02-27-2020  1:09 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

PHOTOS: Elizabeth Warren Rallies in Seattle

Washington state’s primary is Tuesday, March 10; voters should have received their ballots by Thursday, Feb. 27

Support for Black Reparations Grows in Congress

The Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans Act now has 125 cosponsors

Shifting Demographics Drive GOP Nosedive on US West Coast

Political districts have flipped in population centers, from San Diego in the south to Seattle in the north

'A World of Hurt': 39 States to Investigate JUUL's Marketing

Oregon is one of five states leading a bipartisan coalition looking into JUUL’s targeting of youth vaping

NEWS BRIEFS

Washington’s March 10 Presidential Primary Ballots Mailed to Voters

Voters required to make party declaration for this election only ...

State and Federal Agencies Aid Sunken Tugboat in Columbia River

Divers plugged fuel vents this afternoon and the vessel is not actively leaking ...

Multnomah County Promotes Voter Education Project

Multnomah County is partnering with National Association of Secretary of States (NASS) to promote #TRUSTEDINFO2020 ...

New Travel Ban Takes Effect, National Groups Respond

The expansion of the Muslim ban targets more Black immigrants ...

Harris, Booker Applaud House For Announcing Vote on Anti-Lynching Legislation

After passing the House, the bill will head to the president’s desk to be signed into law ...

Missing fisherman found dead in Newport Bay

NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — A body found in Newport Bay has been identified as that of a fisherman who has been missing for nearly three weeks, the Newport Police Department said Thursday.Norman Grant was reported missing on Feb. 9 and hadn't been seen since the evening of Feb. 8, Chief Jason...

Suburban Seattle high school closed over new virus concerns

BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) — A suburban Seattle high school was closed Thursday after a staffer's family member was placed in quarantine for showing symptoms of possibly contracting the new virus that started in China - an action health officials say is unnecessary.Bothell High school, bout 20...

Former AD, All-American center Dick Tamburo dies at 90

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dick Tamburo, an athletic director at three major schools and an All-American center at Michigan State, has died. He was 90.Michigan State announced that Tamburo died Monday.A native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Tamburo served as the athletic director at Texas...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Top nominee Polanski to skip French Oscars after rape claim

PARIS (AP) — Filmmaker Roman Polanski is skipping the awards ceremony for France's equivalent of the Oscars — where his latest movie leads this year's nominations — because of protests prompted by a new rape accusation against him.Women's rights activists have called for a...

MLB appoints 1st black umpire crew chief

NEW YORK (AP) — Kerwin Danley became the first African American umpire crew chief in Major League Baseball when a series of promotions, additions and retirements were announced Thursday.The moves included Alfonso Marquez being elevated to the first Hispanic crew chief in MLB history born...

Kosovo offers to ease tariff on neighboring Serbia's goods

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo's new prime minister said Thursday his government will partially lift a 100% tariff imposed on Serbian goods, in a goodwill move aimed to help restart suspended talks with Serbia on normalizing relations.Albin Kurti said the measure would come into effect from...

ENTERTAINMENT

Kids shine as Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' goes big

NEW YORK (AP) — The cast of “To Kill a Mockingbird” ditched its somber Broadway home Wednesday for the cavernous Madison Square Garden, performing the play for 18,000 school kids in an electric one-time-only performance that one actor called “primal.”It marks the...

Higdon opera for Philadelphia to have 3 different endings

Jennifer Higdon has been commissioned by Opera Philadelphia to compose "Woman with Eyes Closed," which will open the company's O20 Festival on Sept. 17 and in a novel twist will feature three different endings.Higdon, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music and a three-time Grammy Award winner,...

A rebel yell: Billy Idol stars in New York anti-idling ads

NEW YORK (AP) — Rocker Billy Idol is the face of an anti-idling campaign launched Thursday in New York City.“Billy never idles, so why should you?” the '80s MTV star growls in a public service announcement intended to shame New Yorkers into shutting the engine off. The...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Nazi cautionary dramas wade into political, factual disputes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood mustered its creative forces in the 1940s when Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany...

Biggest explosion seen in universe came from black hole

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronomers have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the universe,...

Former Michigan wrestlers urge more victims to 'speak up'

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — The whistleblower whose letter to University of Michigan athletic director Warde...

Putin rejected offer to use body doubles during Chechen war

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had rejected an offer to use body doubles for...

Syrian opposition fighters retake key town, cut highway

BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters retook a strategic northwestern town from government...

3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — African leaders have decided to work on deploying 3,000 troops to West...

McMenamins
By The Skanner News

SEATTLE (AP) — A man who once served as the Justice Department's top official in Seattle said Tuesday that he is sponsoring an initiative to legalize possession of up to an ounce of dried marijuana in Washington state, a measure he hopes will help "shame Congress" into ending pot prohibition.

John McKay spent five years enforcing federal drug laws as the U.S. attorney in Seattle before he was fired by the Bush administration in early 2007. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.

"That's what drives my concern: The black market fuels the cartels, and that's what allows them to buy the guns they use to kill people," McKay said. "A lot of Americans smoke pot and they're willing to pay for it. I think prohibition is a dumb policy, and there are a lot of line federal prosecutors who share the view that the policy is suspect."

McKay is joining Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, travel guide Rick Steves and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in forming a group called New Approach Washington. They're pushing an initiative to the Legislature that would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol. Their bill would legalize marijuana for people over 21, authorize the Liquor Control Board to regulate and tax marijuana for sale in "standalone stores," and extend drunken driving laws to marijuana, with blood tests to determine how much of pot's active ingredient is present in a driver's blood.

New Approach Washington planned a news conference Wednesday to announce the effort. No state has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in such a way, though some have decriminalized it, and the initiative would put Washington squarely at odds with federal law banning the drug.

The legislation would set limits on how much cannabis people can have: an ounce of dried bud, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused foods in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, or all three, said Alison Holcomb, drug policy director of the ACLU of Washington. The limits are necessary to help ensure that people don't buy large amounts for resale in other states, she said.

The bill would not allow for the recreational growing of marijuana; it would be up to the state's Liquor Control Board to license grow operations and set limits for how large they can be. The measure would not affect the rights of medical marijuana patients in Washington, who are allowed to have at least 24 ounces and 15 plants, and more if needed.

Activists would have until the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures to get the initiative before the Legislature. Lawmakers will have a chance to approve it or allow it to go to the ballot.

Taxing marijuana sales would bring the state $215 million a year, conservatively estimated, Holmes said.

Another group, Sensible Washington, is already pushing a legalization initiative this year that would remove all state criminal and civil penalties for marijuana use, possession and cultivation in any amount. Their effort is an initiative directly to the voters, meaning that if it qualifies for the November ballot and passes, it would become law without any input from the Legislature.

Sensible Washington failed to gather enough signatures to make the ballot last year, and Seattle medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt, who leads the effort, said Tuesday he did not know whether their measure would qualify this year. Hiatt criticized the approach of the ACLU-led effort, saying it wouldn't allow Eastern Washington's farmers to grow hemp or really end prohibition at all. Furthermore, he said, the blood test limit for driving under the influence purposes — 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood — are so strict that most medical marijuana patients would fail even if they hadn't recently medicated.

Last year in California, voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have allowed for personal possession and growing of limited amounts of marijuana, 54 percent to 46 percent.

In a telephone interview from Idaho, where he was about to leave on a six-day rafting trip on the Salmon River, McKay said he has long considered marijuana prohibition a failed policy, but that as U.S. attorney his job was to enforce federal law, and he had no problem doing so. Among the people he prosecuted was Canada's so-called "Prince of Pot," Marc Emery, who fought extradition after his 2005 arrest but eventually was sentenced to five years in prison for selling millions of marijuana seeds to U.S. residents.

"When you look at alcohol prohibition, it took the states to say, 'This policy is wrong,'" McKay said. "This bill might not be perfect, but it's a good step forward. I think it will eventually shame Congress into action."

Holmes said McKay's involvement in the legalization effort helps demonstrate its sensibility.

"Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, in law enforcement or a medical provider, you look at the data and you come to the same conclusion: The war on drugs has failed," he said.

 

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