Chronicle AM: Iran Hangs More Drug Offenders, VT Legalization Hearings Underway, More... (1/19/2016)

Georgia faces a pile of marijuana bills, Boston cops go after one of the state's leading legalization activists, Vermont legalization hearings get underway, and more.

Iran begins the new year as ended the old year, hanging drug offenders. (iranhr.net)
Marijuana Policy

Georgia Legislature Faces Stack of Marijuana Bills. Solons in Atlanta face no fewer than seven pieces of marijuana-related legislation as they return to work this month: House Bill 722 -- Medical Cannabis Expansion, Senate Bill 254 -- No felonies for possession of marijuana, House Bill 704 -- Industrial Hemp; House Bill 283 -- Marijuana arrests and drivers licenses, Senate Resolution 6 -- Ballot initiative for the legalization of marijuana, Senate Bill 7 -- Medical cannabis bill, and Senate Bill 198 -- Marijuana Regulations.

Boston Police Seek to Bust Activist Bill Downing Over Marijuana Sales. Boston Police have filed a criminal complaint against Downing, one of the state's most well-known marijuana legalization activists, charging him with multiple counts of marijuana distribution. A magistrate judge will decide today whether to approve the charges. Downing's attorney said the complaint is nothing but an effort to "silence the most vocal supporters of the legalization of marijuana."

Vermont Legislative Committee Holds Marijuana Legalization Hearings. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on marijuana legalization Monday at three venues across the state. Click on the link to get the flavor of the testimonies.

Drug Testing

South Dakota Welfare Drug Testing Bill Coming. Rep. Lynne DiSanto (R-Rapid City) and Sen. Betty Olson (R-Prairie City) are working on a welfare drug testing bill that would require mandatory drug testing for people applying for welfare and other cash assistance programs. Federal courts have held mandatory, suspicionless drug testing to be a search under the Fourth Amendment, so this bill could have problems if it gets passed. The bill is not yet on the legislative web site.

International

Iran Hangs Four for Drugs. Four men convicted of drug offenses were hanged at Karaj's central prison last week. They were identified as Seyed Hamid Hajian, Hossein Toutiannoush, Mostafa Jamshidi, and Mohsen Nasiri. Iran hanged hundreds of people for drug offenses last year, and this year looks like more of the same. Or does it? Last month 70 members of the parliament introduced legislation to end the practice.

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Should we hang Newt Gingrich?

The photo of these men being hanged for "drugs" is truly horrifying; seeing it is like witnessing a murder.  My first reaction was "Those poor bastards," and then, "Thank God I live in good old USA!"

Then I remembered Newt Gingrich.

Remember Newt Gingrich?  A demagogue.  Kinda like Donald Trump, only more nerdy.  In 1997, Newt Gingrich publicly advocated for the automatic death penalty for anyone in POSSESSION of marijuana, over a certain amount.  He said, and I remember seeing the video clip, "If you sell drugs to our children, we will kill you!"  And I'll never forget the smug, satisfied, self-righteous smile on his face when he said it.  I had the same feeling of horror then (and from where I sit, 1997 wasn't that long ago!) as I do now, seeing the photo of the men being hanged in Iran.

So while I'm still glad I live in good old USA, I can't sleep too easy, because fascist murderers like Newt Gingrich are always waiting under the rocks somewhere...  waiting for their opportunity...

Man, oh man I've got to take a hit....

(...and no, don't hang Newt Gingrich.  Just let him be an example of the kind of Nazis we DON'T want in power!)

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