Even as the drug policy reform movement celebrates our historic victories legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington, we still have to ensure that the states can implement their laws without federal interference.
Several U.S. representatives from Colorado recently introduced a bipartisan bill to help protect our victories by giving the states room to implement the new laws.
Although Colorado and Washington voted to regulate and tax marijuana, these ballot initiatives are not going to implement themselves. We need to do everything we can to ensure the federal government plays a constructive rather than destructive role.
So I did something about it, and I hope you’ll join me. Tell your legislators to support the bill that would enable the states to make their own marijuana laws. Click here to take action:
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — After nearly 17 years of courtroom arguments, congressional negotiations and Indian Country bickering, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans could see the first payments of a $3.4 billion U.S. government settlement by the end of the year, plaintiffs’ attorneys said Monday.
The settlement between American Indians across the nation and the government over more than a century’s worth of squandered and mismanaged land trust royalties became final on Friday, when the appeal period expired.
One of the largest U.S. government settlements in history began with a lawsuit filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont. The Blackfeet leader observed that those who leased Indian land made money from its natural resources, while the Indians themselves remained in poverty with no accounting of the royalties from that land that were held in trust for them by the government
Cobell herself led the fight against the government for more than 15 years before she died of cancer last year.
“We all are happy that this settlement can finally be implemented,” lead attorney Dennis Gingold said in a statement Monday. “We deeply regret that Ms. Cobell did not live to see this day.”
Approximately 350,000 beneficiaries could start receiving $1,000 checks by Christmas as the first part of the settlement goes forward, plaintiffs’ attorneys said.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar released a statement that said the settlement marks a step forward in reconciliation and a new era in how the government administers its trusts.
“With the settlement now final, we can put years of discord behind us and start a new chapter in our nation-to-nation relationship,” Salazar said.
The agreement will pay out $1.5 billion to two classes of beneficiaries. Each member of the first class would be paid $1,000. Each member of the second class would be paid $800 plus a share of the balance of the settlement funds as calculated by a formula based on the activity in their trust accounts.
Another $1.9 billion would be used by the government to purchase fractionated land allotments from willing individuals and turn those consolidated allotments over to the tribe. An education scholarship for young Indians also would be established under the agreement.
Congress approved the deal in December 2010 and U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan approved it after a June 2011 hearing. Hogan said that while the settlement may not be as much as some wished, the deal ended the legal deadlock and provided some certainty for the beneficiaries.
Cobell traveled across Indian Country to explain the deal, but there was opposition. One opponent, Kimberly Craven of Boulder, Colo., took her objections to the Supreme Court, saying the settlement did not include an actual accounting for how much money the government lost and that the deal would overcompensate a select few beneficiaries.
The Supreme Court declined to take up her petition.
Rose Byrne, Juliette Lewis and Bill Hader are also among those heading to the IFC series when it returns in January.
Ahead of the series Jan. 4 premiere (and the Dec. 14 holiday special), the IFC comedy has announced more than a dozen guest stars who will be dropping by the third season.
Perhaps most notably, Roseanne Barr is slated to appear on the Portland-loving sketch comedy show. She’ll join Rose Byrne (Damages) Jim Gaffigan (Bored to Death), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Juliette Lewis (Conviction), Matt Lucas (Little Britain), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), Martina Navratilova, Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), George Wendt (Cheers) and Dirty Projectors.
That group joins the previously announced addition of Chloë Sevigny. The American Horror Story actress is set for several episodes, playing Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein‘s new roommate, Alexandra.
Previous guests Jeff Goldblum, Kyle MacLachlan and Kumail Nanjiani are also on board to return.
Roseanne’s appearance was threefold: She pushed for total legalization of the marijuana plant as well as donations and voters for her newly adopted political party (a push to be a Green Party candidate didn’t go so well).
“Marijuana should be totally legal,” she said. “We live in a free country, so it should be legal to smoke marijuana and drink.”
Barr is running on a ticket with antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who Bay Area voters may remember from her 2008 bid to unseat then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Her appearance in Oakland was initially scheduled to be a fundraiser at a private home, but when Oaksterdam officials found out she’d be in town, they invited her to the downtown campus of the marijuana school, one of the federal goverment’s victims in the recent crackdown on state-legal weed.
Read the rest of “Roseanne Barr And Marijuana: Former TV Star Campaigns In Oakland” on The Huffington Post…