California Bill Seeks to Automatically Seal 8 Million Criminal Records

“A proposal making its way through the California Assembly would automatically seal low-level criminal records -- part of a growing effort by several states to give offenders a better chance at reform.

The bill would affect millions of Californians whose prior rap sheets present significant social obstacles.  AB 1076 would ensure the automatic secrecy of records for certain offenders who  have completed their sentences. If passed, the law would take effect Jan. 1, 2021. [Read more…]”

Legalization Activists Push Marijuana Industry To Uphold Social Responsibilities

“A new memo from pro-legalization advocates offers some insight for marijuana businesses, investors and consumers on how they can better support social responsibility in the increasingly legal industry.

The four-page document unveiled by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) on Friday proposes guidelines to help assess whether a business is operating in a manner that recognizes the historic harms and injustices caused by prohibition. Specifically, the memo asks industry players to take a harder look at their policy positions, internal operations and practices, whether their company supports up-and-coming marijuana businesses and how invested they are in the local communities in which they operate. [Read more…]”

Latest Science Debunks Claim That Marijuana Significantly Harms Brain

“Claims that cannabis use is associated with lower cognitive functioning are largely based upon the findings of a single longitudinal study. The paper, published by Madeline Meier and a team of Duke University researchers in 2012, reported that the onset of cannabis use in early adolescence was associated with an average decline of eight IQ points by middle-age.

However, a critique of Meier’s study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, opined that the reported differences in IQ were consistent with socioeconomic differences among the study’s participants and likely were not attributable to marijuana use.” [Read more…]

Cannabis Industry Shouldn't Expand until We Fix Marijuana's Racial Inequities, Injustices

“Until states allow the immediate and automatic expungement of criminal records for all people with convictions for low-level marijuana possession, grant pardons for and release those who remain incarcerated on charges that are no longer criminalized, allow those with prior convictions to be first in line for licensing and job opportunities, and make current license holders commit to equitable hiring practices, there should be no further growth of the state-sanctioned cannabis industry. With the First Step Act now passed, it is important to turn to next steps in the fight for a fair criminal justice system. We must address the bill’s shortcoming — its failure to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. [Read more…]”

Baltimore to Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Possession Cases

“BALTIMORE - Marijuana is officially against the law in Maryland but Baltimore’s top prosecutor said on Tuesday that she would stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases within the city limits, regardless of quantity, and seek to vacate almost 5,000 convictions.

The announcement by Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, follows a nationwide trend in which big city prosecutors are de-emphasizing marijuana prosecutions. [Read more…]”

Structural Racism and Cannabis: Black Baltimoreans still disproportionately arrested for weed after decriminalization

“While decriminalization in Maryland has significantly reduced the number of cannabis-related arrests, data indicate the Baltimoreans still being arrested for cannabis remain almost entirely and disproportionately black.

During 2015, 2016 and 2017, Baltimore police arrested 1,448 adults and 66 juveniles for cannabis possession, according to Baltimore Police Department data supplied by the FBI.

Of those arrestees, 1,450 were black. That’s 96 percent. [Read more…]”

Marijuana Arrests Are Increasing Despite Legalization, New FBI Data Shows

“Marijuana arrests are rising in the U.S., even as more states legalize cannabis.

There is now an average of one marijuana bust roughly every 48 seconds, according to a new FBI report released on Monday.

The increase in marijuana arrests—659,700 in 2017, compared to 653,249 in 2016—is driven by enforcement against people merely possessing the drug as opposed to selling or growing it, the data shows. [Read more…]”

Cannabis Capitalism: who is making money in the marijuana industry?

“Besides the business challenges, America’s legal marijuana industry also has to reckon with an unavoidable moral dimension. The US has been engaged in a “war on drugs” since Richard Nixon declared it in 1971. While white Americans use marijuana and other drugs at roughly equal rates to African Americans and Latinos, in virtually every respect, racial minorities have been disproportionately incarcerated and otherwise punished for involvement with drugs, including selling marijuana.

In addition, marginalized groups – Aids patients, disabled people, veterans – who championed legalization when it was far riskier to do so now find themselves ill-equipped to compete against well-capitalized corporate refugees looking to jump on the bandwagon. [Read more…]”

Equity First Alliance Releases Letter Demanding Equity and Justice in Cannabis

“On September 17th, twenty-two organizations across the United States will release a letter that documents patterns of inequity and injustice in the cannabis industry. The signatories are set to announce themselves as the Equity First Alliance, the first national umbrella group to focus on these issues in the rapidly expanding cannabis landscape. The Alliance’s letter contrasts data from the burgeoning industry with data from the history of prohibition, which paint a picture of gross inequity, and concludes with a list of solutions. [Read more…]”

Here’s the FULL TEXT of the letter.