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CO Safe Injection Site Bill Killed, Crowds on Golden Gate Park's Hippy Hill for 4/20, More... (4/22/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1209)
Consequences of Prohibition

Pot fans gathered in Berlin and San Francisco to mark 4/20, the Colorado Senate has approved a social media bill that could ban praise of illicit drugs, and more.

They smoked pot in Texas in 1973, too. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

San Francisco Canceled the 420 Celebration at Hippy Hill; Thousands Came Anyway. For years, a city-sanctioned celebration of stoner culture took place on 4/20 at Golden Gate Park's Hippy Hill, but this festival organizers announced there would be no event and urged people not to come. Thousands of people showed up anyway for a day of smoky commiseration on the hallowed day.

Crowds walked from historic Haight Street into Golden Gate Park, where thousands gathered as one attendee's speakers blared Afroman's anthem, "Because I Got High."

"420 is my favorite holiday," said one young celebrant.

While the celebration had gone on for decades, the event this year was canceled because of city budget cuts, the "climate of the cannabis industry and economy," and concerns over chaotic crowds in the past. Fights and robberies had been reported in past years, but all was apparently tranquil this 4/20. The officially sanctioned celebration will be back next year...

Drug Policy

Colorado Senate Approves Bill Banning Social Media Praise of Drugs. The Senate last Thursday approved a bill mandating that social media platforms promptly delete any user "who promotes, sells, or advertises an illicit substance," Senate Bill 24-158. The bill is a broad measure aimed at internet age verification and content regulations, but critics say its anti-drug language violates the First Amendment.

The bill could require social media platforms to bar users from saying anything positive about controlled substances online, including psychedelics that are legal in the state, certain hemp products, and even some over-the-counter cough syrups. Marijuana, which is legal in the state, was initially included in the ban, but was removed via an amendment from bill sponsor Sen. Chris Hanson (D) that notes that "a social media platform may allow a user to promote, sell, or advertise medical marijuana or retail marijuana to users who are at least twenty-one years of age" if the content that the user is posting is in line with state cannabis laws.

"The updated version would still prevent users from from promoting NyQuil or anti-anxiety medications among many others, even though it exempts marijuana," said R Street Institute Fellow Shoshana Weismann. "And if you promote those medications, you will be reported to law enforcement. That is asinine."

The bill also includes certain hemp products, such as those containing over 1.25 milligrams of THC or any with a CBD-to-THC ratio under 20:1, as well as most other hemp-based products meant for human consumption.

And psychedelic advocates are raising the alarm. Kevin Matthews, the man behind the groundbreaking Denver campaign to decriminalize psilocybin, said if the bill passed, it would "make it nearly impossible to even simply talk about plant and fungi medicine on any social media network without state monitoring." The bill's language "severely handicaps the emergent psychedelic ecosystem at all levels to educate the public," Matthews wrote, "and gives broad powers to a state apparatus to take legal action against individuals for expressing their opinion online."

The bill now heads to the House.

Harm Reduction

Colorado Lawmakers Kill Safe Injection Sites for Second Year in a Row. For the second year in a row, an effort to legalize safe injection sites in the state has been killed in the legislature. The measure had passed the House but died in the Senate.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted last Thursday night to kill a bill that laid out a path for their operation, House Bill 1028. The bill would have allowed drug users to bring with them and use "controlled substances" under the supervision of medical personnel at facilities which would also provide "life-saving care," as well as drug paraphernalia, kits to test for fentanyl, counseling, and treatment referrals.

The bill would have allowed municipalities to authorize such sites, but so far only the city of Denver has shown interest in the harm reduction measure. Last year, the city saw 582 overdose deaths, up by 129 over the previous year.

The bill was backed by health care providers and the Colorado Freedom Fund, but opposed by cities and law enforcement.


German Marijuana Legalization Celebrated by Thousands at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. German pot smokers held a double celebration Saturday at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, commemorating the 4/20 holiday and their own country's recent legalization of the weed. Police estimated some 4,000 people showed up to celebrate.

Attendees enjoyed music and speeches by activists as they toked up on their drug of choice. Some in the crowd held signs saying "Not Everyone Wants to Drink," a reference to the country's Oktoberfest beer festival -- where the government recently announced marijuana use would not be allowed.

But the German transit agency Deutsche Bahn put something of a damper on the celebration by announcing that weed and hash smoking would be banned at train stations even though it maintains designated cigarette- and cigar-smoking areas on its platforms.

"Based on the legal ban on daytime cannabis consumption in pedestrian zones and in the vicinity of schools and playgrounds, we would like to safeguard all our passengers at our stations, especially children and young people," Deutsche Bahn said.

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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