The NAACP reiterates its call for marijuana legalization and adds a call for workers' rights, Ron DeSantis doubles down on harsh rhetoric directed at Mexican drug cartels, and more.
NAACP Renews Support for Marijuana Legalization, Adds Call to Protect Industry Workers' Rights. That National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has adopted a resolution reiterating its support for federal marijuana legalization and added a new call to protect workers' rights in the fledgling industry. The resolution was adopted late last month at the NAACP's 114th National Convention.
"NAACP calls for the legalization and de-scheduling of cannabis at the federal level and reaffirms its past resolutions on cannabis, the cannabis industries, decriminalization, and equity, and expresses an intent to advocate for federal, state, and local medical and adult-use cannabis legislation that includes labor peace agreements as a condition of licensure," the resolution says.
In the call to protect workers' rights, the resolution points out that "the majority of people in the cannabis industry will be workers rather than owners" and advocates that "the workers who grow, process, test, distribute, and sell cannabis deserve a fair and safe workplace and family-sustaining job like every other worker."
And that means union representation, the resolution said: "Access to union representation, training and apprenticeship will help ensure that a broad range of workers can benefit from the cannabis industry, especially workers from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition in the past," it says.
Opiates and Opioids
Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Deal that Protects Sackler Family. The US Supreme Court on Thursday put a hold on a bankruptcy deal with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, that capped liability for the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, at $6 billion and would have shielded family members from any further civil lawsuits over the opioid epidemic sparked by the introduction and massive marketing of OxyContin.
The Supreme Court issued the order in response to a Justice Department filing objecting to the settlement. The department argued that it allowed Sackler family members to hide behind legal protections meant for debtors in "financial distress," not billionaires. It said it would hear arguments in December to seek whether the settlement complies with the US bankruptcy code.
Under the deal, the Sacklers had agreed to pay billions in exchange for full immunity from all civil cases. The Supreme Court's order is likely to delay payments to the thousands of plaintiffs who have sued Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers.
Ron DeSantis Says He Is Open to Using Drones Against Mexican Drug Cartels. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has once again identified Mexican drug cartels as one of his favorite targets as he seeks to gain traction against former President Donald Trump. At a campaign event in Iowa Thursday, he said he would be open to using drone strikes against Mexican drug cartels.
"We will absolutely reserve the right if they're invading our country and killing our people," DeSantis said in response to a voter's question. When asked to clarify, he said: "I said I would use whatever force we need to defend the country. We'd be willing to lean in against them, and we reserve the right to defend our country," he added.
Earlier in the campaign, DeSantis called for the use of deadly force against migrants suspected of trafficking drugs, a call he reiterated Thursday. "We're authorizing deadly force. They try to break into our country? They will end up stone-cold dead," he said to a rousing round of applause.
Ecuador Presidential Candidate's Assassination Linked to Local Drug Gangs with Ties to International Drug Trafficking Organizations. Anti-corruption crusader, journalist, and former legislator Fernando Villavicencio was shot and killed at a campaign event in Quito Tuesday evening not long after receiving threats from local gangs tied to Albanian, Colombian, and Mexican drug cartels.
The assassination came amid a rising tide of violence linked to conflicts betwee two gangs, Los Choneros and Los Lobos. Los Choneros are linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, while Los Lobos have ties to competing international drug organizations. In recent months, judges, prosecutors, journalists, politicians and political candidates have been killed in gang attacks, with the mayor of the western city of Manta assassinated just two weeks ago. Gang-related violence has also roiled the country's overcrowded prisons, with some 600 inmates killed in three separate bouts of prison rioting.
Ecuador is not a producer of cocaine, but is bordered by leading producer countries Colombia to the north and Peru to the south and is an increasingly important transshipment point for cocaine headed to North America and Western Europe.
"The killing of Fernando Villavicencio is a wake-up call for Ecuador's democracy," said Juanita Goebertus, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "The rise of organized crime is putting the lives of Ecuadorians and their institutions at risk. Urgent, rights-respecting security policies are needed to protect them effectively."
In response to the violence, President Guillermo Lasso has declared a range of localized states of emergencies, suspending constitutional rights. The government has also deployed the military and conducted prison raids. After the killing of Villavicencio, Lasso expanded the state of emergency across the entire country.
But Human Rights Watch said what the country needs is to address the root causes of criminality, including high levels of poverty and social exclusion. The authorities should seek to permanently reduce the power of organized crime groups, including by considering alternative approaches to drug policy that would reduce the profitability of the illegal drug trade, the group said.
"The ongoing states of emergency have not made Ecuadorians safer," Goebertus said. "The government needs to put in place an effective and legitimate security policy that protects them and seeks to dismantle organized crime groups.
(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)