NORML Executive Director Wants the US Government to Tightly Regulate the Marijuana Market

We have reached the point when over 90 million Americans live in states that have legalized marijuana and when legalization seems set to expand to more states soon. The United States government has already backed off from prosecuting and incarcerating people complying with either this recreational marijuana legalization that varies from state to state or with the medical marijuana legalization in place in many more states. This situation suggests a clear path to the US government adopting a national legalization policy in which it just butts out, leaving marijuana matters to state and local governments.

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Bernie Sanders Wants to ‘End the Drug War,’ But …

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), soon after his presidential run announcement this year, proclaimed his advocacy for ending the war on drugs. Many people would take such a declaration as indicating Sanders, as president, would work to stop the United States government from arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating people for the possession, use, transfer, or production of now-illegal drugs.

However, it turns out Sanders supports a mere curtailment of such government actions, not their elimination. In a couple interviews this month, Sanders makes clear that, even if he gets his way as president, much of the US government’s war on drugs will continue.

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Schools Operating Mini-NSAs to Surveil Students

Argued as needed to prevent mass shootings, government schools across America are operating surveillance programs targeting students. Like surveillance pursued by the United States government’s National Security Agency (NSA), the schools, with the assistance of private companies, are extensively tracking the activities of all students, including students’ social media posts, emails, and use of programs such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office.

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Vince Vaughn Discusses Libertarianism and Ron Paul

When Vince Vaughn is not acting in or producing a movie, there is a good chance he is reading about, or otherwise giving some thought to, political ideas. Interviewed recently by host Tom Woods at the Tom Woods Show, Vaughn described his political views as tending toward constitutionalism and libertarianism and recounted that he learned about and ultimately met libertarian communicator and former United States House of Representatives member and presidential candidate Ron Paul due to looking into the Federal Reserve. Abolishing the Federal Reserve has long been a major part of Paul’s agenda.

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Red Flag Laws Are Far from Harmless

When President Donald Trump presented on August 5 a collection of proposals for government actions to counter mass shootings, advancing red flag laws was part of the package. Briefly describing such laws that operate in several states, Trump said, “we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.” That description — taking guns only from people who “pose a grave risk to public safety” and only after a judgment has been made in accordance with due process — would make red flag laws sound to many people like a rather harmless means to protect the public from extreme harm. However, the truth is very different.

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President Trump’s Response to Shootings Includes an Internet Crackdown

After any mass shooting, you can expect many politicians to jump in front of reporters and voters to herald support for cracking down on the ability of people to obtain, keep, and carry guns. President Donald Trump fits that mold, expressing his continuing support for imposing red flag laws to deprive people of their guns in his Monday statement in response to killings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. He further trumpeted in the statement gun restriction actions he has taken as president, including directing the Department of Justice to ban bump stocks and approving legislation strengthening gun purchase background checks. Trump also noted the United States government last year prosecuted a record number of firearms offenses.

But, Trump’s policy response in his statement went far beyond praising his past and ongoing gun control efforts. He also presented a list of other objectives including quick capital punishment for people found guilty of hate crimes and mass murder and more involuntary confinement of mentally disturbed people. He proposed cracking down on the internet as well.

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Tulsi Gabbard’s Military Nonsense

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), in a Thursday interview with host Chris Cuomo at CNN, reacted to criticism from fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen Kamala Harris (D-CA), after the candidates’ dust-up in a debate the day before, by stating, “the only response that I have heard her and her campaign give is to push out smear attacks on me, claim that I am somehow some kind of foreign agent or a traitor to my country, the country that I love, the country that I put my life on the line to serve, the country that I still serve today as a soldier in the Army National Guard.”

This statement from Gabbard is nonsense. Soldiers serving in the National Guard and other parts of the United States military in military interventions as has Gabbard are not serving their country. They are serving the exertion of power by the US government. Indeed, Gabbard in the interview expresses her opposition to the sending of the US military members “to fight in these wasteful, counterproductive regime change wars.”

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Want to Travel? First Answer Some Questions from a Virtual Policeman

Yes, the harassment travelers in American airports are forced to undergo for security, or, as some people call it, “security theater,” can become worse. Travelers already arrive early to stand in long lines before having their carry-on baggage inspected and their bodies scanned by machines of questionable safety. In some cases, travelers are frisked. All this despite there being no reason to suspect the particular travelers have committed or will commit a crime. “It’s all for your safety,” a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee may say if asked why the mass harassment occurs day in and day out.

Yet, there can always be more harassment added to the mix. Don’t be surprised if travelers in America one day are required to answer questions presented by a computer avatar before they can take a flight, or maybe a bus or train ride. Suppose the connected computer program determines some of your answers are not truthful, then no travel for you or, at least, no travel without you being subjected to additional scrutiny. That is the nature of a program now being tested in Europe.

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47 House Members Vote for a Refreshingly Honest Bill Name Change

It is a good rule of thumb that bill names in the United States Congress are misleading. A prominent example of that is the USA PATRIOT Act that, instead of supporting the freedom for which American patriots have fought, provides to the US government extensive means to infringe on that freedom.

On Thursday, though, House of Representatives members were offered in an amendment vote the opportunity to replace one such misleading bill name with a name that informs the American people what the bill is really about. Forty-seven House members voted for the change.

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House Democrats Preparing to Pass Marijuana Legalization with Very Little Republican Support

During a United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing earlier this month that appeared to signal the beginning of a move in the House to approve countrywide marijuana legalization legislation, Republican House member, and longtime proponent of rolling back marijuana prohibition, Tom McClintock (R-CA) warned that Democratic members’ apparent focus on weaving race-based policies and new government meddling into legalization legislation could sink support from Republicans.

Now it looks like House Democrats are moving forward with that plan against which McClintock warned. On Tuesday, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over marijuana legalization, introduced legalization legislation that includes race-based provisions tied together with marijuana business subsidies that just about ensure the bill will have little support from Republican House members.

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