Newspapers all along the border face a similar challenge in reporting cartel violence. A dozen Mexican journalists disappeared from 2006 to 2012 and an additional 14 were killed, according to a report earlier this year by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Mexico's human rights commission says 81 journalists have been killed since 2000. Last month, some journalists created an interactive map to track such attacks.
At El Mañana, the decision to self-censor went against family tradition. Cantú's grandfather started the newspaper about 90 years ago as the people's paper, calling it El Mañana — literally "tomorrow," or metaphorically, "the future." Over the years, El Mañana's slogan became "La verdad sin fronteras," or "The truth without borders." The paper has a staff of 20 in Laredo and 200 across the border, with a total circulation of 16,000, and 40,000 daily visitors online. For decades it had covered the rise of Mexican drug cartels.
That began to change in 2004, when editor Roberto Mora García, 42, was killed on his way home from work in Nuevo Laredo, stabbed more than two dozen times.
Then things escalated:
Two years later, armed men shot up the Nuevo Laredo office, leaving a reporter paralyzed. Afterward, the paper installed bulletproof glass and fortified walls.
A year ago this month, men again shot into the office with assault rifles and tossed a homemade grenade into the building.
No one was injured, but that was the last straw. The paper published an editorial that said it would "abstain, for as long as necessary, from publishing any information that is related to violent conflicts which our city and other regions of the country suffer from" because of "lack of conditions to freely exercise journalism."
If knowing is half the battle, we're losing the whole war.
Turns out this pipe isn't for smoking pot. If only someone out there made a locking hairbrush that doubled as a male chastity device—a product like that would help this mom avoid an awkward conversation with her kinky son, huh?
Her experience is not so different from that of many young American women now, caught in a post-post-feminist narrative in which it is proposed that sexual emancipation may be achieved through emotional disengagement. Whatever light “Waiting to Be Heard” does or does not shed on the awful death of Meredith Kercher, it offers a dispiriting account of prevailing mores. It is not new for students to “give casual sex a chance.” (Today’s twenty-year-olds may be surprised to learn that even their parents might have tried it.) It is new for girls to strive to adopt the sexual behavior of the most opportunistic guy on campus. “I wanted sex to be about empowerment and pleasure, not about Does this person like me? Will he still like me tomorrow?” Knox writes. But if empowerment, that much abused and much diminished term, means anything it means being able to say no as well as yes, without censure or shame.
Mead's point is subtle and finely argued, but there's a faint whiff of disgust in it, isn't there? The comparison Mead makes to Portrait of a Lady does something to honor Knox's own desires and agency as she set out for Italy, but then the knife turns, and it turns on the question of Knox's attitude about sex. I mean, if an adult woman wants to "adopt the sexual behavior of the most opportunistic guy on campus," shouldn't she be allowed to? Isn't that her prerogative? Granted, The Stranger hasn't gotten our copy yet, so I'm just spouting off here. But isn't there something a little dispiriting in what Mead's saying, too?
Saturday, April 27 is "National Drug Take Back Day," and Seattle is participating with a prescription drug take back program, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the city's five Seattle Police Department precincts. It's a great opportunity to reduce the opportunity of theft or abuse by getting rid of unwanted or expired prescription drugs. And of course, collected drugs will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner (as opposed to flushing them into Puget Sound).
Great program. But it has Slog reader Max wondering if, like our recent gun buyback program, this proactive measure might lead to some unintended consequences?
I wonder if a secondary market will appear on the streets next to the precincts, with people offering cash for painkillers?
No. Of course not. That would be illegal. Because it would be way more dangerous to allow people to offer cash for Vicodin than it is to allow them to offer cash for guns, no questions asked.
Because there's a common drug that might secretly fuck with your feelings:
[W]e don't think of Tylenol as altering our mental state. People can take it and still drive a car and go to work and remain fully present beings. But the more it's studied, the more it seems we may be overlooking subtle cognitive effects. In 2009, research showed that it seemed to dull the pain of social rejection — sort of like alcohol or Xanax. The author of that study, Nathan DeWall at the University of Kentucky, said at that time, "Social pain, such as chronic loneliness, damages health as much as smoking and obesity." ...
Then in a similar, separate experiment, they primed the subjects by having them watch video clips. They either watched The Simpsons or a film by surrealistic neonoir writer/director David Lynch, in which humans with rabbit heads wander an urban apartment muttering non sequiturs. They then passed judgement on people arrested in a hockey riot. Again, the people in the existential mindset imposed harsh sanctions, but the people who'd watched The Simpsons were lenient. If they'd taken Tylenol first, though, the David Lynch-induced anxiety was apparently blunted.
Okay, now half of you need to watch this video and tell me how harshly I should be sanctioned for writing this post:
New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn introduced a bill today that would hike the city's smoking age from 18 to 21. “By raising the legal purchase age to 21, we will prevent a generation of New Yorkers from becoming addicted to smoking and ultimately save thousands of lives,” Quinn said in a press release posted on Joe My God. And she's mostly right—making it harder to get tobacco will, almost certainly, decrease access, delay initial exposure, nix some addictions, and save smokers and society enormous health costs and death tolls.
But here's a question about this thinking: What interest does society have in prohibiting adults from using a legal substance? Tobacco is unhealthy—it's potentially lethal—but we don't prohibit Whoppers, Krispy Kremes, and Mountain Dew. All those things are unhealthy and potentially lethal. (In fact, a study from the Columbia University and City College recently found that "the total health burden of obesity surpassed the total health impact of smoking.") Even when those unhealthy products are regulated, they're not banned in any age group. The argument for delaying the drinking age three years into adulthood is partly a matter of public safety—not just the safety of the individual, but the safety of the everyone else in the general public. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the 21 minimum legal drinking age has reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers 18 to 20 years old by 13 percent and saves approximately 900 lives a year," says the Minnesota Department of Health.
But allowing 18 year olds to smoke doesn't necessarily make them dangerous to others. You might even make the opposite case: By prohibiting this substance from adults—who can vote, drive, and go to war—you're encouraging a huge black market for cigarettes. And black markets come with lost revenue for public health, gangs that control those revenues, and violence to defend their illegal market share. Either way, someone gets screwed.
I don't have the answer. BUT SLOGGERS ALWAYS HAVE THE ANSWER!
[Sniff, sniff] WHOO! Let's get this thing STARTED! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Cocaine: One Man's Seduction is the 1983 made-for-TV movie about—surprise!—a man who becomes seduced by cocaine, which proves to be a terrible mistress, forcing him to jump around all sweaty and yell at his wife. This man is played by Dennis Weaver, an actor who appeared on Gunsmoke (which I never watched) and also released a couple country-and-western albums (which I never heard). Nevertheless, I now love him, for he is great in this film. In the spaces between his mustache and non-whitened teeth and three-piece suit, the whole of 1983 is evoked.
Weaver's soon-to-be-yelled-at wife is played by Karen Grassle, best known as Ma on Little House on the Prairie, and the couple's son Buddy is played by James Spader, in a rare non-asshole teen role.
The film starts proving its awesomeness within seconds, as the opening credits roll over upsetting pencil sketches of an ever-more-distraught Dennis Weaver. We're then plunged into Dennis Weaver's home life—a perfect TV movie of cheerful good mornings and glasses of orange juice sipped hurriedly before running out the door. But all is not well in Dennis Weaver's professional life. Long the top seller at his real estate agency, he's since plummeted to seventh, and when he's shut out of a major agency expansion, he angrily realizes he needs to up his game if he's going to stay relevant in the real-estate world. During an impromptu work party, a fun-loving lady offers him some cocaine, but he refuses....
...the Slog Netflix Streaming Club will continue with Cocaine: One Man's Seduction, the 1983 TV drama about cocaine and how it seduces one man (who happens to be a maritally-troubled real estate agent played by Dennis Weaver. Also featuring James Spader, the mom from Little House on the Prairie, and a coked-up Jeffrey Tambor!).
Watch Cocaine: One Man's Seduction any time you want on Netflix Streaming—or rent the DVD from Scarecrow!—and we'll discuss it here on Slog tomorrow starting at noon.
UUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH. On Wednesday I have to get my wisdom teeth pulled and I am NOT excited about it. I've never had a tooth pulled before. I hate going to the dentist. I'm terrified.
Thankfully I have a very radical husband who'll help take care of me by making sure the house is stocked with frozen yogurt and pain meds, and I suppose I could look at the bright side and be stoked about the fact that I can catch up on my Netflix queue (it's excusable, ney, preferable to watch shit like Bridalplasty when high on percocet, right?), but until it's time for naps and drugs, I'm filled with anxiety. What if my teeth don't come out? What if ALL my teeth come out?* What if my whole jaw comes off? What if I wake up during the surgery? WHAT IF I DON'T WAKE UP AT ALL!?
So, three people were found shot to death in Idaho at a location that is both a pit bull breeding/sales location and a pot grow site. Children who survived the shootings were alone for a day. Beyond my ability to get my head around.
This new Pew Poll is a big deal:
For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.
The pro-legal-pot numbers have climbed more than ten points in the last three years. Go read the full report.
Prosecutors said that Monsignor Wallin, 61, had methamphetamine mailed to him by co-conspirators in California and sold nearly four pounds of the drugs last year. He also bought a video- and sex-toy shop in North Haven, Conn., named Land of Oz Dorothy’s Place, apparently to launder the drug money, the authorities said.
Monsignor Wallin was pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal reasons. He previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury.
Old King Missile fans—are there any young King Missile fans anymore?—will be reminded of their song "Jesus Was Way Cool."
Jesus was way cool. Everybody liked Jesus. Everybody wanted to hang out with him. Anything he wanted to do, he did.
He turned water into wine. And if he wanted to, he could have turned wheat into marijuana. Or sugar into cocaine. Or vitamin pills into amphetamines.
He walked on the water and swam on the land...
He could've told the future. He could've baked the most delicious cake in the world. He could've scored more goals than Wayne Gretzky. He could've danced better than Barishnikov. Jesus could have been funnier than any comedian you can think of.
Jesus was way cool.
Jesus also went to jail.
KPLU has a story up that isn't news so much as a reminder—US drug policy is still insane, even if we've been pushing towards legalization in Washington state:
More and more Canadians are learning the hard way that admitting to U.S. border agents that you smoked pot can bar you from entering the country forever.
Immigration lawyers say some Canadians are under the mistaken impression that legalization of marijuana in Washington state has resulted in leniency by U.S. border agents here, but it hasn't.
As everyone knows, tough and sensible drug policies like these have been very effective at curbing recreational drug use in the US.
So if you're Canadian who has ever used drugs and gets asked about it at the border, what do you do? Lie to a border patrol agent? Or risk being barred from the country?
Saunders says he doesn’t condone lying, but he does tell Canadians they can refrain from answering questions at the border.
“Just withdraw your application for entry, go back to Canada and maybe try a different day and maybe you’ll get a more hospitable officer.”
He says the inconvenience of that is far less than being permanently barred. People who've been denied entry, he says, are forever in the database and have to go through the expense and time of seeking a special waiver every time they want to cross the border.
Well, that's ludicrously inconvenient and ineffective, just like much of the rest of US drug policy. Now please enjoy this old story from the Colbert Report (also linked in the KPLU story) about a Canadian psychotherapist who was barred from the US because he wrote a paper decades ago about using LSD:
Los Angeles police just busted members of MS-13 for an alleged food-truck extortion racket in which gang members demanded "rent":
A grand jury indictment was scheduled to be unsealed Monday for about two dozen reputed members of the notorious MS-13 gang in connection with a violent extortion racket that targeted food-truck operators.
The victims of the alleged organized shakedown were not four-wheeled foodie cuisine servers, such as the Kogi BBQ truck, but those who serve blue collar workers at construction sites, according to several law enforcement sources familiar with the case.
The conventional wisdom used to be that the Mexican narcos didn't do this kind of stuff in the US because we are most valuable for our drug appetites—and that market wasn't worth risking by getting involved in other kinds of crimes (that might bring down extra ire from law enforcement). So kidnapping, extortion, and the rest stayed south of the border.
But MS-13 is not a Mexican cartel—it's Salvadorian and born in Los Angeles. (Many of its members were former soldiers fleeing the civil war at home.) Its mechanics are, apparently, a little different. And a recent report shows MS-13 getting closer to the Mexican Zetas and Sinaloa, though not derving huge financial benefit from the relationship yet:
Having spent time in several of their neighborhoods (both MS-13 and Calle 18) over the past two years, it is clear that the gang members and their families are derving little beyond subsistence from their criminal activities, and certainly not enough for an opulent lifestyle. Some of the money is used by gang members to feed personal drug habits, purchase weapons for the clica, pay lawyers for those in prison and other activities; but, it is not enough to life most gang members and their families out of poverty.
Maybe MS-13 is looking south and taking some pages out of the narco handbook—supplement your drug-trafficking income with terrorizing the folks at home. Except in their case, home is here.
The owner of a south Seattle club known for hosting Alcoholics Anonymous meetings was arrested last night for allegedly selling oxycodone before and after support group meetings for addicts and alcoholics, according to a press release sent by U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan's office.
According to the criminal complaint filed against 64-year-old Michael Martin Shepard, a tipster informed Seattle police that illegal drug sales were taking place at the Nomadian Community Resource Center off Rainier Ave S, which Shepard owns. During the subsequent police investigation, Shepard allegedly sold oxycodone to informants five times in the past two months, the release explains.
"The complaint alleges that Shepard would only deal drugs to those who became a 'member' of the NCRC in an attempt to evade detection by law enforcement," the release states. "The sales occurred both before and after the NCRC hosted sanctioned AA meetings for addicts and alcoholics."
Ugh. What an allegedly terrible environment in which to try and stay sober.
Then there's this: "Further investigation revealed that Shepard was obtaining the pills, in some instances, by purchasing prescriptions from those who had been prescribed the medication," the release states.
Durkan's office notes that distribution of oxycodone is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
A smidgen of real scientific research about levamisole in cocaine (instead of our decidedly nonscientific, shoestring journalism) is trickling onto the web. This study for the Annals of Emergency Medicine tracked people who wound up in US hospitals between mid-October 2009 and the following May. (The wheels of science turn slowly.)
Of the 46 potential cases reported from 6 states, half met eligibility criteria and had medical chart abstractions completed (n=23; 50%). Of these, close to half of the patients were interviewed (n=10; 43%). The average age was 44.4 years; just over half were men (n=12; 52%). The majority of patients presented to emergency departments (n=19; 83%). More than half presented with infectious illnesses (n=12; 52%), and nearly half reported active skin lesions (n=10; 44%). The majority of interview respondents used cocaine greater than 2 to 3 times a week (n=9; 90%), used cocaine more than 2 years (n=6; 60%), and preferred crack cocaine (n=6; 60%). All were unaware of exposure to levamisole through cocaine and of levamisole's inherent toxicity (n=10; 100%).
Our anecdotal evidence showed that levamisole poisoning was more frequent in regular users and in crack users—but I'm surprised to see that crack users make up only slightly more than half of this sample. And it's showing up in heroin, too, but only three percent of the seized herion, per the most recent numbers. (And three percent sounds small enough to be an accidental contamination or a whatever's-lying-around cut, not an actual economic strategy.)
And an anonymous commenter on The Stranger's first story about levamisole recently wrote:
Levamisole here in vancouver canada is mostly used to cut crack , because they doble their money , if a dealer cooks one ounce of coke, he adds another ounce of levamisole to it , becoming all together two ounces , and the users cant tell abd they think its base rock because they see only oil in the pipe and no dust left from the old cut that was baking soda .. Thats the reality of why they add levamisole to cocaine here in vancouver .. They sell the levamisole here for 1000 per kilo ..
That matches one of the theories we'd originally proposed—that levamisole makes a good cut, even though it's rarer than something like baking soda—because it has a chemical relationship with cocaine that passes street tests. Dealers (on a corner level or on an international level) who use purer-seeming cuts will be more popular than dealers who use obvious cuts.
But official sources—medical, governmental—have yet to officially solve the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
I hate to be one of those people who gets back from a trip and keeps yapping on about it, but... does anyone know where to get Burmese-style cheroots in Seattle?
I'm not talking about those frighteningly giant tobacco cylinders, the size of paper-towel rolls, that the old ladies seem to like so much. I mean the little conical green ones like these. They were great.
I disassembled one and it seemed like rough-chopped tobacco wrapped in a large, green, foresty-smelling leaf with a filter of pulped-up tree bark. And they have a pleasantly light, botanical smell—or at least I thought so—not as offensively sharp as a cigarette or bludgeon-heavy as a cigar.
If anyone sells them in the Seattle area, I'd love to know where.
Speaking of smokes, here's a paragraph Mark Twain wrote in a letter to his friend L. M. Powers:
I know a good cigar better than you do, for I have had sixty years' experience. No, that is not what I mean; I mean I know a bad cigar better than anybody else. I judge by the price only; if it costs above 5 cents, I know it to be either foreign or half foreign and unsmokable. By me I have many boxes of Havana cigars, of all prices, from 20 cents apiece up to $1.66 apiece; I bought none of them; they were all presents; they are an accumulation of several years. I have never smoked one of them, and never shall. I work them off on the visitor. You shall have a chance when you come.
Twain might have liked cheroots. They're cheap.
Yesterday, I Slogged about the new study from Washington State University on the economic effects of for-profit prisons. It concluded (surprise, surprise) that they're vampiric—instead of delivering on their promises of jobs and economic activity for rural, depressed communities, they drive wages and employment down.
Plus, they sound like terrible places to work. One Texas state senate committee found a ninety percent annual turnover rate in its for-profit prisons. And every week brings some new story about things going haywire in one of those poorly run holes.
As for the economics, the study couldn't have put it more plainly:
Specifically, new prisons in states undergoing a rapid shift towards privatization are inversely related to employment growth.
Matt Stroud, a prison specialist over at Forbes also mentioned the WSU study, but seems baffled by it:
It’s tough to know where to practically apply this research. In many cases, private prisons get built because the alternative (or at least the alternative stated by politicians) would be closing other prisons down. In essence — and I’m generalizing here — states will often run into a budget deficit and receive offers from private contractors to operate state run prisons at a reduced rate instead of raising taxes or closing a particularly costly prison altogether to amend a portion of the budget problem.
By his logic, a crappy for-profit prison—crappy for its prisoners, employees, and surrounding community—is better than no prison at all, since states are broke and people need jobs.
Here's another idea, Forbes, one that addresses all the concerns—it saves state money, generates tax revenue, decreases prison populations, and creates new jobs and economic activity for rural/agricultural communities.
Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana.
We don't need more for-profit prisons. We need more sensible drug laws. Shouldn't that be obvious by now?
Click the photo, and then vote for the correct answer!
If you want more celebrity bullshit posts, post 'em. And please note that the two Seahawks posts were by regular actual employees of The Stranger, and one of them was so disdainful as to actually constitute a Golden Globes post.
And the Seahawks game was more important: There's a Golden Globes every year. The Seahawks do not make the post-season every year.
Pax is what they would make.
This thing is awesome (and awesomely expensive). Self-contained, rechargeable, solidly built, and packaged and documented with great care. I imagine these guys' business model started looking very smart in November as the orders from Washington and Colorado started pouring in. As laws like I-502 get passed in more and more states, I imagine we'll start seeing much more of this. High-tech (GETIT), luxury gear for potheads. I mean, for people who like to vaporize tobacco and other premium, loose-leaf herbs.
Since I'm filing this under tech, the requisite unboxing pics are after the jump.
The 787 is the world’s newest and most sophisticated commercial jet. It entered service with Japan’s All Nippon Airways in October, 2011. JAL’s Boston-Narita service, introduced last spring, was the first 787 route in North America. The plane’s composite construction, along with much of its systems architecture, is for now unique among commercial jets. Teething problems, let’s call them, are common when new models are introduced. Jetliners undergo rigorous pre-delivery testing, and but they are large and highly complicated machines. Not everything works perfectly right from the blocks....
This is the third serious incident involving the 787′s aft equipment bay. The first two resulted in emergency landings—one by a pre-delivery 787 on a test flight in 2010; the other two months ago by a United 787 in New Orleans. Testing and certification criteria have come a long way since the days of the DC-10 and the Comet, and I am by no means calling the 787 unsafe, but still this trend is a worrying one. It could potentially affect the plane’s certification for overwater flying (so-called ETOPS restrictions dictate how far from diversion airports a twin-engine plane like the 787 is allowed to fly). Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that not every technical problem involving a 787 is indicative of a design flaw. From this point on, we can expect the growing fleet of 787s to be under rather intense scrutiny. That’s good for obvious reasons, but also bad because the media, which goes bonkers over almost anything involving airplanes, is liable to overhype even minor malfunctions that have nothing to do with the plane’s engineering.
I'm a nervous flyer... so, yeah, I'm kindasorta invested in the whole notion that new airplane models should work perfectly "right from the blocks." But I will somehow find the inner strength—or the outer Xanax—to defer Patrick's expertise on this one. (Via BalloonJuice.)
...then it's legal.
Some mysterious angel just delivered a bunch of pot to me. And now it's legal just to post photos of our pot on Slog, so... I am. Technically, it's still illegal to sell pot until the Washington State Liquor Control Board works out the details on who can grow pot and sell it, pursuant to our new marijuana legalization law.
But possessing pot is legal if it just appears out of the ether.
So that means the paper bag of pot that arrived—which said "Happy New Year, Dominic Holden" and contained seven smaller plastic bags of pot and a note that says, "If it falls from heaven, it's legal"—is totally legal. Thanks, mystery angel! It was nearly an ounce in total (that's a couple grams of it in the photo), and that amounts to roughly 20 times more pot than I could smoke in a year. So I've left it out for my dear coworkers. Because I can. Because it's legal now—if it falls from heaven.
The settlement is the joke.
This news is a few days old, but just in case you missed it: HSBC, Britain's biggest bank, has been given a tiny, $2 billion slap on the wrist for being the go-to institution for cartel money laundering, rogue state banking, and other financial no-nos for a decade. From the Guardian:
Britain's biggest bank was forced to pay $1.9bn (£1.17bn) fine to settle allegations by US regulators that it allowed itself to be used to launder billions of dollars for drug barons and potential terrorists for nearly a decade until 2010.
The US department of justice said HSBC had moved $881m for two drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia and accepted $15bn in unexplained "bulk cash", across the bank's counters in Mexico, Russia and other countries. In some branches the boxes of cash being deposited were so big the tellers' windows had to be enlarged. The US authorities said HSBC did not face criminal charges because the bank was too big to prosecute and no individuals were implicated.
"Too big to jail" is the headline du jour for this story, and some people are outraged that the penalties—including senior anti-money laundering officers having to partially defer some of their bonus—aren't tougher. It's depressing, but I can't say I'm surprised. Uneven justice for banks and individuals seems like a basic fact of American life these days. But if you want a taste of the outrage, you can find it at Rolling Stone:
So you might ask, what's the appropriate financial penalty for a bank in HSBC's position? Exactly how much money should one extract from a firm that has been shamelessly profiting from business with criminals for years and years? Remember, we're talking about a company that has admitted to a smorgasbord of serious banking crimes. If you're the prosecutor, you've got this bank by the balls. So how much money should you take?
How about all of it? How about every last dollar the bank has made since it started its illegal activity? How about you dive into every bank account of every single executive involved in this mess and take every last bonus dollar they've ever earned? Then take their houses, their cars, the paintings they bought at Sotheby's auctions, the clothes in their closets, the loose change in the jars on their kitchen counters, every last freaking thing. Take it all and don't think twice. And then throw them in jail.
Sound harsh? It does, doesn't it? The only problem is, that's exactly what the government does just about every day to ordinary people involved in ordinary drug cases.
If you're poor, the drug war is a real thing with real consequences—prison, death, destabilized families, cities, and countries. If you're a bank, it's a moneymaker and the law is just a minor inconvenience.
...the press kits have been fantastic. Good work, publicists.
This is your president speaking...
In an interview with ABC News, President Obama told Barbara Walters that recreational pot smoking in states that have legalized the drug is not a major concern for his administration.Obama has not had the best record in matters concerning pot. However, unlike Clinton, he did inhale.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said of marijuana smokers in Colorado and Washington, the two states where recreational use is now legal.
“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said.
You're not supposed to do it outside the privacy of your own home, but that's not stopping people. And for the time being at least, SPD's only giving verbal warnings. I heard one of the women saying to her male companion as I passed, "The laws are more lax than Amsterdam's."
News intern Al Jacobs reports in this week's Stranger:
Now that smoking weed is perfectly legal and state-regulated pot stores are on their way, what do street-level pot dealers make of the passage of Initiative 502?
To find out, I went to the University District and walked along the Ave. When people called out "Bud?" or offered to sell me weed, I identified myself as a reporter and asked them what they thought about legalization.
I was surprised by how many of them talked to me. Some were suspicious that I was just looking for free weed. One guy—yes, they were all men—asked me if I was "jive-talking" him. (He then handed me a strawberry-flavored lollipop and told me to have a nice day.) Another guy, dressed in a fur hat and gold chain, responded to my question on his feelings about I-502 with a glare and a question of his own: "Do I look optimistic?"
Others had more to say.
You gotta hear what else they had to say. KEEP READING --->
A worthwhile Planet Money episode from last week dealt with the trouble cannabis businesses, now legal in Washington and Colorado, are having/going to have with their banking.
Bank managers are worried about how the feds plan to deal with these new state-legal but federal-illegal assets. So the now-legitimate pot businesses are still having to operate as cash-only enterprises and figure out creative ways to legally launder their money and get it into banks. Fifty thousand bucks on your statement is one thing—fifty thousand bucks in cash is a liability. Over on the Planet Money blog, they've posted some methods that cash-only businesses use to manage their money:
1. Buy three safes. One for "bulk product," one for "inventoried, ready-for-sale product," and one for cash. "If you put your cash in with the cannabis, it will end up smelling like cannabis, and when you go down to the bank, I guarantee you're going to have a talk with the manager of that bank."
2. Get an ATM — and be prepared to stock it with cash yourself. Credit card companies may not want to do business with you. Same goes for the companies that run ATMs in small businesses. "The companies that traditionally maintain ATMs will not stock your cash," Davis says. "Why? Because it's possible that the federal government will come, break down the door and take that cash."