The latest news on IP 34 and IP 44, Oregon’s drug reform initiatives
July 29 — Oregon’s state Criminal Justice Commission released an analysis of the impact of IP 44, the statewide initiative to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs, on different racial and ethnic groups. The results, according to The Oregonian:
The draft racial and ethnic impact statement prepared by the Criminal Justice Commission suggests there would be a significant decrease in misdemeanor and felony drug possession convictions across demographic groups, if voters decide to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all drugs. Total convictions for Asian Oregonians could fall by 82.9%, for Latinos by 86.5%, for whites by 91.1%, for Blacks by 93.7% and for Native Americans by 94.2%.
IP 34, the Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative
Read the full text of the proposal here: Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative (Initiative 34) (therapeutic use of psilocybin)
IP 44, the Oregon Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act
Read the full text of the proposal here: Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act (Initiative 44) (all-drug decriminalization and treatment)
Medical or recreational?
IP 34 (psilocybin) would legalize the medical use of psilocybin under the care of a licensed facilitator.
IP 44 (all-drug decrim) would decriminalize all drugs.
It’s unclear whether IP 44, if passed, would make IP 34 redundant, as IP 44 would make possession of psilocybin no longer a criminal act.
What IP 34 (legalize medical psilocybin) would do
Initiative 34, the Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative, would create a program and screening process for providing psilocybin to individuals 21 years of age or older. Consumption would be supervised by licensed ‘facilitators,’ and the program would exist under the purview of the Oregon Health Authority, as well as an advisory board of 14-16 individuals appointed by the governor. The measure requires a two-year development period for the Oregon Health Authority to lay out regulations for the program.
What IP 44 (all-drug decrim) would do
Initiative 44, Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act is the first measure of its kind to reach a statewide ballot in the United States. It would remove criminal penalties for the personal, non-commercial possession of all drugs listed as Schedule I, II, III, or IV by the federal Controlled Substances Act. Possession of small quantities would be classified as a “violation” similar to a speeding ticket. Penalties would be a $100 fine and/or a health assessment at an addiction recovery center.
IP 44 would also provide holistic, wide-reaching treatment to drug users, including housing and accessible consultations with social service providers. The proposed program would be funded almost exclusively through $100 million in annual cannabis tax revenue.
Would sales be allowed and/or licensed?
Initiative 44 (drug decrim): No. Initiative 44 removes drug possession as an arrestable offense. There are no provisions within the initiative to allow or regulate the sale of drugs. I-44 does not remove or invalidate the state’s current regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of alcohol and cannabis.
Initiative 34 (psilocybin): Yes. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Program would license and regulate producers, processors, delivery services and possession of psilocybin “exclusively for the administration of psilocybin services by licensed facilitators to qualified clients.’”
Would drugs be taxed?
Initiative 44 (drug decrim): No. Because Initiative 44 does not allow or regulate the legal sale of drugs aside from alcohol and cannabis, there are no new taxes involved.
Initiative 34 (psilocybin): Yes. Medical psilocybin would be subject to a 15% excise tax.
What is psilocybin?
We defer to the experts at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), who have the most accurate information available:
Psilocybin is the main ingredient found in several types of psychoactive mushrooms, making it perhaps the best-known naturally-occurring psychedelic drug.
Although psilocybin is considered active at doses around 3-4 mg, a common dose used in clinical research settings ranges from 14-30 mg. Its effects on the brain are attributed to its active metabolite, psilocin.
Psilocybin is most commonly found in wild or homegrown mushrooms and sold either fresh or dried. The most popular species of psilocybin mushrooms is Psilocybe cubensis, which is usually taken orally either by eating dried caps and stems or steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea, with a common dose around 1-2.5 grams.
For more in-depth information, see this Psilocybin Mushrooms Fact Sheet published by DPA.
Leafly’s coverage of psilocybin and the medical uses of psychedelics includes these articles:
How to correctly pronounce “psilocybin”
“Silluh-SIGH-bin.” We’ll go with author Michael Pollan’s pronunciation in this YouTube clip:
What the latest polls say
- Initiative 34, psilocybin: In a Feb. 2019 poll, 64% of Oregon voters expressed support for lawful access to therapeutic psilocybin services. 55% supported reducing existing criminal penalties for possessing psilocybin mushrooms. (DHM Research poll, Feb. 2019)
- Initiative 44, all-drug decrim: Polling not yet available.
IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization:
- Yes on IP 34
- Oregon Psilocybin Society (Thomas and Sheri Eckert)
- Sam Chapman, Yes on IP 34 campaign manager
- Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D)
- Dr. Bronner’s Soap Company
IP 44, all-drug decrim:
IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization:
IP 44, all-drug decrim:
- Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton
- Oregon District Attorneys Association
5 things to know about Oregon’s IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization
- Health insurers will not be required to cover the cost of psilocybin.
- The Oregon Health Authority must begin accepting applications for manufacturing, service centers, facilitator and testing licenses by Jan 2, 2023.
- An individual applying for a license can be denied if they are found to be “not of good repute and moral character.”
- An individual is prohibited from having a financial interest in more than one psilocybin product manufacturer or more than five psilocybin service center operators.
- To become a licensed ‘facilitator,’ an applicant must pass an examination offered by the Oregon Health Authority at least twice a year.
5 things to know about Oregon’s IP 44, the all-drug decrim measure
- The measure requires the establishment and funding of ‘addiction recovery centers’ by October 1, 2021; they would provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services and more.
- Additionally, it requires the creation of a statewide temporary telephone Addiction Recovery Center by February 1 2021, which would be staffed 24/7/365.
- Once treatment centers open, they will also be required to be staffed 24/7/365.
- The initiative offers individuals caught with a drug the option to choose between a civil infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine or a referral to a health service provider who can recommend further treatment.
- An Oversight and Accountability Council, established for the purpose of “determining how funds will be distributed to grant applicants and to oversee the implementation of the Centers,” is required to be made up of qualified individuals representing an extensive list of professions and backgrounds, including physicians, individuals charged with possession of any of the substances decriminalized by the measure, people who have suffered from substance use disorder and individuals specializing in housing services for people with substance use disorders or a diagnosed mental health condition.
Quotes from advocates
IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization:
- “A growing body of evidence demonstrates that psilocybin-assisted therapy is safe and uniquely effective. We think that this novel approach could help alleviate the mental health crisis here in Oregon by addressing costly epidemics like suicide, treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction to drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. Additionally, the measure would open doors for new research, create access to services for those interested in personal development, and reduce penalties for common possession of psilocybin.” – Oregon Psilocybin Society
- “In times like these, we need accessible therapeutic options that can really impact people’s lives. That is what this initiative is all about. We’re honored by the support and faith that so many Oregonians have put into this effort and we’re excited to have made this leap towards qualification.” – Sheri Eckert, Oregon Psilocybin Society
IP 44, all-drug decriminalization:
- “Oregonians have always been early adopters of drug policies that shift the emphasis towards health and away from punishment. The idea behind this groundbreaking effort is simple: people suffering from addiction need help, not criminal punishments. Instead of arresting and jailing people for using drugs, the measure would fund a range of services to help people get their lives back on track.” – Theshia Naidoo, managing director of criminal justice law and policy at Drug Policy Action
- “Right now, Oregon is facing an addiction crisis that is not only destroying lives but also fueling many of our state’s most pressing problems, such as homelessness and poverty. Oregon ranks last in the country in access to drug addiction treatment for those who need it. The waitlists to get drug treatment can be too long, and in some rural counties, there is practically no treatment at all. But instead of providing people with the treatment they need, Oregon has recently cut it, reducing general fund money for drug addiction treatment by 89%. We need to do something soon. Every day we wait, more Oregonians need treatment and some die from overdose.” – Yes on IP44 Campaign
Quotes from opponents
IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization:
- “Decriminalize Nature Portland must express our strongest disappointment with the flip-flop in direction taken by the Oregon Psilocybin Society, who have abandoned their original intentions to pass statewide decriminalization in addition to a statewide therapy model. Their original initiative, IP-12, provided for sweeping penalty reduction and decriminalization; their new initiative, IP-34, is a “how-not-to” as it explicitly criminalizes psilocybin possession outside a therapy center.” – Decriminalize Nature Portland
IP 44, all-drug decriminalization:
- “This is a terrible idea. It’s disconnected to what’s best for Oregonians. It will lead to increased crime and increased drug use.” – Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton
- “Funding a robust and effective treatment infrastructure is the essential first step toward helping those struggling with addiction. Existing treatment resources are not nearly sufficient to meet the already staggering need. Not only would decriminalization lead to an increase in supply, accessibility and users in all demographics (including our youth), it removes law enforcement as an essential partner in combating what is both a public safety and a public health problem.” – Paige Clarkson, President of the Oregon District Attorneys Association
Read more about Oregon and psychedelic medicine on Leafly:
Cannabis and the 2020 Election
Next month, five states will be voting on seven ballot measures to legalize cannabis. A variety of proposals, including constitutional amendments, statutory initiatives, and alternative measures, could establish new medical cannabis markets in two states and expand legalization to include adult use legalization in four states. Three of these proposals would enshrine cannabis possession and consumption within state constitutions.
This article will explore the proposals themselves as well as the short-term implications of legalization on existing license holders and the industry.
Arizona voters have another opportunity to legalize cannabis next month, after narrowly defeating adult use legislation four years ago. In recent years, the Copper State’s medical cannabis market has seen significant MSO expansion, and new mandatory testing requirements launch at the beginning of November.
There are roughly 150 medical cannabis licenses in the state currently — all of which would receive priority status in the application process for adult use licensing. Additionally, diversity applicants and applicants in areas currently lacking cannabis retail access would be fast-tracked applicants.
Prop. 207 does include local control and opt-out provisions, and a new 16% tax would direct revenue to a variety of funds, while retail operators would be able to launch delivery services as soon as 2023.
Mississippi could become the 34th state to legalize cannabis for medical use, but two competing measures are creating complications on the ballot. A citizen-driven campaign led to the placement of Initiative 65, while the legislature responded with Alternative Initiative 65A.
Initiative 65 establishes a medical cannabis program similar to the program structure of many other states; with clearly defined qualifying conditions, possession limits, taxes, registration fees, and a regulator — the state health department. The alternative includes no definitions and only allows smokable cannabis products for terminally ill patients, leaving a highly restrictive market requiring enabling legislation.
Previous bills have been proposed, but never brought to a vote — leaving some skeptical that anything at all may come of Initiative 65A.
Montana’s existing medical cannabis program relies on a system of caregivers who cultivate cannabis and make manufactured products, including edibles and concentrates. Additionally, there is a limited number of licensed dispensaries throughout the state. Legalization would be a major evolution for Montana, which has seen multiple ballot initiatives and legislative interventions in recent years.
Two measures have been placed: one constitutional amendment to set the age of 21 as the minimum buying age and a measure to establish a commercial adult use market. While no early sales provisions are included, Montana companies would be the only businesses able to start sales for the first year after legalization.
New Jersey voters may make history, legalizing the adult use of cannabis and triggering a race among Mid-Atlantic states to implement sales first. While all of New Jersey’s neighbors have existing medical cannabis programs, none have taken steps to expand further. In recent years, numerous regional state legislatures have attempted to legalize, and Public Question 1 may tip the scales for an entire region with over 50 million residents.
The text of the amendment is brief, but it establishes a definition for ‘cannabis’ while permitting possession, use, and industry operations for adults ages 21 and up. The existing Cannabis Regulatory Commission would be tasked with regulating the industry, but the state legislature must first come to an agreement and pass enabling legislation.
Currently, New Jersey’s medical market includes roughly fifteen licenses, including cultivation and manufacturing, as well as a limited number of dispensaries. The next phase for cannabis in NJ is uncharted territory for now: it is unclear if existing licenses will be given the first opportunity to serve the general public.
Given licensing delays and a slow rollout in Illinois, lawsuits and delays could be in New Jersey’s future — with some analysts suggesting a four-year timeline from amendment passage to full implementation. This may be good news for MSOs, including Columbia Care, Verano, and Acreage Holdings, among others.
South Dakota has long been unfriendly to cannabis in all forms and has some of the nation’s strictest marijuana possession penalties. While other non-medical states have at least given a nod to low-THC medical hemp programs, the Mount Rushmore state hadn’t established any kind of hemp or cannabis program at all until the legislature passed industrial hemp legalization this past spring.
Now, the state could make history as the first to legalize cannabis for medical and adult use purposes at the same time. Two proposals are on the ballot: an initiated measure to launch a medical cannabis program, and a constitutional amendment to fully legalize cannabis, with provisions including adult use, a medical program, and expanded hemp legalization.
Medical use is enshrined in both proposals, while the constitutional amendment would prevent the legislature from any type of statutory tampering to limit a retail market. The constitutional amendment would establish a commercial market for both adult use and medical purposes. Medical use would include home cultivation. As there is no cannabis market in the state at this time, no businesses would be able to take advantage of “early sales” provisions, as seen in other states.
Previously, medical cannabis programs and commercial licensing schemes predated adult use legalization, and the majority of these proposals came into existence by way of the ballot. In most of the earliest states to fully legalize, this was the case: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada all had some form of voter-approved medical cannabis legislation first.
Implementation of adult-use legalization has, however, varied across the states. In these proposals, Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey have existing medical cannabis infrastructures, but the implementation of adult use will likely lead to program changes.
Some legalization measures have allowed for existing medical dispensaries to launch sales to adults during a period of late-stage rulemaking. These businesses have operated under modified compliance rules, with track-and-trace requirements and varying tax rates until legalization rules are completed.
After Oregon voters approved legalization in 2014, the state’s medical market rapidly expanded with early sales on the horizon. At one point, there were more medical dispensaries in the state than Starbucks or McDonald’s locations. That number later dropped as businesses converted their licenses over.
For some of the states with legalization on the ballot this year, the transition out of medical will pose challenges: product shortages, long customer lines, new tax rates, uncertainty over product offerings, and testing requirements on top of an already difficult pandemic business environment.
Overall, legalization measures promise to bring a significant impact to consumers and patients in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. It’s hard to quantify the short-term improvements to consumers and industry operators, as passage of these initiatives will set off a flurry of legislative and regulatory discussion over the holidays and into the spring. Existing licensees and hopeful applicants should keep an eye for new opportunities: public comment periods, application deadlines, and new sales opportunities on the horizon.
Jason Kikel is a Senior Data Analyst at Cannabiz Media, where he researches licenses across the cannabis marketplace and the policies behind them. He brings forth a variety of experience in urban planning, agriculture, and education, as well as enthusiasm for an expanding industry. Jason graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia University and recently completed his Master of Community + Regional Planning at The University of New Mexico. A longtime cannabis policy reform advocate, Jason first jumped into the cannabis economy as a graduate student while completing his master’s thesis, studying the legalization-land use-water policy nexus in Colorado. Jason recently delivered a presentation on this research, “Land Use, Water, and Policy Considerations in Emerging Cannabis Markets: Lessons from the Arid Mountain West” at the inaugural Institute for Cannabis Research conference at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Cuomo advisor predicts New York will legalize pot in April
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s advisor on marijuana policy said this week the Empire State could legalize weed in April of next year with a bill that would serve as a model for other states looking to allow recreational pot in the United States.
Axel Bernabe, assistant counselor to Governor Cuomo, was a guest on the Under The Canopy series, recently launched by Canopy Growth, where he discussed cannabis legalization efforts in New York. According to Bernabe, a bill to legalize marijuana will be introduced through the state budget in January again, while he expects legalization to take effect by April.
As New Jersey appears ready to legalize marijuana this November, Bernabe said the Cuomo administration has been watching its neighbor “closely.”
“We’re watching New Jersey closely. We’ve always been confident that we’d get to this before New Jersey, so if they pass the referendum they still have to have an agreement between the governor and the Senate over there,” he said.
“If New Jersey can beat us to it, they’ll get a gold star but I still think we’re gonna set the model for this,” Bernabe added, referring to the bill’s social equity provisions, among other things.
During the interview, Bernabe also said that New York has been monitoring how legalization has been unfolding in Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, but has also consulted with states on the West Coast, where the legal pot industry is larger and more developed.
Regarding hemp, Cuomo’s advisor said the state will release its guidelines and regulations for CBD consumer products early next year as well.
“Those products are already out there, so there’s no sense in pretending they’re not,” Bernabe explained.
For this reason, the governor and his team have been working on guidelines, which will include maximum dose per serving labeling and warnings about potential THC content in various hemp-derived products. New York has copied a lot of Florida’s hemp regulations while crafting its own policies, Bernabe stated, before telling Canopy Growth’s David Culver that the administration is currently putting the finishing touches to the guidelines.
Although Governor Cuomo promised his state would legalize weed soon, marijuana legalization was left out of the New York state budget for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the state particularly badly earlier this year.
Cuomo previously proposed working in conjunction with the neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania on coordinating a recreational marijuana system for the region.
PURA Concludes Farmersville Meetings – Deal Imminent
Dallas, TX – October 20, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE — Puration, Inc. (OTC PINK: PURA) today announced that CEO Brian Shibley concluded a key meeting yesterday essential to finalizing the acquisition of 72-acre property in Farmersville, Texas central to the company’s recently announced Farmersville Brands strategy. “The acquisition is imminent. Look for an announcement very soon,” said Mr. Shibley.
PURA has scheduled the release of a comprehensive update this Friday, October 23, 2020, to provide the latest information on progress with the Farmersville Brand strategy. The Friday update this Friday will include the latest on the company’s planned dividend of PAO Group, Inc. (OTC PINK: PAOG) stock in conjunction with PURA’s sale of its cannabis cultivation business to PAOG.
For more information on Puration, visit http://www.purationinc.com
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act. The statements reflect the Company’s current views with respect to future events that involve risks and uncertainties. Among others, these risks include the expectation that any of the companies mentioned herein will achieve significant sales, the failure to meet schedule or performance requirements of the companies’ contracts, the companies’ liquidity position, the companies’ ability to obtain new contracts, the emergence of competitors with greater financial resources and the impact of competitive pricing. In the light of these uncertainties, the forward-looking events referred to in this release might not occur. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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