Colorado's state legislature is considering an unusual plan to defend the state's marijuana industry from a federal crackdown under the Trump administration. The bill would allow growers and sellers to reclassify their recreational marijuana as medical “based on a business need due to a change in local, state, or federal law or enforcement policy.” The strategy is meant to keep marijuana businesses afloat if the federal government comes after them, even if it means the state losing hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. The bill represents a shift in how states might respond to what marijuana advocates say are an over-simplification of cannabis policy by the Trump administration.
Infowars owner and long-time conspiracy theorist Alex Jones admitted that his site falsely reported and commented on the debunked “Pizzagate” controversy, a theory that alleged that Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, had played a role in a child-sex-trafficking ring that also involved Hillary Clinton. Apologizing to the restaurant’s owner, James Alefantis, Mr. Jones issued a statement Friday. “I want our viewers and listeners to know that we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had on Mr. Alefantis, Comet Ping Pong, or its employees,” he said.
The twin bills, not-so-subtly titled the “Making Access Records Available to Lead Government Openness Act”, or the acronym “Mar-a-Lago” are named after the President’s beachside resort that he has nicknamed the “Winter White House” due to his frequent visits in the first several months of his presidency. Mar-a-Lago, the palatial 128-room house in Palm Beach, Fla., was initially constructed by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post with the express intention of becoming a winter presidential retreat. Following her death, Ms. Post’s estate bequeathed the property to the US government, however less than a decade later the government returned Mar-a-Lago to the post foundation, citing enormous maintenance and operating costs.
Fethullah Gülen leads a reclusive existence in his Pennsylvania compound. An extradition request for the cleric, filed by Turkey’s government in September, remains under review, as Turkish impatience grows over the fate of a man that some call a Turkish Osama bin Laden — but whom skeptics describe as little more than a scapegoat for Turkey's power-hungry president. This weekend, Mr. Gülen is emerging at the center of US controversy, after ex-CIA director James Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal he had been present at a September meeting between top Turkish officials and President Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, in which the two sides discussed ways to deliver Gülen into Turkish custody.
When Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, passed away in 2015, 16-year-old Amos Yee made an obscenity-filled YouTube video denouncing the late leader as a “tyrant.” That and other postings earned him a four-week jail sentence for “wounding religious feelings and obscenity.” Not long after, he earned another six-week sentence for derogatory comments on Islam and Christianity. On Friday, US Immigration Judge Samuel B. Cole granted asylum to Mr. Yee, now 18, who flew to Chicago in December. “His prosecution, detention, and general maltreatment at the hands of the Singapore authorities constitute persecution,” Judge Cole ruled.
Residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul say a series of airstrikes carried out there in recent weeks by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State could have killed as many as 200 civilians, in what would be the highest civilian death toll in a US-led air campaign since the peak of the Iraq war. Iraqi rescue workers Saturday were combing through the rubble of a building where residents say as many as 137 civilians were killed in a single airstrike last week, in a part of the city now under coalition control, reported the Washington Post. Iraqi Brig. Gen. Mohammed Mahmoud, Mosul’s civil defense chief, told the Washington Post that the building was clearly hit by an airstrike.
“It is a matter of grave concern that, according to a UN estimate, twenty million people are facing starvation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria...," states an editorial. "It is indeed disturbing to note that man-made disasters like war and famine continue to bleed nations while international politics fails to come to a consensus on how to reach a stasis in parts of the Middle East, Northeast Nigeria and vast swathes of Somalia.... We urge the international community to infuse immediate aid to these four war-torn and famine ravaged countries.... It is indeed appalling that in this era of globalisation and scientific breakthroughs, fellow human beings should die of hunger.... The shame is on us all.
Regarding the Feb. 22 editorial, “Trump’s mixed message on immigration: An opening for a deal?” (CSMonitor.com): Three cheers for the Monitor editorial staff. Immigration was not my priority issue. Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?
A number of former top National Security Agency (NSA) officials were standing around Friday, chatting prior to an academic conference in Washington. Talk turned to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R) of California, whose panel has been investigating Russian interference in the US election, and his charge this week that President Trump’s transition team had been subject to surveillance by US intelligence. The charge, and the fact that Representative Nunes conveyed that information to Mr. Trump before making it available to his panel, caused a sensation after a drumbeat of testimony that there was no evidence to support Trump’s explosive accusation that he had been subjected to wiretapping at the direction of his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) Louisiana, who is the Congressional Black Caucus chairman, and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) of the District of Columbia sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey. While the number of missing youths in the District hasn’t dramatically increased, local police Commander Chanel Dickerson has become more vocal about the cases when they occur, increasingly using social media to spread the word when kids go missing – an important first step toward getting them back.