During a press conference held on April 20, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked when President Joe Biden would deliver on his promise to decriminalize cannabis. Psaki admitted that there was no new progress on the matter.
“The president continues to believe that no one should be in jail because of drug use,” Psaki told reporters. “I don’t have an update here. We’re continuing to work with Congress.”
Instead of giving more details, Psaki chose to highlight recent developments at the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. “What I can say on marijuana is we’ve made some progress on our promises. The DEA just issued its first licenses to companies to cultivate marijuana for research purposes after years of delay during the prior administration,” she said.
On the campaign trail, the administration promised to decriminalize cannabis and free non-violent offenders but has seemingly made no move to follow through on those commitments. When pressed to answer whether Biden still planned on releasing cannabis prisoners, Psaki said the president is “continuing to review his clemency powers” and “certainly remains committed to taking action.”
Last month New Mexico signed an intergovernmental agreement with Picuris and Pojoaque Pueblos that will allow cannabis cultivation and sale on tribal lands under the pueblos’ own regulatory framework. The move is a historic one that could have major ramifications.
“Our intergovernmental agreements create the kind of transparency and give direct knowledge to the feds that we intend to protect our sovereign nations, that they are actively engaged in our medical and recreational cannabis programs, that these are their rights under those agreements,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, according to Source NM.
Tribal sovereignty regarding cannabis became a hot topic in 2021 after federal agents raided the home of a Picuris Pueblo resident over cannabis plants that were legal under Picuris law.
The first New Mexico cannabis consumption lounge has opened in Las Cruces.
Sol Cannabis recently announced that it had been granted the state’s first license to operate a cannabis consumption lounge. Guests to the lounge can now purchase adult-use cannabis at the in-house dispensary before enjoying their product while sitting in an enclosed courtyard or hanging out in a lounge area complete with arcade games, TVs and a pool table.
“This is really groundbreaking not only for us, but for the state of New Mexico,” co-founder Kwame Ponshock told KFOX in El Paso, Texas. “We’re putting cannabis on the map.”
Cannabis consumption lounges are areas that the state has approved for consumers to use cannabis outside of their own residences. Sol Cannabis appears to be the only one currently in operation in New Mexico.
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