09-18-2020  8:06 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4


US Judge Blocks Postal Service Changes That Slowed Mail

The Yakima, Washington judge called the changes “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

Black and Jewish Community Join to Revive Historic Partnership

United in Spirit Oregon brings together members of the NAACP, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, others to serve as peacemakers 

Feds Explored Possibly Charging Portland Officials in Unrest

Federal officials were told that Portland police officers were explicitly told not to respond to the federal courthouse

Latest: Report: Downed Power Lines Sparked 13 Oregon Fires

As wildfires continue to burn in Oregon and the west, here are today's updates.


Free Masks and Gloves Now Available for Small Businesses

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. ...

Forest Service Explains 'Containment'

US Forest Service, Riverside Fire provides a special update to explain how they achieve wildfire containment. ...

Oregon Receives Approval of Federal Disaster Declaration for Wildfires

Decision will enable federal aid to begin flowing, as unprecedented wildfires ravage state and force evacuation of thousands ...

National Black Farmers' Association President Calls for Boycott of John Deere

Year after year, John Deere has declined NBFA's invitation to display its equipment at the 116,000-member organization's annual...

City of Vancouver Welcomes New Fire Chief

Brennan Blue is replacing Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina, who is retiring after 28 years. ...

Parts of now smoky rural Nevada lack government air monitors

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada has been largely spared from the blazes roaring through the West; the state is currently experiencing no active wildfires. But wildfire smoke — full of particulate matter and metals from scorched houses and forests — has cloaked much of the...

COVID-19 testing decrease due wildfires and poor air quality

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The availability of coronavirus testing in Oregon decreased this week due to the massive wildfires and the hazardous air quality that stretched across the state. Despite this, officials said Friday that data continues to show a decline in the rate of COVID-19 transmission...

AP Top 25 Reality Check: When streaks end, but not really

For the first time since the end of the 2011 season, Ohio State is not ranked in the AP Top 25.The Buckeyes' streak of 132 straight poll appearances is the second-longest active streak in the country, behind Alabama's 198.Of course, in this strange season of COVID-19, Ohio State's streak was...

Potential impact transfers this season aren't limited to QBs

While most of the offseason chatter surrounding college football transfers inevitably focuses on quarterbacks, plenty of notable players at other positions also switched teams and could make major impacts for their new schools this fall.Miami may offer the clearest example of this.Quarterback...


The Extraordinary BIPOC Coalition Support Measure 110

Coming together to change the systemic racism of the failed approach to drugs and addiction ...

One Huge Lie Crystallized

The Democrats have cast the President as a failed leader, but Trump’s supporters painted him as a success and the last line of defense against radical socialism. ...


I am hoping that millions of us will teach Trump what it means to be a loser on November 3rd. ...


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.Her...

Reaction to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg

Reaction to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at her home in Washington at the age of 87.__“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future...

Homeland Security whistleblower not yet ready to testify

WASHINGTON (AP) — A whistleblower from the Department of Homeland Security who says he was pressured to suppress facts in intelligence reports says he won’t be able to testify before a House panel until the department gives him more access to “relevant information,”...


With picnic baskets, Christian Siriano puts on backyard show

WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — Christian Siriano, who turned his atelier into a mask-making machine, took to his Connecticut backyard Thursday for a cozy fashion show complete with picnic baskets for his small in-person crowd, masks on the faces of his models and a dip in his pool for pregnant muse...

Emmys, live and virtual: 'What could possibly go wrong?'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel and an alpaca sharing the spotlight. Winners accepting at home in designer pajamas or maybe yoga pants. More than 100 chances for a balky internet connection to bring Sunday’s ceremony to a crashing halt.Come for the awards, stay for the...

DJ Jazzy Jeff talks 'Fresh Prince' reunion, mansion rental

LOS ANGELES (AP) — DJ Jazzy Jeff knew “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” made a mark in television history after filming six seasons during the mid-'90s, but he thought the show’s popularity would eventually fizzle out at some point.So far, that hasn’t happened. The...


US bans WeChat, TikTok from app stores, threatens shutdowns

The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it will ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores on...

Hundreds of thousands still without power in Sally cleanup

LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people were still without power Friday along the Alabama coast...

Firefighters battle exhaustion along with wildfire flames

BEAVERCREEK, Ore. (AP) — They work 50 hours at a stretch and sleep on gymnasium floors. Exploding trees...

Russian military says US flights near Crimea fuel tensions

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military on Friday accused the U.S. and its allies of provoking tensions in the...

Dutch bars to close early to rein in spread of coronavirus

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Bars and cafes in the most densely populated regions of the Netherlands will...

'This is a big moment:' UK virus restrictions escalating

LONDON (AP) — Fresh nationwide lockdown restrictions in England appear to be on the cards soon as the...

Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
By Eliott C. Mclaughlin CNN

The question has dipped in and out of the national conversation for decades: What should the United States do about marijuana?

Everyone has heard the arguments in the legalization debate about health and social problems, potential tax revenue, public safety concerns and alleviating an overburdened prison system -- but there isn't much new to say.

The nation has moved from the abstract matter of "if" to the more tangible debate over "how," said Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center and co-author of "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know."

Changing attitudes about weed are part of a larger shift in the country's collective thoughts on federal drug policy. Just this week, on the heels of CNN's Sanjay Gupta reversal of his stance on medical marijuana, Attorney General Eric Holder announced an initiative to curb mandatory minimum drug sentences and a federal judge called New York City's stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional.

"Between Attorney General Holder's announcement, the decision made on stop-and-frisk and Dr. Gupta coming out with his documentary, it was a big week for drug policy," Kilmer said.

Peruse the Marijuana Majority website and you'll see decrying pot prohibition is no longer confined to the convictions of Cheech and Chong.

Today's debate involves an unlikely alliance that unites conservatives Pat Robertson and Sarah Palin with rapper Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg), blogger Arianna Huffington and Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show." In June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors cited organized crime, a national change in attitude, the efficacy of medical marijuana and exorbitant costs to local governments in its resolution supporting "states setting their own marijuana policies," a stance similar to the one endorsed by the National Lawyers Guild and the Red Cross.

"I'm surprised by the long-term increase in support for marijuana legalization in the last six or seven years. It's unprecedented. It doesn't look like a blip," said Peter Reuter, a University of Maryland public policy professor with 30 years experience researching drug policy.

Reuter, who co-wrote the book "Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate," said he believes two factors are spurring the shift in national opinion: Medical marijuana has reduced the stigma associated with the drug, making it "less devilish," and the number of Americans who have tried the drug continues to rise.

Resistance fading

When Washington and Colorado legalized pot -- with strict controls by established state agencies and a coherent tax structure -- opponents weren't able to raise the money to fight the initiatives, which Reuter considers an "important signal that the country is no longer willing to fight this battle."

As important as the lack of resistance, Reuter said, is the subsequent response.

Though he doesn't see federal legalization on the horizon, he noted that the White House could easily shut Washington and Colorado down, either via a Justice Department crackdown or an IRS prohibition on tax deductions for the purchase of marijuana, which Reuter said would be a "killer for the industry."

Instead, this week saw Holder make his mandatory minimum announcement without so much as a word about what's happening in the states.

Likewise, Congress has been reticent, Reuter said.

"It may be that everyone's waiting to see what happens," he said. "I take their silence to be some form of assent."

In 1969, a Pew Research Center poll showed 12% of Americans supported pot legalization, and Gallup estimated that same year that four in 100 Americans had taken a toke. Last week, Gallup reported that number had spiked to almost four in 10.

Gallup, Pew and CNN/Opinion Research Corp. polls conducted in the past three years indicate a nation evenly divided, and Gupta's documentary plants him among a loud chorus that has sung the drug's praises since California approved medical marijuana in 1996.

Since then, 20 other states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws, while Colorado and Washington state have legalized it for recreational use -- a move Alaska, California, Nevada and Oregon each twice rejected between 1972 and 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sixteen states have decriminalized possession of personal amounts of marijuana since 1973, including Colorado, which approved decriminalization 37 years before voters legalized cannabis in 2012, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Mark Kleiman, a UCLA public policy professor who has been tapped to mold Washington's legal pot industry, noted that even in states where recent ballot initiatives were shot down, there are telling results. Perennial red state Arkansas' medical marijuana vote in November, for example, was a squeaker, failing 51% to 49%.

"When 49% of voters in Arkansas are voting for legal pot, we aren't in Kansas anymore," said Kleiman, who co-wrote "Marijuana Legalization" with Kilmer.

A savvier debate

The tone of the debate is also a sign that the country is nearing a tipping point at which public opinion effects political change. Rather than engaging in a simple yes-vs.-no debate about legalization, proponents are asking more nuanced questions: Should "grows" be large or small? What should the tax structure look like? Should potency be limited? Will the model involve for-profit companies? How will weed be distributed?

"The discussion over time -- and I think it's for the better -- the discussion is starting to focus more on the details," Kilmer said. "Before, nobody has ever really had to confront those decisions. ... Those decisions are really going to shape the cost and benefits of policy change."

President Barack Obama's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, said in 2010 that marijuana legalization was a "nonstarter," an assertion the Office of National Drug Control Policy says holds true today.

The office emphasizes that the administration's 2013 drug policy takes a new tack with the realization that America can't arrest its way out of its longtime drug epidemic.

The White House policy, announced in April, favors prevention over incarceration, science over dogma and diversion for nonviolent offenders, the office says. Arguments for marijuana legalization, however, run counter to public health and safety concerns, the Office of National Drug Control Policy says.

The federal government may have a difficult time maintaining its stance, experts predict.

John Kane, a federal judge in Colorado, said in December he sees marijuana following the same path as alcohol in the 1930s. Toward the end of Prohibition, Kane explained, judges routinely dismissed violations or levied fines so trivial that prosecutors quit filing cases.

"The law is simply going to die before it's repealed. It will just go into disuse," Kane said. "It's a cultural force, and you simply cannot legislate against a cultural force."

Kleiman, who is also chairman of the board for BOTEC Analysis Corp., a think tank applying public policy analysis techniques to the issues of crime and drug abuse, said the federal government may have tripped itself up in the 1970s by classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.

If the government had made it Schedule II, the classification for cocaine and oxycodone, 43 years ago, it would be easier today to justify a recreational ban, he said.

States to take lead

Kleiman said the infrastructure he is helping establish in Washington could provide a model for other states, but ideally, he'd prefer a model that involved federal legalization and permitted users to either grow their own marijuana or patronize co-ops.

"All the stuff I want to do you can't do as long as it's federally illegal," Kleiman said. "By the time we get it legalized federally, there will be systems in place in each state," which will make uniform controls at a national level tricky.

The push for legalization has gained momentum, though, he said, and he doesn't foresee it moving backward. In 10 years, proponents might even move politics at a national level, he said, though predictions are problematic so long as pot prohibition endures.

"It's sustained right now. Whether it's going to be sustained is another question," he said.

In the meantime, states are expected to continue to lead the charge. Alaska could put a legalization ballot before voters next year, while Maine, Rhode Island, California and Oregon may give it a shot in 2016, when the presidential election promises to bring younger voters to the polls.

"I think a lot's going to depend on how legalization plays out in Colorado and Washington -- also, how the federal government responds," Kilmer said. "We still haven't heard how they're going to address commercial production facilities in those states."

The next White House administration could easily reverse course, just as it could on mandatory minimums, Kilmer said, but while pot's future is nebulous, the nation's change in attitude -- not only since the 1960s, but even since a decade ago -- is clear. That makes proponents hopeful, if reluctant to make predictions.

"I didn't see this (shift in opinion) coming, and I think that's true of my collaborators," Reuter said. "So much for experts."


Multnomah County Breastfeeding
Oregon Wildfires hub

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Kevin Saddler