Good article on the different ways the police can eavesdrop on cell phone calls.
Washington and Colorado have voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
Colorado’s Amendment 64 will allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana, coming into effect on December 6. The amendment also allows people to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed locked space, the number allowed under current medical marijuana laws. Despite Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper opposing the amendment, he says he will honour the will of the voters. Over the next year, Colorado will look into creating a regulation system, taxing recreational marijuana at 15%.
Supporters of Colorado’s Amendment 64 lobbied it as a safer alternative to alcohol and tobacco. Their campaign motto was “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” arguing that violent crimes and health problems are influenced by alcohol rather than marijuana.
Washington State Initiative Measure No. 502 will will have a similar design. Washington State will remove other state laws against producing, processing, and selling marijuana, manage it by the liquor control board and impose 25% excise sales tax. Of the tax, 40% of the revenues will go to the state and local coffers, and the remainder will fund substance-abuse prevention, research, education and health care.
Washington State differs from Colorado in that it won’t allow personal cultivation, instead it will enhance their laws regarding driving under the influence to include maximum levels for THC blood concentration. Washington State will also restrict advertising marijuana.
The Washington State measure was notable for its sponsors and supporters, including two former top Justice Department’s officials in Seattle, U.S. Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer. Supporters emphasized three things; charging people with possession was a waste of justice resources, heath services needed extra funding and most marijuana sales largely fund cartels and gangs.
“I cannot tell you how happy I am that after forty years of the racist, destructive exercise in futility that is the war on drugs, my home state of Washington has now put us on a different path. There are people who have lost today: drug cartels, street gangs, those who profit from keeping American incarceration rates the highest in the world. For the rest of us, however, this is a win. It’s a win for taxpayers. It’s a win for police. It’s a win for all those who care about social justice. This is indeed a wonderful day.”
Critics say the social harms of legalizing pot include declines in economic productivity to a rise in traffic and workplace accidents would trump any benefits.
Federal law is still in place though, banning possession and consumption of marijuana. It supersedes the new state laws. That means federal agents could bring charges against anyone in the state who possesses pot. The DEA have not released a statement, though it’s expected to cause some constitutional challenge between the states and the Federal government.
The man who put Marc Emery behind bars is advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
John McKay was a Federal Prosecutor, appointed in 2001 by President George Bush, when the case of Marc Emery came to him.
Emery sold cannabis seeds globally through a Vancouver-based catalogue company. He was arrested in 2005, and extradited to Seattle, convicted and sent to jail in 2010. He is currently serving a five-year sentence in Mississippi.
On a side note, McKay was one of the Federal Prosecutors let go in the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy in 2007. He briefly served as senior vice president and general counsel to Getty Images, and since has returned to private law.
Now he’s on side with marijuana legalization.
Stop the Violence BC, a coalition of academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts out to overturn the law, organized a press conference with McKay, former B.C. attorney-general Geoff Plant and Emery’s wife Jodie.
McKay says that it was his job to prosecute Emery, but now that he’s no longer a Federal Attorney, he’s free to speak his mind.
“The criminal marijuana prohibition is a complete failure,” said McKay. ”The problem posed by the vast criminal marijuana black market is a threat to public safety both in the United States and Canada. It’s time to rethink our criminalization and prohibition policy.” – John McKay
McKay brings a lot of clout to the lobby not just because he’s a staunch Republican, but because he has an excellent reputation among law enforcement officials on both sides of the border. McKay not only cites the tax grab that both countries could take in, but is promoting the savings to law enforcement.
McKay noted that both Washington and Colorado will vote soon to legalize small quantities of pot for adults, with another 14 states at various stages in a move to decriminalize pot – essentially issuing the equivalent of a traffic ticket for marijuana possession.
Canada Post is suing GeoCoder.ca for providing a free online database of Canadian postal codes, claiming that its postal code list is copyright.
Canada Post’s claim is based on financial reasoning, as the Crown Corporation charges companies approximately $5,500 a year for the same information. The statement of claim filed by Canada Post says it’s losing potential clients and revenue thanks to GeoCoder.ca.
As reported in the Toronto Sun, the Canada Post spokesperson also claims they create new addresses which is a strange comment. I’m not sure how any one can claim they own an address. I’m certain it is a town or city that requires a property to have an address.
“We deliver to 32 million Canadians every day. Each year, we create more than 200,000 new addresses, and countless others are changed or removed from the database. We also process 1.2 million change of address requests annually for Canadians who are moving from one residence to another
“As you can imagine, we invest a significant amount of time, effort and money to maintain our address data, and ensure that it is clean and accurate. Only Canada Post has the breadth of network required to collect and update this information on a daily basis.”
- Canada Post spokeswoman Anick Losier
Geolytica, the owner of the website GeoCoder.ca, says in its statement of defence that postal codes are public data and not subject to copyright law.
This is a court case to watch, especially for marketers and political campaigners who regularly use postal code databases.
A RCMP Officer in Chilliwack, B.C., used a clever disguise last weekend to catch people driving while talking on their cell phones.
RCMP Const. Bryan Martell donned the clothing of someone who might wait by the intersection meridian to panhandle for money with a cardboard sign. His sign though, didn’t ask for money, per se. His sign read: ”Hello, my name is Constable Martell. If you’re on your cellphone right now, you are about to get a ticket.”
The RCMP say they handed over nearly 4500 tickets for ”illegal use of electronic devices” – driving while on the phone – last month, and it’s something they’re going to continue to enforce. Using humour though has proven to help the message so far.
“Giving people tickets, people usually aren’t happy about it in any case, but in this, I think people found the humour in it partly, so they were less angry than they usually are getting a ticket,” Martell said.
Alex Reid is a Canadian who likes a lot of things. Welcome to my world.