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Federal Drug Prisoner Population Declines, CA Psychedelic Legalization Bill Advances, More... (7/13/23)

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Originally published at Stop The Drug War

A GOP-led House committee has killed marijuana and psychedelic reform amendments to the defense spending bill, a Mexican drug cartel uses roadside bombs against the police, and more. 

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy      

House Committee Kills Every Marijuana and Psychedelic Amendment to Must-Pass Defense Spending Bill. The GOP-led House Rules Committee has killed more than a dozen bipartisan marijuana and psychedelic policy amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The Republican leadership of the committee declined to accept any of them for floor votes. Among the proposed amendments killed was one to end marijuana testing for people trying to join the armed forces, one protecting federal workers from losing security clearances because of marijuana, one allowing servicemembers to use CBD and other hemp-derived products, and one investigating the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics.

Michigan Ends Pre-Employment Marijuana Screening for Most State Jobs. Following months of public comment, the Michigan Civil Service Commission has voted unanimously to adopt new rules ending the practice of pre-employment marijuana screening for most state workers. Under the new policy, most public employees will no longer be required to undergo pre-employment marijuana testing. (Exceptions to the new rules will remain for those in certain safety sensitive positions, like law enforcement personnel.) Those previously denied positions because of a failed marijuana test are also now eligible to immediately reapply for employment.

Psychedelics

California Psychedelic Legalization Bill Wins Another Committee Vote. A bill that would legalize the possession and use of certain psychedelics, Senate Bill 58, which has already been approved by the Senate, has now won a second committee vote in the Assembly. The measure passed the Assembly Health Committee on a 9-2 vote Tuesday. It must now pass only one more committee, the Assembly Appropriations Committee, before heading for an Assembly floor vote. The bill would legalize the “possession, preparation, obtaining, transfer, as specified, or transportation of” specific amounts of psilocybin, psilocyn, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline for personal or facilitated use. Notably, “synthetic” psychedelics like LSD and MDMA would not be legalized, unlike the provisions of the previous version of legislation from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).

Berkeley City Council Effectively Legalizes Some Psychedelics. The city council of the East Bay city voted Tuesday to effectively legalize a range of psychedelics by voting unanimously to make the enforcement of state and federal laws against psychedelic plants and fungi the lowest law enforcement priority. The resolution passed, however, bars the “giving away, sharing, distributing, transferring, dispensing, or administering” of psychedelics..

Sentencing

Nearly a Quarter Fewer Persons Were in Federal Prison for Drug Offenses in 2018 Than in 2013. The number of people held in Federal Bureau of Prisons’ facilities on a drug offense fell 24% from fiscal yearend 2013 (94,613) to fiscal yearend 2018 (71,555), according to Sentencing Decisions for Persons in Federal Prison for Drug Offenses, 2013–2018, a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. These persons accounted for 51% of the federal prison population in 2013 and 47% in 2018.

Between 2013 and 2018, there were large decreases in persons serving time in federal prison for marijuana (down 61%), crack cocaine (down 45%) and powder cocaine (down 35%), with a smaller (4%) decline in persons imprisoned for opioids. These reductions were partly offset by growth in the number of persons serving time for heroin (up 13%) and methamphetamine (up 12%).

During the 5-year period, there was also a 33% decrease in the number of people in federal prison who, because of the type and amount of drugs involved in their offense, faced the possibility of mandatory minimum penalties at sentencing. A similar decline trend was observed in the number who ultimately received penalties (down 26%) and received relief from penalties (down 52%).

About 60% of all people in BOP custody for drug offenses at fiscal yearend 2018 had received mandatory minimum penalties: 22% for methamphetamine, 15% for powder cocaine, 14% for crack cocaine, 5% for heroin, 4% for marijuana and less than 1% for opioids. When the federal prison population was analyzed by persons who could have received penalties for their drug offense, those serving time for crack cocaine were more likely to receive penalties (94%) than those held for marijuana (82%), powder cocaine (81%), heroin (80%), methamphetamine (79%) or opioids (70%).

International

Montreal Police Raid Illegal Magic Mushroom Shop on Opening Day. FunGuyz, a chain of shops selling illegal magic mushrooms, has already had several of its stores raided in Ontario, and on Tuesday, it could add one in Montreal to the list. Montreal police raided the shop hours after it opened offering a menu of pills, dried mushrooms, and chocolate bars laced with psilocybin.

A FunGuyz spokesman called the raid a “simple” product seizure and a “waste of taxpayers’ money.” He said opening FunGuyz was a form of protest to challenge the illegality of psychedelic drugs. “We do expect the police to come in and raid us because obviously what we’re doing, it’s illegal,” he said on Tuesday. “The idea behind everything is, are the police willing to … use the taxpayers’ money for mushroom stuff?”

Mexican Drug Cartel Use Roadside Bomb to Kill Cops. Four police officers and two civilians were killed by a series of roadside bombs in the western state of Jalisco on Tuesday. Authorities said an anonymous caller reported a tip about a supposed clandestine burial site, and when police went to investigate, seven roadside bombs went off simultaneously. The blasts were so powerful they left craters in the road, destroyed at least four vehicles, and wounded 14 more people. The state prosecutor blamed an unnamed drug cartel. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has significant experience with improvised explosive devices, as well as bomb-dropping drones.

Ukraine Parliament Gives Initial Approval to Medical Marijuana Bill. The parliament has given initial approval to a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the country. It must still be approved in a second reading and then sent to President Volodymyr Zelensky for his signature. Zelensky has already said he supports the bill. 

Originally published at Stop The Drug War


Source: https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2023/jul/13/federal_drug_prisoner_population


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