USA Today: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passed In Delaware

Voting along party lines, the Delaware state Senate gave final approval Thursday to a measure that decriminalizes the possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana, and Gov.Jack Markell almost immediately signed the legislation into law.

Markell signed a marijuana decriminalization bill Thursday after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans, who did not support the bill, argued that decriminalizing marijuana would encourage more young people to use it, writes USA Today.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Helene Keeley, allows people in Delaware to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use the drug privately without facing criminal sanctions.

Criminal penalties for simple possession will be replaced with a civil $100 fine. The law takes effect in six months, according to USA Today.

(Updated article)

Houston Chronicle: Texas House Panel Approves Legalization Of Marijuana

In a surprise move that supporters called a historic victory, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would make it legal to buy and sell marijuana in the state.

Two Republicans joined with the panel’s three Democrats in support, giving House Bill 2165 a 5-2 panel victory, writes chron.com.

The bill would make Texas the fifth state in America to OK pot for recreational purposes.

According to chron.com, though, the proposal has virtually no chance of clearing other hurdles on the path to becoming law in this year’s legislative session.

However, the move came just two days after the same panel voted 4-2 in favor of a bill to decriminalize marijuana. That was the first time such a proposal had made it out of a Texas legislative committee, according to chron.com. Initially, the bill failed by a 3-2 vote in committee, but it was brought back up and passed with a 4-2 vote.

That bill that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was revived and voted out of a Texas House committee, writes sacurrent.com.

The bill is House Bill 507, and it would eliminate jail time and criminal records. Instead, people caught with an ounce or less of pot would pay a fine.

The next step is a vote in the House of Representatives.

The San Antonio chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is already calling San Antonio marijuana advocates to action.

Today the group is working with the Marijuana Policy Project to collect signatures asking Rep. Lyle Larson to schedule the decriminalization proposal for a vote.

There is a companion bill in the Texas Senate, which is still in committee.

(Updated article)

http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Texas-House-committee-approves-full-legalization-6247225.php

Washington D.C. Legalizes Marijuana, House Republicans Promise A Fight

The new mayor of the nation’s capital was hoping to get along with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Instead, they’ve threatened her with prison and she has accused them of acting like bullies in a showdown over legal pot that could end up costing District of Columbia residents.

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser defied threats from Congress by implementing a voter-approved marijuana initiative on Thursday, making the city the only place east of the Mississippi River where people can legally grow and share marijuana in private.

More here:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/399185/washington-d-c-legalizes-marijuana-republicans-vow-fight

DC Legalizing Pot, Ignores Warnings From House: CNN

Washington D.C. to defy GOP, implement marijauna law

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says she’ll defy congressional Republicans and implement D.C.’s new local law allowing its residents to smoke marijuana starting on Thursday, according to CNN.

In implementing the new pot laws, Bowser is rebuffing two influential House Republicans who’d warned her that she’d be breaking federal law — and risking retribution.

Muriel Bowser

“We would encourage the Congress to not be so concerned with overturning what seven out of 10 voters said should be the law in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called the new legal framework “depenalization” since sales were still barred, and said it was unlikely to unseat a thriving black market, according to Yahoo News.

Bowser and Washington police are implementing a measure approved by D.C. voters in November allowing Washington residents to possess up to two ounces of pot.  The allowance applies only to those over 21. In addition, D.C. residents could grow up to six pot plants in their own yards. Buying and selling pot would still be illegal, as would smoking in public places.  People could transfer up to one ounce to another person — just not for money.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a letter Tuesday that the city would be violating federal laws if it went forward with Bowser’s plan to implement the new measure Thursday.

“We strongly suggest you reconsider your position,” the two wrote to Bowser in a thinly-veiled suggestion that there would be consequences for ignoring them.  They pointed to House rules that give Chaffetz’s panel broad investigative authority.

Bowser brushed Chaffetz and Meadows back on Wednesday, saying they should worry about bigger problems — like funding the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to shut down at week’s end if Congress doesn’t act.

She took a shot at Republicans who have suggested she could wind up in jail for breaking federal law — and claimed that Congress has no powers to prosecute her.

More:

http://news.yahoo.com/legal-pot-arrives-district-columbia-amid-wrangle-congress-060848259.html

Britain Looks At Cutting Welfare For The Obese

In Britain, people who cannot work because they are overweight or suffering addiction problems could be threatened with losing their sickness benefits if they do not accept treatment under plans due to be outlined by Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday.

The Conservatives will consider whether to reduce payments worth about £100 a week for those they consider could do more to help themselves by going on medical programs designed to make them to lose weight, stop taking drugs or give up alcohol, according to The Guardian.

The prime minister has asked professor Dame Carol Black, an adviser to the Department of Health, to examine whether it is appropriate to withhold benefits from those who refuse assistance.

In the video, Trews’ Russell Brand takes a look at the risks of sugar vs. the risks of marijuana.


Trews

Jeb Bush Was A Stoner, Bully In College

Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush has a long and well-witnessed history of using marijuana in his youth. He also reportedly had a history of being a violent bullying pothead.

The issue arises from the fact that Bush partook in the drug in the past on a regular basis and now is against marijuana for everything from recreation to medical uses.

If they have not done time and continue to walk free while condemning others for the same behavior, it shows that they don’t have respect for the law and there is unequal enforcement of the law.

When the news media has a habit of brushing it off as “they were just being kids,” but everyone else is a die-hard criminal not worthy of note, it seems a little disingenuous.


TYT Network

More here

Former Federal Judge Regrets Sending Man To Prison For 55-Years Over Marijuana

Do judges ever have a conscience that catches up with them?  Do they ever regret harsh punishments? Are their hands ever tied over sentencing?

Weldon Angelos was just 24 years old when he was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison for three marijuana sales, according to Yahoo! News.  He is one of the hundreds of thousands of federal prisoners serving decades-long sentences for non-violent crimes, thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing laws created in the 1980s during America’s war on drugs.

Angelos may not live long enough to experience freedom again.

His case has haunted the federal judge that put him there.

“I do think about Angelos,” said Paul Cassell, a now-retired federal judge in the Utah circuit. “I sometimes drive near the prison where he’s held, and I think, ‘Gosh he shouldn’t be there. Certainly not as long as I had to send him there. … That wasn’t the right thing to do. The system forced me to do it.”

Back in 2002, Angelos was an aspiring music producer and a father of two young boys living in Salt Lake City. Determined to make it big, he founded his own record company, eventually collaborating with big names like Snoop Dogg.

But Angelos told ABC News he also started dealing pot on the side.

Federal authorities caught wind of Angelos’s dealings and set up three stings, using a criminal informant to buy about $1,000 worth of marijuana from him. There was one critical detail in the case – during the deals, the criminal informant claimed Angelos had a gun.

The case went to federal court and Angelos was convicted in federal court of selling narcotics while in possession of a firearm.

These offenses fall under mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and prosecutors treated each of the three marijuana deals as its own individual offense. This is called “stacking” the charges.  It means Angelos was facing three prison terms, stacked on top of each other. All in– 55 years in prison, with no possibility of parole.

When Cassell delivered his ruling in the Angelos case, he was quick to point out how severe the sentence seemed compared to violent crimes.

“If he had been an aircraft hijacker, he would have gotten 24 years in prison. If he’s been a terrorist, he would have gotten 20 years in prison. If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55-year sentence? I mean, that’s just not right,”

More:

https://gma.yahoo.com/former-federal-judge-regrets-55-marijuana-sentence-012200265–abc-news-topstories.html

Do People Get Arrested For “Marijuana Possession?”

MSNBC / HenryBloggit

According to MSNBC, people can and do get arrested for marijuana possession.

In this clip, Chris Hayes looks at a video of Bill O’Reilly claiming that no one gets arrested for possession of marijuana.

Nancy Grace Stumbles In Marijuana Debate

HNL host Nancy Grace revisited one of her passions: loudly decrying how dangerous pot is to the public based on several isolated incidents.

She ended up sparring with her fellow HLN host, Dr. Drew Pinsky over cases where people ingested pot cookies and then something horrible happened…

Secular Talk

Is Fox News Hypocritical?

Fox News Radio pundit Todd Starnes said on his commentary that he is offended by President Obama’s plan to tax the top 1 percent of earners to help make tuition-free community college available to students who maintain over a 2.5 GPA, because real Americans “work their way through school” and think it is “shameful to ask for a handout.”

Starnes claimed that taxpayer-funded community college is unconstitutional, and the expense doesn’t include “all of the free condoms, cellphones, and medicinal marijuana bongs.”

Many right-wing pundits will claim things are unconstitutional if they don’t agree with them, but are fine with other things that are really unconstitutional.


Secular Talk

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/todd-starnes-doesnt-want-taxes-going-condoms-cell-phones-and-medical-marijuana-bongs#sthash.qx0o8Dch.dpuf