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.
Not Enough of a Good Thing
Data released earlier this month by the California Department of Justice shows a 27% decline in felony cannabis arrests from 2018 to 2019. However, the demographic data for those arrests highlights the racial disparities that continue to plague the criminal justice system. Of those arrested, 42% were Hispanic while 22% were Black.
According to Ellen Komp, the deputy director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), these figures underscore how challenging it is for Black and Hispanic growers and sellers to enter the legal cannabis market given the high investment costs, taxes and fees.
Mi Casa Mi Casa
On Tuesday, July 21st, the New York Senate passed a bill to protect tenants from being evicted for legal medical cannabis use. Senate members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, sponsored by Democrat Sen. Anna Kaplan, in a 58-2 vote.
The measure follows a 2018 case when a 78-year-old man in Niagara Falls was evicted from federally subsidized housing for using legal medical cannabis. The bill has been forwarded to the Housing Committee for approval.
Permission to Chill
This Monday, July 20th, the House of Representatives voted 336-71 in favor of allowing military service members to use hemp and hemp derived products like CBD. The measure is one of various non-cannabis related amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Marijuana Moment reports that the measure, sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, indicates that the “Secretary of Defense may not prohibit, on the bases of a product containing hemp or any ingredient derived from hemp, the possession, use, or consumption of such product by a member of the Armed Forces.”
The Smoking Gun
NYC cannabis users — don’t let your guard down. Last August, New York decriminalized simple cannabis possession following a failed legalization attempt. Technically, anyone caught with 2 ounces of cannabis or less won’t face anything beyond a ticket or a court summons. But did you know that smoking cannabis is still considered a crime?
The NYC official 311 page document states that filing a smoking complaint qualifies as an “emergency” and that one must call 911 to “report marijuana smoking in progress.” As one can imagine, this enables the continued targeted arrests of Black and Hispanic consumers.
NYPD data shows that 93% of people arrested for cannabis crimes between January and March of 2020 were either Black or Hispanic.