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Cannabis Legalization Advances in Germany, NY Marijuana Officials to Issue 1,500 More Licenses, and AMA Study Finds that Decriminalization at the State Level Did Not Increase Overdose Deaths

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Cannabis Legalization Advances in Germany

State representatives that oppose cannabis reform in Germany did not garner the necessary support to keep a legalization bill from advancing. Germany’s legislature consists of two bodies, and the Bundesrat (or Federal Council) is made up of members that represent individual states. The other legislative body is the Bundestag, which is composed of elected lawmakers. The cannabis legalization bill was brought up in the Bundesrat, and while representatives were urged to adopt amendments, opponents of the measure did not stop it from advancing. The next step in the process is for the federal government to respond to comments from the Bundesrat on the legalization measure. After that, the bill will go to the Bundestag to potentially become law. 

NY Marijuana Officials to Issue 1,500 More Licenses

While many industry experts have projected that New York would be one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the country, legal issues have put license holders in a kind of limbo that has resulted in only 23 open and operational retail dispensaries. Unsold cannabis from licensed growers continues to pile up, as they have limited retail locations to send the product to. To help rectify this problem, the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) plans to issue 1,500 more licenses. The application window will open on October 4th, and it will remain open for 60 days. To date, cannabis regulators issued approximately 700 conditional licenses. But a ruling in August from a state judge has placed these conditional license holders in a state of suspension as business applications and approvals to open retail stores have been paused. OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander has said these businesses should be ready to apply when the new license application window opens on October 4.

AMA Study Finds that Decriminalization at the State Level Did Not Increase Overdose Deaths

A recent study published by the American Medical Association indicates that state-level decriminalization does not lead to increased overdose deaths. The study examined data from Oregon and Washington state to analyze the impact of decriminalization. Corey Davis, a senior investigator for the study and an adjunct professor at the Department of Population Health at the New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine co-authored another study that used data from the same two states and found that decriminalization did not correlate to an increase in violent crime. It did, however, result in a decrease in arrests for drug possession. Of the two research studies, Davis said, “These two studies show that drug decriminalization measures in Oregon and Washington reduced arrests and did not increase overdose death. Taken together, these findings signal reduced harm to people who use drugs and possibly their communities as well.”