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by Jack Healy
FOUNTAIN, Colo. — As their children cooed from wheelchairs and rocked softly in their arms, the marijuana migrants of Colorado clasped hands, bowed their heads and said a prayer of cautious thanks.
They thanked God for the dinner of roast turkey and mashed potatoes, for their children and for the marijuana-based serum that has drawn 100 families to Colorado on a desperate pilgrimage to quell the squalls of seizures inside their children’s heads. They have come from Florida and Virginia, South Carolina and New York, lining up to treat their children with a promising but largely untested oil that is considered legal medicine in this cannabis-friendly state.
“Thank you for bringing us together,” said Aaron Lightle, whose wife and 9-year-old daughter, Madeleine, moved here after the girl’s neurologists suggested removing part of her brain to stop her relentless seizures. “In crazy ways, maybe. But hey, we’re here.”
Amen, they said.
by Pete Guither
Back when think-tanks in the U.S. were claiming that it wasn’t even worth talking about drug legalization because it wasn’t likely to happen, Transform in the UK was hard at work putting out the extraordinary After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation and actually laying out plausible options.
Now that legalization of cannabis is not only a possibility, but a certainty, Transform has come through again, providing a guide to countries, states, and policy-makers on options for regulating the production and distribution of cannabis within a legal market: How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide, released today (27 November in the UK).
by John Nichols
Florida Congressman Trey Radel, who has wisely determined that he does not want to become an American version of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, says he will take a leave of absence from the US House of Representatives to address his penchant for cocaine.
“I’m struggling with this disease, but I know that I can overcome it,” explains the conservative Republican.
Fair enough. The congressman wants to finally deal with an addiction problem he says he’s struggled with “on and off for years.” And there is every reason to wish him well as he does so.
But it would be good for Radel and his colleagues to note that he has identified his challenge as a disease, not a bad habit.
WASHINGTON, DC — Nearly two-thirds of Americans disagree with workplace policies that allow employers to sanction an employee for his or her off-the-job consumption of cannabis, according to a just released HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Sixty-four percent of the poll’s respondents, including 62 percent of self-identified Republicans, said that it is “unacceptable for a company to fire an employee for using marijuana during his or her free time” if the employee resides in a state that has legalized the plant’s adult use.
An equal percentage of respondents similarly said that it would be unacceptable for an employer to fire an employee for after-hours drinking.
by Chris Hedges
NEW YORK—Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky 6-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners.
by Amy Goodman
The cable news channels wasted no time before crowing over the landslide re-election victory of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. According to exit polls, Christie won a majority of both women and Latino voters, traditional Democratic voting blocs. The political chattering class is abuzz with Christie as the GOP’s great hope to retake the White House in 2016. But they miss a vital and growing undercurrent in U.S. politics: grass-roots movements at the local and state level that are challenging the establishment, and winning.
Christie was expected to win, but he needed a major landslide to help him launch a 2016 presidential bid. That is where the special election came in. In June, Sen. Frank Lautenberg died at the age of 89. Christie ordered a special election to be held Oct. 16, three weeks before the general election. This decision cost the taxpayers of New Jersey an estimated $24 million in extra election costs. He could have let the voters decide the Senate race on the same day they voted for governor and everyone else, saving taxpayers millions.
Marijuana legalization supporters -- a majority of all Americans -- scored a trifecta of wins in a clean sweep on Election Day 2013.
Voters in Portland, Maine legalized adult possession of up to 2.5 ounces with a stunning 70% in favor.
In 3 Michigan cities -- Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing -- voters approved legalization of posession of up to 1 ounce of marijauna by margins of 61% or greater.
In Colorado, where voters legalized possession, productions and sales last November, voters approved a 25% tax when legal sales start in January.
by David Cole
Achieving justice for racial discrimination has long been fraught with obstacles. During the civil rights era, it was Southern governors and school boards who blatantly obstructed court orders to desegregate schools. In more recent years, the burdens have been erected not by Southern politicians, but by the courts themselves. The Supreme Court has made it virtually impossible to prove race discrimination short of compelling evidence that specific individuals were intentionally targeted because of their race; proof that government policies or practices—up to and including the death penalty—have widespread discriminatory effects on African-Americans is not enough. And by striking down a core part of the Voting Rights Act last term, the Supreme Court has decided that states and localities that had discriminatory voting practices in the past no longer need to have changes to their voting laws vetted to ensure they don’t continue to discriminate.
DENVER, CO — After last weekend’s International Drug Reform Conference in Denver, a clear picture is emerging of which states are likely to be the first to follow Colorado and Washington down the path of marijuana legalization. And while some recent polls suggest the American public is getting ahead of even the leading marijuana reform honchos, well-laid plans already in place point to the possibility of a 2014 trifecta, with Oregon following Alaska to legalization through the initiative process and Rhode Island becoming the first state to legalize through the legislature.