Marijuana goes to Congress!

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A group of rising stars in the Senate plan to introduce legislation on Tuesday that would end the federal ban on medical marijuana.


Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) joined forces to back the bill, which would "allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical-marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution,” according to a statement released Monday.

The odds of the measure passing the Senate — much less the more conservative House of Representatives — are uncertain.


But Dan Riffle, the federal policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, is hopeful.

"This is not a Hail Mary," he told Fusion in an email. "It’s a much-needed effort to resolve the tension between state and federal marijuana laws that I expect to be taken seriously in the Senate."

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told TIME that the bill will likely be "DOA" in the Senate, but that it could help jumpstart an important conversation.

Paul is considered a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and he's set himself apart from other contenders with his aggressive stance on medical marijuana. Over the past several months, he's repeatedly criticized former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) — who is himself exploring a White House run — for his "hypocrisy" on medical marijuana.


Suspects throw bales of weed at Arizona cops

Suspected drug smugglers speeding away from police in Arizona decided to ditch their cargo, flinging bales of marijuana in the direction of the pursuing vehicle behind them.


A dramatic dash-cam video captured the "Grand Theft Auto" style chase, which took place last week.

Police said not all the jettisoned weed was recovered; four or five vehicles not associated with the getaway stopped to pick up packages along the highway.


The two suspects were heading to a stash house in Mesa where 20 undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala were being held, according to authorities.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, used the drug bust as a way to blast President Obama for extending deportation relief to millions of people.


“This further proves that not only drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin are being smuggled into America by way of Arizona, but scores of illegals from Central America have never stopped," he said in a statement on Facebook.

Mayor is first customer in government pot shop

While cops in Arizona treat marijuana sales as a serious criminal act, folks up in Washington State are taking a different approach.


The first government-run pot shop in the U.S. opened on Saturday in the small town of North Bonneville, near the border with Oregon.

How supportive is the local government? Mayor Don Stevens was the first customer when the store opened.


According to NBC News, he bought four one-gram packages of weed. He's already tried the Nobama Diesel and Blue Magoo and told the media outlet he found them "quite enjoyable with a calming effect that made my evenings very relaxing."

Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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