Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Speaks At The Cannabis Business Summit And Expo
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More States Legalizing Marijuana Use Could Be A Sign Of Things To Come

California, Massachusetts and Nevada legalized marijuana.

While everyone's eyes were glued to the Presidential election, three additional states passed the legalization of recreational marijuana use yesterday (Nov 8). Proposition 64, which was shot down in 2010, was passed by California and similar bills also made it through in Massachusetts and Nevada (Question 2).

Support for marijuana is at an all-time high in America. A recent Gallup poll registered a 60 percent approval rating for legalization, which is the highest in the 47 years its been tracked by the service.

"There’s a lot of money to be made if marijuana is legal, not a lot of money to be made if it remains illegal," said Kevin Sabet, the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Californians are looking to bring down the sky-high number of marijuana related arrests each year. The charges are especially prevalent in black and brown communities. The bill allows people over 21 to possess up to an ounce marijuana, as well as transport and use recreationally. The proposition also permits the growing of up to six plants in private residences. The state expects about one billion dollars in tax revenue annually from marijuana sales, as a result of a 15 percent tax.

Reformers are ecstatic. "This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” said Ethan Nadelmann, a director with the Drug Policy Alliance. "With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching."

There is obviously a change of tune on the horizon based on the map above, as only six states have full-on restricted cannabis access. As the millennial generation grows older, and more prevalent at the voting booths, support of legalization initiatives will only increase. It looks as if the cultural adjustment will take place sooner, rather than later. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota also voted on medial marijuana initiatives.

At least there was one thing we could agree on Tuesday (Nov 8). Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level.

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Members of the public gather outside the funeral for Lesandro Guzman-Feliz on June 27, 2018 in New York. - Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, 15, was stabbed to death outside a Bronx bodega in an apparent case of mistaken identity.
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Five Gang Members Sentenced To Life In Prison For The Murder Of Lesandro 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz

Five members of the Trinitarios gang were given life sentences for their role in the tragic death of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz.

According to WABC, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, 25, Jose Muniz, 23, and Elvin Garcia, 25, were all sentenced to 25 years to life. Because of his age, Manuel Rivera, 19, was sentenced to 23 years to life. The group of men was the first batch to be tried in the slaying of the 15-year-old, who died on June 2018. Earlier this summer they were found them guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy and second-degree gang assault.

Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, 25, was also sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was the suspect who stabbed Junior in the neck, as seen in the harrowing surveillance footage from a nearby bodega.

“Certain words come to mind when I think about your involvement,” Judge Robert Neary told Martinez Estrella. “Senseless is one of these words. Savage is another word. But the one that often come to my mind is cowardly.”

In court, Estrella told the judge, "I'm sorry" and "My intention was not to cause death." He also blamed drugs, alcohol, and allegiance to the Trinitarios gang.

Junior's parents spoke out after the sentencing about their innocent child.

"That night, there were two deaths, Junior and I, who was left dead inside," Leandra Feliz said. "As a young boy, my son dreamed of becoming a detective, so he could protect this city...Please make sure my son's dreams come true. These killers should never be able to step out of a jail cell, so they know the moment they killed my son, they took their own lives as well."

Lisandro Guzman, Junior's father, also spoke about the grieving process. The family has faced heartache following the verdict after the sentencing was delayed three times.

"I struggle daily to find meaning in my life," he said. "I am no longer the person I once was. It is impossible to find a purpose in life. You will never have the ability to understand the pain that you caused. I will never forgive you. You deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

SENTENCING IN JUNIOR CASE: ESTRELLA: LIFE WITHOUT PAROLERIVERA: 23 TO LIFEMUNIZ: 25 TO LIFESANTIAGO: 25 TO LIFEGARCIA: 25 TO LIFE #JUSTICEFORJUNIOR

— Anthony Carlo (@AC_TV12) October 11, 2019

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Fat Joe performs on stage during Rihanna's 5th Annual Diamond Ball Benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 12, 2019 in New York City.
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Fat Joe Responds To Claims Of Appropriating SanterĂ­a Culture In "Yes" Video

Fat Joe has offered apologies to those who interpreted a homage to Santería as an insult in his new video "Yes" featuring Cardi B and Anuel AA.

Released Monday (Oct. 7) the video, directed by Eif Rivera, features stereotypical music video troupes like women twerking under neon fluorescent lights. In addition to standout verses from Cardi B and Anuel, the visual includes a moment where a group of women takes part in the Lucumí religion. It's paired with the song's sample, "Aguanile" by the late salsa legend HÊctor Lavoe. The moment is fairly quick but this didn't stop many from raising a brow to it.

As Joe promoted the video on Twitter, one user called him out for allegedly appropriating spiritual practice. "You disrespected the Lukumi religion. How are you going to take our religious imagery and sacred music and pervert it with "Ass up face down?" the user said. "Falta de respeto the Orishas will take everything away from you one by one! There was no reason for this."

Joe explained how it was an essential blessing to the intro and Lavoe, who also practiced Santería.

"We tried to pay respect at the intro of the video everyone who took part of this video knew the concept," he said. "We have nothing but respect Hip hop has always taken samples and flipped it into something new I tried to pay homage. Sorry, you took offense, I understand."

We tried to pay respect at the intro of the video everyone who took part of this video knew the concept, we have nothing but respect Hip hop has always taken samples and flipped it into something new i tried to pay homage sorry you took offense i understand https://t.co/R6E2dgljmA

— FAT JOE (@fatjoe) October 9, 2019

Hailed as a salsa pioneer in New York during the golden age of the genre, Lavoe was a beloved musician who helped popularize salsa with albums like Cosa Nuestra, De Ti Depende and Comedia. "Yes'" sample "Aguanile" comes from his eighth album, El Juicio. 

Watch "Yes" and the homage of sorts below.

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Five-Year-Old Girl Saved By Samaritans After Father Jumps With Her In Front Of NYC Subway

A five-year-old girl was saved by good samaritans after her father jumped with her off a subway track in New York City.

According to CBS News, the incident happened Monday on the 4 line in the Bronx around 8 am. Bystanders claimed to see the man on the phone as he was holding his daughter's hand. A few moments later, he was seen jumping onto the tracks as the train arrived at the Kingsbridge stop.

Commuters like Jairo Torres made a move to save the little girl, who landed between the tracks. As many recorded the moment, Torres and another man are seen saving the child from under the train. Her father was killed instantly.

"She says 'What happened to my daddy?'" he said. "I said 'Don't look at your daddy. Come to me. Crawl like a puppy.' I never think about anything, I just cared about saving the life of the baby."

Niurka Caraballo can be heard in several bystander videos screaming for her child. She told reporters her daughter miraculously only suffered scrapes and bruises. She was taken to a local hospital and brought home in her godfather's arms. Caraballo thanked Torres and the heavens above what she called a miracle.

"My little girl is in perfect condition thanks to God and the angels that protected her," Caraballo said. "Those living angels with my little girl. Thank you, thank you."

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