Chronicle AM: NJ Legal Pot Bill Moving, Trump Administration Backs Needle Exchange, More... (3/19/19)

Pot legalization bills advanced in the New Jersey legislature, an Oregon initiative would allow for social consumption spaces and protect workers, smokable medical marijuaan comes to Florida, Arkansas passes a civil asset forfeiture reform bill, and more.

The Trump administration doesn't like safe injection sites, but it's down with needle exchanges. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

New Jersey Legalization Bills Advance. Marijuana legalization bills advanced in the legislature Monday. The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A 4497, while the Senate Judiciary Committee approved its companion measure, S 2703. The victories come a week after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders reached an agreement on what legalization should look like. Final floor votes could come as early as next Monday.

Oregon Initiative Would Allow Indoor Pot Smoking, Protect Workers. Marijuana industry leaders have filed an initiative, the Legalization Justice Act of 2020, which would, among other things, allow for social consumption spaces, provide protections for workers who use marijuana off the job, and urge the state to protect its homegrown marijuana industry. Now, organizers must collect 1,000 signatures before the secretary of state's office drafts a ballot title. Once that step is completed, organizers will then have to gather 112,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.

Pennsylvania Legalization Bill Details Announced. State Sens. Daylin Leach (D) and Sharif Street (D) have released details of their pending legalization bill. The measure would allow for social consumption sites and the home cultivation of up to six plants. A tax rate has not been set, but the goal is a rate that "balances the need to undermine any illegal market and the needs to both pay for regulation of the industry and invest in those harmed by prohibition." There would be no cap on marijuana business licenses and their would be a tiered licensing system to help communities adversely affected by the war on drugs.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Governor Signs Smokable Medical Marijuana Bill into Law. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed into law SB 182, which ends a legislatively-mandated ban on smoking medical marijuana. The ban had been thrown out in the courts, but former Gov. Rick Scott (R) had appealed to reinstate it. DeSantis had threatened to drop the appeal if the legislature didn't act, but the legislature has acted and now the ban is dead.

Asset Forfeiture

Arkansas Legislature Approves Asset Forfeiture Reform. The House last week unanimously approved SB 308, which will require police and prosecutors to win a criminal conviction in most cases before they can seize someone's property. The Senate approved it last month. It now is on the desk of Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R).

Harm Reduction

Trump Administration Backs Needle Exchange. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the Trump administration is backing needle exchange programs as part of its effort to end HIV transmission but will continue to oppose safe injection sites. The move represents a policy shift among Republicans, who have traditionally opposed needle exchanges, but Azar said they were necessary: "Syringe services programs aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a Republican health secretary, but we’re in a battle between sickness and health, between life and death," Azar said.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Dain Bramage's picture

ALEX M. AZAR II IS A FASCIST PIG, AND A PROPAGANDIST

1. First, you must comprehend this one basic, horrible, fact: Trump, and his associates, DO NOT GOVERN.  They WILL NOT GOVERN.  They NEVER INTENDED TO GOVERN.

Got that?

THE TRUMP "ADMINISTRATION" is a wholly illegitimate FRONT for a transnational criminal enterprise.

THE TRUMP "ADMINISTRATION" IS NOT GOVERNING, IT IS PILLAGING!!

This is a tough one to grasp, because it is so horrific -- I get that.  But you must clue in.  Or we're all fucked, forever.

Trump "administration" is a front for a transnational criminal organization.  They do not serve America, they do not intend to serve America.

2.  Once you truly understand that Trump was never there to govern, you begin to understand his real and true agenda: crimes against America and humanity.

3. Once you understand and accept that Trump's real and true agenda was always criminal and evil, then you will realize that Trump's perpetual lies have a purpose:  FASCIST PROPAGANDA.

EVERYTHING THE TRUMP "ADMINISTRATION" SAYS IS PROPAGANDA.

NOTHING THE TRUMP "ADMINISTRATION" SAYS CAN BE BELIEVED, OR TAKEN AT FACE VALUE.  

**************

Now back to Alex Azar...

From the above article: "Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the Trump administration is backing needle exchange programs..."

Yada, yada, yada... Whatever.  It's all fascist propaganda!

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE A GODDAMN THING THAT COMES OUT OF THIS SO-CALLED TRUMP "ADMINISTRATION?"

Then go back and review lessons 1, 2, and 3.

*********************

So what is Alex Azar REALLY up to?  MEDICAID CUTS.

From Joan McCarter at Daily Kos, 3/13/2019:

"Democrats made it absolutely clear to the nation's top health official, Alex M. Azar II, that the budget the administration put out Monday is dead on arrival. The House doesn't have to vote on the budget. It's purely the president’s wish list and one part of that wish list is particularly troublesome to them: the Medicaid cuts."

"What is particularly problematic for House Democrats is that the administration is attempting to implement the block grant program with a back door maneuver. The administration has signaled that it will approve waivers to states to replace the current open-ended federal commitment to states with a lump sum of money in the form of a block grant. That would basically cap payments to states, payments that would not keep up with rising costs of health care. That means fewer people would be covered, a reality Azar admitted to in a hearing Monday."

"The budget proposal to cut more than $800 billion from projected spending on Medicare also drew heat from lawmakers, as did the proposal to cut federal payments to hospitals that primarily serve low-income communities. New York Democratic Rep. Eliot L. Engel said that the $26 billion in cuts over 10 years, would be devastating to these safety net hospitals. Azar dismissed his concerns saying, "I don't believe any of the proposals will impact access to services."

Joan McCarter sums it up:

"The reality is this administration wants to take health care away from the people Republicans believe are unworthy—the poor, the disabled, the elderly. With the Democratic House, they're going to have a harder time doing that but it's clearly still their primary agenda when it comes to health care."

***************

Alex Azar serves his evil master, Trump. 

Period.

Do you really think he gives a flying Fuck about "ending AIDS transmission?"  HELL NO!

DOES TRUMP SUPPORT, OR EVEN UNDERSTAND, THE CONCEPT OF HARM REDUCTION?!?  FUCK NO, IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!  THE NOTION IS LUDICROUS! 

Trump don't give a fuck about pubic health, and neither does his little bitch Alex Azar.

Dain Bramage's picture

Alex M. Azar II IS COMPLICIT IN KIDNAPPING

More from Gabe Ortiz, Daily Kos, 3/13/2019:

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appeared in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday to face questions about the Trump administration’s budget proposal, but his role in the ongoing family separation crisis also demanded the attention of lawmakers.

Donald Trump staged an Oval Office photo-op last summer to announce a supposed end to his policy of family separation, but border agents have continued to steal kids from families, sometimes based on total lies and without any input from child welfare experts. In just one example, asylum-seeker Julio fled gang violence only to be falsely accused at the border of being a gang member. His 4-year-old son, Brayan, was taken from him.

“American people are horrified by this,” Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky told Azar. “They see this, I see this as state-sponsored child abuse, I would say even state-sponsored kidnapping. Children being taken away from their parents, hundreds, maybe thousands of children. And it’s continuing. I want to know what you are doing, a sense of urgency to come from you, about what you are doing about stopping this.”

But during the hearing, Azar instead defended taking kids like Brayan away from their parents, saying, "I will not stop or advocate DHS to stop separating children from individuals who present a harm for child welfare, and if that is what is occurring, that is what should be occurring.” But it’s not what’s occurring. In Julio’s case, officials refused to provided any evidence of his supposed gang ties. Julio and Brayan would not be reunited for months. “I still don’t understand why they did this to us,” he said. “I guess they can do whatever they want.”

Children kidnapped under the policy remain in HHS custody months after a federal judge’s deadline, and the reason for the delayed reunification of so many is that officials failed to track who was stolen from whom. Remember that in his Senate testimony last year, Azar claimed he could locate “any child … within seconds” through a government database. But a government watchdog report found there was no central database. Family separation remains a crisis, and Azar is square in the middle of it.

Dain Bramage's picture

Trump "administration" DOES NOT support needle exchange

Alex Azar is a fucking liar.

I have just demonstrated that his word is as worthless as the man himself.

Dain Bramage's picture

The Trump "administration" is a fucking crime spree!!

Laura Clawson, Daily Kos Staff, writes:

"The Mueller investigation has brought charges against six of Trump’s (now-former) associates. His former campaign chair is going to prison. His longtime personal lawyer and fixer pleaded guilty to a whole lot of stuff, directly implicated him in campaign finance violations, and is going to prison. His former deputy campaign manager pleaded guilty to two counts and has cooperated with the investigation. His former national security adviser pleaded guilty on one count and cooperated. It is beyond clear that Russia did indeed work for Trump’s victory."

"This is corruption on a historic level."

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