Austin won’t prosecute low-level pot offenses
AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Austin City Council have unanimously approved a resolution that forbids city officials from spending funds for the purpose of prosecuting low-level marijuana possession offenses.
The sponsor of the resolution called the measure necessary in order to reprioritize limited police resources and to arrest the racial disproportionality in marijuana arrests.
Texas NORML Executive Director Jax Finkel praised the change in municipal policy. “Austin officials should be doing the absolute most they can within their discretion to prevent these arrests,” she said. “This resolution prevents taxpayers’ funds from being wasted on enforcing this failed policy and refocuses monies where they belong, protecting our city from violent and property crimes.”
The local ordinance also applies to activities involving the personal possession of cannabis concentrates, edibles, or vapor cartridges.
Under state law, low-level marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a criminal record. Annually, Texas police make over 60,000 marijuana possession arrests – one of the highest totals in the nation.
Cleveland Council moves to decriminalize pot possession
CLEVELAND — Members of the Cleveland City Council have approved municipal legislation de-penalizing marijuana possession offenses. The measure now awaits final approval from the city’s mayor. Under the proposal, activities involving the possession of up to 200 grams of cannabis will no longer be punishable by an arrest, a fine, or a criminal record. Marijuana will still be defined as contraband and will be confiscated by local law enforcement. The measure is similar to those approved in several other Ohio cities, including Athens and Columbus, which also reduce or eliminate municipal penalties for the possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana.
Under state law, the possession of marijuana in amounts above 100 grams but below 200 grams is punishable by up to 30 days in jail.
Missouri awards medical cannabis dispensary licenses
JEFFERSON CITY, MO — State regulators last week began issuing the first licenses for medical cannabis providers.
Under the provisions enacted by a 2018 voter-approved ballot initiative, officials with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services must license a minimum of 24 dispensaries in each of the state’s eight congressional districts.
Regulators have already registered 27,000 patients to participate in the cannabis access program. Licensed dispensaries are expected to be operational by this spring.
Marijuana not associated with low infant birth weight: study
LONDON — Cannabis smoking during pregnancy, absent concurrent tobacco smoking, is not associated with lower birth weight outcomes, according to data published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine.
A team of investigators from Kings College in London assessed the association between the maternal use of tobacco and cannabis on infant birth weight and head circumference.
Researchers reported that self-reported tobacco smoking during pregnancy, as well as the combined use of tobacco and cannabis, was associated with reductions in birth weight and head circumference. By contrast, “cannabis use alone was not associated with a significant reduction in birth weight or head circumference.”
The study’s finding is consistent with those of prior studies, including a meta-analysis which concluded, “Maternal marijuana use during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes after adjusting for confounding factors.”
Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.