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Atlanta unanimously votes to decriminalize marijuana

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Early Monday morning, city leaders in Atlanta voted to decriminalize marijuana. The legislation will reduce possession of marijuana in amounts less than one ounce to a $75 fine and no jail time. In the past, it was punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

The vote to decriminalize passed unanimously, 15-0. In September, Councilman Kwanza Hall stated the following,

“Ninety-two percent of the people arrested for marijuana possession of less than an ounce and who are in our jail are African American, and that is wrong. We should be ashamed of ourselves, and we have to change this law immediately”

It was also stated that families are being torn apart and lives were being ruined by the criminal penalties associated with possession. Individuals would lose scholarships or be barred from certain employment opportunities due to the criminal charge.

The Atlanta city council is planning a series of criminal justice reform policies (PDF of specific proposals available at bottom of page). Decriminalizing marijuana is just one piece of that puzzle.

Perspectives

Atlanta City Council lessens pot possession law in 15-0 vote

http://www.myajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/atlanta-city-council-cuts-penalties-jail-time-for-some-pot-possession/6bAkPrLv0GqO2Am41t5JDN/The legislation, which was resurrected in September after spending months in committees because of concerns it might send the wrong message, brings Atlanta closer to other large cities across the nation that are either lessening penalties on pot or decriminalizing it altogether as Americans’ opinions on the drug evolve.

It will reduce the financial penalty for possession of one ounce or less from up to $1,000 to a maximum of $75. Jail time, currently six months for possession, would be eliminated for an ounce or less.

City leaders vote unanimously to pass marijuana proposal in Atlanta – CBS46 News

http://www.cbs46.com/story/36497529/vote-on-controversial-marijuana-proposal-in-atlanta-set-for-mondayCity councilman Kwanza Hall introduced the measure back in March. It calls for reducing the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $75 fine and no jail time. That’s a dramatic drop from the penalty currently in place under state law which calls for up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“In Atlanta and in Fulton County, 92 percent of the arrests for small amounts of marijuana are the arrests of African-Americans, that is the most biased rate of arrests in the country,” councilman Hall told CBS46 News in September. “It’s not easy to convince a majority of 8 to 10 people and ideally a majority to agree to do something.”

Marijuana Decriminalization & Its Impact on Use – NORML.org – Working to Reform Marijuana Laws

http://norml.org/aboutmarijuana/item/marijuana-decriminalization-its-impact-on-use-2“The available evidence indicates that the decriminalization of marijuana possession had little or no impact on rates of use. Although rates of marijuana use increased in those U.S. states [that] reduced maximum penalties for possession to a fine, the prevalence of use increased at similar or higher rates in those states [that] retained more severe penalties. There were also no discernible impacts on the health care systems. On the other hand, the so-called ‘decriminalization’ measures did result in substantial savings in the criminal justice system.”

Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations | Cato Institute

https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/dose-reality-effect-state-marijuana-legalizationsOur conclusion is that state-level marijuana legalizations to date have been associated with, at most, modest changes in marijuana use and related outcomes. Our estimates cannot rule out small changes, and related literature finds some effects from earlier marijuana policy changes such as medicalization. But the strong claims about legalization made by both opponents and supporters are not apparent in the data. The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents.

 

Reactions

Final Thoughts

The reactions I’ve seen to this have been largely positive. As someone who believes that the individual should be in charge of their decisions, I am not entirely against the measure. That being said, I question whether this measure and others around the nation are taken with prudence in mind or if the communities will regret the decision down the road.

[NB: As a Georgia resident, I asked my lawyer “isn’t that against [Georgia] state law?” – he answered “Maybe.” So apparently a city could do this. But it would open a challenge. –Editor]

Jake Gambino has endless passion for liberty, marketing, and good lulz. After just seven years, he received his business degree from a local Community College. He would call this a sign of being a prodigy. No one else would agree, but Jake doesn't care. He is guided by reason and driven by principles.

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Caspian Sea deal prompted by pressure on Iran

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Caspian Sea deal prompted by pressure on Iran

It was supposed to be the deal that never came to be. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea has been hotly disputed by 2, then 3, then 5 countries claiming rights to its resource-rich seabed and sturgeon-filled waters. Oil, natural gas, and caviar-producing fish are abundant, making it one of the most coveted landlocked bodies of water in the world.

Suddenly, a deal has apparently been reached.

Caspian Sea: Five countries sign deal to end dispute

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45162282Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – all bordering the Caspian Sea – have agreed in principle on how to divide it up.

Their leaders signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in the Kazakh city of Aktau on Sunday.

What changed? Why all of a sudden did Iran, the biggest roadblock in reaching a deal because they have the smallest coastline on the Caspian, have a change of heart and push the deal forward? The answer can be found in recent sanctions from the United States and a chance that others may sanction them as well.

Despite denials, Iran is in a deepening economic crisis. Little is known about how deep it really is, but they are feeling the heat and likely did not properly save the massive amounts of money released to them by the last U.S. administration. Now, they need friends and fresh commerce to mitigate the damage.

Russia knows this and are behind the scenes giving Iran just enough aid to stay afloat. They will exert as much control over the situation in the Middle East as they can and a desperate Iran is just the in they need. They’ve been partners in Syria until recently. Now, they have the upper hand.

While news of the Caspian Sea deal will go unnoticed by most, it’s a pretty big deal. It gets Iran a boost they need even if it’s not the deal they wanted. It also lets Russia creep closer and closer to being a real power in the Middle East.

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Economy

Trump expects Harley to lose money on his behalf one way or the other

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Trump expects Harley to lose money on his behalf one way or the other

American motorcycle motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson is in a tough spot. Tariffs imposed from Europe against imported motorcycles in response to President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum have forced Harley to consider moving some production to Europe to avoid the tariffs. It’s a fair response, but the President is having none of it.

He has ratcheted up calls to boycott Harley over the potential move.

It’s imperative for President Trump’s reelection that these tariffs work. If they have the expected effect of bringing some jobs back while pushing others away, then they will be painted by the media as a failure. He knows this and therefore must do everything he can to keep jobs in America even if it means painting one of the most beloved American companies as the bad guys.

Trump backs boycott of Harley Davidson in steel tariff dispute

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-harley-davidson-tariffs-trump/trump-backs-boycott-of-harley-davidson-in-steel-tariff-dispute-idUSKBN1KX0J9The Wisconsin-based motorcycle manufacturer announced a plan earlier this year to move production of motorcycles for the European Union from the United States to its overseas facilities to avoid the tariffs imposed by the trading bloc in retaliation for Trump’s duties on steel and aluminum imports.

In response, Trump has criticized Harley Davidson, calling for higher, targeted taxes and threatening to lure foreign producers to the United States to increase competition.

My Take

What does he expect them to do? They will lose tens of millions of dollars if they continue to try to export motorcycles to Europe. They will lose even more if they stop selling motorcycles in Europe. If they try to mitigate the damage by moving some operations to Europe, the President wants them to lose money as a result. This, too, will likely result in cuts to the workforce.

In other words, President Trump will make certain Harley Davidson, an iconic American company, loses money and cuts American jobs no matter which direction they go. If he has an alternative for them that does not hurt Americans, I’m sure they’re all ears.

Most tariffs are bad in the 21st century. It’s impractical to believe we can maintain our supremacy as the world’s consumer if we continue to slap tariffs on some of our best trading partners. He either lacks the understanding of how this all works or has chosen to ignore the facts for the sake of spinning it for votes when his term concludes.

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News

Omarosa releases recording of her firing, looks worse as a result

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Omarosa releases recording of her firing looks worse as a result

When the headline came across the wire that Omarosa Manigault-Newman released a secret recording of her firing, most expected it to have some dirt on Chief of Staff John Kelly or even President Trump. It definitely had dirt. Unfortunately for her, it was all on her.

The goal of releasing the tape was allegedly to clear her name of reports she stormed through the White House setting off alarms and had to be removed physically by the Secret Service. It was a story that most probably forgot about until now. Then, it was revealed in the tape that she was fired over serious “integrity issues.”

Here’s the important portion of the video.

Even leftist journalist Chuck Todd had to point out there’s nothing out of the ordinary with a Chief of Staff running the staff, as they’re supposed to do.

 

One portion the media is latching onto for headlines is her claim that President Trump is “mentally declined.”

This will likely help her sell more books, of course. But the cost to her own reputation is making it difficult to believe this was a good move in the long term. NY Post columnist Karol Markowicz summed the whole Omarosa ordeal up nicely in one Tweet:

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