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Joe Biden Leaves Cannbis Reform Out of Updated Policy Pledges

It appears that President-elect Joe Biden may already be falling short on some of his campaign promises.

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It appears that President-elect Joe Biden may already be falling short on some of his campaign promises. When the Biden campaign released their transition plan, advocates immediately noticed that reform of cannabis laws was not stated in the plan, despite many promises on the campaign trail. While drug law reform and cannabis legalization are not specifically mentioned in the plan, it is possible that these issues could fall under the umbrella of criminal justice reform.

The new page says Biden is working to “strengthen America’s commitment to justice, and reform our criminal justice system” and includes specific measures, such as a ban on police chokeholds and creating a national oversight commission to track law enforcement abuses, but cannabis legalization or decriminalization is mysteriously absent. 

His campaign site, which is still up and running, includes a section titled, “Plan for Black America” where he promises to “decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions.”

The fact that this language was in the pre-election press release but missing from the most recent ones has many activists very concerned.

A Biden campaign spokesman told Marijuana Moment that “Nothing has changed,” and said that Biden has many important policy plans that are not officially listed on the website yet. Activists have good reason to be concerned that Biden won’t follow through on his promise, considering that he was one of the architects of the drug war and has been against cannabis legalization throughout most of his career.

Despite the changing attitudes towards cannabis legalization, people arrested for cannabis still make up a significant portion of cases that come through the country’s criminal court system.

According to the FBI’s recent Uniform Crime Report, more people were arrested for cannabis possession last year than for all violent crimes put together.

The data showed that 545,602 people were arrested in the US for cannabis-related crimes last year. Meanwhile, just 495,871 people were arrested for violent crimes.

Furthermore, the vast majority of the people who got arrested for cannabis were not accused of selling or trafficking the substance, but just for simple possession. 500,395 of the total cannabis arrests last year, or about 92%, were for possession, which is still more than the number of people who were arrested for violent crimes.

Overall, cannabis arrests have been going down nationwide due to the spread of legalization. Last year, cannabis arrests were down by 18% when compared with 2018.

As suspected, the FBI’s data showed that people were less likely to get arrested for cannabis in states where it was legal or available for medical use, with eastern states seeing far more arrests.

According to the report, roughly 53% of all cannabis arrests last year took place in the northeastern part of the country, where cannabis laws are still catching up with the west.

People of color are also at a greater risk of being targeted for cannabis arrests. According to a report from the ACLU, 2018 data showed that people of color were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people, despite using the substance at the same rates.

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Breonna Taylor Protest Leader, Suspect in Drug Case, Both Shot Dead Within Days

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Two people with close ties to the Breonna Taylor case have been shot and killed this week, and no suspects have announced in either case. Last Thursday, 28-year-old Adrian O. Walker was shot and killed in west Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal. Walker was one of the primary suspects in the investigation that led to the raid on Breonna Taylor’s home back in March. 

Adrian Walker entered a not guilty plea in late July to charges of engaging in a criminal syndicate, along with drug and gun charges, in connection with the investigation. He was one of the three people listed on the search warrant for Taylor’s home. 

Adrian Walker is not related to Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who fired back at police when the home was raided, they just happen to have the same last name. 

Police believed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was storing cash and receiving packages of drugs at Taylor’s home, and that Adrian Walker was working with him. Everyone involved with the alleged drug operation insists that Taylor had no involvement. 

Glover previously told reporters that he was offered a plea deal in which he would be promised a lighter sentence if he agreed to claim that Taylor was a criminal who belonged to an “organized crime syndicate.”

Glover turned down the deal. He believes that Taylor’s house may have been targeted because she bailed him out of jail when he was in trouble in the past. Police say that Glover was selling drugs out of a house nearly ten miles away from where the raid occurred, but he has pled not guilty to those charges and claims that the police are mistaken.

Adrian Walker, who was listed as an associate of Glover’s in the warrant, was found dead sometime in the afternoon on November 19th, on the 2300 block of Magazine Street, and police have not shared any details about the case with the public.

Just a few days later, one of the protest leaders behind the justice for Breonna Taylor movement was shot and killed, the Courier-Journal reported. On Monday, Hamza “Travis” Nagdy, was killed on the 2100 block of Crittenden Drive, also in Louisville.

Alton Strupp / Courier Journal

There are no suspects in his shooting either, and police have not revealed any details about the case.

In a post on Facebook, Nagdy’s mother and stepmother both confirmed his death. His sister, Sarah Nagdy, launched a GoFundMe for Nagdy’s funeral expenses, which has already raised over $17,000 in the first day that it was posted. A candlelight vigil in Nagdy’s honor will take place at Jefferson Square Park at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

There is no indication that these two shootings are connected, but it is concerning that two people with connections to such a high profile case have died in unexplained murders.

So far this year there have been over 140 homicides in the city of Louisville, breaking the city’s record of 117 homicides in 2016 over a month before the end of the year.

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Trump All But Admits Defeat, White House Will Begin Biden Transition Process

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President Donald Trump all but conceded that he lost the 2020 election on Monday, clearing the path for Joe Biden to begin the formal transition to take office.

On Monday, General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy acknowledged that Biden was the “apparent winner” of the presidential race after Trump recommended that the agency “do what needs to be done.”

The move comes as the Trump campaign has faced a string of defeats in its efforts to overturn the results in key battleground states. Earlier, the state of Michigan officially certified Biden’s win in a major blow to Trump.

The concession also came after reports from NBC News emerged that Trump was increasingly losing confidence in his campaign’s legal team led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Trump is reportedly complaining that the group, which boasted that it was some “elite strike force team,” was actually comprised of “fools that are making him look bad.”

Amid what most observers have interpreted as an admission of defeat, Trump claimed that he plans to continue fighting on, claiming in a tweet that his “case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”

President-elect Biden’s team welcomed the belated start of the transition process, claiming that it wants to get a better understanding of Trump’s efforts to “hollow out government agencies.”

“Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track,” said its statement. “This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies.”

“In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies,” the statement added.

Administrator Emily Murphy said that the GSA would make $6.3 million in funds available to the president-elect.

Murphy, who was appointed by Trump to the federal agency, explained that her decision to recognize Biden’s win came amid “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”

Murphy further claimed that she received no pressure from the president to withhold the ascertainment needed to begin the transition process.

“To be clear I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,” she said in a letter to Biden.

“I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely,” Murphy added. “Even in the face of thousands of threats I have remained committed to upholding the law.”

Both Murphy and the outgoing president had faced an avalanche of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over their clear failure to recognize Trump’s defeat.

On Monday, Murphy missed a deadline set by Democrats to brief the House of Representatives about the delay.

Because Murphy had failed to clear federal resources for the transition, the president-elect’s team lacked access to funding, intelligence briefing, and communication with key government officials. Officials and former officials warned that the delays would harm the national security of the United States, which is facing surging numbers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who will soon retire, released a statement urging Trump to “put the country first” and allow Biden to succeed.

“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said in a statement.

Over 160 business leaders also wrote an open letter to Murphy demanding that she immediately recognize Biden as president-elect.

“Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,″ they wrote.

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Foiled Militia Plot Included Week-Long Series of Televised Executions

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New details have been revealed about the plan that 14 Michigan militia members had to kidnap the state’s governor Gretchen Whitmer. It appears that the plot went far deeper than just kidnapping, and included a week-long series of live and televised executions of elected officials, according to a new report from ABC News Chicago.

On the surface, the plot was said to be a response to pandemic restrictions imposed by the governor, but the new revelations show that they intended to take over the government and wage a violent war against anyone who disagreed with their political beliefs.

New court filings claim there was a “Plan B” that the group had plotted, in which they would organize hundreds of other militia members to a takeover of the Michigan capitol building, where they would later stage the televised executions. This was reportedly one of the backup plans that the group had if something went awry with their kidnapping while it was in progress.

There was also a “Plan C” which was discussed for the possible event that the takeover and the kidnapping both failed. Plan C included burning down the statehouse with government employees inside and leaving no survivors.

Despite the severity of the charges many of the defendants have had bond reductions and are now free until their trial.

On October 8th, 2020, the FBI announced the arrests of 13 suspects accused of plotting to kidnap Governor Whitmer to spark a violent overthrow of the state government. The suspects were each tied to a group that called themselves the Wolverine Watchmen.

The group was co-founded by Pete Musico and Joseph Morrison. Morrison is considered the group’s “commander.” Six of the suspects were charged in federal court, while the other seven were charged with state crimes. A week later, a fourteenth suspect was arrested and charged in state court.

The suspects named in the federal indictment were Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. Five of the men were Michigan residents, while the sixth, Croft, was from Delaware. Adam Fox and Barry Croft were accused of being the organizers of the plot.

During a court hearing on October 13th, an FBI agent testified that the conspirators had considered leaving Whitmer in a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan and disabling its motor. He also testified that the group had discussed, during the early stages of the planning, kidnapping Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

Then, on October 26th, federal prosecutors announced that they were also considering additional federal terrorism charges after the FBI had found “explosive device components” and ghost guns among the property of the suspects. Prosecutors will announce their decision on the additional charges after the materials are analyzed by experts.

Two days later, on October 28th, an unsealed search warrant revealed that some of the suspects had discussed South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster as another possible target. The warrant also revealed that one of the suspects had posted a hit-list of politicians that he said he wanted to hang on his Facebook page back in late June. 

The list included the names of McMaster, President Trump, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, other elected officials, liberals, Muslims, and “all anti-Americans.”

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