Steven Wishnia

Seven Questions the 'Senate Cannabis Committee' Should Ask the Obama Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, scheduled for Sept. 10 and led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), have been hailed as “unprecedented.” Deputy Attorney General James Cole’s Aug. 29 memorandum to federal attorneys, advising that prosecuting cannabis businesses legal under state law should only be a priority if they commit other offenses such as selling to minors, has also been hailed as a major step towards legalization.

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Why Is There So Much Hate for Working People?

When workers in California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) went on strike for five days in early July (they hadn’t gotten a raise in four years), it set off a wave of antilabor vitriol on the Internet.

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How the Nation's Most Dysfunctional State Government Blocked Medical Marijuana (And Campaign Finance Reform)

Earlier this year, New York looked poised to become the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana. The state Assembly passed a bill by a 99-41 margin June 3. A Quinnipiac poll taken that week indicated that 70 percent of New Yorkers supported the idea. And in the state Senate, the Republicans who had blocked medical-marijuana measures the three times they’d passed the Assembly now retained power only by allying with five renegade Democrats—one of whom, Diane Savino of Staten Island, was the bill’s sponsor. Savino repeatedly said she believed she had enough votes to pass the bill, and would bring it to the floor when the right time came.

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The Most Dishonest Words in American Politics: 'Right to Work'

“Right to work” is the most dishonest phrase in American political discourse. It sounds like it’s defending people’s right to earn a living. But as used by its supporters, it means making it impossible for workers to form an effective union, couched in the language of “freedom” and “choice.”

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How Govt. Crack Downs on Drug Prescriptions Can Backfire Spectacularly and Kill Privacy

If you get a prescription for Vicodin or Valium, Xanax or OxyContin, it almost certainly gets recorded in a government database. Almost every state now has a “prescription drug monitoring program" (PDMP), a registry listing every patient who was prescribed a drug scheduled in the federal Controlled Substances Act. According to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, a federally funded nonprofit group that designs drug laws and urges states to enact them, 43 states have such programs, most established in the last decade, and six more are in the process of setting them up. The only exceptions are Missouri and Washington, DC. 

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Hemp Is Harmless, a Potential Economic Miracle, and Still Illegal in America -- But the Tide Seems to Be Turning

The American hemp industry, revived in the 1990s in a wave of cannabis-fueled environmentalism, now sells $450 million a year of products from hemp-oil soap to hemp-coned speakers for guitar amplifiers, according to an industry trade group. Yet all the raw material used for these products, from fiber to hempseed oil, has to be imported, as it’s still illegal to grow hemp in the United States.

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Federal Court Denies Lawsuit Claiming Marijuana's Medical Benefits

Preserving the main legal barrier to medical marijuana, a federal appeals court on Jan. 22 rejected a lawsuit intended to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to move marijuana out of Schedule I, the federal law that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug with no valid medical use.

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Legalize It! Historic Night for Marijuana Reform as Colorado and Washington Take the Big Step

In an unprecedented popular vote, Colorado and Washington have approved ballot initiatives to legalize the sale of marijuana under regulations somewhat stricter than those for alcohol.

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11 Enemies of Marijuana Legalization

In 1990, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates told a Senate committee that people who smoked pot occasionally “ought to be taken out and shot.” That kind of fanaticism, which dominated the debate on drugs 20 years ago, seems to have faded. Today’s politicians are more likely to dismiss cannabis concerns as “not serious” than to rail against the demons of dope—but the powers that be are still bent on keeping pot illegal. U.S. cops bust an average of almost 100 people every hour for pot, and an array of think tanks and nonprofit groups continues to pump out prohibitionist propaganda.

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