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Republicans Are Trying to Stop People From Buying Weed with Federal Financial Assistance

Republican lawmakers have proposed a new bill to block low-income Americans from using federal financial support to buy legal weed, maintaining a long tradition of using prohibition laws to target the country’s most marginalized communities. 

The “Welfare for Needs not Weed Act,” introduced by Reps. Tom Rice (R-SC) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), seeks to amend the rules for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding. This simple legislation would prohibit members of this federal financial assistance program from using their TANF card at any store that sells marijuana in any form.

Rice “believes it would be a misuse of taxpayer dollars to allow folks receiving welfare to use the funds for marijuana purchases,” his spokesperson said to Marijuana Moment. “Those taxpayer funds should instead be used by families who require assistance meeting actual needs.”

“The cash benefits are already restricted at casinos, liquor stores and strip clubs,” the lawmaker’s spokesperson added. “This bill simply closes a loophole that will prevent people from exploiting the system as legal marijuana purchases continue to expand across the country.”

It is already nearly impossible for TANF recipients to use their government-issued debit cards at legal weed establishments, because federal banking restrictions force these businesses to operate on a cash-only basis. Rice’s proposal would prevent TANF cards from being used to withdraw cash from ATMs located at cannabis stores, but it would not be able to stop anyone from withdrawing federal cash at a grocery store ATM and using it to buy weed, of course.

“The absurdity of this effort highlights that Tom Rice is not a statesman but rather a petulant child attempting to take a serious issue and make a mockery of it,” said NORML political director Justin Strekal to Marijuana Moment. “Anyone who joins him on this bill only highlights that they are not willing to engage is serious policymaking decisions and should be voted out of office.”

The bill would block the use of TANF cards at any establishment that sells any form of marijuana, including medical dispensaries. Although most US states have legalized medical cannabis in some form, federal health insurance programs will not reimburse patients for buying medical marijuana at a licensed dispensary. Patients are therefore forced to pay for their medicine completely out of pocket, and this new proposal would make that process even more cumbersome for low-income Americans.

“Millions of Americans living with chronic, debilitating conditions rely on cannabis to manage their symptoms and significantly increase their quality of life. For millions of patients, cannabis IS a need,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, to Marijuana Moment

“Instead of introducing a bill to ensure that under-resourced individuals, including veterans, have access to cannabis’ medical benefits, Representative Tom Rice chooses to exemplify how far reaching the drug war apparatus goes in surveilling and policing under-resourced people.”

“This bill is a disgraceful culmination of stigma against under-resourced people, and misguided stigma against cannabis, a medicinal plant,” Adesuyi added. “Representative Rice is out of touch with where the rest of the nation is on the importance of ending the war on cannabis, and the needs of millions of Americans who benefit from access to cannabis.”

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Is About to Be Investigated for All the Drug Dealers He’s Killed

After years of a blood-soaked War on Drugs, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is watching wheels of international justice begin to roll against him. 

In June, Fatou Bensouda, the outgoing International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, called for the global justice system to investigate allegations that Duterte has been conducting mass, extrajudicial killings of those who he says are selling illegal drugs in the country. 

Al Jazeera reports that an independent human rights group known as INVESTIGATE PH has begun preliminary investigations that will collect testimony from people who have lost loved ones to the waves of state violence. A preliminary report already submitted to the ICC by INVESTIGATE PH includes allegations that the government hasn’t just murdered those involved with the drug trade — murders have also been carried out against political opponents of Duterte and Muslim Filipinos under the guise of “fighting terrorism.”

The Philippines government has put the number of “drug dealers” killed during operations at 6,117, but actual numbers are likely much higher. Media organizations have questioned the accuracy of these official figures in the past, and even the UN High Commissioner cited numbers recently that put the death toll at more than 8,600 — since March 2020 alone.

Law enforcement officials say that such victims became aggressive with police, occasioning their death. That is not what many families of the dead have to say about their loved ones’ demise, however.

Duterte has focused on killing drug dealers since the early days of his political career, as mayor of the city of Davao. In fact, assertions that he will crack down on crime (aka drug dealers) served as the focal point of his 2016 presidential campaign.

The country has not been a member of the International Criminal Court since 2018, when Duterte conveniently announced its withdrawal.

Infuriatingly, the president has alluded to being an illegal drug consumer himself. At a government event in 2018, he publicly stated that his schedule was so busy it was “killing,” which is why he chooses to consume cannabis. “At my age, I am not really bothered [by my busy schedule] because I take marijuana to stay awake.”

You literally can’t make this shit up. But what’s even more fucked up is that Duterte has some friendly relationships with drug dealers. Alleged large-scale operator Peter Lim has been photographed multiple times with the president. 

In the past, Duterte has referred to Fatou Bensouda from the ICC as “that Black woman,” and by all appearances is quite unrepentant when it comes to his bloody administration. “You would notice that there are really persons who die almost daily because they fought back,” he said in June. He added a message to drug dealers that, given his track record, is far from an empty threat: “Do not destroy the country. I will kill you.”

The Philippines government stated that it will not be collaborating with any ICC investigation. 

Look for a decision from the ICC on whether it will launch the likely official probe into Duterte’s administration by mid-August. 

“I really love my sons,” one mother of the government’s victims said in INVESTIGATE PH testimony. “The pain never really goes away.”

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White Rhino Feminised Seeds – 5

Nirvana White Rhino is a powerful F1 marijuana hybrid of Nirvana White Widow and a curiously strong Canadian indica strain. Its father contains more Cannabis Indica-genes than White Widow, its mother, making for denser, somewhat shorter plants. Because of its high THC content, White Rhino would be very suitable for medicinal marijuana users. The taste of its smoke is hashy and slightly harsh. The buzz is stoney and comes on hard.

Price:$29.43

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Banana Mango Feminised Seeds – 10

Banana Mango was almost called Humboldt Smoothie before Humboldt Seed Co. decided that banana and mango are the dominant aromas. The combination of terpene profiles that make this unique strain is rare in our experience. It packs a punch and might leave you on a tropical beach soaking up the sun. You will appreciate the huge plants and amazing vigour they display. Powdery Mildew resistant but may be susceptible to mould towards the end of flowering. THC hovers around 22% with high trichome production, but the scent is what makes this so special.

Price:$105.94

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Grand Daddy Purple Regular Seeds – 10

Grand Daddy Purple was founded and introduced into the Bay Area by Ken Estes in 2003. Soon after it’s introduction the medical marijuana strain took the California Collective scene by storm.

The buds are a stunning deep purple which follow throughout except for the occasional eye stopping light neon green spots. With almost zero hairs on them, the crystal formations are outstanding. They really look like they were dipped and rolled in sparkling stardust.

Price:$127.13

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