Tag Archives: Colorado

Sessions Death Penalty Memo Could Apply to State-Legal Cannabis Growers

Washington, D.C. – When Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to U.S. attorneys regarding seeking the death penalty for some drug traffickers, which was part of President Trump’s plan to combat the opioid epidemic released weeks ago, many pundits failed to miss the potential implications for legal marijuana growers.

The memo utilizes a little-known federal law that already allows for the death penalty to be used for certain criminal offenses, including specific racketeering activities, the use of a gun that resulted in a death during a drug trafficking crime, murder in advancing a criminal enterprise and dealing in “extremely large” quantities of drugs, according to The Hill.

“I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes in our nation,” Sessions wrote.

Although Sessions’ memo seems focused largely on opioids, the federal law being referenced contains no such drug-specific limitation on prosecutors’ power. The Denver Post reported that upon following the law’s “meandering route through federal statutes,” the following conclusion will be reached: “that anyone convicted of cultivating more than 60,000 marijuana plants or possessing more than 60,000 kilograms of a substance that contains marijuana could face death as a punishment.”

Despite the law being on the books, the death penalty has never been sought before for those dealing large quantities of drugs, according to a Justice Department official cited by The Hill. The Post reported that in June, there were nearly 1 million marijuana plants under cultivation by Colorado’s state-licensed cannabis businesses.

“Under long established United States Supreme Court precedent it’s unconstitutional to use the death penalty for any offense that does not result in death,” said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center, which makes information on death penalty issues available but doesn’t take a position on the death penalty.

Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham noted the potential implications for state-legal marijuana growers in a tweet:

Legal experts noted that while technically possible for the federal government to seek a death penalty against a state-licensed cannabis business, it is unlikely that a legal grower would face a federal death penalty case.

“I think it’s still very theoretical,” said Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor who, as harmonic luck would have it, is a specialist in both marijuana law and in the death penalty. “I don’t think anyone thinks the federal government is going to seek the death penalty against a state-licensed business. But what it highlights is this enormous disconnect with federal and state law.”

When asked by the Denver Post about the possibility of executions for marijuana business moguls, Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said, “I really think that’s just bluster.”

And while it may be “bluster,” Kamin cautioned that “what Sessions is reminding us is that losing your life is at least statutorily possible”; AG Sessions is a renowned cannabis prohibitionist.


Colorado Senate Passes Bill Allowing Concealed Carry Without a Permit

Denver, CO— Legislation to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in the State of Colorado passed the state senate on Thursday in a party-line vote. Currently, Colorado allows residents to open carry without a permit, but advocates of SB18-097 believe legal gun owners should be allowed to conceal carry their firearm without having to pay licensing fees to the state or FBI.

“The idea behind constitutional carry is that you should be able to carry a concealed handgun without applying for government permission or paying an expensive fee, if you are otherwise legally able to carry a firearm,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, said in a statement last month.

Colorado law currently prohibits gun registration in the state, but relies on local Sheriff’s offices to issue concealed-carry permits. The Denver Sheriff’s Department, for example, requires people to complete an information packet and numerous other documents, and to provide deputies a handgun training certificate verifying the individual has firearm training. Additionally, the person applying must have a valid Colorado identification and pay a $152 fee for the permit in Denver.

Current Colorado law classifies to knowingly carry a concealed weapon without a permit as a class 2 misdemeanor. The proposed legislation would allow anyone age 21 and over, with a legal gun, to be able to conceal their gun in public without having taken a training class or obtaining a permit, but the permit process would remain intact as to allow conceal-carry in other states with Colorado reciprocity laws.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Trump Did Not Make It Easier for Severely Mentally Ill People To Buy Guns]

Under the proposed law, conceal-carriers would be required to operate under the same rules as permit holders – which disallows individuals from carrying concealed firearms on public K-12 school grounds unless specifically permitted to do so.

Between January 2015 and December 2017, at least 627 cases involved a conviction for a person carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, according to a fiscal statement by the legislative counsel staff. The report states that 51,030 concealed carry permits were processed in 2017: 12,293 renewals and 38,737 new applications.

New concealed carry permits cost $39.50, with $10 going to the FBI and $29.50 going toward the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, while permit renewals cost $13, according to the fiscal impact statement and the state.

The bill now moves to the House, where a similar measure was immediately voted down in a Democrat-controlled House committee after it passed the Senate last year.

Fed Bank Approves Cannabis-Associated Colorado Credit Union

Washington, D.C — After years of litigation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has given conditional approval to a Colorado credit union to service cannabis-related businesses. But in order to secure approval, the Fourth Corner Credit Union agreed that it would not serve any business that directly handles funds from cannabis sales or any state-licensed dispensaries.

Fourth Corner Credit Union had originally planned to work with “any legal marijuana enterprise in Colorado,” but modified their plans after being denied by the Fed bank. Now, instead of working directly with dispensaries, the credit union will “focus on individuals and companies that support legalized marijuana” – such as “accountants or landlords,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Originally, in 2014, the credit union was awarded a charter by the State of Colorado to serve state-legal canna-businesses, but the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City refused to honor Fourth Corner’s request for a master account on grounds that federal law prohibits banks from serving businesses that handle funds related to an illegal substance. Without a master account, which allows access to the banking system, the credit union would not be able to operate.

According to a report from Merry Jane, a cannabis culture site, Fourth Corner dealt with a series of delays and legal woes before finally obtaining approval:

“In response to this challenge, Fourth Corner altered their charter, announcing that they would only open accounts for businesses that indirectly serve or support the cannabis sector, such as legalization advocacy groups, and accountants or lawyers with clients in the industry. Hence, the bank would technically would be operating legally, as long as they’re not handling funds directly related to growing, processing, or selling marijuana. Regardless of the change, the Federal Reserve continued to deny the bank’s request for a master account. Fourth Corner sued the Feds in 2016, and after losing the first round in court, finally won the right to a federal master account last summer in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Despite the court’s ruling, the Kansas City Fed still had not given the credit union their account by last fall, so the bank filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court in Denver. After years of disagreement, this month the Federal Reserve finally granted conditional approval to Fourth Corner.”

To secure the deal, the Fourth Corner Credit Union agreed that it would not “serve any state-licensed dispensaries or business that directly handles cannabis funds.”

In an effort to avoid any perception of setting a precedent, the Federal Reserve Bank noted specifically that “this letter does not express the policy views of” the Federal Reserve Banking System as a whole, “nor does it contain any supervisory, regulatory or enforcement guidance or precedent,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

As Truth in Media previously reported, following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to revoke the Cole Memo— which gave Obama-era federal guidance for a hands-off policy towards state-legal marijuana— the Trump administration has recently been considering the removal of another Obama-era protocol, one that that permits banks to open accounts for marijuana-related businesses without being considered in violation of law.

Despite that move from Sessions, a bipartisan group of 31 House members recently collaborated on a letter that asked the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) agency to continue this cannabis banking guidance.

“FinCEN’s stated priorities have allowed such businesses to conduct commerce more safely through financial institutions which reduces the use of all cash, improves public safety, and reduces fraud,” the House lawmakers wrote in their letter. “Leaving your guidance unchanged will continue to encourage small companies to make investments by freeing up access to capital. It will also further provide for well regulation and oversight through suspicious activity reports. Rescinding this guidance would inject uncertainty in the financial markets.”

Drew Maloney, the U.S. Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, wrote in response that his agency is “reviewing the [banking] guidance in light of the Attorney General’s announcement and are consulting with law enforcement.”

In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department Sigal Mandelker said that the FinCEN memo remains in effect as the Trump administration examines the possibility of revocation. On Wednesday, Maloney confirmed in his letter that prior guidance “remains in place” for now, adding that Congress would be informed of any policy changes.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Neighboring States’ Suit Against Colorado Pot Legalization

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear a lawsuit filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma that claims that Colorado’s recreational pot law violates federal law and enables the trafficking of marijuana across their borders.

The State of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014,” Nebraska and Oklahoma’s attorneys argued according to The New York Times. “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.

[RELATED: GOP-led Pa. House Passes Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana]

A brief filed by Colorado’s attorneys read, “Nebraska and Oklahoma concede that Colorado has power to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana — a substance that for decades has seen enormous demand and has, until recently, been supplied exclusively through a multi-billion-dollar black market. Yet the plaintiff states seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market and into a licensed and closely monitored retail system.

The court did not explain why it will not hear the case, but Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who dissented from the majority along with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote in his opinion cited by The Denver Post, “The complaint, on its face, presents a ‘controvers[y] between two or more States’ that this Court alone has authority to adjudicate. The plaintiff States have alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another State. Whatever the merit of the plaintiff States’ claims, we should let this complaint proceed further rather than denying leave without so much as a word of explanation.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cannabis Oil Activist Shona Banda, Now Facing Felony Charges, Speaks Out]

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement, “Today, the Supreme Court has not held that Colorado’s unconstitutional facilitation of marijuana industrialization is legal, and the Court’s decision does not bar additional challenges to Colorado’s scheme in federal district court.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman applauded the decision and said, “Although we’ve had victories in several federal lawsuits over the last month, the legal questions surrounding [Colorado’s recreational pot legalization] Amendment 64 still require stronger leadership from Washington.

Leading up to the decision, Obama administration attorneys had urged the court not to hear the case, whereas a group of former Drug Enforcement Administration officials had argued in favor of Nebraska and Oklahoma’s assertions.

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Exclusive: LP Candidate Austin Petersen Responds to Colorado Debate Exclusion

According the Libertarian Party of Colorado (LPCO), the board made a decision in February not to formally invite LP candidate Austin Petersen to its debate this weekend because of philosophical differences.

The LPCO posted in a statement on its Facebook page:

“Candidate for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination Austin Wade Petersen has openly repudiated the non-aggression principle as stated specifically within the Statement of Principles and declared this principle to be ‘non-libertarian’ and intellectually bankrupt using various insults and thus has clearly illustrated that he is philosophically opposed to essential first-principles of the Libertarian Party which the Colorado governing documents hold in primacy as the minimal bar by which everything is measured.”

According to A Libertarian Future, two resolutions were approved by the LPCO board. The first resolution was not to invite Petersen and the second one barred any executive board members from contacting Petersen prior to the debate.

Cook asked Petersen to give his thoughts on the board’s decision.

“It’s one thing to not invite someone but its another to do it in such away as to gag one another and that shows me that they are authoritarians,” said Petersen.

Petersen stressed the point that there maybe broader consequences on the board’s decision regarding the LP’s current lawsuit fighting to be included in the general election televised debates (see lawsuit here).

Petersen stated on his Facebook page:

“The Libertarian Party is suing to get into the national debates, saying the DNC and the GOP are being exclusionary. And now the government can look at the actions of the LP of Colorado and say, ‘hey, even the Libertarian Party excludes their own candidates.'”

Nathan Grabau state Chairman of LPCO told Cook: “The motions that were passed at our February board meeting did not bar Austin Petersen from participating in our debate. Austin Petersen will be allowed to participate in our debate if he shows up.”

Update: Petersen told Cook he plans to attend the LPCO debate. 

Colo. State Rep Who Survived Columbine Introduces Bill to Arm Teachers

Colorado State Representative Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) has introduced a bill that would allow teachers and faculty in the state who possess a concealed carry license to carry firearms in school.

Neville is a Columbine High School graduate who survived the infamous 1999 mass shooting, which USA Today notes left 13 dead and 20 injured.

The only thing that is going to stop murderers intent on doing harm is to give good people the legal authority to carry a gun to protect themselves and our children,” said Rep. Neville according to The Hill.

[RELATED: Fact Check: 355 Mass Shootings So Far in 2015?]

Parents wake up everyday and bring their children to school on blind faith that their kids will return home safe. Unfortunately, the current system continues to leave our children as sitting targets for criminals intent on doing harm,” he said.

Neville introduced a similar bill last year, which was defeated in Colorado’s Democrat-led House of Representatives. Under current state law, teachers are banned from carrying concealed weapons on school grounds.

[RELATED: Democratic N.Y. Sheriff Asks Handgun Owners to Carry in Wake of Mass Shootings]

When advocating for last year’s iteration of the bill, he said, “Our teachers and faculty [at Columbine] were heroic in so many ways that day. That’s why I truly believe had some of them had the legal authority to be armed, more of my friends would still be alive today.

As was the case in 1999, criminals aren’t deterred by a flashy sign on the door,” added Neville.

Obtaining a concealed carry permit in Colorado requires submitting to an FBI/CBI background check and providing proof of the completion of a firearms training course. Individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or named in a civil or criminal restraining order are prohibited from carrying.

Last December, Ben Swann released a Reality Check segment, seen below, which examined the question of whether licensed gun owners carrying their weapons could help impede mass shooters.

Reality Check: Why More Guns in Right Hands May Be Answer To T…

Ben Swann explores the call of a Sheriff, asking those who are licensed and capable with a firearm to carry guns with them whenever possible. A look at the numbers behind this idea.Learn more: http://bit.ly/1ORNxJw

Posted by Ben Swann on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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Judge Drops Jury Tampering Charges Against Denver Jury Nullification Activists

District Court Judge Kenneth Plotz dismissed all charges on Wednesday against jury nullification activists Eric Brandt and Mark Iannicelli, who had been charged in July with seven felony counts of jury tampering while handing out Fully Informed Jury Association flyers with general information about jury nullification outside of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver.

Jury nullification is a term that describes scenarios in which a jury refuses to convict a guilty defendant under the rationale that the law itself is unjust or inappropriately applied. While jurors do have the power to nullify convictions, defense attorneys in most U.S. states are not allowed to explain that fact.

[RELATED: Activist Charged with Jury Tampering for Promoting Jury Nullification Outside Courthouse]

When Brandt and Iannicelli distributed their flyers from a booth outside of the courthouse, officials accused them of handing the flyers out to “actual and potential jury pool members” and noted that a death penalty case was underway.

Lynn Kimbrough, a spokesperson for District Attorney Mitch Morrissey’s office, told The Denver Post, “The District Attorney strongly supports the First Amendment and the right to free speech. He is also obligated to uphold the laws of Colorado, which prohibit a person from communicating with a juror with the intent to influence a juror’s vote. The charges that he filed in these two cases alleged that specific conduct.

However, the two activists were handing the flyers out indiscriminately to everyone in an effort to raise general awareness of the concept of jury nullification, not to specific known jurors of a particular case in an attempt to sway them against a conviction.

In dismissing the charges, [Judge Plotz] noted that such charges for handing out FIJA brochures amounted to an unconstitutional application of the jury tampering law and swept in speech that is protected under the First Amendment,” wrote Fully Informed Jury Association executive director Kirsten Tynan. FIJA is an activist group that educates the public about jury nullification.

She added, “Earlier this year, a federal court judge granted an injunction sought by attorney David Lane on behalf of the Fully Informed Jury Association and co-plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen to prevent any further such unconstitutional arrests. The court made clear at that time that such activity is protected under the First Amendment. Nonetheless, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey chose to continue his vendetta, wasting even more taxpayer dollars and harassing harmless Colorado residents, as he refused to drop the charges against Iannicelli and Brandt.

[RELATED: Judge Jails Former Pastor For Jury Nullification Education]

Attorney David Lane, who represented Iannicelli and Brandt, said that District Attorney Morrissey abused his power in bringing the charges against his clients. “[Morrissey’s charges] would be perceived as a losing battle for a first-year law student,” he added. Lane is weighing a federal lawsuit against Morrissey for charging his clients with felonies for exercising their First Amendment rights.

We look forward to adding yet another such victory in the case of Keith Wood, a juror rights educator also abusively mischarged in recent weeks by disgruntled courthouse officials in Mecosta County, Michigan,” said FIJA executive director Tynan, who also claimed that the media coverage surrounding Brandt and Iannicelli’s arrests brought an unexpected and unprecedented level of attention to the concept of jury nullification.

After the charges were dropped, Eric Brandt reportedly paraphrased the Edmund Burke attributed quotation, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” and added triumphantly, “I chose not to stand by [and do nothing]. The world is run by those who show up. I elected to show up.

Gunman Opens Fire Near Planned Parenthood Clinic In Colorado Springs

By Chuck Ross – Police in Colorado Springs were engaged in a standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday afternoon with a lone gunman who opened fire near the facility shortly before noon.

At least four police officers and four civilians were injured when the suspect opened fire. Several people inside the Planned Parenthood office were seen rushing from the building after being extracted. Officers were also heard on police radio discussing tactical maneuvers in order to take the suspect out with sniper fire.

It is still unclear whether the gunman, described as a man with a beard and glasses who is wearing a trenchcoat, targeted Planned Parenthood. Some witnesses reported hearing shots fired earlier in the day near a Chase Bank located about a quarter-mile away from Planned Parenthood. Others said that shots were fired from outside.

The original report of this fluid situation is below. 

Police in Colorado Springs have surrounded a supermarket parking lot after an active shooter reportedly opened fire near a Planned Parenthood clinic shortly before noon local time on Friday.

Three officers were injured in the shooting, and civilian injuries are possible, Colorado Springs police commander Kirk Wilson said in a press briefing.

Wilson also said that at least one of the injured officers is still within the area where the gunman is located. Wilson initially stated that the gunman’s location was known, but authorities later backed away from that claim.

And while Wilson gave some indication that Planned Parenthood was the shooter’s target, another Colorado Springs police official, Lt. Catherine Buckley, said at a press conference held about an hour later that authorities are “not sure what the connection is to Planned Parenthood.

Buckley did confirm, however, that the initial police call came from the Planned Parenthood address.

Adding to the confusion over whether Planned Parenthood was targeted are reports that injuries were also reported at a nearby eye doctor’s office.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, a patient at Elite Vision was wounded. Elite Vision is located in a building next to Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health services and also performs abortions.

And according to The New York Times, local media reported that the gunman was seen shooting at passing vehicles from the parking lot of the office park where Planned Parenthood and numerous other businesses are located.

In other police radio chatter, an officer said that the suspected gunman shot out the back window of his police cruiser. The suspect was described as wearing a long coat and “hunting-type” hat, according to the Gazette.

Police officers with heavy weaponry and SWAT members were seen staking out the grocery store parking lot.


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This article was republished with permission from The Daily Caller.

Colo. Prosecutors Complain Juries Are Refusing to Convict Pot-Influenced Drivers

Prosecutors in pot-legal Colorado are expressing frustrations that they are having a tough time finding juries willing to convict some suspects who have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

According to CBS Denver, Colorado District Attorneys’ Council head Tom Raynes said that juries are in some cases refusing to convict individuals who have been found driving with levels of pot in their system exceeding the 5 ng/ml THC legal limit.

You are putting lives in danger. I want the message to be understood. It’s about driving while under the influence of drugs — it’s not about recreational or medical, it’s about being impaired when you drive,” he said. “I don’t believe anyone can drive better under the influence of any substance.

[RELATED: Ron Paul Calls for Jury to Nullify Cannabis Oil Mom Shona Banda’s Criminal Charges]

CBS Denver pointed to the case of medical marijuana patient Melanie Brinegar as an example. Brinegar was charged with driving under the influence of pot during a June traffic stop over an expired license plate. Though she admitted to having used marijuana and was found over the legal limit, officers did not witness her driving erratically.

Brinegar claimed that marijuana use improves her ability to drive and that she was neither high nor impaired. She was acquitted by a jury of her peers.

[RELATED: Indiana County Introduces Marijuana Goggles to Curb Teen Use]

The Free Thought Project characterized the jury’s refusal to convict as “jury nullification.” However, it appears that a component of the law allows juries to find defendants not guilty even if they are above the legal limit.

Brad Wood, a foreman on the jury that acquitted Brinegar, said, “The law allows you to infer that the person was impaired if they have over 5 ng/ml. But you may also feel free not to infer that and in any case use all the evidence to make your judgement… If the law says we strongly encourage you to weigh this as the biggest factor, I think it would have been a whole different story… If the officer said, ‘We saw her weave,’ it probably would have been a different story.

Wood referred to the law as poorly written and said that the jury believed Brinegar’s claim that marijuana does not impair her driving.

[Activist Charged with Jury Tampering for Promoting Jury Nullification Outside Courthouse]

During the trial, Brinegar’s attorney Colin McCallin argued that the pot driving impairment law differs from driving under the influence of alcohol laws that require juries to convict simply on the basis of the suspect’s blood alcohol content. McCallin said that this argument might not work in other incidences in which an individual has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

Are we sending a message it’s okay to smoke and drive? I don’t like that message. In [Brinegar’s] case maybe its fine,” Wood said.

Ex-Congressman Tancredo Quits Republican Party Over Boehner Budget Deal

Former U.S. Congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo stated in a Breitbart op-ed on Friday that he is leaving the Republican Party.

After this week’s House GOP ‘budget deal,’ which betrays nearly every promise made to grassroots conservatives since 2010, I have decided it is time to end my affiliation with the Republican Party,” wrote Tancredo.

The Denver Post notes that Tancredo previously left the Republican Party in 2010 for a run for Colorado governor under the Constitution Party’s banner, but rejoined the GOP in 2011. Tancredo was also reportedly recently involved in a failed effort to oust the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

In the op-ed, Tancredo described times when he says GOP leaders like former President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay attempted to bully him with threats into supporting establishment positions and ceasing his vocal advocacy for reduced government spending and tighter immigration policies.

Tancredo called the GOP “Democrat Lite” and complained that its leaders have ignored the concerns of Tea Party conservatives who worked hard to elect Republicans in 2010, instead capitulating to the demands of Democrats. “We got condescending lip service, and nothing more,” he wrote.

He said that he feels the GOP establishment does not want to control government spending, secure the U.S. border, protect American national sovereignty, or reign in political corruption.

The former congressman wrote, “By insulting the grassroots, the GOP leadership has set upon a suicide mission. The problem is that failed leadership is allowing Obama to destroy the Constitution and take the whole country down the drain. Well, count me out.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Tancredo added that he still intends to support Republican candidate and Senator from Texas Ted Cruz for president in 2016, but that he will be rallying independents to support Cruz’s campaign.

What I will do instead is join the largest political group in the nation, unaffiliated Independents. In Colorado, they outnumber both ‘major’ political parties,” said Tancredo.

The Truth in Media Project recently released a Consider This video highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats, as seen in the below-embedded video player.


Colorado Becomes First State To Generate More Tax Revenue From Marijuana Than From Alcohol Sales

Colorado became the first state in the nation’s history to make more annual revenue off of taxes imposed on marijuana sales than taxes on alcohol, according to numbers released by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

A report from the department, which looked at the taxes collected from  July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, found that the state collected about $70 million in taxes from marijuana sales, and only about $42 million in taxes from alcohol sales.

The Marijuana Policy Project noted that out of the $69,898,059 raised on taxes on marijuana-related sales, $43,938,721 came from a “10% special sales tax on retail marijuana sales to adults” and $25,959,338 came from a “15% excise tax on wholesale transfers of marijuana intended for adult use.”

KDRV reported that Colorado is having a “marijuana tax holiday” on Wednesday, which will suspend all taxes on marijuana-related sales.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of the 2012 initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Colorado, released a statement saying that marijuana taxes have been “incredibly productive over the past year,” and Wednesday’s holiday will be a “much-deserved day off.”

“It’s crazy how much revenue our state used to flush down the drain by forcing marijuana sales into the underground market,” Tvert said. “It’s even crazier that so many states are still doing it. Tax revenue is just one of many good reasons to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulation.”

[RELATED: ‘Gas and Grass’ Cannabis Dispensary Gas Stations Coming Soon To Colorado]

The Associated Press reported that the holiday is due to Colorado’s “unusual tax law,” and is a rare move in a state that “has many times rejected sales-tax holidays on things like school supplies, clothing or energy-efficient appliances.”

The Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights “requires voters to approve new taxes based on estimates of collections and state spending.”

The Denver Post noted that although the tax revenues from marijuana sales have not exceeded projected figures, “total state spending exceeded initial estimates because of the improving economy,” and as a result, lawmakers settled on a one-day tax waiver.

[RELATED: Truth In Media: Feds Say Cannabis Is Not Medicine While Holding The Patent To Cannabis As Medicine]

In Sept. 2014, investigative journalist Ben Swann looked into the federal government’s involvement with marijuana used for medicinal purposes, and he found that although the government acts as if cannabis is not medicine, they actually own the patent to cannabis as medicine.


‘Gas and Grass’ Cannabis Dispensary Gas Stations Coming Soon to Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colo. medical cannabis dispensary company Native Roots is launching a new type of marijuana business called “Gas & Grass.

According to 7NEWS Denver, the gas stations, which Native Roots hopes will open for business by mid-October, will feature a medical marijuana dispensary in addition to the usual provisions typically found in convenience stores.

Native Roots plans to start by opening two locations and has purchased two Conoco stations in Colorado Springs with the intention of converting them into Gas & Grass businesses. The convenience store and medical marijuana dispensary portions of the business will reportedly have separate entrances.

Company spokesperson Tia Mattson said in comments to KOAA-TV, “We definitely are leaders and we’re visionaries. It’s just one more thing for us to pair up the shopping and convenience of gas with a stop for somebody who is a patient, to knock off both errands at one time.

She added, “I believe we’ll have lottery tickets, beverages, cigarettes and similar things that you would pick up in a convenience store.

[RELATED: Truth In Media Accelerates National Cannabis Discussion]

A manager for Native Roots said that medical marijuana patients who shop at Gas & Grass will receive discounts on fuel under a rewards program modeled after those offered by grocery stores that feature gas pumps.

Local business owner Trevor Field criticized the business model and told KRDO-TV, “It’s a gateway to smoking and driving. People are getting way too laid back with marijuana. Oh let’s go to the gas station and buy our pot, roll it up while we’re fueling up and out the parking lot we go.

I lived up in the mountains and we had a gas station, a convenience store and a liquor store right next to each other. What’s the difference?” said local resident Beth Van Eaton who lives near one of the planned Gas & Grass locations.

Representatives from the Colorado Springs City Clerk’s Office said that Native Roots, a licensed medical cannabis provider, has obtained approval from the city and state.

The announcement of the new Gas & Grass business idea has raised questions as to whether the model will become a trend inspiring recreational marijuana providers to follow suit.

Back in September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Christie Tells Colo. Pot Smokers to ‘Enjoy It’ Now As He Will Bust Them As President

New Jersey Republican Governor and former federal prosecutor Chris Christie issued a dire warning to pot users in states that have legalized marijuana while promoting his 2016 presidential campaign at a town hall meeting at Salt Hill Pub in Newport, New Hampshire on Tuesday. “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws,” said Christie.

Christie claimed that he believes that marijuana is a gateway drug that alters the brain and criticized the Obama administration for choosing not to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it has been legalized. “That’s lawlessness,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “If you want to change the marijuana laws, go ahead and change the national marijuana laws.

Reason notes that 2016 GOP presidential candidates Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, George Pataki, and Carly Fiorina have all stated that they support the right of states to craft their own policy on marijuana, citing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Truth in Media’s Annabelle Bamforth reported back in April of this year that Christie had pledged, prior to launching his 2016 campaign, that, if he were to become president, he would enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it.

Reason’s Jacob Sullum, who called Christie’s pot re-criminalization plan “utterly fantastical,” pointed out some of the difficulties facing the New Jersey Governor if he were to become president and attempt to stamp out growing marijuana industries in pot-legal states. “Three of the four states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, plus the District of Columbia, allow home cultivation as well as commercial production. A determined prohibitionist in the White House, aided by DEA agents and federal prosecutors, could make life difficult for state-licensed growers and retailers, albeit at the cost of antagonizing political leaders in the states with legal pot (a list that probably will have expanded by the time the next president takes office). Going after thousands of scattered home growers, each of whom is free to share his produce with friends and neighbors, would be considerably harder. The federal government simply does not have the resources for such an eradication campaign,” argued Sullum.

Christie, who currently sits at ninth in the polls among 2016 GOP presidential candidates according to a RealClearPolitics polling average cited by Bloomberg, is fighting to stay in the top 10 ahead of Fox News’ August 6 televised Republican presidential debate in which the top 10 out of 16 candidates according to national polls will be featured in a prime-time showdown at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Those candidates who fail to make the top 10 will be featured in a second-tier debate taking place earlier that day.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Watch the Truth in Media Project’s Consider This video, embedded below, which examines some facts about non-violent inmates serving hard time under the federal War on Drugs.


Cannabis Advocates Seek To Loosen Denver’s Ban On Public Usage

Denver, CO- Two of the chief proponents of Amendment 64, the measure that brought legal recreational marijuana to the state of Colorado, launched a petition drive on Thursday to gather signatures in support of a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana consumption at places of business that wish to allow it.

Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente announced a push to gather signatures for a ballot measure that would give businesses in Denver the option to allow adults to consume marijuana in designated areas not visible to the rest of the public.

Private, members-only cannabis clubs exist in the city, but consumption of marijuana in commercial establishments like bars is prohibited. “Adults should have the right to consume it socially with other adults in commercial establishments that choose to allow it,” Tvert said. “We also need to ensure that adults who visit Denver and purchase marijuana legally have a place where they can consume it legally.”

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the ballot initiative would allow businesses such as bars, restaurants, and cafes to provide a restricted area in their establishments for adults to 21 and older to consume marijuana. The measure would comply with Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act by restricting cannabis use to edible products or the use of vaporizers. Marijuana would not be available for sale in these establishments.

The ballot initiative’s language was approved by the city of Denver according to weekly paper Westword, and approximately 4,700 signatures are needed in order for the measure to be included on the November ballot.

“Voters have told us they want marijuana to be regulated like alcohol,” Tvert said according to Westword. “Obviously, if we were to treat marijuana exactly like alcohol, we wouldn’t need to go as far as we have. The city doesn’t have a problem with adults using alcohol in front of people who are under 21, for example. But we’re taking it a step further. Opponents say they’re worried about kids seeing adults using marijuana, but they don’t need to be, because that won’t be allowed.”


Colorado Supreme Court Employers Can Fire Workers For Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use

In the case of a quadriplegic who was fired from Dish Network in 2010 after he failed a company drug test because he was using marijuana for medicinal purposes, Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled, 6-0, on Monday that employers can fire workers for off-duty marijuana use, even though the substance is legal in the state.

Brandon Coats, the plaintiff in the case, became quadriplegic in a car accident and used marijuana to control leg spasms. He told the Denver Post that he was hired as a customer service representative for Dish Network in 2007, but was fired in 2010 after a random drug test, even though he had a medical marijuana card.

Coats said he was called in for a random drug test in 2010, and that he warned Human Resources that he would not pass the test. When the results came back negative, Coats said that he told his manager he had a medical marijuana card, and his manager said this was a circumstance the company had never seen.

Coats said that he continued to work with Dish Network for two more weeks, before the company notified him that he was being terminated for using marijuana, even though he was in possession of a license.

While Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use following the passage of Amendment 64 in Nov. 2012, medical marijuana use was passed in Nov. 2000, and required that users obtain a Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card.

In the ruling from Colorado’s Supreme Court, Justice Allison H. Eid wrote that businesses can terminate employees for using marijuana, because even though it is legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law:

[quote_center]Therefore, employees who engage in an activity, such as medical marijuana use, that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute[/quote_center].

The ruling also stated that the Court was declining Coats’ invitation to “engraft a state law limitation onto the statutory language.”

“Nothing in the language of the statute limits the term ‘lawful’ to state law,” wrote Eid. “Instead, the term is used in its general, unrestricted sense, indicating that a ‘lawful’ activity is that which complies with applicable ‘law,’ including state and federal law.”

Michael Evans, Coats’ attorney, told the Denver Post that he thought the decision was “devastating.”

[quote_center]“You need the Colorado Supreme Court to stand up for its own laws,” Evans said. “The U.S. Supreme Court is not going to do that.”[/quote_center]

In Sept. 2014, investigative journalist Ben Swann released an episode of the Truth in Media Project that documented the federal government’s involvement with marijuana. He revealed that although the government claimed cannabis cannot be used as medicine, it holds the patent on cannabis as medicine.

Watch the full video:


‘Right to Try’ bill in Oklahoma moves forward

Legislation has been approved by the Oklahoma House committee which would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental medications which are not yet available to the public.

Rep. Richard Morrissette (D) is the author of the Oklahoma version of the Right to Try bill. Morrissette has said, according to the AP, this bill can give new hope to terminally ill patients “that one of these experimental drugs will hit the mark.”

The House Public Health Committee voted 10-0 on Tuesday in favor of pushing the bill forward for consideration by the full House. A number of other states, such as Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana already have similar bills in place.

The Daily Journal reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already allows terminally ill patients to seek to undergo experimental medications. However, it usually takes hundreds of hours to complete the paperwork and for the paperwork to make its way through the proper government channels before it is approved. Many terminally ill patients die while waiting to receive government approval to undergo these new medical treatments.

Christina Sandefur is an attorney for the Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy group, and she said, “These are people whose days, hours, even minutes may be numbered.”

There would be some requirements when it comes to receiving the experimental medications even if the bill were to pass.

One requirement is a terminally ill patients doctor must approve of the usage of the medication before moving forward. The patient in question would also have to acknowledge the medication they would be receiving poses potential risks o their health and well-being. The company who develops the drug must also be willing to make the medication available to the patient.

The bill would also allow pharmaceutical companies to deploy experimental treatment devices in the same manner as the experimental medications.

The full bill can be read here.

Exclusive Interview: Father, Wrongfully Jailed for Owning Guns, Fights for Reunion with Son

Webby award winning marketing consultant and father Brian Aitken’s life was turned upside down in January of 2009 when New Jersey police arrested him on felony gun charges as he was attempting to move his possessions, including lawfully-owned firearms, across the US from Colorado to New Jersey in an effort to live nearer to his son. Aitken was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison, only to later be released after four months behind bars when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie commuted his sentence in response to an overwhelming volume of calls by gun rights activists. Though an appeals court later threw out two of the three charges, a family court ruling still prevents Aitken from being involved in his son Logan’s life. He has not seen his son in almost seven years and has launched a crowd-funding campaign, described in the above-embedded video, to raise funds for a legal challenge in an effort to regain his parental rights. The family court ruling that prevents Aiken from seeing his son sets a dangerous precedent allowing courts to take away citizens’ children on the basis of their gun ownership.

BenSwann.com writer Barry Donegan obtained an exclusive interview with Brian Aitken, transcribed below, in which he opened up about his struggles as a victim of overzealous gun laws.

Barry Donegan: “Explain how it came to pass that you were arrested while attempting to move your possessions cross-country, including legally-acquired firearms, from Colorado to New Jersey.”

Brian Aitken: “My son was born in Colorado in early 2008 but, for reasons I talk about in my memoir, things weren’t working out with the marriage. Within months my former wife moved to New Jersey with my son to be closer to our families. I gave up my job and put the house up for sale shortly thereafter so I could be closer to my son and play an active role in his life. Once I got there, though, my former wife began withholding custody of my son. She was using him as a poker chip as if to say ‘I’ll trade you your son, if you give me X, Y, and Z.’ On the day I was arrested, I was moving from my parents house into an apartment in Hoboken with my legally owned guns locked and unloaded in the trunk of my car. She had canceled my visitation for the fourth week in a row when I told my mom I ‘didn’t see the point in being here’ if I couldn’t see my son. Eventually, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes after I left my parents home, my mother called 9-1-1, immediately thought better of it, and hung up the phone. By then it was too late, the call had already been placed, and the police responded to an abandoned 9-1-1 call. From that point forward I was the subject of a gun-hunt. I was never the suspect of any sort of crime and, as the trial testimony shows, not even the police officers thought I was a threat to myself or anyone else. They just wanted my guns and were willing to do just about anything to get them.”

Barry Donegan: “What steps did you take in an effort to learn how to transport the guns legally given the different state laws on guns?”

Brian Aitken: “I flew with them from Colorado to New Jersey with TSA clearance and called the New Jersey State Police three days before I moved to make sure I understood how to transport firearms. I did exactly what the State Police told me to do.”

Barry Donegan: “What is your background as a gun owner in terms of training and experience with handling firearms? Did you pass a federal background check for your guns? What types of guns were they?”

Brian Aitken: “I was only a gun owner for about a year before I was arrested but my family has a history of expert firearms use. My grandfather was a designated marksman in World War II and when I was ten he promised me he’d teach me how to shoot as soon as I turned thirteen. I remember counting down the days to my thirteenth birthday months in advance. My uncle was also a handgun instructor at the Philadelphia Police Academy and my father and I went to the shooting range on occasion, but I never owned a firearm until I became a father and felt compelled to be able to protect my family. I passed all the appropriate background checks and went through the ATF, FBI and CBI in order to purchase my firearms.”

Barry Donegan: “Is it correct that you were charged with possessing high-capacity magazines despite only having the magazines that came with the guns at the point of purchase? How did it feel when you read that The Trentonian characterized your bullets as ‘cop-killer bullets’ despite the fact that you and your family have always respected police officers?”

Brian Aitken: “That’s correct. The State of New Jersey charged me with possessing ‘high capacity magazines’ which, in reality, were the standard-capacity magazines issued by Smith & Wesson. New Jersey gives very standard things scary names in an effort to vilify gun owners, exactly the same way The Trentonian said I had ‘cop-killer bullets.’ By the time that article came out I had become so used to being treated like scum for owning guns that it didn’t even phase me.”

Barry Donegan: “What penalties did you face upon conviction? How did your firearms conviction impact your custodial rights to visitation with your son?”

Brian Aitken: “I was sentenced to seven years in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years before I’d be eligible for parole. The conviction didn’t really impact my custody of my son, but the charges did. Nine months before I even went to trial a family court judge decided that I should only be allowed to see my son in a room reserved in a courthouse under the direct supervision of a police officer because I could own firearms. I didn’t even own guns at the time, the Mount Laurel Police Department had them as evidence, but because I could technically still own them I was practically banned from seeing my son. All of this for the violentless and victimless ‘crime’ of possessing guns I owned legally.”

Barry Donegan: “What solutions did the judge assigned to your case offer in terms of allowing you visitation with your son? Have you been able to see your son, and, if not, why?”

Brian Aitken: “I am only allowed to see my son for one hour a week inside the Ocean County Family Court, in a room reserved in advance, with a police officer scheduled to supervise the visitation. As you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult for all of those things to line up at the same time and in six years they never have. If I spend several thousand dollars more they’ll consider changing this, but at the time I didn’t have ten dollars let alone the thousands they were extorting me for.

The way the court turns this from a temporary to a permanent injunction is by ordering someone to pay for transcripts and additional paperwork for additional hearings, that can climb beyond $5,000 pretty quickly. Transcripts alone can easily run over a thousand dollars. All the while, my child support obligations doubled based upon what the judge felt I could earn–he imputed my income at being three times greater than I had actually earned in any year of my entire life–and I quickly found myself unable to pay the ransom they were demanding. They used financial sanctions to drown me in debt and keep me from seeing my son.”

Barry Donegan: “How long did you spend in prison before Chris Christie commuted your sentence? Did you believe while you were there that you might have to serve the full seven-year sentence?”

Brian Aitken: “I spent four months behind bars before Governor Christie commuted my sentence. I had turned down almost a dozen plea deals before trial and had tried to prepare myself mentally to spend at least three years in prison before either getting out on parole or appeal. My entire family prepared for the worst.”

Barry Donegan: “How did it feel when you found out that gun rights activists from across the country rallied to your support? How did you feel when you heard the news that Governor Christie commuted your sentence?”

Brian Aitken: “There aren’t any words to describe what it felt like to find out people from all across the country were out there rallying for my freedom. For so long I had faced the courts alone and then, out of nowhere, all of these amazing people were calling and writing the governor’s office demanding that I be released from prison. So many people called Governor Christie’s office that the lines crashed. I didn’t know any of these people, but I owe them so much. They kept me company with their letters and gave me hope. I was in solitary for protective custody when I found out Governor Christie had commuted my sentence. It was surreal. It didn’t hit me for a few days.”

Barry Donegan: “Considering the fact that Chris Christie only commuted your sentence to time served rather than pardoning you and given the fact that an appeals court cleared you of the charges related to the possession of the guns and alleged high-capacity magazines, but let stand the conviction pertaining to the hollow point bullets, what ongoing hurdles do you face as a result of your convictions? What is the current legal status of your case?”

Brian Aitken: “Well, because it’s legal to own hollow point ammunition in New Jersey but it’s illegal to transport it from one house to another while you’re moving, I’m still a convicted felon. I can’t vote. I can’t pass a background check and I’m almost universally denied all rental applications. I’m working on changing all of that, but it’s a long process especially when you realize I’ve been fighting this for over six years now.”

Barry Donegan: “Tell us about your book, The Blue Tent Sky. How has it been received? Where can readers obtain a copy?”

Brian Aitken: “I realized that my son is out there somewhere and, where ever he is, there are people telling him something about his father. He’s probably been told that I’m either a deadbeat dad or dead when, in reality, I’ve been asking the courts and his mother to let me see him for years. I wrote the book so my son could, one day, know the truth about major events that impacted his relationship with his father for the years to come. It became Amazon’s #1 bestselling eBook for Constitutional Law and Penology and received some pretty high praise from people like Clark Neily at the Institute for Justice, Dick Heller of DC v Heller, and Wayne Olson of the Cato Institute. It’s available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at some of the great indie bookstores across the country.”

Barry Donegan: “Tell us about your current crowd-funding campaign to help you reunite with your son.”

Brian Aitken: “I’m hosting a thirty-day crowd-funding campaign to help raise funds to reunite me with my son. I’ve already used the proceeds from the sale of the book to retain one of the best family law firms in New Jersey, but I’ve been here before and I know the fight that’s to come. I need to be prepared for the long game and, unfortunately, that involves paying a lawyer a lot of money. The campaign has a bunch of amazing perks including a Springfield 1911 from Omaha Outdoors, a custom Glock 17 from Glockstore.com, and a competition grade AR-15 from Spikes Tactical. Plus, every person who donates $100 or more gets a $1,000 2 Day Defensive Handgun Course from the legendary Front Sight Training Institute in Nevada.

For the record, I’d much rather this money pay for my son to go to college than pay for my lawyers kids to go to college. I’d like to publicly offer to take the balance of my lawyers retainer and put it in a trust account for my son if my ex-wife agrees to lay down arms and work out a reasonable parenting time plan with me. I want to work this out like mature adults who want the best for their child. I don’t think that’s a crazy thing to ask for.”

Barry Donegan: “How does it feel to not be able to see your son as a result of the fallout from this case?”

Brian Aitken: “It feels horrible. He just turned seven years old a couple weeks ago and I’ve never even heard his voice before. I was so excited to be a father and then, one day, the State of New Jersey just took that away from me. My son deserves to have a father. No one in my family is allowed to see him. His own grandmother hasn’t been able to see him in years. It’s broken her heart. My mother can’t even bear to say his name without breaking down in tears. He was just stolen from us, and for what? Because I owned guns? It’s insane. It’s just not right.”

Aitken’s crowd-funding campaign, entitled Logan’s Heroes in honor of his son, is ongoing until March 19, 2015.

Colorado Becomes the First State to Fund Medical Marijuana Research

On Wednesday, the Colorado Board of Health awarded more than $8 million in research grants to its health officials for studies on the effects of medical marijuana in treating ailments such as brain tumors, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the Associated Press, this line of research is a “new frontier,” due to the fact that “government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug’s negative health effects.”

Colorado was one of the first two states to legalize cannabis for recreational use, and one of the 23 states and Washington D.C. to legalize it for medicinal use.

Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a Psychiatrist in Arizona, who will help conduct a study on how treatment with marijuana affects veterans with PTSD, pointed out that this step is a first for the U.S. Government.

This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” Sisley said.

Federally funded studies on the effects of medical marijuana have not been done previously, due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Reuters reported that the funding for Colorado’s research was “derived from taxes imposed on the state-regulated sale of medical marijuana.”

Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Larry Wolk, noted that the lack of research on medical marijuana has hindered both current and prospective users.

There’s nowhere else in medicine where we give a patient some seeds and say, ‘Go grow this and process it and then figure out how much you need,'” said Wolk. “We need research dollars so we can answer more questions.”

Colorado is funding a total of eight research studies – three that will require federal clearance and access to the plant, and five that are observational studies in which the subjects provide their own cannabis.

According to the Associate Press, the studies in need of federal approval will look at using marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, to treat irritable bowel syndrome in adolescents and young adults, to relieve pain in children with brain tumors, and to treat pediatric patients with epilepsy.

The Denver Post reported, “University researchers will conduct all of the studies,” in the hopes that they will provide the best, and most respected “evidence on whether marijuana is a useful medicine.

New political ads feature James Foley’s beheading

The video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley is likely being used as part of the propaganda machine behind ISIS, but the group Secure America Now is also using the footage in their own political advertisements.

The conservative group used the footage as part of multiple campaigns meant to target vulnerable Democratic senators throughout the country.  One ad meant to target Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), features the footage of Foley with a voice over saying, according to the Hill, “While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Sen. Shaheen have done nothing.” 

John and Diane Foley, the parents of James, have come out against the use of their son’s final moments for advertisement purposes.  “I think it is deplorable, and I think it should be taken down,” said John Foley, according to Politicus USA.  Diane also commented on the ad saying, “It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son’s death for their own political purposes.”

The head of Secure America Now, Allen Roth, originally defended the use of the footage for the group’s political ads, saying, according to Mediaite, “The image has appeared around the world millions of times… We meant no harm.”

However, after negative publicity from both political parties in New Hampshire and Foley’s parents, the ad was removed from online campaigns in New Hampshire.  Secure American Now released a statement to accompany the removal of the video which reads:

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down. The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

The ad is also reportedly being used in Louisiana, Colorado, and Arkansas to denounce Democratic senators who hold seats in each state.  Whether or not the ads featuring the footage of Foley have been taken down in those states has not yet been confirmed.

Supreme Court refuses to act on same-sex marriage issue

While more people are showing support for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court made the decision Monday to not get involved with any appeals court decisions over same-sex marriage and allow these courts to decide how their states should move forward.

As a result of their refusal to get involved, five additional states have been added to the list of 19 others who allow same-sex marriage.  These five new states are Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to Reuters.  The appeals courts who rule over these states have already ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the past.

Six other states, who fall under the jurisdiction of those appeals courts, may also be affected by this decision and they may see same-sex marriage soon.  These six are Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states,” said president of the Freedom to Marry organization, Evan Wolfson, according to USA Today.  “But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, according to the BBC, “Today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action.”

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made a decision which has suggested support for same-sex marriage.  Last year, the Supreme Court invalidated parts of a law which denied legally married same-sex partners spousal benefits.

All of the small victories for those in support of same-sex marriage make many believe the Supreme Court will soon make a decision which will tackle the issue nationwide.