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Immigrants Can Be Denied Citizenship for Working in Legal Marijuana Industry

The California Compassionate Care Network (CCCN) marijuana dispensary’s grow operation is one of the stops on the cannabis tour organized by L.A.-based Green Tours, January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  ROBYN BECK/Getty Images

The California Compassionate Care Network (CCCN) marijuana dispensary’s grow operation is one of the stops on the cannabis tour organized by L.A.-based Green Tours, January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

ROBYN BECK/Getty Images


 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance a day before the unofficial marijuana holiday that makes clear working in the marijuana industry, or even just possessing cannabis could be grounds to reject a citizenship application—regardless of whether it is done in a state where it is legal.

Violations of federal marijuana laws “are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law,” according to the guidance issued Friday. Merely being “involved in certain marijuana-related activities” could be sign that an applicant for citizenship “may lack good moral character” regardless of whether “such activity has been decriminalized under applicable state laws,” according to the USCIS statement.

Immigration lawyers who work in states where marijuana is legal say they have been dealing with this issue for a while now, leading Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock to send a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking for clarification about policies that have been affecting immigrants. This isn’t just a theoretical issue either. CNN reports that two immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than two decades were told they were not eligible for naturalization due to their work in the marijuana industry. “I work hard in an industry that offers opportunity and that’s unquestionably legal within the state. For the government to deny my citizenship application because I’m a bad person is devastating,” one affected immigrant tells CNN.

Advocates for legalization say the guidance is more a reflection of the government’s anti-immigrant attitude than about drugs. “I don’t think this is about marijuana at all,” said Michael Collins, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “I think this is about them using the war on drugs to go after migrant community and that’s what they’ve been doing since Day 1.” A total of 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana while 10 states and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana.


Oklahoma Begins Medical Marijuana Approval Process, Issuing First Patient Licenses

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Cannabis has been a pressing issue in Oklahoma lately. Earlier this summer, voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana. Since then, the state has been moving fast to implement the new program. As Oklahoma begins the medical marijuana approval process, issuing its first patient licenses, the state has taken a big step toward making medical marijuana a reality.

Oklahoma and Medical Marijuana

Last weekend was a potential landmark for medical marijuana in Oklahoma. On Saturday, the state’s medical marijuana application system went online. It was instantly flooded with applications from patients, businesses, and caregivers.

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According to the Associated Press, it was a big first day. In particular, the state received 1,054 applications from patients, 634 applications from business hopefuls, and three more applications from potential caregivers.

By the end of the day, the state had received around $1.5 million in application fees.

 

On the same day, the state also started issuing its first round of licenses. Over the weekend, authorities gave licenses to 23 patients.

This first small round of licenses was reportedly completed mostly as a way of testing the state’s system for receiving and reviewing applications, and for issuing licenses. If authorities are satisfied with the online system’s weekend performance, they plan to resume issuing licenses this week.

So far, the state’s online application portal seems to be working well. By the end of the weekend, state officials reported only a couple of minor errors. The main issue was that people with Yahoo and iCloud email accounts didn’t receive automated confirmation emails. The glitch was apparently fixed quickly.

 

The weekend’s licensing activity was the latest chapter in Oklahoma’s medical marijuana drama. Earlier this summer, voters approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana.

Despite winning the majority vote, the bill still faced significant opposition that carried over, even after the vote.

In particular, there was a lot of back and forth as advocacy groups and lawmakers attempted to make various amendments and revisions to the medical marijuana program. One of the biggest debates centered on whether or not the state would allow smokable marijuana.

 

Shortly after voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana, there was a surge of voices calling for the ban of smokable cannabis. The Oklahoma State Board of Health actually issued a ban on smokable medical marijuana.

The Board said that actual bud or other plant matter should not be allowed in dispensaries. It said it would still allow patients to grow their own smokable cannabis at home.

However, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin struck down that ban earlier this month when she signed a number of revised regulations.

The revised set of rules signed by Gov. Fallin did not include a ban on smokable marijuana. Similarly, the new rules also got rid of an attempt to require every dispensary to have a pharmacist on site.

For proponents of medical marijuana, Gov. Fallin’s revisions were important steps to ensure that medical marijuana is accessible to a broad range of patients.

Now that the state’s application system is up and running, the state can start officially issuing licenses. Advocates of medical marijuana hope to see marijuana sales begin sometime in the near future.

Marijuana in the Midterms

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Marijuana legalization is going to be a lead issue in the 2018 elections. Advocating for an end to our decades-long failed prohibition is not only good policy, but good politics. Regulating the adult use of marijuana is currently supported by a majority of Americans from all political persuasions, and any candidate for local, state or federal office would be wise to advocate for the will of the people and make ending prohibition a core plank in their election platform. Supporting sensible reform to our nation’s marijuana laws is not just overwhelmingly popular, it is the economic, scientific and moral thing to do.

  With nine states having passed adult-use marijuana regulations, and 30 states authorizing medical-marijuana access, issues surrounding cannabis policy have taken center stage in local, state and federal elections. Over 90 percent of Americans support medical-marijuana access, and 60 percent support legalizing and regulating marijuana in a manner like alcohol.

If you look back at just the past year, it is clear that if we want the implementation of marijuana-reform laws to succeed, we need to begin voting out officials who are permanently afflicted with reefer madness and replace them with forward-thinking individuals who will fight for rational marijuana policies at all levels of government.

 

With a majority of states now engaging in activities that are in conflict with federal prohibition, it is absurd that House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) refuse to even hold a hearing on this issue.

However, it is not just members of Congress who deserve our attention. With ongoing efforts to delay the rollout of legalization and regulation of marijuana in Maine and Massachusetts, mostly at the behest of those states’ governors, we need to push 2018 gubernatorial candidates to take proactive and positive stances on marijuana policy. If you look to New Jersey as an example, which recently saw the exit of anti-drug zealot Chris Christie and the election of pro-legalization Phil Murphy, you can see the positive impact of having a reform-friendly governor on the tenor of the debate. Already, the state is moving to expand and reinforce its long-suffering medical-marijuana program, and Murphy’s election catapulted the topic of full legalization to the top of this year’s legislative-priorities list.

There are a number of races this year that are worth watching from a marijuana-reform perspective. In Texas, the opportunity to replace Senator Ted Cruz with pro-legalization Beto O’Rourke would add a new, outspoken supporter to the US Senate. In California, there is an outside chance that Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, who long opposed our efforts despite the vast majority of her party now being in support of reform, could be ousted by current California Senate President Kevin de León, who has a far better record on cannabis issues. Also of incredible importance are the many gubernatorial elections being held, particularly in Maine, where the current governor (and ardent prohibitionist), Paul LePage, will be term-limited out of office. Governor LePage has spent every day since the 2016 election working to slow down or outright prevent the implementation of his state’s marijuana-legalization initiative. We need to ensure that whoever takes the position after him is progressive and aggressive in implementing legalization.

 

Even on the local level, these elections have a huge impact. In Easton, PA, an effort to decriminalize marijuana failed in the past month due to just one vote, and counties in states that have legalization are often empowered to “opt-out” of allowing retail marijuana outlets in their jurisdictions. Local politics, in many ways, matters just as much if not more than what is happening at the federal level, and reform supporters need to be just as diligent in lobbying their local officials and candidates as those at the top of the ballot.

With the clock ticking down to Election Day, get informed, be sure you are registered, and go out and “smoke the vote” this November.

California Lawmakers Pass Bill to Overturn Pre-Legalization Marijuana Convictions

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California lawmakers have passed a bill directing prosecutors throughout the state to overturn convictions for acts that are no longer illegal under the state’s Prop 64 cannabis legalization initiative. The bill would also reduce many felony convictions for marijuana-related crimes to misdemeanors.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1793, was passed by the California Senate Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of 22-8 after being approved by the California State Assembly on May 31 by a vote of 43-28.

If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, it will direct the state Department of Justice to identify cases from between 1975 and 2016 that are eligible to be overturned or reduced by July 31, 2019, and notify the appropriate district attorney for action. Prosecutors will then have until July 1, 2020 to decide if they want to challenge the reduction or elimination of any of those convictions.

Prop 64, passed by voters in 2016, legalized the recreational use and sale of cannabis and eliminated many marijuana-related crimes. That decriminalization also applied retroactively, making many eligible for a reduction or elimination of past cannabis convictions. Those with convictions for non-violent felonies including possession or distribution of less than one ounce of cannabis are eligible for reduction to misdemeanors. Prosecutors have the right to challenge relief based on the criminal history of affected individuals.

 

Thousands of Cases Eligible For Relief

The justice department estimates that 220,000 convictions qualify to be reduced or eliminated.  Prosecutors in San Diego and San Francisco have begun to proactively reduce or eliminate convictions, but many other district attorneys in the state have said that they do not have the resources to follow suit. That puts the burden of relief on those with the convictions, many of whom may not be aware that they are eligible. Some with convictions that qualify for a reduction or elimination have taken it upon themselves to petition the court for relief, but only a small minority of those who are eligible have done so.

Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who voted for the measure, said it “creates a simpler pathway for Californians to turn the page,” according to an Associated Press report.

State Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican from San Diego County, said that reducing felony convictions to misdemeanors will allow people to regain lost civil rights, including gun ownership.

 

“This bill will take those people off the prohibited list, save us time and money,” Anderson said.

AB 1793 was introduced by Democratic Assembly Rob Bonta of Oakland. He said that “the role of government should be to ease burdens and expedite the operation of law — not create unneeded obstacles, barriers, and delay.”

Although AB 1793 received broad bipartisan support, not all lawmakers agreed with the elimination of past convictions. Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber argued against passage of the measure by his colleagues in the Senate.

 

“This directs us to forget any prior behavior that was illegal,” Nielsen said. “They should not be given a pass.”

With the approval of AB 1793 by both houses of the California legislature, the bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for his approval.

Marijuana News: FDA Approves First-Ever Cannabis-Based Drug

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The good marijuana news for GWPH is that the organization is giving its approval to Epidiolex. This is a type of oral solution for the treatment of seizures. This includes seizures from two types of rare epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

This bit of marijuana news marks the first time in the history of the U.S. that the FDA has given its approval to a purified drug derived from marijuana. However, customers with concerns about psychoactive effects from the drug need not worry.

Epidiolex won’t be causing psychoactive effects comparable to marijuana. That’s because it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that causes the “high” that users experience. Instead, patients are taking cannabidiol (CBD), which is another component of the drug.

The FDA notes that the current Controlled Substances Act requires Epidiolex be listed as a Schedule I substance due to its connection to marijuana. However, it has looked over the abuse potential of the drug and is advising the Drug Enforcement Administration on how to handle the situation.

The effects of Epidiolex could very well be a boon to patients with the two forms of epilepsy mentioned above. The drug went through three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials to determine its effectiveness in treating the two diseases. It was shown to be more effective at reducing seizures, when taken with other drugs, than a placebo during these studies.

Despite all this good marijuana news, there are still some negative side effects to Epidiolex. These side effects are “sleepiness, sedation and lethargy; elevated liver enzymes; decreased appetite; diarrhea; rash; fatigue, malaise and weakness; insomnia, sleep disorder and poor quality sleep; and infections.”

France Opens First Coffee Shops Selling CBD Products

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Among European Union nations, France has some of the toughest laws against cannabis. Yet the country of nearly 67 million people has one of the highest rates of cannabis consumption in Europe. Recognizing the demand, some French companies have figured out a way to satisfy customers’ desire for cannabis, in a way that doesn’t break the law.

Across France, “coffee shops” selling cannabis and hemp products are springing up. But customers won’t find any products with THC in them. Instead, these coffee shops are exclusively selling CBD products.

Paris Is The Latest City To Open CBD Coffee Shops

Tucked away in Paris’ chic 11th arrondissement, curious shoppers are lining up outside CofyShop, a cannabis store selling CBD products.

Everything on the shelves, from tinctures and syrups to vape juice, edibles, topicals and even herbs, contains a negligible amount of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid that produces the euphoric sensations users commonly call a high.

But shoppers won’t find anything containing more than 0.2 percent THC in CofyShop. What they will find is a wide assortment of CBD products, mostly produced from hemp.

Still, the fact that France’s cannabis coffee shops aren’t selling anything that would get users high seems to be lost on some first-time customers.

“I want to find out if the stuff they’re selling gets you stoned,” Marc, a 21-year-old lined up outside the shop told the Telegraph. “In theory, it has less than 0.2 percent THC, but I’ve heard it contains more CBD and that should have an effect, at least to make you feel relaxed.”

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the key therapeutic compounds in cannabis. The wide range of medicinal applications of CBD include its relaxing, anti-anxiety effects.

Researchers around the world are investigating how CBD can treat neurological diseases, reduce seizures, fight cancer and reduce inflammation. Their findings continue to corroborate anecdotal evidence about CBD’s effectiveness as a remedy for a number of ailments.

The availability of CBD products throughout France comes from a loosening of some cannabis laws. A growing awareness of the legality of CBD has also contributed to the coffee shop phenomenon.

French Health Minister Says CBD Products Are Legal

In May 2017, newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron appointed Agnès Buzyn to Minister of Solidarity and Health. And in November of that year, Buzyn made a statement regarding the legality of cannabis and hemp-derived CBD products.

Buzyn supports the use of medical cannabis and has re-opened debate about how to expand access to it. France legalized cannabis for medical use in 2013, but the program’s restrictions make it a non-starter for most patients.

But in November, Buzyn announced that CBD was legal for public consumption under two conditions. First, products had to adhere to the 0.2 percent THC limit. And second, producers and retailers had to refrain from making any health claims about the products.

French authorities are also keeping a close eye on the activity of these shops, to make sure no illegal products end up on their shelves.

CBD products are undeniably increasing in popularity across France, drawing criticism from some and support from others. For the most part, however, the public seems to think CBD products are simply “low strength” versions of cannabis containing THC.

Critics are deploying gateway theory to suggest legal CBD will lead people to consuming illicit THC products. Supporters are excited to have access to high quality, potentially therapeutic products.

French cannabis coffee shops import all their CBD products from neighboring Switzerland. On average, shops are selling CBD for about US$15 per gram.

 

 

 

Donald Trump Teases Support for Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill

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Just one day after Sens. Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren formally announced a bi-partisan bill to protect states’ rights to legalize cannabis, President Donald Trump hinted he might support the legislation if it can clear Congress. The President’s comment is, in fact, the third he has made in reference to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s idea for a “states’ rights” approach to marijuana legalization. And now that the legislation is officially in the pipeline, Trump’s latest remarks suggest he hasn’t withdrawn his support.

Sen. Gardner Is Keeping Pressure On Trump To Support A States’ Rights Approach To Cannabis Legalization

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner opposed his state’s efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis. But in a recent interview with NBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Gardner acknowledged that “there’s no going back” on the issue of legalization.

Recognizing Coloradans’ desire for a legal and regulated cannabis program, Gardner teamed up with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to launch the STATES Act.

The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act would both protect states’ legal cannabis operations from federal prosecution and make essential services like banking and insurance available to the industry.

 

Sen. Gardner sees marijuana legalization as an opportunity to create a strongly federalist policy that lets states chart their own course on the issue. And framing legalization as fundamentally about states’ rights has also appealed to President Trump, Gardner said.

April was the first occasion Gardner was able to coerce support for his idea from the Trump administration. After Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessionsannounced a federal policy reversal on marijuana that threatened states’ legal medical and adult-use cannabis programs, Gardner held up confirmations for Sessions’ Justice Department nominees.

Sen. Gardner only ended his standoff with the Justice Department after Trump gave assurances his administration would not go after Colorado’s legal cannabis businesses. Furthermore, Gardner said Trump told him he would support a legislative solution with a states’ rights approach, the Washington Post reported.

 

Sen. Gardner also checked in with Trump on Wednesday, before he and Sen. Warren formally announced the STATES Act. Gardner reminded Trump about his previous comments and told the President about the aims of the new legislation. “He liked the idea—the concept,” Gardner said.

Will Donald Trump Support the Bill?

In a 20-minute exchange with reporters at the White House, the press pool asked President Trump about the Warner-Gardner legislation. “I probably will end up supporting it,” Trump told reporters, according to The Denver Post.

Gardner and Warren were pleased by Trump’s comment on the STATES Act. They hope the President’s remarks and the bill’s bi-partisan support will give it a boost in the Senate.

Legislators in the lower chamber are also supporting the Warner-Gardner bill. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oreg.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) are sponsoring a bipartisan companion bill in the House. But their bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to prevent the federal government from prosecuting individuals or entities that comply with state, U.S. territory, D.C. and tribal cannabis law.

Marijuana businesses threaten to leave Colorado after governor's vetoes

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Marijuana industry and patient advocates joined state legislators at a news conference Thursday to condemn Gov. John Hickenlooper for vetoing three marijuana-related bills in the past week in a state that saw $1.5 billion in medical and retail marijuana sales in 2017, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Bruce Nassau, board chairman of the Marijuana Industry Group, said the veto of House Bill 1011 is especially troubling for the industry.

“I have spoken with, I would say, three or four different organizations, a couple of whom have indicated a consideration to leave the state because of the now lack of availability of public capital,” Nassau said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Judge Repeals Ban on Smokeable Medical Marijuana

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The state of Florida can no longer ban medical marijuana patients from smoking cannabis, a judge ruled Friday. But the Florida Health Department is appealing the judge’s decision. Caught between are Florida’s medical marijuana patients, who say the state legislature is placing unconstitutional restrictions on access to their medicine.

Florida Judge Says Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban Is Unconstitutional

In 2016, Florida voters approved Amendment 2. The constitutional amendment became effective on January 3, 2017. It expanded Florida’s list of qualifying medical conditions, but also placed restrictions on smoking medical marijuana.

Specifically, the language in the bill and an “intent document” circulating during the 2016 lead up to the vote did mention smoking marijuana, but only in very limited terms. The bill states that the Florida legislature and local governments could ban medical cannabis smoking in public places.

Last year, however, the state Legislature ended up passing laws banning the sale of smokeable medical cannabis products. The Legislature viewed smoking cannabis a health risk. However, the bill, signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in June, still allowed patients to use cannabis in food, as an oil or spray, or vaporized.

 

Just two weeks after Gov. Scott signed the legislation, Orlando attorney John Morgan filed a lawsuit to challenge the smoking ban. Morgan was a key player in the movement to legalize medical cannabis in Florida.

But on Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the state’s ban on smokeable medical marijuana violated patients’ constitutional rights, according to the Associated Press

In her 22-page ruling, Judge Grievers wrote that Floridians, “have the right to use the form of medical marijuana for treatment of their debilitating medical conditions as recommended by their certified physicians, including the use of smokable marijuana in private places.”

Florida Court’s Ruling Is Major Win For Medical Cannabis Patients

Despite Judge Griever’s ruling that a ban on smoking medical cannabis was unconstitutional, the Florida Health Department is appealing the ruling. And that appeal has placed a temporary stay on the decision while the state goes through the appeal process.

 

Still, medical cannabis supporters and patient advocates are praising the judge’s ruling as a major win for patients in Florida.

“Despite legislative pushback over interpretation and ideologies, justice has been served,” said Taylor Patrick Biehl of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.

In his lawsuit, John Morgan used testimony from two terminally ill patients who say smoking medical cannabis has dramatically improved their quality of life.

Both plaintiffs said in court that currently permitted methods of cannabis consumption are not as effective as smoking.

Diana Dodson, who has been HIV-positive since 1991, testified that vaping cannabis was 50 percent less effective than smoking. She also said that smoking cannabis allows her to use the proper dosage for her symptoms.

 

Additionally, Cathy Jordan, who has suffered from Lou Gherig’s disease since 1986, says that smoking alone can help her symptoms. ALS patients suffer from excess saliva, low appetite, and muscle pains. Smoking medical cannabis, Jordan testified, dries her excess saliva, increases her appetite and relaxes her muscles.

“This is legitimate medicine,” Jordan told the Orlando Sentinel over the phone. “This ruling is not just for me but for many other people.”

Indeed, Jordan’s husband Bob said he was still in shock after the ruling. “A little women with ALS took on the state and won,” he said. ‘That’s an amazing thing. It is kind of surreal.”

Judge Griever is keeping the Florida appeals courts busy with marijuana cases. Her ruling that a ban on smokeable medical cannabis was unconstitutional is in fact the second medical marijuana case sent to an appeals court this year.

The next stop for the case involving the prohibition on smoking medical cannabis is the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee this year. But Griever’s argument maintains that since the state banned public smoking, smoking in private was implicitly appropriate and consistent with Amendment 2.

NYPD Sergeants Union Criticizes Mayor’s Orders Against Cannabis Arrests

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New York City has been relatively slow to change when it comes to cannabis laws, but recent activity from the mayor’s office could be shaking things up. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to make potentially significant alterations to how the city enforces weed laws — and, unsurprisingly, not everyone is happy about it. In particular, the NYPD Sergeants Union is criticizing the mayor’s orders against cannabis arrests.

NYPD Pushes Back Against Mayor

The back-and-forth between de Blasio and NYPD leaders arises out of recent developments in NYC’s gradually-evolving approach to cannabis laws.

Last week, Mayor de Blasio announced that the city will create a new task force to prepare it for legalization. According to NY Daily News, the task force will have 30 days to review the NYC’s current practices regarding cannabis law enforcement. It will then make recommendations for ways to improve those practices.

But that’s not all. Mayor de Blasio went a step further. He directed the NYPD to stop arresting people caught smoking weed in public.

 

This change is the one that seems to be generating the most controversy. So far, the most outspoken critic is Ed Mullins, President of the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association.

Yesterday, he told the Wall Street Journal that the new change could put officers “in positions of conflict.” Mullins argued that such conflicts could arise if residents called cops to crack down on public weed-smoking, but then were not allowed to arrest offenders.

“You can’t just circumvent the law,” Mullins said. “If you want to not have enforcement of arrests, then you need to change the law.”

This isn’t the first time Mayor de Blasio has tried to change New York City’s approach to cannabis law. In previous years, he instructed NYPD to stop arresting people caught with small amounts of marijuana. In response, officers began writing simple summonses instead of issuing arrests.

 

Since going into effect, that change has led to a 40 percent drop in marijuana arrests. But data from recent years reveal ongoing problems. In particular, the city has seen persistent racial disparities in the marijuana-related arrests that are still being made. NYPD reportedly arrested 17,500 people for marijuana last year. A full 86 percent of those arrested were black and Latinx.

“The racial disparities have not changed one bit, and arrests are still too common in communities of color,” Councilman Donovan Richards said earlier this year. “If the administration is serious about changing this disparity, we’re not seeing it.”

Now, it seems that Mayor de Blasio may be taking Richards up on his challenge. The mayor’s office indicated that his latest order to stop arresting people for smoking weed is in large part intended to address these racial disparities.

Additionally, de Blasio has indicated that the change is part of a larger effort to prepare the city for legalization. Although de Blasio has voiced opposition to legalization, he now believes it will happen sooner or later.

In any case, the newest change will not go into effect until the end of the summer. It remains to be seen if the tensions between de Blasio and NYPD leaders like Mullins will intensify in the meantime.