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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
Last week, Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle Leon Orr was arrested for marijuana possession. While his arrest received much attention, over half a million individuals were arrested for marijuana possession last year, and we don’t hear anything about most marijuana arrests.
Except for Orr’s celebrity, Matt Brown writes at Mimesis Law that Orr’s arrest fits right in with the “assembly line of typical cases.” Brown explains that the stopping of Orr’s car based on a cop’s suspicion that the windows of the car were illegally tinted and the subsequent search of Orr and his car because a cop claimed to smell marijuana are “about the most common stop and search justifications out there.” Such justifications can be fabrications to defend an illegitimate stop and search, but it is hard to prove that a cop did not believe his asserted justifications.
Should we be preparing for a smaller United States government because Republicans will take control of the presidency in addition to the US House of Representatives and Senate in January? Some history suggests the answer is “no.”
At Reason last month, Veronique de Rugy wrote that the first instance of Republicans controlling the presidency and Congress since the 1950s was four and half years in the first six years of George W. Bush’s presidency. De Rugy relates that US government spending increased over those six years to $2.73 trillion dollars from $1.86 trillion in President Bill Clinton’s last year in office.
In 1996, California voters approved legal medical marijuana. Over the next 20 years, various forms of medical marijuana legalization have been established in the majority of states.
In California, people may legally use medical marijuana, with a doctor’s recommendation, to deal with a wide variety of medical conditions. In contrast, medical marijuana laws adopted in some states allow marijuana use only by individuals with particular listed medical conditions.
In New York, the rules are quite restrictive. Medical marijuana use has been legal there to deal with only ten listed medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV infection or AIDS. Also, the medical condition must be accompanied by a listed associated or complicating condition. On top of that, there are restrictions on the forms of marijuana that may be used and a prohibition on smoking marijuana.
Last week, the New York Department of Health announced chronic pain will be added to the list of medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be used. This change should lead to a significant increase in the number of people who can legally use medical marijuana in the state.
The marijuana legalization ballot measure that California voters passed in November should yield benefits for people who had already been arrested or even incarcerated.
David Downs reported in November at the San Francisco Chronicle on some effects of the elimination of some marijuana offenses and the reduced punishments for others contained in the ballot measure. Downs writes:
California judges are now setting free scores of people whose pending cases are no longer cases at all. Thousands more in jail or prison, or on probation or parole, are beginning to petition to reduce their sentences. And potentially tens of thousands of citizens with a rap sheet for pot can clear their names.Issue five.
The United States military announced Tuesday that it will transfer to the Japanese government nearly 10,000 acres of land in Okinawa.
The land is part of the vast US military installations in Okinawa that many local individuals have long protested, in large part because of violent crimes committed by Americans working there. The property transfer will likely not alieve those concerns given that Ryan Browne reports at CNN that the US military will continue to administer the land and will benefit from the Japanese government agreeing to build six helicopter landing zones and several roads in the area.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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