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VT Lawmakers Override Safe Injection Site Veto, Dutch "Weed Experiment" Expands, More... (6/18/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1215)

A New Jersey psilocybin legalization bill gets amended into a therapeutic psilocybin services bill, bipartisan Pennsylvania lawmakers prepare to roll out a marijuana legalization bill, and more.

A Dutch marijuana coffee shop. Now, shops in 10 cities can obtain a legal, licensed supply of marijuana. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Announce ] Marijuana Legalization Bill. Reps. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) and Emily Kinkead (D-Allegheny) on Monday announced they plan to introduce the first comprehensive, bipartisan adult-use cannabis legalization bill in the House, prioritizing public safety, consumer protection, social equity, and criminal justice reform.

The pair said their bill would build on the state's medical marijuana program and create jobs and tax revenues while helping to erase the black market.

"This bill underscores our commitment to responsible regulation of the cannabis industry while addressing the diverse needs of Pennsylvania’s communities," said Kaufer. "By prioritizing public safety and consumer protection, this legislation will build on the successful regulatory structure of the state's medical cannabis program, continuing stringent standards for product quality, packaging, and labeling to ensure the well-being of all consumers."

"It is well past time for the Commonwealth to legalize cannabis for recreational use, address the injustices of the failed War on Drugs, and ensure that Pennsylvanians can benefit from this industry in the same way our neighboring states have," said Kinkead. "Our bipartisan effort to provide specific language that takes the best practices from other states is the next substantial step in finally getting this done."


New Jersey Lawmakers Amend Psilocybin Legalization Bill, Turning It into a Therapeutic Use Bill. An Assembly bill that would legalize the use, cultivation, and possession of psilocybin mushrooms, Assembly Bill 3852, has been transformed into a bill that would only authorize the therapeutic use of the drug. The Assembly Health Committee amended the bill on Monday.

A companion bill in the Senate has met a similar fate.

As filed, the two bills would have made it legal for adults to "possess, store, use, ingest, inhale, process, transport, deliver without consideration, or distribute without consideration, four grams or less of psilocybin." The now-amended bills instead envision a Psilocybin Advisory Board that would establish qualifying conditions for use, propose guidelines for psilocybin services, and oversee the nascent industry.

The amended bills also contain a social equity program that would provide financial assistance to help cash-strapped people cover the cost of therapeutic psilocybin services.

The bill now heads for an Assembly floor vote.

Harm Reduction

Vermont Lawmakers Override Governor's Veto of Safe Injection Site. In a dramatic session Monday, the General Assembly first fell one vote short of overturning Gov. Phil Scott's (R) veto of a bill authorizing a safe injection site, House Bill 72, then reversed itself and overrode his veto by the same one-vote margin.

State law requires a two-thirds supermajority to override a veto. The House voted to override, but the Senate came up one vote short on the first try.

With the successful override, Vermont becomes the third state to authorize safe injection sites, after Minnesota and Rhode Island. But New York City remains the only jurisdiction to actually open one.


Dutch Experiment with Legal Marijuana Supply Expands. Beginning this week, an experiment with creating a legal, licensed marijuana supply for the country's famous marijuana-selling coffee shops is undergoing a major expansion. The program with coffee shops in two cities, Breda and Tilburg, last December, but is now expanded to eight more cities.

Now, as many as 80 coffee shops in 10 Dutch cities can legally buy their weed from one or more of three licensed growers. For years, the Dutch have tolerated the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana even though it remains illegal, but there was no provision for a legal supply, leading to what is known as "the back door problem."

The eight additional cities now participating in the "wietexperiment" ("weed experiment") are Almere, Arnhem, Groningen, Heerlen, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Voorne aan Zee (formerly Hellevoetsluis), and Zaanstad. Amsterdam, the country's largest city and world-famous marijuana tourism destination, is not included.

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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