant problems with those measures.”

Meanwhile, eleven states (including Washington, D.C.) have laws that legalized recreational cannabis. In the latest development, Illinois is the first state to have a recreational marijuana legalization law that was signed by the state’s government. The state also allowed residents to appeal their convictions.

All other laws for recreational marijuana were made possible by ballot initiatives.

The governor’s legislation history regarding cannabis includes two vetoes for marijuana bills, which the legislature passed. He also shot down a law intended to legalize the transportation of medical marijuana from one island to another. He also prevented the passing of another law which intended to create a licensing process for industrial hemp.

 

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Cannabis Legalization

Barbados Attorney General to Introduce Medicinal Cannabis Bill to the Parliament

Daniel King

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Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Bill

Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall announced Sunday he will be introducing a medicinal cannabis bill to the parliament, which he expects to be debated later this month. This marks Barbados’ entrance into the list of countries who are to consider a medical marijuana program.

“It is going to be laid in Parliament on Tuesday and the plan is to debate it on Friday the 30th of August,” Marshall revealed during the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers Annual General Meeting held at the Argentina Embassy in Bridgetown.

To date, recreational marijuana is illegal in Barbados. Under its current law, people who are to be caught possessing cannabis for recreational use can be fined up to 250,000 Barbadian Dollars or face five-year imprisonment. Citizens who are guilty of marijuana trafficking are also likely to face life imprisonment.

During the conference, Marshall, who is also the deputy leader of Barbados, clarified that the government has no intention of permitting recreational marijuana use in the country. “The single treaty on narcotics, which is the 1969 United Nations Convention, exempts what would normally be illegal drugs, so long as the purpose is either medical or scientific,” he stressed during the press conference.

At the end of last year, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced that the government will be making further effort to join other countries in allowing the use of medical marijuana.

“There is no doubt that we will put a framework in place for medical cannabis within the next week or so. We have already taken the decision we just need a bit more refinement and training for the medical practitioners who will have the right to issue it,” she said during that time.

The recent announcement on the introduction of a medicinal cannabis bill to the parliament signals the country’s entrance in joining other Caribbean countries in making progressive cannabis reform.

“We have committed to medicinal cannabis because, as a fella said- ‘you gotta go where the science takes you’, but there is always going to be some push back,” said Attorney General Marshall.

In 2015, Jamaica decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in the country. Two years later, Antigua and Barbuda announced plans to legalize marijuana for religious and medical uses. St. Vincent and the Grenadines have also begun issuing marijuana cultivation licenses to local and international businesses earlier this year.

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Cannabis Legalization

France Cannabis Legalization Debate Fails to Count Race

Jordan Webber

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France Cannabis Legalization

The French Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (ANSM) recently allowed related authorities to conduct hearings in relation to medical marijuana legalization. According to Quartz, medical practitioners and cannabis advocates have been calling for this since 2013.

Cannabis has been illegal in France since 1970. The country’s decision to jumpstart dialogues aiming to shed light on the feasibility of medical marijuana takes a similar route as the United States.

In the US, this move resulted in the legalization and regulation of medical cannabis in many American states. However, Quartz pointed out France’s marijuana conversation fails to take into account race as an important part of its cannabis history.

‘Hidden war on drugs’

In the 50 years that cannabis is illegal in the country, studies show that Muslim minorities living in France received disproportionate negative impacts.

Records show that of the estimated 69,000 prisoners in France, 1/5 of the convictions are drug-related. Moreover, a study by the French National Assembly revealed that in 2010, there were 117,421 drug arrests. Around 86% of this number is related to marijuana.

The study also showed that there was a significant increase in cannabis-related arrest for “simple use.” In fact, the annual number grew from 14,501 in 2000 to 129,683 in 2015.

According to Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist specializing in the French prison system, around 50% of the people imprisoned in the country are Muslims with Arabic origins. France has 67 million people and only 9% of them are Muslims.

Quartz noted that the records suggest that around 1 in 6 French prisoners “may be an Arab Muslim man” who was charged with marijuana possession or distribution.

A history of misinformation

The marijuana policies in France is highly influenced by a history of misinformation. According to Quartz writer David A. Guba, Jr., hashish (another term for the plant) was seen in 19th-century France as a herb that induces “insanity, violence, and criminality.”

In fact, this misinformation permeated Algeria, a French colony during the 19th century. Psychiatric hospitals were filled with Muslims who suffer from “folie haschischique” or reefer madness.

Such misinformation still persists until today and evidently influences current drug laws in France. According to Guba, the “historic racism” related to marijuana remains to exist in the country.

French Muslims are bound to benefit from the proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana, along with cannabis enthusiasts and doctors.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

DC Opens Marijuana Dispensaries to Out-of-State Patients

Daniel King

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DC Opens Marijuana Dispensaries

On Thursday, August 8, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC announced that they will now accept medical marijuana cards from patients coming from any of the states in the U.S. with equivalent medical marijuana programs.

The new program will allow patients to purchase up to four ounces of medical marijuana each month. Patients from other states will only need to show their state-issued medical marijuana card to buy their medicines at any D.C. dispensary.

“This emergency rule making is patient-centric,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “It ensures medical marijuana patients from other states can obtain their needed medicine. It will also promote public safety by allowing visitors to obtain their medicine at one of the District’s six — soon to be seven — authorized marijuana dispensaries rather than forcing them to go without or patronizing the illegal market.”

The new policy will now expand the list of reciprocal acceptance from 19 to 27 states. The new additions include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont. The District is also currently reviewing four other states to include in the list, namely Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

DC’s Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment

First introduced in 2016, the Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment includes a reciprocity arrangement that allows medical marijuana users to use their out-of-state registration cards to purchase medical cannabis in the District. The amendment took effect in April of 2018 and approved 19 states as part of its list of reciprocal acceptance. Under the said policy, patients enrolled in a medical marijuana program from other jurisdictions can access medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

A year later, Mayor Bowser proposed the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019, which allows the sale of recreational cannabis in Washington, D.C. with a 17 percent tax. It requires cannabis-focused businesses to meet a threshold of 60% ownership by D.C. residents, and 60% DC-native employees.

“We want to be able to regulate, we want to be able to make sure we are collecting our fair share in taxes, we want to invest those taxes in ways that affect communities that have been disproportionately affected, and we want to train and hire DC residents,” she said at the time. The bill is currently under DC Council review.

The latest emergency rule making is regarded by many to have opened an avenue for non-resident patients to access medication when visiting the nation’s capital.

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