July 2019

Joh Boehners Blatant Weed Hypocrisy on Display at SXSW

AUSTIN, TexasJohn Boehners bizarre transformation into weed enthusiast/businessman reached its apex on Friday when the former Republican House Speaker spoke at South by Southwest.

CNBC Fast Money regular Tim Seymour moderated the early afternoon conversation between Boehner and Kevin Murphy, the founder and CEO of Acreage Holdings, a Canadian-based marijuana investment firm.

Boehner spent his entire tenure as the most powerful lawmaker in the country being unalterably opposed to the decriminalization of marijuana but now runs his own lobbying group that advocates changing federal law to acknowledge states' rights to regulate and manage cannabis policy.

If hes aware of the irony, hes not letting on.

The talk opened with jokes about Boehner and Murphys matching blue blazers, followed by some vague promises from the latter to use his firms funds to push for social justice and programs for veterans.

Asked about how his conservative record jibes with his newfound stance on marijuana, Boehner said, Id really never thought much about it, but as he began to meet more people who used the drug, he started entertaining the idea of getting involved in the booming industry. He said it was an interaction with a wounded veteran who was helped by medical marijuana that started to sway him in that direction.

Yes, it was quite a shock to a lot of people, Boehner said, including his former colleagues in the House. They all tease me about it, but it doesnt matter. He predicted exponential growth in the marijuana industry, which may explain his change of heart more than anything else.

Ive never used the product, Boehner, who is known for smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine, said. Not to say Ill never use it, but I havent used it yet. He said that if he was convinced that marijuana was better than Advil PM as a sleep aid, he would try it for that.

He said hes shocked at how many people are concerned about how Washington is treating marijuana on a federal level. The fact that 33 states have legalized marijuana, he added, shows that the American people are for it.

Washington has just been in the way, he said. And they need to get the hell out of the way.

Yes, it was quite a shock to a lot of people. They all tease me about it, but it doesnt matter.
John Boehner on his new stance on marijuana

In both 2005 and 2007, Boehner voted against amendments that would have prevented the Department of Justice from going after individuals for using or providing medical marijuana. As recently as 2014, he had the chance to vote for an amendment that prohibits states from penalizing banks for working with marijuana businesses and he declined to cast a vote.

Youd be shocked at how hard it is to change the law, Boehner said later, bemoaning the tyranny of the status quo without acknowledging the House Speakers unique ability to bring legislation to the floor.

How are we supposed to believe someone whose voting record has been racist, homophobic and misogynistic? a woman in the audience shouted at one point. Instead of addressing those issues specifically, Boehner touted his own record on criminal justice reform without giving specifics.

I dont think we ought to have people in jails and prisons who are not a risk to society, Boehner said. And I dont see these people as a risk to society.

One of Boehners earliest votes in Congress was against a 1993 bill that provided funding for alternative punishments for young people convicted of non-violent crimes.

Asked if he believes marijuana legalization could have passed while he was speaker just a few years ago, Boehner emphatically said no, again citing how much public opinion has changed in that short period. Even as he admitted that traditionally Republicans have been more opposed to marijuana than Democrats have, he did not seem to take any responsibility for impeding progress on the issue.

Towards the end of the session, Kevin Murphy heralded Boehners courage to change [his] mind, comparing the national shift on the issue to same-sex marriagesomething else Boehner opposed when he was in office. Were not going to rewrite history, he said, but we are going to basically create a future where people can receive compassion and care through cannabis, end of story.

That line got applause from the room. But it was clearly hard for some, both in the crowd and watching online, to forgive him for his past.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com

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Joe Biden And Cory Booker Increase The Tension Ahead Of Second 2020 Debate

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Vice President Joe Biden leveled up their attacks on each other this week as they prepared to face off in the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate.

Both candidates joined other 2020 hopefuls on Wednesday at the NAACP National Convention in Detroit, where Booker hit at Biden’s record on criminal justice reform.

“Now he’s unrolled this, unveiled his crime bill,” Booker said. “For a guy who helped to be an architect of mass incarceration, this is an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country.”

The comment came a day after Biden announced his plan to decriminalize medical marijuana, get rid of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes, abolish the death penalty, end private prisons and cash bail, and discourage the incarceration of children. His plan also sets a goal of making sure all formerly incarcerated people have housing after they’re released.

The proposal is a big change from the 1994 crime bill that had been considered one of Biden’s biggest achievements as a senator. Today, Democrats and criminal justice experts closely associate the bill with the country’s mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos.

In a statement Tuesday, Booker said that Biden “had more than 40 years to get this right.”

“The 1994 crime bill accelerated mass incarceration and inflicted immeasurable harm on Black, Brown, and low-income communities,” Booker said in the statement. He had called the bill “shameful” in a HuffPost interview earlier this year. “While it’s encouraging to see Vice President Biden finally come around to supporting many of the ideas I and others have proposed, his plan falls short of the transformative change our broken criminal justice system needs.”

Booker has made criminal justice reform an integral part of his 2020 presidential bid. In addition to a plan that would grant clemency and early release to about 17,000 federal prisoners “serving unjust and excessive sentences,” the senator recently introduced a bill to give federally incarcerated people who have served more than 10 years of their time a chance at having their sentences reduced or being released. He also authored the First Step Act, which was signed into law last December and aims to cut the federal prison population by allowing incarcerated people a chance to earn more days off for good behavior.

Biden’s team hit back at Booker on Wednesday, saying that the senator has been a leader in criminal justice reform but that “the absurdity of this attack is obvious.”

“Almost 90% of all people incarcerated in America are in state and local prisons and jails for violating state laws ― laws that Joe Biden, of course, did not write,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.

Biden also told reporters that the Newark Police Department “was stopping and frisking people, mostly African American men,” while Booker was the mayor and that Booker “objected to federal interference.”

Booker’s campaign manager responded to Biden’s comments on Twitter, saying that Biden’s boast that he’d been working on criminal justice reform “for decades” is exactly the problem.

The jabs build on the tension Biden and Booker have already established between them after the two sparred on Biden’s comments last month about working with segregationist lawmakers when he was a senator. The remarks were brought up in the first Democratic presidential debate, to which Biden responded defensively.

Soon after, Booker criticized Biden’s speech in Chicago when the former vice president called on the country to “recognize that the kid wearing a hoodie may very well be the next poet laureate and not a gangbanger.” The New Jersey senator said the problem wasn’t a hoodie but rather “a culture that sees a problem with a kid wearing a hoodie in the first place.”

Booker told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in June that Biden’s words are “causing a lot of frustration and even pain” across the country.

“This is a bad culture when you can’t admit mistakes, when you can’t speak to your vulnerabilities and your imperfections,” Booker said on the show. 

The rising tension sets the stage for next week, when they will be facing off for the first time during the second Democratic presidential debate, hosted by CNN. That debate will be split into two nights, as was the first round among 20 candidates last month.

Biden will also face Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Wednesday, the second debate night. He sparred with Harris in the last debate over his past comments on busing.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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CBD May Reduce The Cravings Of People Struggling With Heroin Addiction

Cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive component of cannabis – is seemingly everywhere at the moment, from face creams to Martha Stewart’s line of dog food. But beyond the fad, there’s also been a surge of studies looking to sift the science from the bunk and investigate the lofty claims of CBD.

In yet another new study for this field, a randomized and placebo-controlled trial has investigated whether CBD could help curb cravings and anxiety in people with a history of heroin abuse. It’s early days for this small-scale research, but the findings look promising so far.

Published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the results showed that people with a history of heroin use had “significantly reduced” cravings and anxiety linked to drug abstinence compared to the control group. They also experienced reduced physical measures of stress reactivity, such as increased heart rate and cortisol levels. Best of all, there were only minimal side-effects. These encouraging findings suggest CBD could be used as part of treatments to help prevent people from slipping back into cycles of addiction. 

“To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals,” lead author Yasmin Hurd, PhD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a statement“The specific effects of CBD on cue-induced drug craving and anxiety are particularly important in the development of addiction therapeutics because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.”

For the study, they gathered 42 people who were abstaining from drugs and randomly assigned them a dose of CBD – 400 milligrams or 800 milligrams daily – or a matching placebo. They then assessed their state of mind in the very short term (one hour, two hours, and 24 hours), short-term (three consecutive days), and slightly longer term (seven days after the last of three consecutive daily administrations).

The results showed that those who received CBD doses had significantly reduced drug cravings, experienced level anxiety when looking at drug-related imagery, and had more positive vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.

As mentioned, there’s a lot of unverified claims when it comes to CBD. However, an increasing number of studies are finding that it could have some real medicinal benefits, especially for conditions like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy. While the mechanism behind these apparent claims is not perfectly clear yet, the research is promising.

Next up, the team hope to deepen their understanding of the mechanisms of CBD’s effects on the brain. They will also look to investigate whether CBD medicinal formulations could be used to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.


Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

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Joe Biden Sets Goal Of Housing 100% Of The Formerly Incarcerated

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to set a “national goal of ensuring 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals have housing” when they are released from prison, his campaign said Tuesday. 

Compared with the general population, the formerly incarcerated are almost 10 times as likely to be homeless, according to a recent report by the Prison Policy Initiative. 

Should he be elected in 2020, the former vice president plans to work toward closing that gap by demanding that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development “only contract with entities that are open to housing individuals looking for a second chance,” the campaign said. 

Biden additionally wants to increase funding for transitional housing, reversing cuts made by the Trump administration

The goal is part of a larger criminal justice reform plan released by the Biden campaign Tuesday. According to a document provided to reporters, Biden hopes to enact changes including ending the federal use of mandatory minimums, private prisons and the death penalty; prioritizing hate crimes in the Department of Justice again; and developing a new task force outside the DOJ that will “make recommendations for tackling discrimination and other problems in our justice system that results from arrest and charging decisions.”

“Today, too many people are incarcerated in the United States ― and too many of them are black and brown,” the campaign said in the document. “To build safe and healthy communities, we need to rethink who we’re sending to jail, how we treat those in jail, and how we help them get the health care, education, jobs, and housing they need to successfully rejoin society after they serve their time.

Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign has come out with a criminal justice proposal that includes an ambitious goal for housing former inmates.

The wide-ranging platform displays how much the Democratic Party has evolved since the 1990s, when Biden played a central role in the passage of a now-controversial 1994 crime bill. The bill had once been considered one of Biden’s signature legislative achievements but has since become closely associated by many in the Democratic Party with mass incarceration of people of color. 

Over the first months of the primary, Biden has faced criticism from his political opponents for the 1994 bill. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey called the bill “awful” and “shameful” this year in an interview with HuffPost.

As part of Biden’s new push to support communities of color, his team revealed Tuesday that it wants to create a $20 billion grant program to “spur states to shift from incarceration to prevention” by focusing on issues including illiteracy and child abuse. To receive funding, states would be required to “eliminate mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes, institute earned credit programs, and take other steps to reduce incarceration rates without impacting public safety,” according to the campaign document. 

The campaign also wants to increase the annual investment in juvenile justice reform. Congress recently appropriated only $60 million for fiscal year 2019 toward the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which provides states with money to help children obtain proper legal representation and expunge their records. As president, Biden would increase that annual investment to $1 billion, the campaign said. 

During a Monday night call with reporters, a Biden senior campaign official said the team had focused the plan around “prevention, fairness, offering second chances, and reducing violence and supporting survivors.” The campaign also said it believed the plan’s focus on juvenile justice made it “uniquely special.” 

On the topic of drugs, Biden said he supports the legalization of medical marijuana and hopes to decriminalize its use broadly, expunge prior marijuana-related convictions and classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, a step down from Schedule I, a category for unsafe substances considered to have no medical purpose.

But he stopped short of proposing the legalization of recreational marijuana Tuesday, saying that question should be left “up to the states.” 

“He very much believes that we need more research to study the positive and negative impact of cannabis use,” a senior Biden campaign official told reporters Monday. 

However, the Biden campaign said that “no one should be incarcerated for drug use alone” and that the former vice president hopes to “divert these individuals to drug courts so they receive treatment to address their substance use disorder.”

Biden additionally hopes to “eliminate this disparity completely” between disparate sentences for crack and powder cocaine, his campaign said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Police seize almost 7,000 pounds of cannabis from a truck. But the company that bought it says it’s all legal

(CNN)Idaho State Police says it seized 6,701 pounds of illicit marijuana from a truck passing through the state last month. The Colorado company that bought the plants in Oregon says it’s legal hemp. But the truck driver caught in the middle is now facing felony marijuana trafficking charges.

“However, the trooper’s training and experience made him suspicious that the cargo was in fact marijuana, not industrial hemp,” the Idaho State Police wrote in a news release.
The officer opened up one of the 31 shipping bags in the rig and, using a Narcotic Identification Kit, tested a sample that came back positive for THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana. A drug-sniffing canine also “demonstrated a positive alert on the cargo,” state police said.
Palamarchuck was immediately arrested and charged with felony trafficking of marijuana.
Court records indicate Palamarchuck spent four days in jail after the arrest. Jim Ball, Palamarchuck’s attorney, told CNN his client was released after posting a $100,000 bond.
Idaho’s mandatory minimum laws dictate that because he was carrying more than 25 pounds of what Idaho deems is “marijuana,” the truck driver — if found guilty — will serve at least five years in prison and pay a minimum $15,000 fine.
    Except hemp is legal nationwide.

    Hemp can’t get you high

    Marijuana and hemp are both different varieties of the same plant, Cannabis sativa L. For centuries, hemp has been transformed into a number of products: rope, building materials, clothes, shampoo, food, even beer.
    There’s no way to visibly discern a hemp plant from a marijuana plant. And for decades, states like Idaho and the federal government treated hemp just like any other cannabis plant.
    Hemp, unlike marijuana, can’t get you high: marijuana is high in THC; hemp has extremely low levels of it. Federal law defines industrial hemp as containing less than .3% THC.
    The 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp and all of its byproducts legal. A DEA spokesperson tells CNN that includes cannabidiol, or CBD, derived from industrial hemp.
    CBD is making hemp a potentially huge cash crop because some believe it can help with anxiety, arthritis, stress and other conditions.
    The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one CBD-containing drug, Epidiolex, which is used to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy.
    CBD derived from marijuana plants, like marijuana itself, remains a Schedule I drug.

    Big Sky Scientific wants its hemp (and source of CBD) back

    The CBD is why Colorado-based Big Sky Scientific is suing for its hemp back. The company was set up three days before the Farm Bill was signed into law specifically to capitalize on the newly legal hemp and CBD industry.
      The company says on its website it buys “hemp that’s rich in CBD” from farmers, sends it to processers to make CBD powder, and then sells that to product manufacturers.
      And in the lawsuit, that’s what Big Sky Scientific says it did — it bought about 13,000 pounds of industrial hemp from Boones Ferry Berry Farms in Hubbard, Oregon. According to the lawsuit, the farm is licensed with the Oregon Department of Agriculture as a registered industrial hemp grower.
      The company said it tested 19 different samples from that farm’s hemp crop on January 17, and their THC level was .043% — lower than the federal legal limit of .3%.
      But the Idaho State Police says it did right by state law, and technically, it did. The routine inspection, the field drug test, the canine test were all done by the book.
      Tests like the one conducted on the hemp Palamarchuck was transporting cannot tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. The Idaho State Police says their analyses, and canine units, can only test for the presence of THC — not the concentration.
      The agency has since sent a sample of the hemp seized to a lab to test how much THC it contains.
      Idaho state law defines marijuana as “all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, regardless of species” — and that any “evidence” of THC “shall create a presumption that such material is ‘marijuana’ as defined and prohibited herein.”
      But Big Sky Scientific attorney Elijah Watkins says that federal law, and the Constitution, supersede Idaho’s laws.
        “Idaho has the freedom to make any law it likes,” Watkins told CNN. “Idaho can legislate and be tough on drugs. The problem comes when there’s a tension.”
        Big Sky Scientific says that not only is Idaho violating the 2018 Farm Bill, but also the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution, which says that states cannot prohibit legal goods in one state from being transported through it to another state.
        The Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, which — like the Idaho State Police — is being sued by Big Sky Scientific, refused to comment on that lawsuit and on the charges brought against Palamarchuck.
        But in a letter responding to the lawsuit, Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Jan Bennetts says the company’s arguments are flawed; Oregon, where the hemp was grown and shipped from, does not have a federally approved plan to monitor and regulate the production of hemp in the state, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill.
        Responding to CNN about the lawsuit, Idaho State Police reiterates that Idaho law says any substance containing any amount of THC is illegal in the state.
        “Idaho State Police troopers will continue to aggressively enforce Idaho laws,” Idaho State Police public information officer Timothy Marsano told CNN.
        Nine states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, still do not allow hemp cultivation under any circumstances: Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio and Connecticut. Many other states only allow pilot programs or are just making forays into allowing hemp cultivation.
        Four states — Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas — still prohibit hemp-derived CBD.
          This case, should it be decided in Big Sky Scientific’s favor, could forcibly change that.
          But time is running out for Big Sky Scientific’s hemp; it says in its lawsuit that it’s perishable and that mold can form without proper airflow to the plants.
          Time for Denis Palamarchuck is at a standstill. He’s caught in the middle of it all, and his fate, freedom and future remain uncertain.
          “It looks like Denis unknowingly drove his truck into a fight between the State of Idaho and the federal government regarding the legality of industrial hemp,” Ball said.
          A previous version of this story mischaracterized investors in Big Sky Scientific. The company’s attorney says none had previously been in the marijuana business.

          Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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          Here’s What To Know About Whether Starbucks Will Ever Release CBD Drinks

          Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

          Will Starbucks Ever Come Out With CBD Drinks? It Might Take A While

          Over the past year, hemp and CBD-infused drinks and food have quickly exploded in popularity. With Coca-Cola and other companies rumored to begin testing beverages that contain cannabidiol, which is a non-psychoactive cannabis ingredient, you might be wondering: Will Starbucks ever come out with CBD drinks? Here’s why it might take a while.

          If you’re unfamiliar with CBD oil, it’s important to note that CBD, unlike the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant THC, will not make you high upon consumption, according to the World Health Organization. Instead, the hemp-derived substance — which has been legal at a federal level since the Agriculture Improvement Act was passed back in December 2018 — is commonly used to treat symptoms of pain, seizure syndromes, and anxiety, although research about its efficacy and long-term effects is still in its early stages.

          Considering the recent uptick in CBD-infused products, which include everything from marshmallows to lotions to gummy bears, customers might be wondering if a CBD-infused coffee could be in Starbucks’ future plans. While the combination might not seem like the most natural mash-up upon first thought — after all, CBD has gained a reputation as a relaxing substance and is sometimes used as a sleep aid while people intake caffeine for a boost in energy. But that’s not the reason you might not see it at your local Starbucks anytime soon. In an email, a Starbucks rep tells Elite Daily, “While we’re always watching trends in the food and beverage space, right now, CBD is not on our road map.”


          Don’t think the initially odd-sounding combo of caffeine and CBD is what’s holding the chain back. In fact, the two substances actually seem to work pretty well together when combined, according to some people who’ve tried it. For example, when Elite Daily writer Amanda Fama tried CBD-infused ground coffee by Pure Hemp CBD back in January, she said she felt the fueling effects of the caffeine minus any of the jitters and other negative effects she normally associated with coffee. “Instead of feeling hyped up (like I usually do after having coffee), I felt calm, cool, collected, and ready to start my day,” she wrote.

          While her experience sounds promising, companies are only just starting to experiment with adding the substance to food and drinks, and the jury is still out on any potential health risks and benefits of CBD. In addition, the lines on the legality of adding the substance to food and drinks are blurred, as the FDA previously stated it’s “unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.” New York, California, and Michigan are some of the states that have started cracking down on the use of CBD oil in food and drink.

          Still, certain restaurants and coffee breweries, like the Chicago-based Protein Bar & Kitchen as well as Espresso Bay in downtown Traverse City, Michigan have offered customers the option to add a few droplets of CBD to your coffees or latte, with prices ranging from $2.99 to $4.

          However, while the use of CBD oil in foods and beverages might be slowly becoming more mainstream, it’s still controversial and I wouldn’t look for it on the menu anytime in the near future at your local Starbucks.

          Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

          Given that CBD isn’t currently on the chain’s “roadmap,” you’re better off looking elsewhere or planning to DIY a CBD-infused coffee if you so choose.

          Still, considering Starbucks’ forays into both ‘Gram-worthy and inventive offerings for spring and summer, something tells me that you won’t miss it with the retailer’s lineup of creative sips to choose from when patio season rolls around.

          Read more: http://www.elitedaily.com

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          From casinos to cannabis: the Native Americans embracing the pot revolution

          The long read: Gambling transformed reservations 40 years ago, but often only enriched a few. Could the legal marijuana business prove more broadly beneficial?

          In February 2015, amid the cedar masks, canoe paddles and totem poles at the Tulalip Resort Casino north of Seattle, the talk was all about pot. Indian country had been abuzz about cannabis since the previous autumn, when the Justice Department had released a memorandum which seemed to open the way for tribal cannabis as a manifestation of tribal sovereignty. (I grew up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, and I use the word Indian to refer to indigenous people within the US. I also use indigenous, Native and American Indian. These terms have come in and out of favour over the years, and different tribes, and different people, have different preferences.)

          The gathering at Tulalip was technically a legal education conference, so a slew of lawyers in thousand-dollar suits were there, of course, but so were private-equity entrepreneurs, tribal officials and tribal potheads. One of the last a gangly twenty- or thirtysomething wearing Chuck Taylors, a very ripped T-shirt and a headband that held back his lank hair slouched low in his chair and didnt speak a word all day. His companions spoke a bit more, but with the sleepy demeanour of people who have just purchased a dime bag and smoked it all. They didnt talk business as much as they talked relationships: We have a relationship with pot. Its a medicine from Mother Earth. Like, cannabis is tribal. Its consistent with our relationship with Mother Earth.

          Wandering among them were tribal small-business owners, people who ran gravel companies or sold smoked fish or espresso along the freeway. They had forked over $500 for lunch and a name tag to explore what marijuana legalisation might mean for their community or maybe to explore where the pay dirt lay at the intersection of legalisation and tribal sovereignty.

          The lawyers and policy people gave talks about state laws; the history of marijuana legalisation in California, Colorado and Washington; and the social, cultural and political ramifications of legalisation. Tribal leaders spoke about the ways in which tribal growing could be a whole new revenue stream, if not a new tribal industry. Behind these discussions were coded questions, old and new: How best to provide for a people in the absence of industry and opportunity? How to use tribal sovereignty to the best possible effect? Did tribes really want to invest in another lifestyle economy like tobacco shops, casinos and tourism? No one knew what to make of the potheads.

          The received notion reinforced at every turn in editorials and investigative pieces and popular culture is that reservations are where Indians go to suffer and die. They are seen by many Indians as well as non-Indians not as expressions of tribal survival, however twisted or flawed, but as little more than prisons, expressions of the perversion of American democratic ideals into greed a greed rapacious enough to take Indian land and decimate Indian populations, but not quite harsh enough to annihilate us outright.

          But reservations are not stagnant places. Despite their staggering rates of unemployment, they are home not only to traditional ways of living but to new tribal business as well. Pot as a tribal industry has a parent: the casino. Arguably, the casinos arrival in Indian country had as defining an effect on the social and economic lives of Indians in the past 50 years as the mass migration of Indians to American cities. Many Indians refer to the time before tribal gaming as BC Before Casino.

          By 1987, gaming enterprises were under way across the country, with the biggest concentration of casinos in California and Oklahoma. The courts were still deliberating the questions of rights v regulation, but Indians having waited in so many ways for so many years to have their sovereignty affirmed were not. The increase in funding for tribal programmes throughout the 70s, the emphasis on improving access to education, support for the poor, funding for healthcare all of this positioned Indians to move, and move fast. By the mid-80s, elected tribal leaders had gained 40 years of experience in Indian Rights Association governments, and 40 years of experience in dealing with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and state and federal governments.

          They had become expert at playing with soft power, and were prepared to make the most of the opportunity for gaming. Within a year of the tribes winning the right to open casinos in California, gaming was bringing in $100m a year. The door to economic development at least in the realm of gambling seemed to have been flung wide open.

          But not so fast: the states, a powerful lobby in their own right, were determined to have a stake in Indian gambling, or at least some measure of control. The federal government felt the same way. So in 1988, Congress passed and Reagan signed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (Igra), which codified the process by which tribes administered gambling.

          After the act was passed, Indian gaming boomed. Revenues grew from $100m in 1988 to more than $26bn in 2009 more than Vegas and Atlantic City took in combined. Despite the influx of money in general, however, gaming changed little for most Indians. This is America, after all. Like all American avenues to wealth, casinos privilege the few and leave out the majority. But, at Tulalip, signs of a possible third way have emerged.

          It might seem surprising to suggest that, in order to find America, you need to look at Indian communities and reservations. But its true. The questions posed by Americas founding documents and early history What is the reach of the federal government? What should it be? How to balance the rights of the individual against those of the collective? What is, at the end of the day, the proper role of the federal government in our social structures and lives? How to balance the demands of community and modernity? How to preserve, protect and foster the middle class? are answered by looking at Indians, at our communities and our history.

          Two months after the pot summit, I sat across from Eddy Pablo in a Minneapolis casino. He had come armed with notes and handouts about marijuana legalisation, medical uses of marijuana, and tribal dispositions about legalisation and capitalisation at Tulalip. Eddy is about 5ft 10in, with an absurdly strong build, dark skin, small eyes and spiky black hair in a neat crew cut. Hes 31, with three children, and he is on the make.

          Ive lived here my whole life. Both my parents are from here. Im thankful for it. He is soft-spoken but gives off a sense that nothing bothers him. Yet there is plainly a kind of seething, sliding, waiting energy underneath his social self. My high school in Marysville was a subtle racist high school. Not so much the kids. But the teachers had no expectations for us. All of us Indian kids were underperforming. If you have low expectations, then thats all the kid will strive for. I wanted to go to college but my sophomore English grade was crappy. They put me in a special reading class.

          This was followed by depression and tutoring. He made it to community college but it didnt stick. He ran afoul of the law and landed in jail. After he got out, he got hooked on diving for geoduck (freshwater clams). You dont get to dive very much. Maybe eight days a year. But a boat can make 13k in three hours. Eddy becomes more animated when he talks about being on the water.

          The next day he picks me up to go digging for clams on Cama Beach Point. His car is packed with five-gallon buckets, shovels, rakes and his son, Cruz, tucked in the backseat. As we drive, he points out the landmarks. The Tulalip Reservation 22,000 acres of Indian land sits between Interstate 5 and Puget Sound just north of Seattle. It is indescribably beautiful.

          Thats where I grew up, he says, pointing at a nondescript house facing a silty bay that was, until relatively recently, thick with salmon. Cedar, until recently, grew down to the shore.

          Unlike most tribes, people here are doing all right, economically speaking. In fact, they are doing very well. The median household income at Tulalip is a comfortable $68,000 per year, well above the national average. Tribal members do get a per-capita payment from gaming revenues, though according to Eddy its not more than $15,500 a year.

          The tribe, as a collective, as a business, is doing better as well. Every tribal building is new. The tribal office where Eddy picked up our permit is a soaring architectural treasure. Theres also the youth centre, the museum, the cultural centre all of them cedar-clad. Where once the tribes wealth could be measured in fish, it can now be measured in income and infrastructure.

          A casino resort on the Tulalip Indian Reservation north of Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Richard Uhlhorn/Alamy

          As for Eddy, without a college degree and with three kids to support, he hustles. He sees marijuana as something that can be added to the mix. We should get in the business, he says. Not just opening dispensaries. Or growing. Our sovereignty can give us a leg up. We should grow, process and dispense. We could control the whole chain. I wonder out loud if the tribe really wants to hitch itself to another lifestyle economy like cigarettes and gambling.

          Look, says Eddy. Heroin is here. Once they changed the chemical makeup of prescription drugs [like OxyContin], everyone turned back to heroin. People die from that. No one dies from pot. And the tribe wants it. The people want it. We did a survey and 78% (of tribal members) voted yes for bringing our (tribal) code in line with the state. Fifty-three per cent wanted to open it up only to medical marijuana and 25% wanted that and recreational use to be legal. It could be our niche.

          By now weve reached the beach. We have only an hour, two at most, while the tide is out, to dig and sort. Soon the water will come back in and cover the clam beds, and they will be lost to us. So much of life at Tulalip has the same kind of rhythm small windows in which one can make a lot of money, slow spells when none is to be made, and then another hard push. Its not the kind of labour that breeds confidence or even certainty: no clocking in, working, clocking out, and pulling in a wage and benefits. So how, I ask, does he make ends meet? Whats his job?

          He gets his per-cap from the tribe. He crabs a few days. He dives a few days. He goes after geoduck and sea cucumber and salmon. And in the same manner he runs his fireworks stand at Boom City in the summer.

          Youve got to see it, he says. You wouldnt believe it. A fireworks bazaar. Bigger than anything. And theres a place to light them off. Its like world war three. He seems to think this is a good thing. And in a way I suppose it is, just like his whole operation: a patchwork of opportunities that are exploited aggressively and together add up to a living. A good one.

          We have a story, says Eddy as we drive away. Cruz is asleep in his car seat. When all else fails, we were instructed to dig. The clams are always there. Theres food waiting there.

          In addition to opening new avenues to wealth and creating a wealth gap in Indian country casinos have had another major effect: theyve thrown into stark relief the vexing question of who gets to be Indian at all.

          Americas first blood-quantum law was passed in Virginia in 1705, in order to determine who had a high enough degree of Indian blood to be classified an Indian and whose rights could be restricted as a result. Blood quantum was simply a measure of how much Indian blood (full blood, half, quarter, eighth) a person had. It was often wildly inaccurate, culturally incongruous and socially divisive. It is still used to determine who can be an enrolled member of some federally recognised tribes, and it is just as divisive now as it was then.

          Youd think, after all these years, wed finally manage to kick the concept. But recently, casino-rich Indian tribes in California, Michigan, Oregon and other states have been using it themselves to disenroll those whose tribal bloodlines, they say, are not pure enough to share in the profits.

          As of 2017, more than 50 tribes across the country have banished or disenrolled at least 8,000 tribal members in the past two decades. Many different rationales have been used to justify it, but its telling that 73% of the tribes actively kicking out tribal members have gaming operations.

          Whats fascinating to me is that the whole question of culture didnt become part of the conversation about who is and who isnt Indian at all until the period AC After Casinos. True, being Indian (as something one did in addition to being something one simply was) began back with the Red Power movement and was amplified by the American Indian Movement (AIM), which, at the start, was primarily concerned with Indians economic independence and freedom from police brutality. But in those early discussions and actions, being Indian was more a matter of politics and emotional affinity than a matter of culture. Even the religions claimed by AIM were antagonistic and political: AIMsters danced the Sun Dance as a way of saying Were not you more than as a positive assertion of religious identity. But after casinos began injecting millions and then hundreds of millions and then billions of dollars into Indian economies, culture really came to the fore of discussions of Indianness.

          By the end of the 1990s, there was enough cushion for enough Indians and enough money to begin pondering, in earnest, what being Indian meant. They had enough space in their lives to want to connect to their tribes in ways that were value-positive, that didnt see being Indian as a matter of being a full-blood or being enrolled or being simply dark, as had been the case when I was growing up. Rather, being Indian became a matter of knowing your language, attending ceremony, harvesting game and wild rice or pion or salmon. Being Indian was still to some degree a matter of blood, but it was also in the process of becoming about much more.

          The struggles of Indian people across the country are bound up in what it means to be Indian. But to be Indian is not to be poor or to struggle. To believe in sovereignty, to let it inform and define not only ones political and legal existence but also ones community, to move through the world imbued with the dignity of that reality, is to resolve one of the major contradictions of modern Indian life: it is to find a way to be Indian and modern simultaneously.

          The cannabis industry has started modestly at Tulalip. It is unclear what it will bring or where it will end. Some, like Eddy, think pot shouldnt necessarily be a tribal enterprise, but rather something tribal individuals can participate in, another small-business opportunity that can help make up an income. But how the tribe will exploit the cannabis market collectively is an open question, dependent not only on the unique politics at Tulalip but also on the way tribes do business in general.

          Les Parks, the former tribal vice-chairman of the Tulalip and current treasurer, has been at the forefront in trying to get the tribe into the business. While vice-chairman, he put together the pot summit. But after the summit and a subsequent election, Les stepped down, having shot his bolt on the whole issue, according to him, and having failed to overrule those who opposed the idea. As on most other reservations, tribal enterprise at Tulalip is controlled by a small group of people who have grown up together in a very small community. A small village council can control millions on millions of dollars, and so big decisions are often, at their core, made for very personal reasons.

          Im met by Les, in bolo tie, boots and a very large, very new pickup truck. Les is proud of his community, and he has obviously given the tour of the reservation many times. But when I ask how much the casino makes, or the fisheries, or anything else, he is evasive. Oh, we do OK. Every year we send $62m in taxes to Olympia. That should give you an idea.

          A cannabis dispensary on the Tualip reservation. Photograph: Genna Martin

          Its understandable that a wildly successful tribe like the Tulalip dont want to say how much theyre pulling in. The federal government has treaty obligations to the Tulalip to provide for housing and services, among other things obligations that, when all is going well, the government is only too happy to let slide. So the fiscal rhetoric of reservations, if not the social rhetoric, is always one of want and need.

          Les veers down a long, narrow road that ends near a creek feeding into the sound. This is where his familys original allotment was. My great-great-grandfather must have been important because this was a good place to live, right next to the creek. It would have been full of salmon. But Les has suffered like so many Indians have suffered: he lost his mother to a drunk driver, his father wasnt around very much. The house he grew up in, long gone rotted or burned or pulled down was of rough-cut lumber and tar paper. He had a lot of brothers and sisters. There wasnt much to go around.

          Many of the people I talked to had similar stories fathers and brothers lost to the sea, heavy drinking, absentee parents, poor living conditions. Here as elsewhere, survival was the principal challenge for Indians for well over a century. And from Less story, like others, its clear that a tolerance for conflict, pain and uncertainty a kind of wild and unpredictable daily drama has been necessary to that survival. What, then, allows growth? What are the ingredients necessary for a community not only to make money, but to grow real wealth?

          My sister-in-law got Parkinsons disease. It was horrible to watch. Pot helped her. It helped her pain a lot. But Les doesnt want the tribe to sell pot. Or to only sell it. I want us to use our sovereignty to fast-track clinical trials for the uses of marijuana extracts. We could do it faster and better than any of the pharmaceutical companies out there. Were already talking to Bastyr University. Thats where I want us to go. There are a lot of uses for extracts and there is no pharmaceutical company in North America that is looking in that direction. We could be the first. He looks off over the sound. Theres even some research that suggests cannabis extracts can be used to cure type 2 diabetes. Think about that. Think about an Indian company, a tribal pharmaceutical company, that could cure the greatest threat to our health.

          Fifteen per cent of American Indians have diabetes, and in some communities in the south-west, the rate is as high as 22%. And diabetes is only part of the problem. Along with high dropout, unemployment and poverty rates, Indians have a mortality rate from accidental death that is twice the national average. Life, for many of us, is not merely bleak: its short, poor, painful, unhealthy and tumultuous.

          Just as Les moved from poverty to relative comfort in about 30 years, so too has the tribe. According to the Tribal Employment Rights Organization (Tero), there are 62 registered small businesses owned and operated by Indians on the Tulalip Reservation right now, but since businesses register annually, that swells to more than 160 when theres a big project on the books. And that figure doesnt seem to include fishermen (there were by my count more than 20 boats in the fleet) or the 139 tribally owned and operated fireworks stands at Boom City, or tribal businesses in areas that are, technically at least, off the reservation. When I add all that up, I figure at least a few hundred Indians are in on the hustle no different, in their way, from the many who sell crafts on Etsy, auction game on eBay, plough driveways and make T-shirts on the side. There is, despite historical oppression and in contrast to the received stereotypes about Indians, an active and thriving entrepreneurial class at Tulalip.

          The tribe has opened a dispensary, but hasnt given up on Less bigger vision. Even if we cant do it, it should be done, he says. I cant help agreeing. Why shouldnt the tribe, surrounded as it is by Boeing and Microsoft and Amazon, wed tribal enterprise and wealth to technological enterprise and wealth? A pharmaceutical company could be the way to bring Tulalips economy out from under the lifestyle economies that have marked, till now, tribal enterprise.

          Tribal power is an interesting thing. With a structure like Tulalips, power rests in the hands of a very few, and the absence of term limits makes it very easy to keep doing the same thing but very, very hard to do anything new.

          Boom City is exactly how it sounds. For two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July, the largest fireworks bazaar west of the Mississippi rises from the gravel on a vacant lot near the casino. Plywood shanties are trucked to the site and arranged in neat rows. The awnings are opened and the sale begins. Each of the 139 stands is stuffed with fireworks. All of the stands are Native-owned, and the action is administered by a board of directors, which in turn is administered by the tribe. All of the stands are painted brightly, and many bear equally colourful names: Up in Smoke, One Night Stand, Boom Boom Long Time, Porno for Pyro, Titty Titty Bang Bang. Others bespeak proud ownership: Mikeys, Eddys, Juniors.

          Its slow when I arrive at Eddys stand, but even so there is a lot of money changing hands. Fireworks like gaming and, to a lesser extent, tobacco are regulated by the state. And as sovereign nations, Indian tribes in states such as Washington, where fireworks are illegal, enjoy a monopoly on their sale. I find Eddy deep in his stand, trying to avoid the sun.

          The weathers keeping people away. Too hot. He also tells me business is slow because someone was caught earlier that day selling illegal fireworks nearby, and the incident has made customers skittish. By Friday the cars will be backed up to the highway, Eddy assures me. If youre the last man standing with a full load of fireworks on the last day, you can sell it all.

          The wholesalers set up shop on the outskirts of Boom City and circle around taking orders for the vendors. There are two espresso stands and a few food stands. Someone has lined the back of their pickup with a tarp and filled it with water, and five kids cavort and splash in it. Other kids, as young as four or five, walk through the stands chirping Iced tea! Pop! Gatorade! in a miniature mimic of the men and women selling fireworks who have perfected the banter of bazaar merchants the world over.

          In the afternoon, the sound of fireworks many and large can be heard nearby. Theres a field on the edge of Boom City set aside for setting them off. Just as fireworks can be sold on the rez but not in the state, so too can they be exploded on the rez. And Boom City is happy to provide the space. Its a free-for-all. Rockets, mortars, roman candles, spinners. They all go off at once and continuously. A haze settles over the lot like the haze over a battlefield. Periodically, the security guards call a halt to the explosions, but only to make room for even larger ones: tribal members and this seems to be a uniquely cultural thing will light off upward of $1,000 worth of fireworks as a memorial for someone in their family who has passed on. They are remembered with an exploding wall of sound.

          Ideas arent quietly laid to rest here either. Having explored the possibility of teaming up with the Lummi nation to start a pharmaceutical company, and having met with resistance there as well, Les Parks has recently taken the project back. Political power waxes and wanes, and as the dynamics on the council shifted, Les, visionary and dogged, has brought the idea of a pharmaceutical company back to Tulalip. This time he has more support.

          I wander back to Eddys, dazed by the fireworks and by everything else Ive seen at Tulalip. What I have seen here isnt just what a tribe could be (though there was that, too) but what America might be. If only. Tulalip is a conglomeration of separate tribes that came together (by choice, circumstance and under pressure) to form a nation. It has suffered its own internal divisions and traumas. It has endured natural and civic disasters, gone through recession and poverty and joblessness. But it has found a way to provide free healthcare for all its citizens, free education for those who want it, free (excellent) childcare for working parents, a safe and comfortable retirement option for its elders, and a robust safety net woven from per-capita payments that, while barely enough to support a single person and not enough to fully support a family, are enough to encourage its citizens to venture into enterprises small and large. The nation provides for its most vulnerable citizens the young and the old. And it provides enough security for the people in between lifes beginnings and ends so that they can really see what they might become.

          This is an edited extract from The Heartbeat at Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer, published by Corsair on 28 March

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          Coca-Cola heir arrested in Caribbean with $1.3M in cannabis, 5,000 plants aboard private jet: reports

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          WHO Proposes Downgrading Cannabis Under International Law For First Time

          The World Health Organization (WHO) is proposing downgrading cannabis under international law for the first time, in light of growing evidence of its legitimate medicinal benefits.

          Currently classified by the WHO (US classification is slightly different) as schedule IV – the same class as heroin – which is the most strictly controlled category, the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has proposed to reschedule cannabis, and other cannabis-related products as a schedule I classification. What’s more, they’ve proposed removing non-THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) cannabis products, such as CBD oil, from international drug controls completely.

          In November last year, the WHO’s ECDD met to carry out the first full review of cannabis and cannabis-related substances since it was first listed under the International Drug Control Conventions as schedule IV in 1961.

          The WHO schedule categories, first implemented to categorize the potential health risks and benefits of specific substances, range from schedule I – substances with addictive properties and risk of abuse, to schedule IV, the most harmful of the schedule I substances, with the addition of having extremely limited medical or therapeutic value. Cannabis currently come under both.

          The WHO is proposing to the United Nations that cannabis be deleted from schedule IV, and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is currently listed separately as scientists had not identified THC as the psychoactive component of cannabis in 1961, be downgraded to schedule I in light of mounting evidence of the potential for medicinal and therapeutic value.

          “The Committee recognized the public health harms presented by these substances, as well as their potential for therapeutic and scientific use,” the WHO stated. “As a result, the Committee recommended a more rational system of international control surrounding cannabis and cannabis-related substances that would prevent drug-related harms whilst ensuring that cannabis-derived pharmaceutical preparations are available for medical use.”

          They have also recommended that extracts and tinctures derived from cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t contain a psychoactive component, be removed completely from the scheduling, and thus not be restricted under international law.

          The review is long overdue in the face of scientific research into the health benefits of the drug, which weren’t available back in 1961. However, as research continues, attitudes have been changing towards cannabis and it is now legal for medical use in 30 countries around the world, including Canada, some parts of the US, Mexico, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Argentina, and Australia, with many more under review.

          Studies have linked the medical use of cannabis with helping manage chronic pain, epilepsy, depression, and psychosis, and though it isn’t a cure-all for cancer, it has been linked to helping patients deal with nausea caused by chemotherapy, amongst others. The new classification would allow for further scientific and medical research into the benefits of THC and CBD.

          “These recommendations are of monumental importance as they may lead to the overcoming of barriers to research, enhance access of patients to cannabis-based medicine, and allow free commerce of cannabis products internationally,” Ethan Russo of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute told Newsweek.

          The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs will vote on the recommendation in March.


          [H/T: The BMJ]

          Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

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          Janelle Mone set to provide music for ‘Lady and the Tramp’

          Image: Vanessa Carvalho / Getty Images

          A family trip to Disney World came to a halt when a great-grandmother was arrested for carrying CBD oil, which her doctor recommended to ease her arthritis. 

          Hester Burkhalter, 69, was arrested on Apr. 15 and charged with felony possession of hashish. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Burkhalter was stopped at a bag check just outside of Magic Kingdom that morning, and Disney security found her 1-ounce bottle of peppermint-flavored CBD tincture. In photos obtained by Orlando’s Fox 35, the bottle is labeled as 1000 mg of CBD and 0 mg of THC. 

          “I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” Burkhalter told Fox 35. “I use it for the pain because it helps.”

          According to the arrest report, the security guard who spotted the CBD oil notified a nearby police officer, who tested the tincture. He said the tincture tested positive for THC and arrested Burkhalter. Although she was carrying the letter of recommendation for CBD oil from her doctor, CBD is illegal in the state of Florida. She spent 12 hours in jail and was released on a $2,000 bail. The charges were later dropped. 

          There are a handful of gray areas at play here.

          One, the December 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp nationwide, classifying it as an agricultural commodity instead of a federally controlled substance. Hemp products, like the CBD oil added to burgers and sold by the bottle in the wellness section of grocery stores like Whole Foods, must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be legally sold. (THC is the main psychoactive compound in weed that makes you feel high. CBD doesn’t.) 

          But like the Miami Herald notes, hemp is still a no-no in Florida. Retailers sell CBD products, but a spokesman for the state’s Agriculture Commissioner stated that while the office hasn’t sent out any cease and desist letters, “the sale of CBD products is not currently legal in Florida until hemp legislation is passed.”

          The police report, as seen in Fox 35’s video, shows the police officer used a presumptive test on Burkhalter’s CBD tincture. Presumptive tests can’t specify a substance, but indicate the possibility of its presence. In this case, the test turned red, which indicated that THC might have been present. While presumptive tests are cheaper and yield faster results, they can be inaccurate and give false positives. The FDA recommends using confirmatory testing, which is more costly and takes longer but can “obtain a confirmed analytical result” by identifying specific substances. 

          This also isn’t the first time that a marijuana test detected THC in supposedly “pure” CBD oil. THC-free CBD, or CBD isolate, can be made in a lab, but there’s little to no regulation when it comes to what CBD manufacturers put in their products or how they label them. An investigation by WTHR in Indiana, a state where it’s legal to buy, sell, and possess CBD products, found that a patient taking hemp-derived CBD oil tested positive for marijuana during his employer’s drug test. The station sent a sample of the oil he took in lieu of multiple migraine medications to a lab, which certified that the oil had 0.018 percent THC — well below the legal limit. And in Georgia, where medical marijuana patients can register to legally use “low THC oil” to treat a variety of ailments, a woman taking CBD oil for anxiety failed a drug screening for a new job. She told WSB-TV that the ingredient label on the oil showed no THC, but a disclaimer on the company’s website stated that full-spectrum oil could test positive on drug screenings. It’s unclear how a full-spectrum product would have no THC as that is made from the whole hemp plant, meaning that there will be some traces of THC.

          In a statement to Fox News, the Sheriff’s Office said their handling of Burkhalter was “a lawful arrest.”

          “Possession of CBD oil is currently a felony under Florida State Statute and Deputies are responsible for enforcing Florida law,” the statement continued. “Although CBD oil is illegal without a prescription, our top drug enforcement priority and focus at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is to get deadly drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, off the streets of our community.”

          For Burkhalter, though, the family trip to Disney World was ruined. 

          “We had planned on this trip for over two years and we saved up for it and we were real excited,” she told Fox 35. “I didn’t know what to think, I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t feel like I’d done nothing wrong.”

          Read more: http://mashable.com/

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