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White House announces meeting with weed legalization activists next week

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Activists in a group supporting marijuana legalization said on Wednesday that White House officials had invited them to a meeting next week to talk about issues surrounding the substance.

“I hope to establish an ongoing dialogue with the White House and cannabis reformers,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the DCMJ activist group.

“This meeting is hopefully the beginning of many meetings where the White House will make reforms before this administration’s time ends,” said Eidinger, who has led efforts to legalize pot in the nation’s capital.

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The White House had no immediate comment. President Barack Obama’s final term ends in January.

DCMJ had written to Obama, his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, and other White House officials asking for a meeting. A source at the group said the meeting on Monday would be held with officials from the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, but he did not know exactly what marijuana issues they wanted to discuss.

The group wants the federal government to remove marijuana from the so-called list of Schedule One drugs that includes substances like heroin and cocaine. Activists say many Americans, especially blacks and Latinos, are needlessly jailed and medical research into cannabis is delayed because of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act that initiated the listing. It was signed into law by former President Richard Nixon.

Obama has long said he supports decriminalizing marijuana but not legalizing it. He has called for reform of the criminal justice system for disproportionately incarcerating African-Americans for non-violent drug offenses like possession.

Last year, Obama, who has been open about smoking pot in high school, said young people should care more about issues like climate change than legalizing the substance.

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(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)


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Texas GOP sues Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner over canceled in-person convention

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The gathering, which was estimated to draw around 6,000 people, was set to happen next week in Houston.

The Republican Party of Texas is suing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and others involved with the canceling of the party's in-person convention, which was scheduled to happen next week.

On Wednesday, Houston First Corporation, the operator of the George R. Brown Convention Center, sent a letter to party officials informing them that the event had been canceled. That cancelation happened after Turner announced he was directing the city's legal department to work with Houston First to review the contract for the event.

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Texas bans elective surgeries in more than 100 counties as coronavirus hospitalizations keep climbing

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Gov. Greg Abbott said the decision is designed to free up more resources to address the pandemic.

With cases of the new coronavirus and related hospitalizations rising at alarming rates, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday expanded his ban on elective medical procedures to cover more than 100 counties across much of the state.

Surgeries and other procedures that are not “immediately, medically” necessary — which have already been on hold in many of the state’s biggest cities and several South Texas counties — are now barred in much of the state, from far West Texas to much of Central Texas, Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast.

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Here’s how bad things are for Trump after the Supreme Court ruling: columnist

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In a piece for Vanity Fair, columnist Eric Lutz addressed the degree to which President Donald Trump is in trouble after the ruling by the Supreme Court on his financial records.

Trump has spent the better part of four years fighting any transparency about his finances and taxes, which many have suspected might reveal illegal activity.

"He's not going to release his tax returns," said senior adviser Kellyanne Conway in 2017. "We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care."

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