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Key Congressional Committee Will Vote On Marijuana Record Sealing And Other Drug Policy Reform Bills This Week

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A key House committee will meet on Wednesday to vote on a series of criminal justice reform bills, including bipartisan proposals to clear records for prior federal marijuana convictions, provide funding for states that implement systems of automatic expungements and codify retroactive relief for people incarcerated due to on crack-cocaine sentencing disparities.

The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), is holding the markup about five months after the full chamber passed a cannabis legalization bill for the second time that also included expungements provisions.

It seems unlikely that the Senate will move that legislation, or a separate legalization bill from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), given the steep 60-vote threshold and resistance from most GOP lawmakers, as well as some skepticism from certain Democrats. But bipartisan and bicameral talk about enacting incremental reform has picked up, with an expectation that the Senate will soon file a package of modest marijuana bills that could include other expungement-related proposals.

While existing standalone cannabis expungements measures being discussed as part of that yet-to-be-introduced cannabis omnibus aren’t the ones that are set for committee votes on Wednesday, the fact that House leadership is taking steps to advance the issue in

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Kentucky Governor Unveils Medical Marijuana Committee Findings, Including Straw Poll Showing 99 Percent Support For Reform

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The governor of Kentucky on Friday released a report from a medical marijuana advisory committee that he formed in June, and he said that he would be taking their findings into account as he continues to consider executive actions for reform.

A non-scientific poll that the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee conducted online found that 99 percent of the 3,539 respondents believe that medical cannabis should be legalized. And they also gathered input during four town hall events they organized in July—reporting that zero event attendees expressed opposition to making marijuana legally available to patients.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said last week that he’d received the 17-member panel’s official report, and he said that “there will be some actions forthcoming.” However, the newly unveiled report determined that while the governor many be able to enact some reforms unilaterally, most of its recommendations to provide patients with medical cannabis access “would require legislative action”—a problem given some leading lawmakers’ opposition to moving ahead.

“Polling suggests 90 percent of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis,” Beshear said in a press release, referring to a 2020 scientific survey that also found 60 percent of Kentuckians feel marijuana should be legal under “any

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Missouri Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative Leads In New Poll, But With Less Than 50 Percent

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A plurality of very likely Missouri voters support a marijuana legalization initiative that will appear on the November ballot, according to a new poll, but it also shows that nearly one out of five people are still undecided on the measure.

The survey from Emerson College Polling and The Hill found that just under half (48 percent) of voters back Amendment 3, while 35 percent are opposed and 17 percent are unsure.

There’s been mixed polling on the Legal Missouri 2022 measure since the state certified it for the ballot, and this latest survey falls somewhere near the middle. It shows opportunities for supporters and opponents to convince a sizable swath of undecided voters to get on their side ahead of Election Day.

Via ECP/The Hill.

Support for the initiative was strongest among Democrats (70 percent), younger people aged 18-34 (63 percent) and 35-49 (65 percent), Biden voters (69 percent) and Black voters (57 percent).

That last finding is notable given that pro-legalization advocates who oppose the specific initiative have argued that a main problem with the proposal is that it doesn’t adequately address racial equity through opportunities to enter the legal industry. Yet among racial groups, Black people are

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GOP Senators Block Marijuana Security Clearance Protections In Defense Bill Amendment, Prompting Sponsor To File Broader Measures

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While the Senate prepares to take up a must-pass defense bill, marijuana reform is in the mix in several respects.

As part of advancing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), leaders are also seeking to attach separate broader intelligence legislation that had included a provision preventing the denial of security clearances over cannabis when it was approved by a Senate committee earlier this year.

But now, two GOP senators have protested the inclusion of the marijuana language and it has been dropped from the measure, prompting the sponsor to separately file new, broader amendments on the issue.

One of the latest proposals from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) would prevent the denial of federal security clearances for people over cannabis use at any time, while the other would limit the protection only to people who admit to past use prior to entering national security vetting.

The House passed its own version of the NDAA in July, and that legislation included provisions on marijuana banking, psychedelics research, veterans’ medical cannabis access and more.

On the Senate side, Wyden filed the new security clearance amendments on Wednesday after Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) raised an objection to attaching the Intelligence

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