Written by Sonia Case
Following important cannabis news articles every day can be a real burn-out, we know. That’s why the Emerald rolls up a chronicle of the headiest news hits, and passes them to you at the end of each week. We Bring You: The Digital Dime.
Sorry, My B
On Monday, June 28th, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis officially signed House Bill 1424 into law. HB 1424 will permit the governor to mass-pardon individuals convicted for possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis. While the specifics of the pardoning process remain unclear, Gov. Polis plans to start issuing pardons in 90 days.
The bill signing took place at Simply Pure, the first Black-owned dispensary in Denver. HB 1424 should also make it easier for individuals most affected by the War on Drugs, including people of color, to enter the legal cannabis industry.
During the bill signing, Gov. Polis expressed his optimism about the bill, stating that “we hope this measure will be a first step for new opportunities for thousands of Coloradans who should not be living with a cloud over their head simply because they were a little bit ahead of their time.”
Oh Hi Ohio
The Ohio Senate voted 24-5 on Tuesday, June 30th, in favor of Senate Bill 3. The bill aims to increase the cap for simple cannabis possession from 100 grams to 200 grams. Under current Ohio law, possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis is classified as a minor misdemeanor.
If passed, individuals caught with 200 grams or less of cannabis would be punished with a civil citation and a $150 fine. However, they would not be subject to arrest or incarceration. SB 3 would also increase the limit on hash possession to 10 grams, downgrade the criminal designation for possession of larger amounts of cannabis and also downgrade charges for possession of other drugs.
The bill would also create a new charge for “intent to distribute,” according to The Columbus Dispatch. This would allow prosecutors and officers to increase charges if they suspect the individual of being a dealer.
While Ohio’s SB 3 may be a step in the right direction, it’s unclear if this “intent to distribute” charge may be used selectively to further target people of color.
Well kids, it’s official. As of this Wednesday, July 1st, Virginia has become the 27th state to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. Gov. Ralph Northam first signed House Bill 972 and Senate Bill 2 into law on Thursday, May 21st.
According to Leafly, the new law also reclassifies Virginia as a legal medical cannabis state, bringing the national state count to 35. Possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis is now considered a civil offense and carries a $25 fine.
Close, But No Cigar…
An Indian national is now facing life in prison after getting caught trying to smuggle 9,472 pounds of cannabis over the U.S.-Canada border—that’s almost $20 million worth of herb. Customs and Border Protection stopped the truck at New York’s Peace Bridge Port of Entry around midnight on Thursday, June 25th.
The unnamed 26-year old driver has been charged with possession of 1,000 kilograms of cannabis and importation of cannabis into the U.S. with intent to distribute. HighTimes reports that this is the third major cannabis bust at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in the last 30 days.