State and federal governments have created a major marijuana catch-22 with the taxation of marijuana sales. On the one hand, if the states charge sales tax on marijuana it violates the buyer’s Fifth Amendment rights, or the right to not incriminate yourself. With marijuana taxation, however, buyers are forced to disclose their identity and risk federal prosecution for buying a drug that is federally illegal to possess despite state laws.
So far a Colorado tax on marijuana has been upheld by a state court despite claims that paying it amounts to self-incrimination violating the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiffs wanted taxes on recreational pot outlawed, reasoning that they require businesses and consumers to implicate themselves in federal crimes.
The plaintiffs lost their attempt at acquiring an injunction, but the lawsuit is far from over. The lawsuit challenging the taxes is quite clear: by making the buyer of marijuana pay these taxes the government is forcing the buyer to admit to the government that they are violating federal law. While the lawsuit has legs, it has been difficult procuring witnesses to testify because the testimony would be incriminating as well.
Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal and a controlled substance, even for medical use. And the gulf between federal law and recreational marijuana seems even bigger, with the tax problems of the industry remaining a major impediment.
In 2013, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced two pieces of legislation to de-federalize marijuana policy and create a framework for the federal taxation of marijuana. Polis’ Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would remove the Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority over marijuana and allow states to choose whether to allow marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. Blumenauer’s Marijuana Tax Equity Act would create a federal excise tax on marijuana. Together, these bills would provide a system of regulation and taxation for marijuana in states where it is legal.
Colorado’s tax law is bringing in considerable revenue, and that may influence attempts to derail the law. Early reports suggested that the taxes might be attacked as unconstitutionally high. But the Fifth Amendment assertions are more sophisticated. As medical marijuana has gained widespread acceptance and now recreational marijuana is taking hold, the federal versus state conflict only grows deeper.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is putting their energy towards stamping out pornography, claiming that it’s addictive and the work of Satan.
The Mormon Church has released a new video titled Overcoming Pornography Addiction: The Healing Power of Jesus Christ and included resources on its website about how to recover from pornography addiction. Several therapists and clinics in Utah County, considered to be the heart of the LDS community, also claim to specialize in working with clients to overcome addictions to porn.
"It is difficult to overcome. It's different than drugs or alcohol. We can put you in a room and clean your body of those," said Dr. Russell Gaede of the Life Enhancement Center in Provo. "Porn is in the brain. You carry it 24/7 and you can access it any time. It’s like a wave in the ocean. A mile out it may start out as a little tremor and it gets bigger and bigger.”
Adam Moore, clinical director of Utah Valley Counseling in Provo, said that nearly 80% of those who come to his clinic have some sort of sexual addiction. He rejected the notion that viewing porn is normal, believing instead that it destroys families and corrupts youth.
"It is becoming more and more known that compulsive sexual behaviors are damaging to relationships. It's a huge problem in Utah County,” he said. "The challenge kids face is the porn now days is not the same. It is more violent and deviant and they have instant access."
The LDS Chuch also utilizes a 12-Step program for its addicts that’s based on the program used by Alcoholics Anonymous. The programs are run by trained church service missionaries, but stress the same importance of anonymity in their meetings.
However, the church has disregarded the fact pornography addiction is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and does not consider it to be a mental health problem. The American Society of Addiction Medicine recognized “sexual behavior addiction” in 2011, but does not explicitly include porn addiction.
Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater was facing a year-long suspension from the NFL over a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, but has managed to negotiate his punishment down to just four games.
Prater was charged with DUI and leaving the scene of a crash in August 2011, and has been enrolled in the league’s alcohol program ever since. His attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said the NFL star only had a “couple beers” while on vacation and suggested that the league’s policy should be revised.
"No one feels worse about this than Matt Prater," said Steinberg. "He feels terribly for his teammates. It's cost him personally, both professionally and financially. I wonder if we shouldn't take a second look at the policy when only a couple beers were consumed at home while he was on vacation. Having said that, the NFL under the constraints of the policy couldn't have treated us better."
It is unclear what stage of the league’s intervention program that Prater was in, although suspensions can only be administered once a player is in Stage Two. A player moves to Stage Three as a result of two positive tests, two instances of non-compliance, or one of each. Stage Three is the only stage where one year suspensions are doled out.
Once a player moves into Stage Two, they become subject to random drug testing. Tampering with specimens or missing a test because they failed to inform the medical director that they would be on vacation also counts as a positive test. But the current policy language only allows a player to be suspended for one year if they were previously suspended during their time in the program.
Earlier this month, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick was suspended for four games after testing positive for MDMA. He claimed to have taken the substance unknowingly, but accepted the consequences for his actions after an unsuccessful appeal last April.
"I am just wrapping up another anniversary...and in reflection I can see that my life today...is truly a miracle. The years of chaos and destruction prior to getting sober cost me hundreds and thousands of dollars a month in restitution, repairs...the high cost of low living.
Finally as a young adult myself, after a series of unfortunate events and the right amount of willingness plus desperation, I surrendered to the fact that my life was unmanageable.
I was an emotional and physical mess my first couple of years...grateful to be sober and to have found the rooms. But I could still justify old behaviors like a little lying and stealing...kind of late for work and leave just a few minutes early. A lot of those old justifications and behaviors have subsided but I still have to check in with another fellow if all my ideas are good or just what I want to sound good enough so I can do and get what I want.
As of late, I really get the anonymity thing today...I need to just do good things and contribute positively to the world, for the sake of doing them not because people will approve or like me better. The reward is me liking and approving the man I am today, not how many likes I have on Facebook."
- Buffalo Bills DT Alan Branch Cut From Team After DUI Charge [CBS Sports]
- Massachusetts Police Officer Arraigned For Drunk Driving Fatality [Lowell Sun]
- Australian Neurosurgeon Addicted To Cocaine Tied To Prostitute Deaths [ABC]
- Connecticut Woman Charged With Passing Out Drunk With Two-Year-Old In Car [News 12]
- Drunk Bride Orders Taco Bell In Drive Thru Without Car [Huffington Post]
- NYC College Student Finds 10 Pounds Of Cocaine In Suitcase After Flight [NJ.com]
- Florida Man Leaves Three Kids In Car To Get Drunk, Gets Beat Up In Bar And Arrested [Huffington Post]
- Mom Accused Of Supplying Booze And Condoms For Teen Party [Daily News]d
Serena Williams, the world's most dominant female tennis player, has finally opened up about her bizarre doubles match with sister, Venus Williams, back in July.
A disoriented and clearly wobbly Williams was forced to retire from the match following several unsuccessful attempts to serve the ball over the net. In fact, Williams had difficulty even bouncing the ball in her hand before trying to serve.
“It was hard to watch,” said ESPN’s Chris McKendry at the time.
Immediately following her withdrawal, concern for Williams was evident and her team described the issue as a "viral illness." But the claim was summarily dismissed by tennis great Martina Navratilova, who said to ESPNW, “You don’t know what’s going on, but virus was not it: That much is clear.”
The following day, Williams was given a drug test and has so far not received any indication that it was positive.
“I have nothing to hide,” she told Sports Illustrated in answer to rumors that she was drunk or on drugs. “No, I didn’t take anything. If you want to ask me if I took drugs, I didn’t take drugs. I’m not on drugs...I don’t do drugs. Never did ’em. I’m scared of ’em. I’m not on that stuff.”
Watch Serena at Wimbledon here: