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Mexico taking big steps toward nationwide legalization of cannabis, Senate leader confirms

The Mexican government appears likely to legalize cannabis, potentially making Mexico the biggest legal weed market in the world.

Elias Marat

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The Mexican government appears increasingly likely to legalize cannabis on a federal level, potentially making Mexico the biggest legal weed market in the world.

The move would amount to a massive u-turn after decades of prohibitionist policies led to the explosive growth of transnational drug cartels – and local cartel wars – in the Latin American nation, with demand from the U.S. fueling violence and crime.

According to Mexican Senate leader Ricardo Monreal of the ruling MORENA party, a cannabis legalization bill will be presented to the lawmaking body at some point within the next two weeks and is “likely to pass,” reports Los Angeles Times. The bill would enable private companies to sell the plant and its derivative products to the public.

If the Mexican Senate approves the bill, it will move on to the Chamber of Deputies – the lower house of Mexico’s bicameral Congress – where it is also believed to be likely to pass.

The move could finally determine the fate of cannabis legalization efforts in Mexico. Advocates of legalization have long argued that legalizing the plant would allow the country to advance alternative drug policies, halt the criminalization of drug users and refocus its security efforts to better address public health.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, popularly known by his initials AMLO, has long endorsed the need to radically reform the country’s laws to put an end to rampant drug violence in Mexico, where drug cartels still hold sway over the illicit trade of narcotics.

In a policy proposal for AMLO’s National Development Plan for 2019-2024, the government argues that the current “prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable,” adding that “the ‘war on drugs’ has escalated the public health problem posed by currently banned substances to a public safety crisis.” The document also notes that an end to prohibition is “the only real possibility” in terms of addressing the crisis.

Former President Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party (PAN), which is bitterly opposed to AMLO’s MORENA party on nearly every issue, has also been a vocal proponent of legalization efforts. In a tweet Thursday, Fox further affirmed the need to legalize the use of the “wonder plant” of cannabis.

The country been on a steady path toward legalization for years, and gained momentum in 2018 after a Supreme Court ruling that the prohibition of cannabis was a constitutional violation of the people’s right to the “free development of personality.” The court further instructed the legislature to pass a bill permitting the legal use of the plant within a year. The court granted an extension until Dec. 15, 2020, after legislators failed to meet the deadline.

This past August, the president reminded the public that lawmakers would continue working on legalizing the plant after their return from summer break.

Under the bill, adults over 18 will be allowed to cultivate and possess up to 28 grams of cannabis for personal use. Possession of up to 200 grams would also be decriminalized.

Individuals would be allowed to grow up to 20 plants provided their annual yield isn’t in excess of 480 grams. Medical patients would be able to grow over 20 plants, if necessary. Public consumption of cannabis would also be allowed in all spaces besides those marked as “100 percent smoke-free.”

Cannabis sales would also be subject to a 12 percent tax, with revenue going toward drug abuse programs. The new laws and regulations would be enforced and overseen by the Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis.

Advocates have also expressed caution about moving forward while taking into account social equity concerns and safeguards to prevent transnational corporations from monopolizing the massive, burgeoning weed market in the North American country.

Echoing cannabis reform advocates across the world, social movement group México Unido tweeted that any bill that passes must prevent the monopolization of the market by big multinationals while simultaneously addressing the “matter of distributing the benefits of the market among those who have been most affected” by the long, tragic prohibition of cannabis.

Activists in Mexico City have been growing, harvesting, and consuming cannabis in “The Garden of Maria” since last February. The garden lies in a small plot of land just adjacent to the Senate building in the capital city. Police have not bothered to shut the garden down, giving strength to advocates for legalization who hope to finally close the chapter of the failed years-long war on drugs in Mexico.

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“Murder Hornet” Nest Was Found and Destroyed That Had Almost 200 Queens

Justin MacLachlan

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Scientists in Washington, at Washington State University, discovered and exterminated dozens of Asian giant murder hornets among them, they found around 500 live specimens in various stages of development in their first known nest, officials communicated.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture issued a virtual press conference to explain the situation. Scientists made the discovery in late October, inside a tree on a private residence in Whatcom County.

The agency placed traps in the area in early October after a homeowner reported a specimen, Spichiger said. Four live hornets were caught in the traps which then entomologists attached radio trackers to three of them, and one led them to the nest on October 22nd.

Inside the nest researchers found:

  • 190 total larvae that developed from eggs.
  • 108 pupae, the next stage after larvae. They were nearly all queens.
  • 112 workers, which included 85 workers previously vacuumed out of the nest.
  • 76 queens, nearly all of them new virgin queens. New queens emerge from the nest, mate and then leave to find a place to spend winter and later start a new colony.

In total that’s more than 500 murder hornets that the team found in the nest which was about 14 inches long and up to 9 inches wide, CBS News reported.

Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist, leading the fight to kill the hornets said: “We got there just in the nick of time.” Spichiger added that the nest of massive potentially deadly hornets in Washington state likely isn’t the only one in the U.S. “We do believe there are additional nests,” he said at the virtual conference on Tuesday.

The researchers say it’s impossible to know if any queens escaped before the first nest was destroyed. Vespa mandarinia or otherwise known as the giant Asian murder hornet is the world’s largest hornet species. Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) officials posted a video presenting the captured queens crawling inside vials. Most of the specimens were still alive when the nest was opened,  WSDA said. The Department plans to continue trapping the hornets for at least three years to resolve the problem and determine whether or not the area is infested.

The hornets pose a serious threat to honeybee populations but are not deadly to most humans unless allergic. However, the hornets’ stinger is said to be extremely painful if stung, though rarely deadly it can spit venom.

You can watch the team examining the nest below.

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Florida Man Drives Eight-Wheeled Chevy Monster Truck Across the Ocean

Elias Marat

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A Florida Man has decided to drive his eight-wheeled Chevy monster truck across the ocean. That’s right, you read that correctly: he drove his truck across the ocean. For the TikTok views. And yes, it worked.

The legendary “Florida Man” has long been a favorite for news readers and writers alike, offering an entertaining potpourri of the insane, the impressive, and the grotesque, with stories covering topics including drugs, violence, alligators, and unbelievable feats of human wackiness.

In the latest chapter of the ongoing saga, one brave Florida Man decided to do what no sane man had ever considered: rather than take his monster truck to the demolition derby, he took it to a South Florida bay and sailed it alongside the yachts instead.

WhistlinDiesel can best be described as the Johnny Knoxville of American truck culture, or as he describes himself, one who does “basically everything you’ve ever thought of doing with your truck but you’d never ACTUALLY do … simply because someone says it’s impossible.”

And just like Knoxville and the MTV Jackass gang pushed the concept of extreme, physical challenges beyond the limits of basic common sense, WhistlinDiesel is willing to do anything to go viral and catch some likes. It’s a winning formula, if a bit unsafe.

With that in mind, the social media madman took his two-axle Chevy Silverado, filled its eight tires with a ridiculous amount of air, and drove it straight into the Gulf of Mexico between Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach, Florida, without any sort of propeller.

It wasn’t long before authorities intervened to cut his ludicrous stunt short. WhistlinDiesel had just barely driven into the water and smashed the throttle over the bay before he was forced to haul it out of the drink with a boat while completely surrounded by the local sheriff’s department, the Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Natural Resources – who were quite likely peeved that someone decided to plunge his diesel truck into a protected body of water.

The whole ordeal was captured on video and shared to Facebook. There’s also a TikTok video showing multiple angles, which has exceeded eight million views.

In an Instagram post, WhistlinDiesel explained that “10/10 would do again.” In a separate post, he added:

“Still can’t believe how smoothly this went. I woke up at 4am after 2 hours of sleep that day thinking wtf am I doing? This could either end really good or really bad. Our original plan was to set up at night in the dark and drive miles offshore to watch the sun rise but looking back we got much better reactions from the public this way.”

And good reactions he did receive, as the maniac managed to get tons of press attention and social media clout. It still remains unclear whether he faced any charges for the stunt, so it’s safe to say: Mission accomplished!

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Scientists: The Human Brain And the Entire Universe Have Odd Similarities

Justin MacLachlan

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An astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon at the University of Verona have claimed that the brain resembles the universe. The two Italian researchers came up with the galaxy-brain theory that is out of this world: The structures of the perceptible universe, they say, are astonishingly comparable to the neuronal networks of the human brain.

University of Bologna astrophysicist Franco Vazza and University of Verona neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti document the extraordinary similarities between the cosmic network of galaxies and the complex web of neurons in the human brain. The detailed study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physics showcasing the human brain has roughly 27 orders of magnitude separated in scale, while similarly, the composition of the cosmic web shows comparable levels of complexity and self-organization, according to the researchers.

The brain itself contains an estimated 69 billion neurons, while the visible universe is comprised of at least 100 billion galaxies, strung together like a mesh network. Even more intriguing both galaxies and neurons only account for about 30 percent of the total masses of the universe and brain. Further, both galaxies and neurons arrange themselves like pearls on a long string.

Beginning from the shared features of the two systems, the two researchers examined a simulation of the network of galaxies in comparison to sections of the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Their purpose was to inspect how matter variations propagate.

In the case of galaxies, the remaining 70 percent of mass is dark energy. The equivalent in the human brain, the pair said was water.

“We calculated the spectral density of both systems,” Vazza said in a statement about the experiment. “This is a technique often employed in cosmology for studying the spatial distribution of galaxies. Our analysis showed that the distribution of the fluctuation within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1 micrometer to 0.1 millimeters follows the same progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web,” he added, “but, of course, on a larger scale that goes from 5 million to 500 million light-years.”

The amount of interwoven connections originating from each node also were strangely alike sparking further interest to the researchers.

“Once again, structural parameters have identified unexpected agreement levels,” Feletti said in the statement. “Probably, the connectivity within the two networks evolves following similar physical principles, despite the striking and obvious difference between the physical powers regulating galaxies and neurons.”

The team is anticipating that their preliminary research could lead to new analysis procedures advancing knowledge about both cosmology and neurosurgery. Which would enable scientists to better comprehend how these compositions have developed over time.

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