The sale of marijuana for recreational use began in Oregon on Thursday as it joined Washington state and Colorado in allowing the sale of a drug that remains illegal under U.S. federal law.
Oregon residents 21 years and older can buy up to a quarter-ounce (seven grams) of dried flowers at roughly 200 existing medical-use marijuana dispensaries as a new law took effect that backers hope will help curb a flourishing black market.
“You can get all the best strains from Oregon, which can make this into a top tourist spot,” said Sue Vorenberg, a former cannabis industry worker and editor of the Cannabis Daily Record.
Voters in Oregon and Alaska last year approved marijuana use and possession in state-regulated frameworks. Retail pot shops, like those already operating in Washington state and Colorado, are expected to start in 2016. The District of Columbia has also legalized marijuana possession.
While marijuana use remains illegal for any reason under federal law, 23 states allow cannabis use for medical purposes. Legalization measures will be on the ballot in Ohio in November and in other states in 2016.
In Oregon, possessing and growing pot became legal in July. Come January, the state expects to start accepting applications for retail businesses. Through 2015, recreational-use pot sales will be untaxed, though that will likely change next year.
Legalization measures have drawn opposition from anti-marijuana groups who say they heighten drug use and access by children.
Roughly 30 municipalities in Oregon have enacted bans, while others have sharply limited the nascent industry.
In Portland, the state’s largest city, lawmakers on Wednesday were considering limits on the number of stores allowed in each neighborhood and operating hours.
“We’ve lost the war on marijuana,” Klamath County Commissioner Jim Bellet said last month as he voted to support the county’s cannabis ban.
Vorenberg said people have been traveling from Oregon to neighboring Washington state to buy marijuana and could continue to do so in search of lower prices.
(Reporting by Courtney Sherwood; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Mohammad Zargham)
‘America First’ vs ‘Make in India’ as Modi hosts Trump
Trade ties between the United States and India have long been problematic but under "America First" President Donald Trump and "Make in India" Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they have worsened.
While eclipsed by his trade war with China, Trump's tussle with India, and New Delhi's prickly reaction, has made a major pact unlikely during the American president's visit to the world's fifth-largest economy from Monday.
"They've been hitting us very, very hard for many, many years," Trump said of India ahead of the 36-hour trip to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi accompanied by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others.
Chinese restaurants starved for cash as virus hits industry
It is lunch time in Beijing, but the only diner in Cindy's Cafe is an employee having a staff meal -- it has been closed for more than three weeks as China battles a deadly virus epidemic.
Restaurants are taking a huge hit as many people across the country of 1.4 billion have been either under some form of quarantine or are reluctant to venture outside since late January over fears of contagion.
At Cindy's Cafe in Beijing's Roosevelt Plaza, dine-in revenue has fallen to zero, and relying on deliveries hardly makes up the shortfall, said manager Cai Yaoyang.
"On a good day in the past, we could earn over 1,000 yuan ($143) a day from deliveries," Cai told AFP. "Now, it's just around 200 to 300 yuan a day. The impact is especially big."
Rio carnival gets political in Bolsonaro’s Brazil
Rio de Janeiro kicks off its annual carnival parades Sunday, the first of two nights of glittering, over-the-top spectacle set to pack a heavy dose of political commentary on Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
Vying for the title of carnival champions, the city's 13 top samba schools will have one hour each to wow spectators and judges with elaborate shows flush with scantily clad dancers, small armies of drummers and floats built on seemingly impossible feats of engineering.
The event is shaping up to be especially political after a year under Bolsonaro, who has deeply divided Brazil with his attacks on just about every cause close to the carnival community's heart: diversity, homosexuality, environmentalism, the arts.