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Bill to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide and End Prohibition Passes Key Committee in Historic Vote

The stage is now set for a full floor vote!

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(TMU) — For the first time in U.S. history, a key congressional committee has approved a bill that would comprehensively put an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed HR 3884—the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act by a 24-10 vote, clearing the way for a full vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

GOP efforts to stall the bill with additional hearings largely failed as two Republicans, Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-CA) sided with Democrats who argued that debate has gone on too long while the enforcement of cannabis prohibition continues to damage communities placed in the crosshairs of the failed “War on Drugs.”

McClintock told Marijuana Moment:

“I don’t sing the praises of marijuana, I simply recognize the limitation of our laws and also the limits on my ability to try and run everybody’s lives for them.”

The MORE Act, introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would lead to the removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, ending prohibition on a national level and allowing states to move forward with their own policies regulating the commerce and consumption of the plant.

In a statement, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) hailed the congressional committee’s approval of the legislation as a major breakthrough in the fight to end prohibition.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said:

“This is a truly historic moment in our nation’s political history. For the first time, a Congressional committee has approved far-reaching legislation to not just put an end to federal marijuana prohibition, but to address the countless harms our prohibitionist policies have wrought, notable on communities of color and other already marginalized groups.

Opposition to our failed war on marijuana has reached a boiling point with over two-thirds of all Americans, including majorities of all political persuasions, now supporting legalization. Congress should respect the will of the people and promptly approve the MORE Act and close this dark chapter of failed public policy.”

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 authorizes the provision of resources, through a tax on cannabis products, toward addressing the needs of communities who have suffered serious negative impacts from the “War on Drugs,” especially those communities of color that have suffered disproportionate over-policing and mass incarceration.

States would also incentivized to expunge the criminal records of low-level cannabis offenders, removing a barrier that bars access to voting, employment, professional licenses, housing, and even the ability to adopt a child. 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.

In his opening remarks, Nadler said:

“These steps are long overdue. For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health. Whatever one’s views on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating users at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”

The chairman added:

“Federal action on this issue would follow growing recognition in the states that the status quo is unacceptable. Despite the federal government’s continuing criminalization of marijuana, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use.

I have long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake, and the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake, with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”

While the MORE Act was opposed by many Republicans, some GOP members in opposition are supporting a separate bipartisan marijuana reform bill called the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. The bill, which lacks social equity elements and the formal removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, would leave policy questions surrounding the plant to individual states.

The bill is likely to be subject to further markups when it reaches a congressional vote. Nadler told Marijuana Moment that he is confident that the legislation will receive a full floor vote before the end of the current congress.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

“The passage of the MORE Act represents the first time that the Judiciary Committee has ever had a successful vote to end the cruel policy of marijuana criminalization.

Not only does the bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered most. In 2018 alone, over 663,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes, a three-year high. Now that Chairman Nadler has moved the MORE Act through committee, it is time for the full House to vote and have every member of Congress show their constituents which side of history they stand on.”

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By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Good News

Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces

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Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.

And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.

The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.

The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.

At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.

When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.

Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.

The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.

The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.

“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.

“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.

His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.

Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.

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Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber

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An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.

In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.

“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”

As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.

Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.

“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.

Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.

So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.

Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.

“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”

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Animals

Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family

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Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.

“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.

Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.

Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.

“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.

“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”

The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.

The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.

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