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Over 11,000 Pardoned for Cannabis Crimes as Illinois Legalizes Marijuana

Illinois just became the 11th state to comprehensively legalize cannabis.

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Illinois Legalizes Marijuana
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(TMU) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday granted over 11,000 pardons to people convicted of low-level marijuana convictions in a move impacting residents from 92 counties across the state.

The 11,017 pardons come just ahead of the state comprehensively legalizing cannabis beginning January 1, 2020. The state will become the 11th to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for any adults over the age of 21.

The Hill reports that the pardons were announced at a church on the south side of Chicago, where Pritzker noted that marijuana convictions had held people back from decent housing, good jobs, and financial aid for college.

There are over 700,000 records across Illinois that will be eligible for relief because of the law, including 116,000 convictions for possession of up to 30 grams not associated with a violent offense eligible for expungement.

In a statement, Pritzker said:

“Tomorrow when adult-use cannabis becomes legal, pay attention to the fact that we are beginning to accomplish four very important things: We are ending the 50-year long war on cannabis.

We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core.”

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, provides a number of different avenues to expunge convictions and arrest records for minor cannabis offenses.

Tomorrow, Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis. But our state is today…

Posted by Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The law has also been hailed by advocates for its various social justice provisions meant to undo the damage done against those who have run afoul of the state’s past prohibitionist policies, especially those belonging to low-income communities of color.

Continuing, Pritzker’s statement read:

“Every state that has legalized cannabis has seen high demand and long lines in its earliest weeks, and to be sure, our state will too. But unlike other states, in Illinois, we purposely built a system where the market has room to grow, so that entrepreneurs, including especially those from the communities devastated by the war on drugs, will have real opportunities in this industry.”

Civil liberties advocates from the ACLU of Illinois also greeted Pritzker’s move “for acting to address the history of unnecessary and discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws in Illinois.”

Ben Ruddell, the group’s criminal justice policy director, said:

“We know that Black Illinois residents are far more likely to be arrested and convicted for marijuana possession than whites. This is a good step forward as we begin the legal sales of recreational marijuana.”

Under the new law, Illinoisans will be legally permitted to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower and up to 500 mg of THC in cannabis-infused products.

Cannabis has been subject to national prohibitionist laws since 1937, when the plant was largely demonized and associated with Mexican immigrants amid rising racist and nativist attitudes supported by federal and local authorities and media outlets. During the 1970s, marijuana was depicted by authorities as a drug serving no medicinal purpose that was simply abused by delinquents seeking to get high.

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use, and over 34 states have since done the same. The rollout of Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act makes Illinois the 11th state along with Washington, D.C. that has freed the herb almost entirely for recreational purposes. 18 states have also decriminalized the plant, which still remains illegal under federal law.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com 

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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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