The Pot Train Could Still Go Off The Tracks, And Here’s How
DENVER (AP) — Weed is winning in the polls, with a solid majority of Americans saying marijuana should be legal. But does that mean the federal government will let dozens of state pot experiments play out? Not by a long shot.
The government still has many means to slow or stop the marijuana train. And President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general has raised fears that the new administration could crack down on weed-tolerant states 20 years after California became the first to legalize medical marijuana.
“We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized. It ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger,” Sessions said during an April Senate hearing.
The rise of legal weed in America
A majority of the U.S. population now has access to legalized cannabis in some form. What's the track record so far? Here's everything you need to know:Where is weed legal?
Recreational use is now fully legal in eight states plus Washington, D.C., after voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine approved marijuana ballot initiatives earlier this month. On Election Day, voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota brought the tally of states with legal medical marijuana to 28. Though cannabis is still illegal under federal law, Election Day was widely considered a tipping point for the legalization movement. A recent Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans now approve of legalizing marijuana, and there is a growing bipartisan consensus that the $1 trillion war on drugs has failed. Criminalizing the use and sale of drugs has sent millions of nonviolent criminals to prison — a disproportionate number of them black — and empowered violent drug cartels. At the same time, there is growing scientific research showing that casual cannabis use by adults is fairly safe — less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Another major factor propelling legalization is that states can tax it and get a big boost in revenues. As one pro-legalization ad in Colorado put it: "Jobs for our people. Money for our schools. Who could ask for more?"
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Professor Offers “Stoned Driving App” to Massachusetts Police
Now that Massachusetts voters have legalized recreational marijuana, there’s still no simple way for law enforcement to test if someone is too stoned to drive.
“You have to prosecute the person based on the officer’s observations and what the officer found during the car stop,” William G. Brooks, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, told the Boston Globe. “It makes it very difficult.”
For that reason, University of Massachusetts psychology professor Michael Milburn is offering law enforcement an app that he funded and created to test for marijuana impairment.
Milburn calls his app DRUID, an acronym for “driving under the influence of drugs.” It is a tablet-based app in which users are asked to perform a series of tasks in five minutes.
The Man Singapore Executed for Marijuana
Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national in Singapore, was executed for marijuana possession Nov. 18, in defiance of international protest. As the final appeals for clemency were exhausted last week, Amnesty International issued an urgent statement calling on Singapore to halt the execution. “The death penalty is never the solution,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty’s director for Southeast Asia. “It will not rid Singapore of drugs. By executing people for drug-related offenses, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law.”
Obioha was caught with some 2.6 kilograms of cannabis in April 2007—exceeding the 500-gram quantity that triggers automatic presumption of trafficking under Singaporean law. At this point, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the defendant. Amnesty says this violates the right to a fair trial. It also states that drug offenses do not meet the criteria the “most serious crimes” to which use of the death penalty must be restricted under international law.
A fine dining chef gave up a restaurant career for marijuana-plant-to-table cuisine
I Remember the first time I smoked OG Kush,” chef Holden Jagger says. “I thought it tasted like Mexican food.”
The 32-year-old chef is prepping for a dinner party, perched over the stove browning pears in a cast iron pan slick with duck fat. It's a familiar task for Jagger, who spent six years — under the name Holden Burkons; he now uses his middle name, Jagger, as his last — working pastry stations under chef Tom Colicchio at Craft and Curtis Stone at Maude, as well as a long stint at Soho House, the members-only celebrity haunt on Sunset Boulevard. The smell of marijuana lingers in the kitchen, left over from cold-smoking shallots with a cannabis variety called In the Pines, which the chef cultivates in his garden partly for its strong notes of citrus, apple and, yes, pine.
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