House Votes 228-164 To Decriminalize Marijuana

For the first time, the House of Representatives voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana and providing for the regulation and taxation of cannabis.

Five Republicans joined 222 Democrats and one independent to approve the bill. The five Republicans: Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast, Tom McClintock, Don Young, Denver Riggleman

From the Washington Post:

The vote was 228-to-164 and marked the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the issue of federally decriminalizing cannabis.

The measure is not expected to pass into law, and, due to political skittishness, it was only voted on after the November election and more than a year after it emerged from committee. But the House took a stand at a moment of increasing momentum, with voters last month opting to liberalize marijuana laws in five states — including three that President Trump won handily.

Currently, 15 states have some form of recreational cannabis legalization, while 36 states have approved marijuana for medical use.

News Round-Up: December 13, 2019

Three bearded police officers from Norfolk Police Dept
Three bearded police officers from Norfolk Police Dept
(image via Norfolk Police Department)

Some news items you might have missed:

WSET: The Norfolk Police Department has updated its uniform policy to allow officers to grow a beard and openly display tattoos while on-duty. So, if you see me speeding through Norfolk, you know why 🙂

The Verge: YouTube announced an expansion of its anti-harassment policy that will ban video creators from insulting individuals or inciting violence against people on the basis of their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. But will YouTube enforce the new rules?

Bloomberg News: The share of credit card borrowers who are at least 90 days past due on their accounts will probably tick up to 2.01% next year, the highest level since 2010.

KIT212: Kenneth has the low-down on the what’s what happening the gay rags across the country.

Gaily Grind: The Senate voted to confirm homophobic nominee Lawrence VanDyke to serve as a Ninth Circuit appeals court judge, despite being rated as “not qualified” by the American Bar Association (ABA) over concerns of anti-LGBTQ past. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only GOP ‘no’ in a 51-44 vote.

Washington Blade: The Screen Actors Guild has announced the nominees for its 2019 awards presentation, and like the Golden Globes nominations earlier this week, there are multiple nods for projects with LGBTQ-relevant content and performers.

ESPN: Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes announced Thursday to the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association.

• Tweet of the Day: After Donald Trump trolled 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg, saying she need to “work on her anger management” and should “chill,” former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her encouragement. #GodILoveHer

News Round-Up: December 26, 2018

Do not forget to watch the Kennedy Center Honors tonight on CBS at 8pm as Cher, Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, and Wayne Shorter receive the 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors.  Hamilton co-creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Alex Lacamoire receive a special Honors for groundbreaking work.
The 2018 Kennedy Center Honors air tonight on CBS at 8pm

Some news items you might have missed:

• Do not forget to watch the Kennedy Center Honors tonight on CBS at 8pm as Cher, Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, and Wayne Shorter receive the 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Hamilton co-creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Alex Lacamoire receive a special Honors for groundbreaking work.

• An unhinged Catholic priest claimed Satan designed the Pride flag.

• Legal pot was a popular Christmas gift in California this year as cannabis businesses reported up to 5x normal foot traffic in the days leading up to the holiday.

• House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi trolled Donald Trump and his infamous wall telling USA Today he’s now shifted from a concrete structure to “a beaded curtain or something.”

• The transgender teen who was bullied by an assistant principal in a bathroom speaks to the press about the hideous experience.

• A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll asked Democratic and Independent voters who would excited them the most in the 2020 presidential race.

“Someone entirely new” garnered 59%, followed closely by former Vice President Joe Biden (who is the exact opposite of that) at 53%.

Vermont Is 9th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

(photo: Luis Romero/Flickr)

Vermont is now the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Passed and signed into law in January, the new legislation took effect July 1. Vermont is the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use through the legislature, rather than a ballot initiative.

The other eight states are Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts plus Washington, D.C.

According to a Gallup poll in October of 2017, Americans favor legalization by 64%, and for the first time, a majority of Republicans backed legalization.

But legalization doesn’t mean growing, buying and selling marijuana becomes a free-for-all. There are very clear boundaries regarding the issue.

According to the Burlington Free Press, Vermont’s new law allows adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, two mature and four immature plants.

Neither drivers or passengers are allowed to smoke in a car.

You can’t smoke in any public places like a beach, a park, or on the sidewalk. Recreational use is limited to “individual dwellings,” and if you rent you have to ask permission from your landlord to smoke or grow the plant.

And in Vermont there is no legal commercial market for marijuana, so selling is totally off-limits in the Green Mountain state.

Last week, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. The ballot initiative passed in the Sooner state by a vote of 56-43%.

What are your thoughts? Should recreational marijuana use be legal across the U.S.?

News Round-Up: June 20, 2018

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunk Dan Welden (above) is getting his summer on. Who’s doing what this summer? Lake time? Pool time? Vacay?

• A gay military veteran who was harassed and spit on by neighbors was honored at a Los Angeles Pride event for his contributions to his community.

• Last night, Stephen Colbert took time to profile the virulently anti-LGBT extremist Scott Lively, whose currently running for governor in Massachusetts. As Colbert notes, when you google Lively, Adolf Hitler comes up in the “People also searched for” column. Check out the funny but factual 3 minute segment below.

• Longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt quit the Republican Party in a ripping Twitter rant denouncing the party’s “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.”

• Federal authorities have subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer for records related to its $150,000 payment to a former Playboy model for the rights to her story alleging an affair with Donald Trump.

• Canada’s Parliament passed bill C-45 this week legalizing marijuana for the entire country. Starting October 17 Canadians will have access to legal, regulated cannabis. Watch the announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau below.

Legal Recreational Pot Sales Begin In Nevada

Nevada became the fifth state to begin legal sales of recreational marijuana today.

People began buying pot early Saturday, just months after voters approved legalization in November. It’s the fastest turnaround from the ballot box to retail sales in the nation.

Those 21 and older with a valid ID can buy up to an ounce of pot. The millions of tourists who visit Las Vegas and other Nevada cities every year are expected to make nearly two of every three pot purchases.

People can only use marijuana in a private home. It remains illegal to light up in public places, including casinos, bars, convention centers, restaurants, parks and concert halls.

Edible marijuana products, such as brownies and gummies, will be on sale as well, and they are expected to be extremely popular with tourists because they offer a more discrete way of consuming marijuana.

That being said, tourists can’t take it back home as it’s illegal to cross state lines with marijuana. And it’s illegal to mail it through the U.S. Postal Service.

Much like alcohol, you can carry it around or drive with it in your car, but driving stoned is still very much against the law. Not even passengers can smoke or consume marijuana in a vehicle under Nevada law.

A marijuana DUI could land you a fine of up to $1,000, a suspended license and even jail time.

Nevada joins Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska as the only U.S. states to regulate and tax legal marijuana.