Alaska Legalized Marijuana 39 Years Ago, and Three More Surprising Pieces of Pot History

Most Americans want pot to be legal, and the next couple of months will likely bring more proof of that as voters throughout the country consider some groundbreaking ballot measures this election season. State by state and city by city, pot-friendly policies—ranging from legalization to decriminalization to medical marijuana access—are edging their way across the nation. For one, Florida is poised to approve a medical marijuana program, which is a huge move in the pot-wary South. And inspired, no doubt, by the successes of Colorado and Washington, Oregon’s voters have placed an initiative on their upcoming ballot to legalize and regulate pot for adult use. The initiative has a fairly good chance of passing, though polls are still less than definitive. Alaska also has an initiative to legalize weed, which would be the first time the plant was sellable and taxable in the state. However, it wouldn’t change much else for Alaskans, because the state technically legalized pot almost four decades ago.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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