Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.
A statement by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper about the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The law would allow individuals to carry up to an ounce of pot and/or grow up to six plants.
Emily Bazelon, Slate. Don’t Touch Their Stash!
FJP: Call this part PSA to our Colorado friends and part example of a great explainer on how state rights and the Justice Department play on this issue.
This is not a tale of the federal government following the lead of the states. It’s a tale of the Justice Department asserting its authority against the state’s voters and state sovereignty. The federal government has this authority because of the 2005 Supreme Court decision that essentially ended the march of federalism—the legal doctrine that the court’s conservatives previously invoked to limit Congress’s powers to make laws that affect commerce among the states. You may vaguely remember this one from the huge fight over Obamacare. In the 2005 case, Gonzales v. Raich, Angel Raich was a sick woman in California who said medical marijuana was the only way she could combat excruciating, life-threatening pain. She argued that in light of the state’s 1996 legalization of medical marijuana, the Justice Department couldn’t enforce the Controlled Substances Act against her—in other words, the feds couldn’t take away her pot. Raich lost 6-3, with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia joining the liberal-centrist wing of the court. When it came to a choice between a federal crackdown on pot smokers and a state-led push to leave them alone, Scalia lost his appetite for dismissing Congress and federal prosecutors in favor of the states.
Bonus: The New York Times with a six minute “Op-Doc Video” about Chris Williams, a Montana man who faces a mandatory 80-year minimum sentence for growing pot. He did so after Montana legalized medical marijuana. As the Times op ed notes: “[A] coherent system of justice must explain why one defendant is punished more harshly than the next. It must explain why a farmer who grows marijuana in compliance with state law should be punished much more harshly than some pedophiles and killers. If we cannot explain this disparity, we should fight to change it.”
This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found.
Joe Incandela, spokesperson, Large Hadron Collider, on what is believed to be the discovery of long-sought Higgs Boson particle. LiveScience, New Particle at World’s Largest Atom Smasher is Likely Higgs Boson.
The Higgs, nicknamed the “God particle” (to the chagrin of many scientists, who prefer its official name), is thought to hold the key to one of the mysteries of the universe: Why do things have mass?
Its discovery represents a major step forward in our understanding of why the universe exists as it does, with matter clumping together to form galaxies, stars, planets and us, scientists say.
Here’s a an animated explainer via OpenCulture about the significance of Higgs Boson.
The Federal Elections Commission today approved comedian Stephen Colbert’s application to form a super PAC. Super PAC’s came on the scene in 2010 after US Supreme Court rulings in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission and SpeechNow.org v Federal Election Commission struck down spending and contribution limits to campaigns.
The difference between a “normal” Political Action Committee and a super PAC is in the disclosure laws and uncapped “issue” expenditures, meaning a super PAC can spend whatever it can raise on targeted issues but not donate directly to a campaign.
Sarah Mimms of the Atlantic outlines the implications this could have on media involvement in US elections.
The request comes down to one essential issue: whether Viacom can legally donate production costs, airtime and use of Colbert’s staff to create ads for the so-called super PAC, to be played both on “The Colbert Report” and as paid advertisements other networks and shows.
If the FEC grants Colbert a press exemption, the decision could have a drastic effect on media involvement in federal elections, potentially opening the door for media outlets that employ politicians as commentators to aid favored candidates through undisclosed contributions. Those figures include Fox News contributor Karl Rove, who founded American Crossroads, and former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) who heads “Huck PAC” and hosts a show on Fox News.
Several campaign finance reform advocates are expressing concern over three proposed changes the FEC will consider on Thursday. Granting Colbert’s request in full, they argue, would allow media companies to anonymously fund the political activities of their employees, under the protection of the FEC’s press exemption…
…Granting the exemption would produce what the reformers called “a sweeping and damaging impact on disclosure laws,” which would allow media companies to fund employees’ political activities anonymously. Politicians who are employed by media companies could use their television shows as platforms to raise unlimited funds for their PACs, without having to disclose it, the reform groups said.