Legal pot: The taxman’s two favorite words

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Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have now legalized medical marijuana, and four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) have legalized pot for recreational use. As the laws have changed and social acceptance has grown, so has the ability to make money—lots of it. How much money? A recent Washington Post analysis estimates that legal weed (both medical and recreational), which currently stands at about $700 million in sales, will likely grow into a $1 billion industry by 2016. In fact, marijuana is currently the nation’s fastest growing industry. In fact, according to a recent report by the research firm GreenWave Advisors, if all 50 states and the federal government legalized pot, sales could reach as high as $35 billion a year by 2020. That’s about the size of Bolivia’s current GDP.

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Lisa Bloom, News

It’s time to retire “Stand Your Ground” laws

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The American Bar Association calls for a halt on enacting more Stand Your Ground laws, and a repeal of laws currently on the books. It also calls for clearer jury instructions, which may have helped in the George Zimmerman trial. Its recommendations are based on fact and reason and should be supported by all Americans who value equality, nonviolence and the preciousness of human life.

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The lawless world of synthetic drugs

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Flakka. K2. Spice. Bizarro. Scooby Snax. Molly. Trainwreck. Krokodil. 2C. N-bomb. Smiles. Cloud 9. Mojo. There are so many synthetic recreational drugs on the street right now that the media are having a difficult time deciding which one to sensationalize next. The EU’s drug agency reported in 2015 that there were at least 101 new legal highs, known as new psychoactive substances (NPS) by policymakers, available online or at the local headshop. The report adds to the more than 450 substances already on the watch list. The situation is no different in the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has identified between 200 and 300 new designer drugs from eight different structural classes, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China.

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Rights, Safety

5 countries with lots of guns, but less killing

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It may seem obvious: the availability of guns is an important factor in gun violence. If potential perpetrators cannot access firearms, gun violence cannot occur. But how big of a role does firearm availability actually play? After all, several other countries with relatively liberal gun laws and high rates of gun ownership have disproportionately low rates of gun-related homicide, especially compared to the United States.

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Government & Politics, News, Rights

Is Trump right about the Fourteenth Amendment?

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Donald Trump has declared that he will end the nation’s illegal immigration problem by overturning birthright citizenship laws. But an interesting Constitutional argument has emerged on the subject, specifically in the interpretation of language contained in the Fourteenth Amendment. The Donald invokes the amendment in support of his proposals; meanwhile, his opponents use it as refutation. Who’s right?

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Celebrity, Crime & Lawsuits, Entertainment, News

8 movies that killed…literally

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Midnight Rider director Randall Miller is in prison for an on-set fatality. While this may be the first time a filmmaker has been held legally accountable, it is certainly not the first time someone has died while making a movie. Here are 8 other films in which the creative process was interrupted by tragedy.

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Flexible but broke: The price of job freedom


According to Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” fellow and Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve of New York, there are now 53 million freelancers driving $715 billion dollars into the economy every year. So why is it that 77 percent of them don’t get paid or get paid late? Why can’t they afford health insurance, even with the Affordable Care Act?

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Consumer Protection, Crime & Lawsuits, Money

Can you go to jail for being in debt?


Once upon a time, if you couldn’t pay a debt, you would find yourself passing the days in a debtors’ prison—or even auctioned off to a life of indentured servitude. A lot of men and women of renown found themselves serving time in jail for failing to pay debt, including several heroes of the American Revolution. This was one of the factors leading to the abolition of debtors’ prisons in the United States by the 1830s. But in recent years, there has been a resurgence in jail sentences involving everything from unpaid traffic tickets to child support and credit card debt. Should you be worried?

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Business, Consumer Protection, Healthcare, News, Safety

‘Female Viagra’: A lawsuit waiting to happen?

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Not only might Addyi not work as intended for many women, but the drug might also be dangerous, as it is strongly contraindicated with alcohol. Side effects from this interaction may include a drop in blood pressure and fainting. Since for many women a romantic evening and a glass of wine go hand in hand, this risk could pose a real problem for patients who want the benefits of flibanserin but don’t want to give up alcohol indefinitely. But what happens if you take Addyi—or any other pharmaceutical drug—and have an adverse reaction? Can you sue your doctor or the FDA? What do you need to make a solid case? We spoke to attorney Mark L. Taylor at Powers Taylor in Dallas, Texas, to find out.

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Government & Politics

Do illegal immigrants have the right to bear arms?

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They are breaking the law by being in the United States, but illegal immigrants still have the right to bear arms, according to an August 2015 ruling by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Opponents of this ruling are up in arms (so to speak). Why should someone who is in this country illegally be permitted to enjoy the benefits of the Second Amendment?

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