Texas’ O’Rourke Decries Failed War on Drugs
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke announcing his 2018 U.S. Senate run (all times local):
Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke has begun his longshot 2018 Senate run by praising immigrants, saying America draws strength from refugees and suggesting it’s time to “end this failed war on drugs.”
The 44-year-old, third-term congressman told supporters Friday on a rooftop in his hometown of El Paso that he will support policies embracing people coming to the U.S. as immigrants or refugees.
He promised to halt the “paranoia coming out of the White House.”
O’Rourke has been a longtime critic of U.S. drug policy. On Friday he also criticized Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, saying the state needs a “senator working full-time for Texas” rather than “serving his own interests” running for president.
O’Rourke spoke about “comprehensive immigration reform” than repeated the words in fluent Spanish.
DEA Squeezing Money and Property Out of People at Record Rates
The DEA, for many, is high up on the list of the government’s most corrupt, mismanaged and ill-equipped organizations. And it sure knows how to squeeze money out of innocent victims.
According to a report issued Wednesday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, the DEA has seized more than $4 billion in cash from people suspected of involvement in the drug trade since 2007.
The scope of asset forfeiture is outrageous: Since 2007, the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund skyrocketed to $28 billion.
In 2014 alone, authorities seized $5 billion in cash and property from individuals—more than the amount of all documented losses to burglary that year.
Atlanta Is the Latest Southern City to Push for Pot Decriminalization
Startups, independent bookstores, popping nightlife—Atlanta is cool. Creatives and entrepreneurs and anyone else seeking decent wages and legitimate culture in a livable climate have been drawn to Atlanta for several years now, long enough for Atlanta to be so cool that it’s just about over.
When cities become meccas for transplants from around the country (or beyond), the destination city inevitably changes. The newcomers bring their habits and their mores with them. In the case of Atlanta—which has its share of homegrown musicians and artists, but is also seeing an influx of creative-types from Hollywood and other places where people expect marijuana to be treated not like it’s toxic—this includes, at last, liberalized drug policy.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting, the Atlanta City Council is considering a proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession. Like almost everywhere else in the South, under Georgia law, simply having a joint or blunt in your pocket in Atlanta is grounds for an arrest and nearly everybody arrested for the “crime” is black.
Florida’s House Moves Forward with Increasingly Restrictive MMJ Bill
Floridians have not had it easy in their effort to get what 71 percent of them voted for last November—medical marijuana.
Patients and advocates are frustrated as they struggle with prohibitionists who continue in their attempts to gut the most important elements of a hard fought battle for legal medical weed.
A House panel voted this week 14-to-1 for an MMJ proposal that is being viewed by supporters of legal medical weed as far too restrictive.
“This bill gets the policy wrong,” said Ben Pollara, executive director of Florida for Care.
Introduced by Republican majority leader Ray Rodrigues, the proposal starts off by requiring that non-terminal patients must have a doctor at least 90 days before they can get a cannabis recommendation.
Court Upholds Warrantless Search Based on Torn Plastic Bag and a Reclined Seat
It’s well known that the drug war is one of the main sources of our country’s overpopulated prisons. However, there is another negative aspect of the drug war that is often not addressed.
Drug laws allow police to routinely conduct searches based on expansive interpretations of probable cause. In turn, any evidence of a crime unrelated to drugs is admissible in court, as long as it was discovered within the “plain view” of the officer.
Unfortunately, the standard for probable cause seemingly continues to diminish, and the drug war indirectly provides law enforcement with a blanket justification for violating the 4th Amendment.
A 6-to-1-ruling this month by the Kansas Supreme Court, State v. Howard, highlighted this issue.
California Still Can’t Figure Out Its Cannabis Banking Problem
Starting next year, sales of recreational marijuana in California are expected to generate $1 billion in sales tax revenue. That’s an amazing amount of cash—emphasis on cash.
As has been the case since the cannabis industry became an industry, most marijuana businesses in America do not have bank accounts, because, thanks to federal law, banks do not accept their money.
This is a problem everywhere: As much as 40 percent of the marijuana businesses in Colorado, which recorded more than $1.3 billion worth of sales last year, do not have bank accounts, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported.
Some local credit unions quietly take smaller accounts, but big banks are staying away.
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