(TMU) — A bill that could see marijuana comprehensively legalized on a federal level has been scheduled for a vote on Wednesday or shortly thereafter, marking the first-ever vote to put an end to federal cannabis prohibition.
The legislation, introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and sponsored by Rep. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as S.2227, enjoys bipartisan support and would lead to the removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, ending prohibition on a federal level and allowing states to move forward with their own policies regulating the commerce and consumption of the plant.
The text of HR3884 lays out the purpose of the proposed law, which would be to “decriminalize and de-schedule cannabis, to provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, to provide for expungement of certain cannabis offenses, and for other purposes.”
Cannabis legal reform advocates have hailed the scheduled vote as a key step toward advancing justice for those affected by the failed “War on Drugs,” which has for decades fueled over-policing and mass incarceration, ripping apart the social fabric for poor communities and people of color across the United States.
In a blog post, Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), wrote:
“This has never happened in the history of our country and it is thanks to all the time and effort folks have put in for DECADES. The MORE Act isn’t just some half measure either. It contains many of the important reforms we have always wanted to see at the federal level.
Not only will it remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, but it will also require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana-related convictions, provide grants and funding to communities most harmed by our failed war on cannabis consumers, and finally allow physicians affiliated with the Veterans Administration to recommend medical cannabis to veterans.”
The removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic would mean that the plant would no longer be defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” in league with LSD and heroin.
The act also includes a number of provisions that would seek to undo the historical damage wrought by the failed “War on Drugs,” including injecting grants and funding into those communities which faced the most damage from the prohibitionist campaign.
States would also be incentivized to expunge the criminal records of low-level cannabis offenders, removing a barrier that often bars access to employment and housing. The legislation would also provide for re-sentencing and block federal agencies from denying public benefits and security clearances over past cannabis convictions, while immigrants would no longer be denied citizenship over marijuana.
The Small Business Administration would also support entrepreneurs and businesses who are trying to gain a foothold in the fast-emerging and profitable legal cannabis industry.
In a press release, Rep. Nadler called on Congress to pass the bill. He said:
“Our marijuana laws disproportionately harm individuals and communities of color, leading to convictions that damage job prospects, access to housing, and the ability to vote.
Recognizing this, many states have legalized marijuana. It’s now time for us to remove the criminal prohibitions against marijuana at the federal level. That’s why I introduced the MORE Act, legislation which would assist communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of these laws.”
For too long, our marijuana laws have disproportionately harmed individuals and communities of color. As more states legalize marijuana, it is time for Congress to decriminalize it.
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) November 18, 2019
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Italian Police Use Lamborghini for Urgent 300-Mile Kidney Delivery in Just Two Hours
While Lamborghinis are typically thought of as luxury sports cars that are only affordable to the wealthy, in their home country of Italy they have long been a part of the Italian police fleet.
And while these dreamy cars may seem a bit excessive, the car was perfectly suited for a specialized task that your typical “black and white” is hardly cut out for: delivering a donor kidney overs 300 miles away in only two hours.
Earlier this month, the Italian national police posted a video on Twitter showing a police-issued Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 being deployed on a life-or-death mission to transport the vital organ from the Policlinico Universitario hospital in the Northern Italian city Padua to the Gemelli hospital in Rome.
During the journey, the Lambo soared over a distance of 500 kilometers – or about 310 miles – in just about two hours. At an average speed of 143 miles, the specialty cop car managed to trim a typically six-hour ride down to one-third of its usual time.
Thanks to the Huracán having a mighty 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive – hence its designation, LP 610-4 – the officers had no trouble meeting the moment with urgency and resolve.
And given that satellite images of the starting point in the journey don’t indicate any helipad or accessible flat area close by, the Lambo seemed like a perfectly logical option.
In the video, the baby blue Lamborghini can be seen being loaded with the fragile donated organ.
The Lamborghini Huracán de la Polizia is a highly specialized vehicle that is prepared for these types of emergency medical transport tasks, and is equipped with a small refrigerated front trunk for this purpose. It also has a defibrillator in case someone requires a life-saving electric shock while suffering cardiac arrest.
Additionally, officers who pilot the vehicle are given specific training on the race track so they can master the vehicle, which – as can be seen in this case – isn’t always used to pursue criminals.
The Huracán is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds and can reach maximum speeds of about 202 mph, according to Jalopnik.
The car, which also carries out routine patrol tasks, is also fitted out with the typical gear you’ll find in a police car, including lights, a siren, a police computer, and dash cameras.
In the tweet, the Italian Police humbly claim: “‘To save a life you don’t need superpowers,’ – solidarity, technology and efficiency also help.”
However, it remains arguable whether one could claim that a Lamborghini Huracán isn’t a superpower in its own right.
It’s not the only Lamborghini in the national police fleet, either. According to The Drive, the Huracán LP 610-4 was added to the force in 2017 as a replacement for a Lamborghini Gallardo that was decommissioned.
The car, which was the second Huracán used by Italian police, was even delivered to the police personally by Lamborghini’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“The new Lamborghini Huracán stands for Italian super sports car excellence and we are proud to provide it to the Italian State Police,” outgoing CEO Stephan Winklemann announced prior to the delivery.
Skateboarding Viral Star Nathan ‘Doggface’ Apodaca Buys New Home For His Family in Cash
For many of us, 2020 has been one of the roughest and most disruptive years of our lives.
That definitely isn’t the case for Nathan Apodaca, also known as Doggface, whose fortunes saw a sharp turnaround earlier this year when a TikTok video of him skating to work while drinking cranberry juice and lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 classic “Dreams” went viral.
And now, the charismatic viral video star can finally call himself a homeowner.
Apodaca, 37, had been living in a mobile home before purchasing the home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The home has five bedrooms and three bathrooms, and was purchased entirely with $320,000 in cash, reports TMZ.
The viral sensation, who is of Mexican and Northern Arapaho Native American descent, had long been a staple on social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, where he could be seen dancing, skating, and pop-locking to old-school tunes while wearing a big smile on his face.
His positive attitude and optimism never wavered even when he was living in an RV without running water that was parked outside his brother’s home. Apodaca earned his living working as a manual laborer at a potato warehouse, where he was employed alongside his father.
“We’ve been working ever since the pandemic, getting potatoes out to whoever needs them,” Apodaca told Los Angeles Times.
In late September, however, Doggface broke beyond his dedicated fanbase on Instagram pages like Foos Gone Wild and reached mainstream fame when his car broke down on the way to work and he decided to film himself happily lip-syncing to the Fleetwood Mac hit while sipping Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice straight from the bottle.
The video immediately went viral and spread across the internet, gaining 11.5 million likes on TikTok and innumerable likes and comments in all other corners of the internet.
The video even spiked interest in Fleetwood Mac, with streams of “Dreams” quickly catapulting the song to the top of iTunes charts as new generations got hooked on the song.
Soon enough, even Fleetwood Mac band members Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks released their own versions of the viral video.
When people discovered the details behind the video, and Apodaca’s working-class struggles, donations began pouring in from various quarters – including from Ocean Spray, which rewarded him with a brand-new pickup truck.
He also got some much-needed work on his recognizable smile, receiving new sets of veneers on his top and bottom rows of teeth while on a trip to L.A. earlier this month.
Apodaca has also appeared alongside a range of celebrities, including Cheech and Chong and Snoop Dogg – the cousin of late hip-hop artist Nate Dogg, who inspired the name “Dogg Face.”
Since going viral, Apodaca also has a following of more than 3 million fans on Instagram and 5.8 million on TikTok.
He’s also raking in money after purchasing an embroidery machine to sell shirts and beanies from his online store, including ones that feature the nickname, “Doggface,” and some of his catchphrases like “DOWN FOO!” and “420 SOULJAZ.”
However, his most special moment came this month after he proposed to his girlfriend Estela Chavez in Las Vegas while on a trip to Nobu Hotel in Caesar’s Palace.
The new family will bring together the couple, as well as Doggface’s daughters Angelica and Makyla – who turned him on to dancing on TikTok and Instagram.
NYC to Experiment Responding to Some Calls With Mental Health Workers Instead of Police
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new pilot program that will send mental health and crisis workers instead of police on emergency mental health calls.
The program is expected to begin in February and will be composed of new mental health teams from the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services unit and will target two “high-need” neighborhoods, according to Reuters.
“For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
The statement went on to say that the professionals on call for mental health crises would be equipped to handle suicide attempts, drug abuse, and physical problems that are often indicators of mental health problems, all situations that police would typically respond to.
The mental health responders will be accompanied by a police officer if there is a weapon involved or “imminent risk of harm,” the statement said.
Even the most simple police encounters can be very stressful, which often makes it difficult to communicate properly. This tends to escalate the situation, considering that most police demand nothing short of complete obedience, even if they are dealing with someone who is not a suspect in a crime.
This can be scary for most people, but for someone who suffers from a mental illness and may already have challenges with communication, these types of encounters can be especially terrifying. Sadly, police across the country have repeatedly proven that they do not have the proper attitude or social skills to deal with mentally ill people. This is extremely obvious when police are called to do a “welfare check” on someone who is struggling with mental illness, only to shoot and kill the person because they didn’t “follow orders” to the officer’s liking.
A 2017 report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics used self-report survey data from inmates and found that at least 37% of prisoners and 44% of jail inmates had a history of mental health problems. A large portion of these people were convicted of nonviolent drug crimes or offenses associated with homelessness or poverty.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than the average person. According to the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.
Some US cities have already begun experimenting with sending mental health professionals out to deal with certain issues, most notably, Eugene, Oregon, which has been operational for the past 30 years. The program, called, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS), began in Oregon, but is now currently operational in at least 8 US cities. It was estimated that the city of Eugene diverted 17% of 130,000 calls through the CAHOOTS program in 2017 alone. The program is also running in Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Denver, Vancouver, and Portland.
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