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States with Legal Marijuana Have Lower Deportation Rates, NY’s Latest Fiscal Budget Expands Resources for Cracking Down on Unlicensed Cannabis Stores, and Hawaii’s Governor Suggests Opening Up Access for MMJ After Recreational Legalization Plan Fails

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States with Legal Marijuana Have Lower Deportation Rates

A recent study published in BMC Public Health indicates that states that legalize cannabis see a “moderate relative decrease” in rates of immigration deportation versus states where marijuana remains illegal. Researchers from Columbia University reviewed arrest data and while they did not come to a specific conclusion regarding marijuana legalization and immigrant deportation rates, the authors did see an apparent connection between states that have recreational cannabis laws and a decreased number of immigrant arrests and deportations. It is also important to note that all 11 sanctuary states for immigrants also have legal recreational cannabis, which likely also contributed to the decrease in deportations in those states. However, researchers also pointed out that cannabis remains illegal at a federal level, and any cannabis-related charges or convictions can still lead to deportation regardless of whether marijuana is legal in a specific state. Members of Congress have worked in recent years to remedy this issue and make it safer for immigrants who admit to using or possessing small amounts of cannabis.

NY’s Lastest Fiscal Budget Expands Resources for Cracking Down on Unlicensed Cannabis Stores

New York’s newly approved annual budget vastly increases the resources that can be utilized to help mitigate the continued issue in the state with unlicensed marijuana stores. Several months ago, Governor Kathy Hochul referred to the launch of New York’s retail cannabis program as a “disaster.” Now, she announced a new series of measures that give the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and individual municipalities power to combat the issue of illegal retail marijuana locations. For instance, regulators are now able to immediately padlock a business once an inspection is performed if the retailer is illegally selling marijuana and poses a risk to the health and safety of the public. Municipalities are also now permitted to enact their own regulations and laws and take emergency action against illegal marijuana businesses.  

Hawaii’s Governor Suggests Opening Up Access for MMJ After Recreational Legalization Plan Fails

Hawaii’s latest attempt to legalize recreational marijuana died earlier in April in the state’s House of Representatives. When Governor Josh Green learned of the legislation’s failure, he told a local television news outlet that altering the current laws for the state’s medical marijuana program to allow for any health condition while still requiring an approved registration card could be a “possible solution.” Governor Green is supportive of cannabis legalization for Hawaii and stated that making medical marijuana available for any health condition would make it more available for those who would like to utilize it while still keeping children safe, which – Governor Green said – “is everyone’s priority.” While launching a new initiative to legalize recreational cannabis would be quite time-consuming, the process of changing the rules for accessibility to medical cannabis could still take several months.