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    • By trix
      Washington and Colorado -- The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana have collectively raked in at least $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, according to the latest tax data -- and they're putting those dollars to good use.
       
      In Colorado, after about a year and a half of legal recreational marijuana sales, the state has collected more than $117 million in excise taxes from both the recreational and medical marijuana markets, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

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    • By trix
      Washington, D.C. -- Even as support for ending marijuana prohibition is building around the country, Congress and the Obama administration remain far too timid about the need for change.
       
      Last year, residents in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted to join Colorado and Washington State in making recreational use of marijuana legal. Later this year, residents of Ohio are expected to vote on a ballot measure that would legalize it. Nevadans will vote on a legalization proposal next year. And Californians could vote on several similar measures next year.

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    • By trix
      USA -- In the past few years, the U.S. has been steadily growing support for marijuana reform. From the presidential candidates to the general public, this progressive attitude has become a hot topic for debate, and as an election year approaches, everyone—from governors to legislators to those who would be president—seems to have an opinion on the issue. Presidential Candidates

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    • By trix
      USA -- The war on drugs is over, and weed won. D.A.R.E., the organization designed to plant a deep-seated fear of drugs in the minds of every late-20th-century middle schooler, published an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization.
       
      Written by former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment in response to a letter in the Columbus Dispatch, the op-ed explains that it's impossible for law enforcement to control the sale of marijuana to minors. "People like me, and other advocates of marijuana legalization, are not totally blind to the harms that drugs pose to children," McDerment writes. "We just happen to know that legalizing and regulating marijuana will actually make everyone safer."

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    • By trix
      In an announcement today, the White House has pledged $263 million in new federal funding for police training and body cameras, set aside by executive order. The money includes $75 million allocated specifically for the purchase 50,000 cameras for law enforcement officers across the country. The training portion of the funds would go toward instructing police in the responsible use of paramilitary equipment like assault rifles and armored personnel carriers, much of which has flooded local departments as a result of a Homeland Security preparedness program.
       
      Additional funds will go to fund police outreach programs designed to build trust between local departments and the communities they serve.
       
      $263 million in new federal funding
       
      The cameras are designed to provide a definitive record of police activities, and have become a frequent demand in the wake of the Ferguson protests. The protests began with the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager killed by the police in Ferguson. Community leaders pointed to video taken in the aftermath of Brown's death as evidence of police misconduct, and the subsequent outcry has triggered a Justice Department investigation. More recently, a widely shared video of Cleveland police shooting a 12-year-old named Tamir Rice has intensified the demand for video documentation of police activities. Last week, the parents of Michael Brown announced a campaign "to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera."
       
      The new funding push is substantial, but 50,000 cameras will cover only a fraction of the more than 750,000 police officers currently employed in America. Camera proposals have also run into trouble with public records laws in states like Washington, which require the release of all police records not actively tied up in an investigation. With hundreds of hours of video generated by police cameras every day, that would present serious problems for both privacy and simple logistics.
       
      Still, many police departments have already looked into body-mounted cameras. On October 1st, the Washington D.C. police began a six-month pilot program that put cameras on the shoulders of many local police, and officials expect the program to reduce the number of complaints filed against officers by as much as 80 percent. The program wasn't cheap: it cost $1 million to buy and store the necessary volume of cameras. But after today, other departments that decide to take the same leap will have federal matching funds to soften the blow.


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