Seattle City Council Passes Measure to Decriminalize Psychedelics

The Seattle City Council voted in favor of a resolution last week to support the decriminalization of magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics. With the resolution, city leaders called on Seattle police to make arresting and prosecuting people for use or possession of naturally occurring entheogenic substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca and other psychedelics “among Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”  

“It is a long overdue conversation to decriminalize these non-addictive natural substances,” council member Andrew Lewis said at the city council’s meeting on October 4. “Our law enforcement officials certainly have more important things to do than arrest people for possession of entheogens, and this resolution affirms that.”

Under the resolution, which is non-binding and serves only as a recommendation, the city council requests that the Seattle Police Department “formally codify and adopt policies that protect” those who cultivate psychedelics “for use in religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices and those who share entheogens with others, without financial or other consideration, for their mutual use in such practices.”

Under current SPD policy, officers do not detain or arrest individuals solely for possession of controlled substances. Those who cultivate or sell entheogenic or psychedelic substances, however, are subject to arrest and prosecution.

Council Notes Spiritual Uses of Psychedelics

At a virtual meeting of the city council, members noted that psychedelic compounds are often used for religious or spiritual purposes. The resolution does not cover synthetic psychedelic drugs such as LSD or ketamine, and excludes the entheogenic cactus peyote, which is embroiled in controversy because of its limited native habitat and significance as a sacramental plant for members of the Native American Church.

“These nonaddictive natural substances have real potential in clinical and therapeutic settings to make a really significant difference in people’s lives,” said Lewis. “This resolution really sets the stage as the first significant action in the state of Washington to move this policy forward.”

Lewis also told reporters that there is “a huge demonstrated potential for these substances to provide cutting-edge treatments for substance abuse, recovery from brain injuries and other issues. I want to make sure we’re following the science in our policies around regulating these substances.”

The strategy for Seattle’s resolution to decriminalize psychedelics is similar to the approach that led to cannabis reform in Seattle and eventually statewide. In 2003, the city’s voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 75, an ordinance which made the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority for Seattle police.

In 2012, Washington became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana with the passage of Initiative 502, which was passed with the approval of more than 55% of the state’s voters. Washington voters had previously decriminalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 1998 with the passage of Initiative 692, which garnered 59% of the vote.

Council Chooses Psychedelics Decriminalization Resolution Over Ordinance

The city council approved the resolution supporting the decriminalization of psychedelics by a unanimous vote at last week’s meeting, but not before debating other potential avenues to achieve the same goal. Council member Kshama Sawant noted that the non-binding resolution carries less weight than a proposed psychedelics decriminalization city ordinance that was drafted three months ago.

“To decriminalize psychedelics in fact rather than just in rhetoric would require an ordinance,” Sawant said. “It is this city council not the police department that has the authority to pass such an ordinance,” adding that “I am a little confused by this resolution because it is a resolution and not an ordinance, and why this resolution is being passed when there is an ordinance from my office, and it has been available for months.”

“I fail to see what the plausible reasons are for councilmembers who claim to support this issue to let an ordinance which takes concrete action sit in the city’s computers unintroduced, and instead push a resolution which only has the power to make requests,” said Sawant.

Council member Lisa Herbold, the chair of the public safety committee, noted that state lawmakers would likely engage in a “robust discussion about enforcement around possession of drugs” during the next legislative session. In February, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state’s felony drug law was unconstitutional, effectively decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs. In April, however, lawmakers passed new legislation to make low-level drug possession a misdemeanor until at least 2023.

Tatiana Quintana, co-director of Decrim Nature Seattle, a group that has been working to decriminalize psychedelics in the city for more than a year, said that an ordinance is the ultimate goal.

“In terms of strategy, [Lewis] was very supportive of an ordinance, but it kind of played out that a resolution would be a really great way to build support for an ordinance,” Quintana said. “I actually do think that the slower process of a resolution building not only awareness but support for a future ordinance is pretty smart. It’s a pretty smart way to go about things.”

The post Seattle City Council Passes Measure to Decriminalize Psychedelics appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Felons Can Now Get Cannabis Licenses in Washington State

Felons will no longer be automatically barred from getting a cannabis license in Washington State, beginning next Saturday on October 2. Several updates to the rule now allow some people with serious felonies to obtain cannabis licenses, on a case-by-case basis.

That’s thanks to a new rule set by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board that will go into effect shortly. Anyone who obtains a license must first pass an obligatory background check, but now, a felony on a record won’t necessarily be an automatic disqualifier.

Serious felony convictions within the past 10 years, however, will still trigger deeper scrutiny of a person’s application. But the rules no longer bar people with felonies from receiving a license. 

The protocol for less serious felonies also was updated. Specifically, one Class C felony on a record won’t automatically bar their license application. In addition, if someone has fewer than three misdemeanor convictions in the past three years, that won’t be enough to prompt a deeper review. 

Failure to report an old misdemeanor from juvenile court won’t count against applicants anymore, either.

With a strong focus on social equity in recent years, the rule change is being celebrated by cannabis business people because it allows people who were arrested at disproportionate rates to enter the legal industry.

“I think it’s great what the state is doing in terms of allowing people who have issues in the past, to be able to qualify,” Tran Du, co-owner of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis in Seattle, told KOMO News.

The idea behind the rule change is that people who were arrested at disproportionate rates for cannabis shouldn’t be barred from participating in the industry, now that it’s legal.

“We wanted to bring parity in the disproportionality that we saw from the leftover of the war on drugs and that Black people were being arrested and brown people were being arrested disproportionately,” said Representative Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) who is also chair of the state Social Equity on Cannabis Task Force.

Morgan stressed the need to get the state’s priorities in line. “The bottom line is bringing parity to the industry and making sure that Black and brown people have equal access to this industry in ownership,” she said.

Why Allow Felons?

Disparities in arrest rates of people of color are evident in numerous states, and Washington state is no different.

A study conducted by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, entitled “240,000 Marijuana Arrests Costs, Consequences, and Racial Disparities of Possession Arrests in Washington, 1986‐2010,” found that although African Americans and Latinx people consume marijuana at lower rates than whites, African Americans were arrested for marijuana crimes at 2.9 times the rate of whites in the state. Latinos were arrested at 1.6 times the rate of whites.

The burden of a felony can prevent some people from participating in the cannabis industry. As an example, High Times highlighted the case of Katree Darriel Saunders, who was barred from Nevada’s industry over a pot charge. As a one-time employee in the Nevada medical space, served four months in federal prison over a probation violation after choosing cannabis over opioids to treat trauma and injuries. That choice has burdened Saunders for over a decade, largely preventing her from participating in the industry despite years of experience, success and an otherwise spotless record. 

Other routes into the cannabis industry are available, depending on what state you live in. Several states that have legalized marijuana also offer opportunities for convicts to expunge their records.

The post Felons Can Now Get Cannabis Licenses in Washington State appeared first on High Times.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Advocates Float New Strategy To Pass Marijuana Legalization In Senate With Democratic Support In Question (Marijuana Moment)

// Montana House Revives Bill To Implement Marijuana Legalization After First Defeating It (Marijuana Moment (Daily Montanan))

// Drug Possession To Be A Misdemeanor- For Now- Under Washington State Bill Headed To Governor’s Desk (Marijuana Moment)


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// These states could still legalize recreational or medical cannabis in 2021 (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Pennsylvania Marijuana Poll Shows Highest-Ever Support For Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Harborside Q4 Net Revenue Increases 11% to $12.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Auxly Revenue Keeps Rising But Losses Remain (Green Market Report)

// After hitting record numbers during the pandemic’s peak new medical marijuana patients are surging again in Florida (Yahoo News (South Florida Sun-Sentinel))

// Peoples-Stokes hosts Buffalo marijuana expungement clinic (WGRZ 2 NBC)

// New York’s Native American communities eye recreational cannabis (Marijuana Business Daily)

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Thursday, April 15, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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Thursday, April 15, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Schumer Says It’s Time To End Federal Cannabis Prohibition (Gothamist)

// California Bill To Legalize Possession Of Psychedelics Clears Second Senate Committee (Marijuana Moment)

// Wisconsin Governor ‘Tired’ Of Marijuana Revenue Going To Illinois Next Door (Marijuana Moment)


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// Sixth Minnesota House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill On Its Path To The Floor (Marijuana Moment)

// Swap the crop? New York hemp farmers eager to grow marijuana

// Jushi Buying Dalitso Facility For $22 Million (My Journal Courier (AP)) (Green Market Report)

// Valens Q1 Revenue Increases 25% Sequentially to C$20 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Alabama Medical Marijuana Bill Moves Closer To Floor Vote With House Committee Action (Marijuana Moment)

// Neighbor states give Illinois $10 million in cannabis taxes every month (Leafly)

// With State Law Against Drug Possession Overturned Washington Governor Frees 15 People From Prison (Marijuana Moment)

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Judiciary Committee Passes Recreational Marijuana (CT News Junkie)

// California Senators Approve Bill To Legalize Possession Of Psychedelics Like LSD, MDMA, And Psilocybin (Marijuana Moment)

// Gov. Lujan Grisham to sign regular session bills before special session bills (KOB 4 News)


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// Biden Is Too Busy To Decriminalize Marijuana, Harris Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Slang Revenues Rise In Fourth Quarter, But Drop Overall In 2020 (Green Market Report)

// 4Front Q4 Revenue Increases 90% to $17 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Organigram Buys Edibles Manufacturer for $22 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Advances In Senate For Second Day In A Row (Marijuana Moment)

// Workers at Rhode Island medical cannabis dispensary vote to unionize (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Washington Lawmakers Hear Drug Decrim Bill After Supreme Court Strikes Down Prohibition (Marijuana Moment)

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Wednesday March 17, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Connecticut House Speaker Says ‘Optimism Abounds’ As Marijuana Legalization Negotiations Proceed (Marijuana Moment)

// Legalizing Marijuana Has Been A ‘Uniformly Positive’ Move In Washington State Governor Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Oregon Governor Appoints Panel To Implement Historic Legal Psilocybin Therapy Measure (Marijuana Moment)


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// California awards $15 million more in cannabis social equity grants (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ann Arbor to put $476K in new marijuana revenue to social equity programs (Michigan Live)

// Majority Of Florida Voters Back Marijuana Legalization And Oppose THC Limits, New Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

// Columbia Care Beats On Revenue, Misses On Earnings (Green Market Report)

// Village Farms Cannabis Sales Grow 2% Sequentially to $17.3 Million in Q4 (New Cannabis Ventures)

// It’s completely legal, but still the hemp industry has trouble finding banks – here’s why (Columbus Dispatch)

// State’s first on-site consumption cannabis bar set to open (KFVS 12 CBS)

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Friday, February 26, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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Friday, February 26, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Washington Supreme Court Strikes Down Criminalization Of Drug Possession (Marijuana Moment)

// Disagreements Threaten Virginia Marijuana Legalization Deal As Deadline Approaches (Marijuana Moment (Virginia Mercury))

// Dispensaries: Millions in tax revenue could be lost if legislators delay Montana’s recreational marijuana program (KTVQ 2 News)


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// Another New Mexico House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Sales of cannabis pre-rolls up nearly 50% in 2020 despite pandemic (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Sales of Canadian cannabis edibles extracts fall for first time (Marijuana Business Daily)

// House passes recreational marijuana legislation in North Dakota (Rapid City Journal (AP))

// Missouri pushes back deadline for medical cannabis businesses to open (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canadian marijuana firm Canopy Growth files $2 billion shelf prospectus (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New Jersey Attorney General Orders Marijuana Cases To Be Dropped Following Legalization Bill Signing (Marijuana Moment)

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Mexico adult-use marijuana bill advanced by state House panel (Marijuana Business Daily)

// South Dakota AG abandons effort to defend adult-use marijuana initiative (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Washington Lawmakers Approve Drug Decriminalization Bill In Committee Vote (Marijuana Moment)


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// New York Governor To Send Amended Marijuana Legalization Plan To Lawmakers Amid Criticism (Marijuana Moment)

// Massachusetts medical cannabis patient numbers top 100,000 (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Michigan’s marijuana industry surpasses Oregon in cannabis jobs report says (Michigan Live)

// Recreational pot sales have more than doubled since Maine’s market launch (Central Maine)

// Mississippi Senate Approves Alternate Medical Marijuana Program Hours After Defeating It (Marijuana Moment)

// Canopy unloads British Columbia cannabis greenhouses at large loss (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cannabis spurs creative but unrealistic ideas study shows (Marijuana Business Daily)

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