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New York Approves Draft Home Grow Rules, Idaho Resorts to Fentanyl Mandatory Minimums, More... (2/20/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1205)
Consequences of Prohibition

Marijuana Policy

Destroying a coca field and shack in Honduras. (Honduran Public Ministry)
New York Regulators Approve Marijuana Home Grow Rules, Issue New Business Licenses. State marijuana regulators last Friday gave initial approval to draft rules for home cultivation and issued more than a hundred marijuana licenses, including 38 retail licenses. The home grow rules have a 60-day public comment window before they go into effect.

Under the proposed rules, people 21 and over will be able to grow up to six mature and six immature plants per residence -- no matter the number of people residing there. They also allow home growers to possess up to five pounds of "cannabis flower that has been trimmed from plants, which have been cultivated in or on the grounds of said person’s private residence."

And licensed marijuana retailers will be allowed to start selling pot plants to customers.

Home grow was included in the state's 2021 legalization law, but regulators were given 18 months from the first legal sales to come up with the rules. Now they are on the brink of doing so.


Alaska Senate Committee Approves Therapeutic Psilocybin Task Force Bill. The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee has approved a bill to create a task force to study the therapeutic uses of psilocybin, Senate Bill 166, but only after amending it to get more in line with companion legislation in the House, House Bill 228.

Senate bill sponsor Sen. Forrest Dunbar (D) said despite changes "the overriding purpose of the task force is still the same: We are preparing Alaska -- hopefully preparing -- for what we see as the very likely legalization, in the medical context, of certain of these substances. To make clear, this bill does not legalize anything. It does not advocate for legalizing anything," Dunbar said.

Instead, the task force would be charged with proposing a regulatory and licensing framework "in anticipation" of federal approval and rescheduling.

Hawaii House Committee Approves Therapeutic Psilocybin Bill That Would Protect Patients. The House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee voted last Wednesday to approve a measure that would create an affirmative defense for psilocybin use if approved by a doctor and done with a trained facilitator, House Bill 2630.

Filed by Rep. Della Au Belatti (D), the bill would not legalize psilocybin. It advanced on a 7-0 vote, with five members absent.

The bill has already passed two other House committees and now heads to the House Finance Committee. If it passes there, it will go to a House floor vote.

Drug Policy

Idaho Senate Approves Bill with Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl Possession and Trafficking. The Senate voted 28-7 to approve a bill creating mandatory minimum sentences for possession of not-so-large amounts of fentanyl and for trafficking the drug, House Bill 406. The measure has already passed the House and is now just a governor's signature from becoming law.

Under the bill, possession of more than four grams of fentanyl or a hundred pills would have a mandatory minimum three-year sentence. The law does not require proof of intent to distribute. Dealing fentanyl that resulted in an overdose death could garner a penalty of up to life in prison.

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, said she worried the law would snatch up drug users, not big-time traffickers. "These kinds of laws are not getting the kingpins, they’re unintentionally getting the folks that are maybe addicts or are shuffling," she said. "And that's who gets in trouble, the people who aren’t as good at crime."


Honduran Troops Destroy Another Coca Plantation. The Honduran Public Ministry said last Friday it had incinerated three fields of coca plants near Iriona in Colón. The raid was undertaken by the Anti-Drug Trafficking Directorate and the Special Forces of the Honduran Armed Forces.

Authorities said they also found barrels full of coca leaves in "a rustic building where the leaves of the hallucinogen were supposedly processed." The Public Ministry said it was investigating who was responsible and "the alleged route they use to transport the base paste."

Indigenous to the Andean region of South America, the coca plant has been carried into Central America by drug traffickers seeking to shorten their supply chain. In recent years, authorities have begun to discover coca plantations and primitive facilities for processing the plant into cocaine.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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