N.M. guv signs law decriminalizing minor pot possession
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation into law decriminalizing the possession of personal use amounts of cannabis.
Senate Bill 323, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, reduces first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor — punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a ‘penalty assessment,’ punishable by a $50 fine. Subsequent offenses, or in situations where the defendant possesses greater amounts of marijuana, will remain punishable by the possibility of jail time.
Police in New Mexico made over 3,600 marijuana possession arrests in 2016.
Guam legalizes adult marijuana use
HAGATNA, Guam — Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has signed legislation legalizing the personal possession of marijuana by adults, and establishing regulations governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. Guam is a U.S. territory with an estimated population of 165,000 people.
Upon signing the measure into law, the governor announced, “We must regulate this illicit drug that is the most widely used drug in our society. We have to take it and control it, monitor its use and effects, benefit from its medicinal efforts, allow our people to live in a safer environment.”
The Cannabis Industry Act (Bill No. 32-35) permits those age 21 or older to legally possess and transfer up to one ounce of marijuana flower and/or eight grams of concentrated cannabis. The measure, which took immediate effect, also permits adults to privately cultivate up to six cannabis plants (no more than three mature) in an “enclosed, locked space.” Public consumption of cannabis will remain a violation of law.
The act creates a new regulatory board to draft rules governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. The board has a one-year timeline to adopt rules necessary to permit for the operation of licensed cannabis establishments.
Lawmakers resolved that the policy change “enhances individual freedom, promotes the efficient use of law enforcement resources, [and] … enhances revenue for public purposes.”
Guam joins the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island as the second U.S. territory to legislatively enact adult use marijuana legalization.
Fewer Colo. companies sanctioning employees over marijuana failures
DENVER — The percentage of Colorado companies that engage in pre-employment screening for cannabis is declining, as is the percentage of businesses that impose policies calling for the dismissal of employers who test positive for THC metabolites on a drug screen, according to survey data compiled by the Denver-based Employers Collective.
According to the survey, only 48 percent of Colorado companies with “well defined” drug testing policies will fire an employee for a first-time positive test result for cannabis — down from 53 percent in 2014. Five percent of companies surveyed reported having dropped marijuana from their pre-employment testing within the past two years.
“What we’re seeing here is basically it’s (concerns about employees misusing marijuana in the workplace) a nonissue,” an attorney for the group said.
Standard workplace drug screening identifies the presence of inert drug metabolites (breakdown products), but not the active drug itself. Carboxy-THC, the most common metabolite of THC, may be detectable in urine for weeks or even months following previous marijuana exposure.
W. Va. guv signs marijuana banking measure
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation into law facilitating banking access to licensed medical cannabis businesses. The law takes immediate effect.
House Bill 2538, states, “The Commissioner of Financial Institutions shall not prohibit, penalize, incentivize, or otherwise impair a financial institution from providing services to a person or entity involved in a medical cannabis-related business functioning under the Medical Cannabis Act.” West Virginia legalized medical cannabis access in 2016, but the program is yet to be operational.
Federal law discourages banks and other financial institutions from engaging in relationships with marijuana-related businesses.
Cannabis news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Learn more at norml.org.