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U.S. Rep. Adam Smith and 17 other U.S. Congress members formally asked the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration not to enforce federal drug laws against marijuana use in Washington and Colorado in a letter released Friday.
Though both states have made regulated, recreational use of marijuana legal, federal agencies still have the power to enforce a federal ban on the drug.
“We believe that it would be a mistake for the federal government to focus enforcement action on individuals whose actions are in compliance with state law,” says the letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart.
According to the letter, the Department of Justice made assurances in 2009 that it would not prioritize criminal charges against those who are in compliance with state law. But the Congress members are concerned about whether those assurances still stand.
The letter then goes on to ask federal drug law enforcers to allow states such as Washington and Colorado to be “laboratories of democracy” that help progress drug policy nationwide.
“These states have chosen to move from a drug policy that spends millions of dollars turning ordinary Americans into criminals toward one that will tightly regulate the use of marijuana while raising tax revenue to support cash-strapped state and local governments,” the letter says.
“We believe this approach embraces the goals of existing federal marijuana law: to stop international trafficking, deter domestic organized criminal organizations, stop violence associated with the drug trade and protect children.”
From The Seattle Times Blog
SAO PAULO |
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian football club Vitoria has removed its trademark red hoops from its shirt and told supporters it will add the color back gradually as fans donate blood.
The campaign, entitled “My Blood is Red and Black”, is named after the club’s traditional colors and comes amid a nationwide drive to get more Brazilians to give blood for transfusions.
“We wanted to do more than just ask fans to give blood,” said Vitoria’s president Alexi Portela Junior. “With this initiative, fans of the red and black can participate more actively in the campaign and they will see the importance of a gesture like this that can help save countless lives.”
The club normally plays in a red-and-black hooped shirt, with white shorts and red-and-black socks. At its most recent game, players wearing black-and-white hooped shirts carried a banner onto the field reading: “Vitoria has always given its blood for you. It’s time for you to give yours.”
Portela Junior said the club plans to add a red hoop back after each game, starting with next weekend’s match. The club has four red and four black hoops on its jersey.
“In this novel way we are making our fans aware of the importance of giving blood,” Portela Junior said.
The campaign comes just a few weeks after Sao Paulo, one of Brazil’s biggest clubs, put the slogan “Give Blood” on its shirts for a game.
Brazil’s Health Ministry and blood banks often launch campaigns during school holidays as donations fall by as much as 25 percent. Officials said that although Brazil has invested heavily in the area, only around two percent of Brazilians give blood regularly. The World Health Organization recommends that number should be three percent.
Vitoria, which is based in Salvador in the northeastern state of Bahia, was founded in 1899 and is one of Brazil’s oldest clubs. It is famous for having launched the careers of World Cup winners Bebeto and Vampeta, and current Chelsea defender David Luiz.
It currently sits in fourth place in the Serie B after eight games and is one of the favorites to gain promotion. The give blood campaign already seems to have brought them luck on the pitch. In their first red-less shirt, they beat Avai 2-0.
(Editing by John Mehaffey)
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AP – A defense attorney’s argument that a bag of marijuana uncovered during a Pennsylvania traffic stop could have belonged to a man other than his client has unraveled after an arresting officer recalled the suspect asking him: “Can I have my weed back?”
Yahoo! News: Odd News – AP
Since the petition was filed on November 30, Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT) has signaled he also supports it. All three governors represent states that have adopted laws allowing the use of medical marijuana by qualified patients.
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. government considers marijuana a Schedule I substance, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with a high potential for addiction and no medical value.
The rescheduling petition filed by Govs. Gregoire and Chafee comes after U.S. Attorneys sent their administrations letters threatening medicinal cannabis producers and distributors if each state’s medical marijuana laws were fully implemented.
“California was the first state to adopt a medical marijuana law,” said Kevin Reed, president of The Green Cross. “Fifteen years later, our governor should be among those leading the effort to bridge the divide between state and federal laws!”
Calls for rescheduling marijuana have been echoed by several members of California’s congressional delegation. In a letter sent to President Obama, U.S. Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Peter Stark (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-DA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Bob Filner (D-CA) expressed “concern with the recent activity by the Department of Justice against legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries in California that are operating legally under state law.”
The letter urged consideration of legislation that would reschedule marijuana.
“Poll after poll confirms that Californian voters overwhelmingly support the medical use of marijuana,” Alabama native Reed said. “It’s high time Governor Brown take action to advance meaningful policies that acknowledge current research, respect the opinions of medical professionals, and appreciate the experiences of patients.
“That begins with removing marijuana from Schedule I,” Reed said.
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MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – The mayor of a Wisconsin town has been asked to step down following a late-night bar room scuffle, but said on Thursday he would not resign despite a unanimous vote by a city council committee.
Bob Ryan, 48, told WHBL-AM radio that he intended to seek outpatient alcohol rehabilitation treatment while continuing to act as mayor of Sheboygan, a city of 50,000 located about an hour north of Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan.
According to a police report, the scuffle occurred early on Monday, when police were summoned by an emergency caller to the Brown Baer tavern in nearby Elkhart Lake, where a man in a blue shirt was said to be causing a disturbance.
When the officer arrived, patrons identified Ryan, who was sitting on the curb wearing a blue shirt, as the man the caller had been complaining about. But because the bar owners said everything was fine and no victim stepped forward, the officer gave Ryan a verbal warning, the police report said.
The Sheboygan Press newspaper posted pictures on its website of a man it identified as Ryan slumped over a table at the bar. It cited witnesses who said Ryan had been drinking and making rude comments to some female bar patrons, leading to the scuffle with another patron.
This is the fourth time in two years that Ryan’s use of alcohol has come under scrutiny.
In September 2009, a widely publicized YouTube video showed the mayor making sexually explicit comments about his sister-in-law while he was at a bar.
The cell phone video was released shortly after Angela Payne, the former city human resources director, accused Ryan in a letter of making drunken advances on her at a Sheboygan tavern.
Ryan admitted a relapse in July 2010, saying he went out drinking with his brother, but a city council resolution asking him to resign at the time was voted down 11-5.
The council committee met in closed session on Wednesday night and voted to unanimously to ask Ryan to resign.
To remove Ryan as mayor, a Sheboygan citizen must bring a certified complaint, and the council must vote to remove him, said Alderman James Bohren, the chairman of the committee that asked Ryan to go.
The council was expected to take up that matter on Monday night, Bohren said.
(Writing and reporting by John Rondy; Editing by James Kelleher and Cynthia Johnston)