S. Dakota legalization measure lands on 2020 ballot
PIERRE, S.D. — A proposed measure legalizing and regulating the adult use and retail sale of marijuana in South Dakota has qualified for the 2020 ballot.
South Dakota’s Secretary of State’s Office acknowledged last week that the proposed constitutional amendment will appear on the November ballot. The measure permits individuals 21 and older to possess and to purchase up to an ounce of cannabis and creates a system to license and regulate retail marijuana businesses. Limited home cultivation is also permitted under the measure.
The proposal is the second marijuana-specific initiative to be approved by the Secretary of State’s office in recent weeks. Last month, officials similarly certified Measure 26, which legalizes patients’ access to medical cannabis, for the November ballot.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana by adults. In December, New Jersey lawmakers also decided to place an adult-use legalization question on the November 2020 ballot.
Minor pot offenses decriminalized in Hawaii
HONOLULU — Legislation took effect on Jan. 11 decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.
The new law, which was passed in July, reduces penalties involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, formerly punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a criminal record, to a non-criminal violation – punishable by a $130 fine. It also provides procedures for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams.
The law was enacted absent the governor’s signature.
Some lawmakers are hoping to expand the scope of the law in the coming legislative session.
Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of marijuana.
Italy court rules for marijuana cultivation rights
ROME — Italians may grow personal use amounts of cannabis at home without penalty, according to a determination by the nation’s supreme court.
Justices opined that “at home, small-scale cultivation activities are to be considered excluded from the application of the penal code.” The defendant in the case was cultivating two marijuana plants.
The ruling is similar to a decision made by South Africa’s top court in 2018 when justices concluded that it is not “a criminal offense for an adult to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption.” More recently, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that laws criminalizing the private use and cultivation of cannabis by adults are unconstitutional.
Packaging cannabis in vacuum-sealed plastic masks smell
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Subjects are unable to identify cannabis when it is packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic, but can do so when it is packaged in resealable sandwich bags, according to data published in the journal Science & Justice.
A team of investigators affiliated with Colorado State University evaluated whether untrained observers could correctly identify dried cannabis flower based solely on smell. They reported, “[O]pen and casually packaged cannabis was identified with high accuracy, while material packaged in doubly vacuum-sealed plastic was correctly identified at rates no different from chance.”
Authors concluded: “Interpretation of the plain smell doctrine is complicated in states where possession of a small amount of cannabis, or possession by persons with medical marijuana cards, has been legalized. … Given the results of the present study, smell-based searches where the material was vacuum-sealed within one or more layers of plastic may lie beyond the ‘sphere of reliability.'”
Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.