Chris Goldstein

New Jersey: Highly Regulated Social Cannabis Bill Introduced In The Garden State

New Jersey Cannabis

New Jersey residents would not be allowed to cultivate cannabis for personal use

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The measure introduced by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D., Union) would only allow licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis for medical or recreational use. Cannabis products would be subjected to a sales tax of seven to 25 percent over the course of five years if the proposal is approved.

Under the bill, adults in New Jersey would be able to consume cannabis legally. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana flower would also be permitted, along with 16 ounces of solid cannabis-infused products like edibles, 72 ounces of liquid marijuana tinctures, drinks and oils and seven grams of concentrates.

Pennsylvania: House Bill Would Raise Fines For Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on a bill, House Bill 1422, that would massively increase fines for marijuana possession.

The bill downgrades possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less from a misdemeanor to a summary offense, but those convicted will carry a criminal record.

Chris Goldstein, a member of the Board of Directors at PhillyNORML, has thoroughly researched marijuana arrest statistics in Pennsylvania.

“Young people, low income residents and people of color will suffer greatly under an increase in possession fines,” said Goldstein.

The Pennsylvania Controlled Substances and Cosmetics Act describes that offenders can be “sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or ordered to pay a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or both.”

HB 1422 would change “not exceeding” to “not less than”, turning the old maximum fine for marijuana into the new mandatory minimum fine. That is just for the first offense. The bill then proposes graduated fines: $750 for the second offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

Pennsylvania: Racial Disparities Continue In Philadelphia Marijuana Arrests

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The disturbing trend of racial disparities in marijuana arrests continued in 2012 in Philadelphia, according to an annual review of cannabis arrest statistics from Philly NORML.

The Philly affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, using data from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System, found that there were 6,614 marijuana-related arrests in Philadelphia during 2012. Of those, 4,272 were for simple possession only.

African-Americans were arrested for marijuana possession at five times the rate of whites in Philadelphia. All other drug arrests are more equal when compared by race, according to Philly NORML.

About 75 percent of the marijuana possession arrests were of people between the ages of 18 and 34. Ninety percent were male.

By comparison, whites and blacks were arrested in almost equal numbers for opiates and cocaine.

When looking at the state of Pennsylvania as a whole, of all adults arrested for simple marijuana possession, 85 percent were men and 71 percent were white. Of adults arrested for sales and/or manufacture of cannabis, 58 percent were white and 90 percent were male.

"Marijuana arrests in Philadelphia continue with a disturbing trend of racial disparity," said Chris Goldstein of Philly NORML. "Black and white Americans consume marijuana at nearly equal rates and the city's population is admirably diverse, yet it is residents of color who continue to be the focus of law enforcement."

New Jersey: Senate moves towards dissolving Christie's medical marijuana proposal as patients plead for action

By Susan K. Livio, Statehouse Bureau
Video by John Munson, The Star-Ledger

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