A federal judge calls the U.S. Justice Department interpretation of a federal medical marijuana amendment "counterintuitive and opportunistic"
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PUBLISHED: OCT 20, 2015, 4:05 PM COMMENTS (17)
By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post
In a scathing decision, a federal court in California has ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s interpretation of a recent medical marijuana bill “defies language and logic,” “tortures the plain meaning of the statute” and is “at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law.” The ruling could have a broad impact on the DEA’s ability to prosecute federal medical marijuana cases going forward.
At issue is the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to last year’s government spending bill. The amendment lists the states that have medical marijuana laws and mandates that the Justice Department is barred from using federal funds to “prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Pretty straightforward, right?
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When the legislation was passed, advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the issue agreed that the bill basically prevented the DEA from going after medical marijuana dispensaries, provided that such dispensaries were acting in compliance with state law. The DEA, however, didn’t see it that way. In a leaked memo, the Justice Department contended that the amendment only prevents actions against actual states — not against the individuals or businesses that actually carry out marijuana laws. In their interpretation, the bill still allowed them to pursue criminal and civil actions against medical marijuana businesses and the patients who patronized them.
The DoJ’s reading of the amendment infuriated its sponsors. They called for an investigation into the Department of Justice’s “tortuous twisting of the text” of the bill, saying it violated common sense. In a ruling issued Monday, Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court in northern California agreed.
Breyer goes through the arguments against the DoJ’s case, referring to the floor debate as well as the plain language of the bill. But, “having no substantive response or evidence, the Government simply asserts that it ‘need not delve into legislative history here’ because the meaning of the statute is clearly in its favor,” Breyer writes. “The Court disagrees.” He called the DoJ’s interpretation of the amendment “counterintuitive and opportunistic.”
Seeing it as perhaps the final nail in the coffin of the DEA’s years-long involvement with California’s medical marijuana program, medical marijuana advocates are cheering the ruling. “It’s great to see the judicial branch finally starting to hold the Justice Department accountable for its willful violation of Congress’s intent to end federal interference with state medical marijuana laws,” said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority.
Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project agreed. “This is a big win for medical marijuana patients and their providers,” he wrote in a statement, “and a significant victory in our efforts to end the federal government’s war on marijuana. Federal raids of legitimate medical marijuana businesses aren’t just stupid and wasteful, but also illegal.”
The amendment’s congressional sponsors are happy too. “After months of experiencing the Department of Justice’s refusal to follow the letter and intent of the ‘Rohrabacher-Farr’ provision, a federal court has finally reined them in,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in an email. “Judge Breyer’s rebuke of DoJ’s ridiculous interpretation of our amendment is most welcomed.”
The ruling could discourage the DoJ from creative interpretations of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment going forward, which should let medical marijuana businesses and their patients in 23 states breathe a sigh of relief.
Lynette Shaw, owner of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the dispensary whose case was at issue in the federal ruling, told the San Francisco Chronicle that “we won the war. And I’m the first POW to be released.”
Neither the Justice Department nor the DEA responded to a request for comment.
According to a recent study seriously and no, in fact: religious education seems to discourage spontaneous generosity and increase punitive trends
Thursday, November 5 in the journal Current Biology has published a study that deals with the relationship between religion and pro-sociality. The prosocial behaviors are those that, without the search for external rewards, favor other people or the achievement of positive social: between prosocial skills are self-control, empathy, understanding others, assistance, valuing diversity, solidarity. The research focuses in particular on the relationship between religious education and selflessness in those children who have grown up, in fact, in families who call themselves "religious." The conclusions are three: religious parents consider their children more empathetic and sensitive to injustice (the opinion of parents over their children is not religious more moderate); the mode of transmission of values and religious practices from one generation to another not favor altruistic behavior; religiosity rather than altruism increases punitive trends.
The study is innovative for two reasons: so far the research on the relationship between religion and morality were concentrated on very specific social categories (western people, educated and with a good level of income) while the study recently published was conducted on children several different countries. Secondly, the results, as the researchers explained, "challenge the argument that religion is of vital importance for the moral development, and support the idea that the secularization of moral discourse not diminish human goodness but will do exactly the opposite ». In the presentation of the study explains: "For 5.8 billion human beings, representing 84 percent of the world population, identify themselves as religious, religion is undoubtedly a main aspect of the culture that influences the development and l ' expression of pro-sociality. " But it also says that although it is generally accepted that religion forms the moral judgments of people and prosocial behavior, the relationship between religion and pro-sociality is actually much more controversial.
The study was conducted by Jean Decety, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, and was funded by the John Templeton Foundation , an organization of Christian inspiration founded in 1987 by Sir John Templeton (philanthropist Presbyterian confession and agent bag) who decided to invest its assets in the promotion of studies and research on the relationship between religion and science. The Foundation is also known for a prize of a million and a half dollars that awards each year. The research involved 1,170 children aged 5 to 12 years from six different countries: Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey, United States and South Africa.
The study first measured the level of religious practice in the children's families. For simplification statistics, households were divided into three groups: non-religious, Christian, Muslim (other cults were underrepresented in the sample). The researchers asked parents to evaluate the ability of empathy and sensitivity to the injustice of their children. Christians and Muslims have provided higher ratings than parents unbelievers.
Sensitivity to injustice
Then each child or child were shown short videos showing other kids that go and falling, intentionally or not, and they were asked to assess the level of "evil" and that of a possible punishment for offenders, according to a graduated scale but does not specify. The result is that children of religious families have shown on average a judgment more severe, regardless that the thrust had been done intentionally or not, and have proposed more severe punishment than the children of non-religious families. The Muslim children proved to be the most intransigent.
Finally, to assess the level of generosity and altruism of children, the researchers used an adaptation of the "dictator game" devised by economists: in thirty adhesives have proposed children to pick ten, those who preferred, but stated that no There would be time to distribute them to everyone in their school. To whom could he choose was asked whether he would be willing to cede some adhesive to those who had not received. The number of stickers given away, in the absence of researchers, increased with age (but this is an effect of the development of altruism with increasing age, already known and recognized). Children of non-religious families have shown significantly more generous than their peers believers among them the number of the gifts was inversely proportional to the intensity of religious practice and this without any significant statistical difference according to culture, religion or country », said Jean Decety. The children of unbelievers gave an average of 4.1 adhesives. Children from a religious context, have yielded an average of 3.3 adhesives.
The researchers explained this phenomenon by having recourse to the mechanism of "moral license": religion is perceived in itself as a sign of goodness and practitioners could allow themselves - "unconsciously," says Jean Decety - to be more selfish in daily life . The explanation was deemed plausible by other scholars, other research has shown that religiosity is associated to higher charitable donations, but not to offer assistance in spontaneous situations.
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