Biden's Pardon Benefits Arizona, Legalization In Kentucky & South Dakota, New Measures In Oregon

Arizona Would Be Most Benefit From President Biden's Pardons

According to federal sentencing data, Arizona could be "among the states that benefit most from President Joe Biden's pardons of more than 6,500 people who were convicted in federal court of simple marijuana possession charges."

An analysis from the US Sentencing Commission showed that, between 1992 and 2021, more than 1,450 people in Arizona were federally convicted of at least one count of simple possession of marijuana, reported Az Central.

Additionally, data from the Commission showed that since 2015, the state also had the highest number of citizens with simple possession of marijuana convictions of any state. Also, ninety-three percent of the state's 500 convictions during that time resulted in prison sentences.
Also, the Commission's analysis showed "the pardons likely wouldn't result in mass prison releases nationwide because no one who'd been federally convicted for simple possession of marijuana remained in custody by the end of January."

According to the Department of Justice website, pardons do not remove a federal conviction from someone's criminal record as Arizona's voter-approved expungement program does for state charges.

However, it could lessen any stigmas associated with a conviction and, in some cases, restore a person's right to vote or help them obtain employment. "For a lot of people out there, I imagine this is a really welcome relief," said Jonathan Udell, an attorney with the Rose Law Group and acting co-director of Arizona NORML.

"I think there's a lot of people out there that really feel the sting of being branded a non-law-abiding citizen. And this sends a very big message to those people that you're not a bad person because you smoked a plant one time that grew out of the ground or possessed some grass in your pocket," Udell concluded.

Missouri Activists Release Revised Versions Of Cannabis Ad After Police Complaint

Missouri activists reedited ads promoting their cannabis legalization ballot initiative after the State Highway Patrol sent the campaign a cease-and-desist letter seeking the ad’s removal, saying they didn't give their blessing for the ad showing police officers.

Legal Missouri 2022 removed the digital ads before uploading two new versions that still show police vehicles and depictions of a police officer though without identifiable insignias, reported Marijuana Moment.

Titled “Our Turn,” the narration of the new ad, points out that 19 states have elected to legalize recreational marijuana. “Now it’s our turn, Missouri. A vote yes on Amendment 3 is a vote to let police focus on serious crime and give millions in new funding to veterans’ health care. For our police, for our vets: vote yes on 3.”

There’s also a 30-second version of the ad.

Legal Missouri 2022 backs Amendment 3, which seeks to allow Missourians over 21 to possess, consume, purchase and cultivate marijuana in the state.

Despite A New State’s Poll Results, South Dakota Campaign Claims Big Cannabis Companies Are Failing State Legalization Efforts

A new survey from KELOLAND News, Emerson Collegea nd The Hill showed that fifty-one percent of “South Dakotans plan to vote against the legalization measure next month, while 40 percent said they’ll be supporting it and 10 percent remain undecided.”

However, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) claimed its ability to reach voters this cycle has been limited by a lack of interest and financial contributions from large cannabis businesses.

SDBML Director Matthew Schweich, who also serves as deputy director of the national Marijuana Policy Project said: “I believe we’re going to have a good result on Election Day in spite of these polls (...) Our focus is on working hard, which is what we’ve been doing for the past year.”

Schweich said 70 percent of the campaign’s funding has come from state businesses, which “underscores the fact that there is no philanthropic national support for cannabis reform anymore," reported Marijuana Moment.

“The future of cannabis reform ballot initiatives is going to be 100 percent industry-funded,” he added. “I’m deeply frustrated with the biggest cannabis companies in this country, who have been wasting their money on D.C. lobbyists and have achieved virtually nothing. Meanwhile, state-level reforms are starving even though all our progress has been at the state level.

“Thousands of dollars are wasted on federal efforts that should have been directed to the state level,” he concluded. “They’ve got their priorities backward.”

Medical Marijuana Legalization In Kentucky

Earlier this year, the Kentucky House passed a medical cannabis bill, but the Republican-controlled General Assembly decided against it. Pike County Republican state Senator Phillip Wheeler believes this next session could be the year legalization becomes a reality as he plans to introduce his own MMJ bill.

The lawmaker said November elections will bring new members of the General Assembly with new perspectives on the issue, reported Eyewitness News.

"I'm hopeful the new members coming in will join those of us who have consistently supported medical cannabis in the General Assembly (...) We can start the discussion again and see where it goes," said Wheeler, who also thinks it is firmly within the policing power of the General Assembly to regulate it.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear added his support. "In our executive action, we won't have the ability to fully legalize it and set up a system throughout Kentucky, but we do believe we can provide relief, especially for those who can legally purchase it in other states," he said. "The specific type of relief will come when we announce the executive actions."

Cannabis Is Medicine: Recently, the governor’s office released a report revealing new findings from a medical marijuana advisory committee, which he established in June. As per the report, “Kentuckians want medical cannabis legalized.”

Oregon Cannabis Operators Should Report Human Trafficking

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) are requiring cannabis operators to report human trafficking or related suspicions.

According to Medford TV station KDRV, the measure by state regulators requires staff at licensed marijuana operations to report “if the employee or worker has a reasonable belief that sex trafficking or other human trafficking is occurring at the premises.”

As MJ Biz Daily reported, the new rule also requires employees to report if they have a reasonable belief that a minor is working on the premises, which could violate OLCC rules.

However, employees are immune from criminal or civil liability for initiating such a report, due to the amnesty provision included in state mandates.

Additionally, the OLCC finalized rules related to the state's cannabis license moratorium, which will be in effect until March 31, 2024.

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