Marijuana On The Ballot & A Crypto Payday
November 10, 2022
Marijuana On The Menu
Let’s take a break from the stress of election politics and just chill out with some more relaxing news – how about a look at marijuana politics instead? Maryland, Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota all voted on full legalization of cannabis use for adults over 21 this week. In Maryland, voters passed the law allowing adults to use and possess up to 1.5 ounces without a medical license, also allowing people to grow up to two marijuana plants for personal use.
Similarly, Missouri also passed its legalization measure, allowing possession and use of up to three ounces of pot for adults, along with registered home growing. Tax revenue from recreational weed sales is set to be used for a variety of things like expunging the criminal records of individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis offenses, and subsidizing veterans’ health care, drug treatment, and public defender programs.
Unfortunately for any legalization fans in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota, voters struck down legalization measures, though they all allow medical marijuana usage with a license. In Arkansas, an unlikely alliance of progressive cannabis proponents, religious leaders, and pro-Trump politicians worked together to stop the state’s legalization measure, with pro-cannabis critics stating that the legislation would limit competition in the weed industry. In South Dakota, voters in 2020 passed a legalization measure which was eventually struck down in the state’s Supreme Court – 2022’s measure would allow legalization without legislating taxes and regulations around the industry, but voters were not in favor of it this election.
Despite the losses in three states, legalization is still inching closer. A Pew Research Center survey in 2021 showed that 91% of U.S. adults favor some form of legalization and President Biden announced last month that he is looking to overhaul the country’s cannabis laws, starting with pardoning all individuals convicted of simple marijuana possession. (Vox)
Some Good News
- Proposition 1 abortion rights ballot measure passes (LAT, $)
- South Dakota votes to expand Medicaid (Politico)
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Too Good To Be True?
- On Wednesday, Russia announced that it would be withdrawing invading forces from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, a key port city in the southeast of the country. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that troops would be withdrawing from the city, located on the west bank of the Dnieper River, back east across the river.
- “We will save the lives of our soldiers and fighting capacity of our units. Keeping them on the right (western) bank is futile. Some of them can be used on other fronts,” said Russian General Sergei Surovikin, commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. The move comes as Ukrainian forces began to advance towards the city while Russians struggled to relocate Kherson’s population of over 100,000 Ukrainian citizens.
- Ukrainian officials remain skeptical about the move – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated that the move might be a trap pullout, and close advisor Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted, “Actions speak louder than words. We see no signs that Russia is leaving Kherson without a fight. A part of the ru-group is preserved in the city, and additional reserves are charged to the region. [Ukraine] is liberating territories based on intelligence data, not staged TV statements.” (NBC)
Some Pleasant Feedback On The Latest Lockdown
- China’s third-most populous city is facing a growing lockdown in the face of spiking Covid-19 cases. Guangzhou shut down a third district Wednesday as authorities took early action to avoid a citywide lockdown similar to the one that Shanghai experienced earlier this year. For four days in a row, the city of 19 million experienced new case rates above 1,000, marking the worst outbreak the city has faced since the start of the pandemic.
- Most of the cases were centered in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, a mainly residential district on the bank of the Pearl River. The district was shut down last Saturday, with two more districts (Liwan and Panyu) closing up just yesterday. Guangzhou’s Covid measures are less restrictive and more targeted than other Chinese lockdowns have been.
- Residents of neighborhoods designated as “high-risk” areas of the shutdown districts are not allowed to leave their homes, but those in “low-risk” neighborhoods can still go out for groceries and other necessities. Many residents of Guangzhou have taken to stocking up in case lockdowns spread to their areas, while others have chosen another route, venting their – let’s call them frustrations – on social media. “I learn Cantonese curse words in real-time hot search everyday,” one user posted. (CNN)
Additional World News
- China taking ‘aggressive’ steps to gut Canada’s democracy, warns Trudeau (Guardian)
- Palestinian teenager killed as Israeli MPs hold event in Nablus (Al Jazeera)
- Italy earthquake felt in several countries (BBC)
- Western Nepal hit by magnitude 5.6 earthquake killing at least six people, officials say (CNN)
- Air attacks hit pro-Iran convoy in Syria near Iraqi border (Al Jazeera)
- North Korea launches ballistic missile, says South Korean military (CNN)
- Hacker releases Australian health insurer’s customer data (AP)
“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
No, No, We Can’t Tax The Rich!
- An interesting proposal in California was struck down on Tuesday in the midst of the midterm maelstrom. Proposition 30 would have boosted tax rates to 1.75% on incomes above $2 million to help put more electric cars on the roads. The change would have only affected fewer than 43,000 taxpayers.
- Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom had, interestingly, campaigned against the measure, even as a huge proponent of decreasing the number of gas-powered cars in his state. The campaign against the proposition said it was a “poorly crafted and unnecessary tax hike,” and “a solution to an issue the state is already addressing.”
- Under California regulations, rideshare companies will have to ensure nearly all trips booked through their services are zero-emission by 2030. Lyft supplied most of the “vote yes on Prop. 30” campaign funding. Most of the money would have gone to programs that help people buy electric cars or install more chargers, and a portion would have gone to fighting wildfires. (AP)
DeSantis Now DeFrontrunner?
- Donald Trump took yet another hit last night when Ron DeSantis handily won his re-election to the governor’s seat. Online betting markets are now giving DeSantis the edge to become president in 2024 over the former President himself. The information comes from Election Betting Odds, a tracking website run by conservative pundit John Stossel and his executive producer Maxim Lott.
- Looking at other sites, they found that DeSantis’ odds went up to 28% on Wednesday compared to Trump’s 18.4%. Trump put his weight behind multiple candidates in this recent election, and the “red wave” that never really came on Election Night meant many felt he doesn’t have the pull he used to. President Biden sits below both men, with 15.2%, although he was up 3 percentage points from the day before. (The Hill)
Additional USA News
- 2 police officers charged after train hits patrol car with handcuffed woman inside (NBC)
- Election workers brace for a torrent of threats: ‘I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP’ (WaPo, $)
- Iowa teen who killed rapist being held in jail after escape (ABC)
- Slavery rejected in some, not all, states where on ballot (NBC)
- Glenn Youngkin sent Pelosi a handwritten note apologizing for comments about attack on husband (CNN)
- Kentucky voters reject amendment that would have affirmed no right to abortion (NPR)
- Jeffrey Epstein Victim Says She May Have Made a Mistake in Accusing Dershowitz (NYT, $)
Crypto-Criminal Deals With Inflation
- The Justice Department has struck it rich in the most 2022 way possible. Last Friday, 32-year-old James Zhong pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, following the department’s second-biggest biggest cryptocurrency seizure in its history. The wallet size? $3.36 billion in bitcoin.
- “James Zhong committed wire fraud over a decade ago when he stole approximately 50,000 bitcoin from Silk Road,” said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a release Monday. “For almost 10 years, the whereabouts of this massive chunk of missing bitcoin had ballooned into an over $3.3 billion mystery. Thanks to state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracing and good old-fashioned police work, law enforcement located and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds.”
- According to prosecutors, Zhong’s defrauding of Silk Road, an illicit dark web marketplace for drugs and other illegal goods was this: he created around 9 accounts on the site, funding them with 200 to 2,000 bitcoin, before going through roughly 140 transactions in a very short period of time, tricking Silk Road’s withdrawal-processing system into releasing about 50,000 bitcoin into the accounts total.
- “As an example, on September 19, 2012, Zhong deposited 500 bitcoin into a Silk Road wallet,” explained prosecutors. “Less than five seconds after making the initial deposit, Zhong executed five withdrawals of 500 bitcoin in rapid succession—i.e., within the same second—resulting in a net gain of 2,000 bitcoin.” He hid his 50,491 bitcoin bounty in two stashes – one in an underground floor safe, and the other “on a single-board computer that was submerged under blankets in a popcorn tin stored in a bathroom closet”, according to the Justice Department’s release. (Ars Technica)
- A mom who asked a passenger to switch plane seats in a ‘win-win’ deal went viral. TikTokers think she made the controversial request the ‘right way.’ (Insider)
- ‘Half American’ explores how Black WWII servicemen were treated better abroad (NPR)
- Climate activists glue themselves to Warhol artwork in Australian capital (Reuters)
- AN-225: Plans to rebuild world’s largest plane confirmed (CNN)
- Will Wordle get harder? New York Times unveils big changes for popular word game. (USA Today)
- Setting a Kahlo Drawing Aflame in Search of an NFT Spark (NYT, $)
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