A growing number of Massachusetts towns are opting in to commercial marijuana businesses, bucking a wave of bans and moratoriums.
African Americans in the city of Buffalo (population 257,000) are disproportionately arrested for low-level marijuana possession offenses, according to an analysis of arrest data by the advocacy group Partnership for the Public Good.
Researchers evaluated marijuana arrest data for Erie County, New York for the years 2012 to 2016. Countywide, blacks comprised 71 percent of all low-level marijuana offenders, despite comprising only 13.5 percent of the population. In the city of Buffalo, 86 percent of those arrested for minor marijuana possession violations were either African American (80 percent) or Hispanic (six percent). Blacks and Hispanic represent fewer than 50 percent of the city’s population.
“[T]he disparities in the number of marijuana possession arrests cannot be explained by a higher use among black or Hispanic people,” authors concluded. “Legalizing marijuana would reduce low-level drug arrests by ten percent, and help reduce racial disparities in overall arrest numbers.”
Recent analyses from other states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, have similarly identified racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests. Nationwide, African Americans are approximately four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana, despite members of both ethnicities using the substance at similar rates.
Full text of the report, “Advancing Racial Equity and Public Health: Smarter Marijuana Laws in Western New York,” appears online here.
LOS ANGELES — California has published the rules that will govern its legal marijuana economy in 2018, giving businesses and consumers a glimpse into the future.
But there are important steps before legal recreational sales kick off on Jan. 1, and even more uncertainties about how the marketplace will function. Warning: Don’t count on being able to stroll into your local dispensary on New Year’s Day to celebrate with a pot cookie or joint.
Why are the regulations important?
They form the framework of the new pot economy, estimated to be worth $7 billion. Can you make animal-shaped edibles? No. Transport pot in a drone? No. But retailers can be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s a dense stack of rules that includes fees for licensing (nearly $80,000 annually for a large grower), how pot will be traced from seed to sale and testing requirements to ensure customers get what they pay for.
Can I buy legal recreational cannabis on Jan. 1?
For most people, probably not. It will vary place to place, but many cities are not prepared. Even though the state regulations went out Thursday, the Bureau of Cannabis Control is still developing an online system for businesses to apply for operating licenses. California is working out technical bugs and hopes it will be ready in early December.
“There certainly will be licenses issued on Jan. 1,” said Alex Traverso of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
But there’s a snag: To apply for a state license, a grower or seller first needs a local permit, and many cities are struggling to establish those rules, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, two of the biggest markets.
Read the rest of this story at TheCannabist.co