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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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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Animals

Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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