Cory Booker Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana

"I believe the federal government should get out of the illegal marijuana business," Booker said in a Facebook Live video Tuesday (Aug. 1). 

The ongoing conversation about legal marijuana use has found a new cosigner in Senator Cory Booker.

The former mayor of New Jersey introduced the Marijuana Justice Act on Facebook live Tuesday (Aug. 1) in an effort to combat the mass incarceration of people of color, and giving the current battle of increased opioid use a possible solution.

Under Booker's proposed bill, marijuana would no longer be illegal under federal law; people in prison under marijuana charges would have the chance to appeal or reduce their sentences; and areas plagued by marijuana laws would be eligible for funds to build community spaces like public libraries and youth centers.

“You see these marijuana arrests happening so much in our country, targeting certain communities — poor communities, minority communities — targeting people with an illness,” he said. "We’re not seeing the equal application of our criminal justice system. We’re not seeing people being arrested in any way that reflect our values."

Speaking with NBC News, Booker also brought up the idea of legal marijuana healing people with chronic pain and being a helpful replacement for those recovering from heavy opioid use. "I've seen a lot of very compelling preliminary data that shows there is a drop in opioid overdoses in areas that have better access to marijuana," Booker said. The nation's underlying issue with opioids isn't from drug cartels but from the overprescribing of addictive painkillers.

But Attorney General Jeff Sessions, since his start in the Oval Office, has stated his rejection of any bill for legal Mary Jane. "Give me a break," he said in February. "You know, this is the kind of argument that has been made out there. Almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana... I doubt that's true. Maybe science will prove I'm wrong. My best view is we don't need to be legalizing marijuana."

Like many others, Booker believes Sessions' take on marijuana is extreme. "I believe the federal government should get out of the illegal marijuana business,” Booker said.

Read the legislation for Booker's bill in full, here.

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: Michael Jackson leaves the courtroom on a break at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse for the second day of closing arguments in his child molestation trial June 3, 2005 in Santa Maria, California. Jackson is charged in a 10-count indictment with molesting a boy, plying him with liquor and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. The jury is expected to begin deliberations on the case later today. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian-Pool/Getty Images)

HBO Wants Court To Dismiss $100 Million Lawsuit Filed By Michael Jackson’s Estate

HBO wants a California court to toss a $100 million lawsuit brought on by Michael Jackson’s estate over the Leaving Neverland documentary. In a motion for dismissal filed Friday (Aug. 16), the cable network alleged that the estate's lawsuit violates the First Amendment.

“Plaintiffs’ claims fail because they violate the First Amendment, Due Process Clause and public policy, and in any event, the contract on which they are based is inapplicable and expired,” the motion states.

“California’s Anti-SLAPP law empowers—indeed requires—this Court to put an end to this litigation now,” the document continues.  “Accordingly, the Court should strike Plaintiffs’ Petition and claims with prejudice, and award attorneys’ fees and costs to HBO pursuant to the anti-SLAPP law’s mandatory attorneys’ fees clause for prevailing defendants.”

The Jackson Estate sued HBO in February, ahead of Leaving Neverland’s March premiere. In the Emmy-nominated documentary, accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, claim Jackson sexually abused them when they were boys.  The estate argues that the documentary breached a 1992 non-disparagement agreement between the network and Jackson, who died in 2009.

HBO’s motion maintains that the “only possible reason why Plaintiffs filed their Petition in court was to attract maximum attention to their public relations campaign against Leaving Neverland and the documentary subjects.”

In a statement to Deadline, a rep for Jackson’s estate slammed the network’s allegations. “There is no expiration term in the contract, nor does it terminate as a matter of law. Likewise, the First Amendment does not protect HBO from willfully and blatantly violating its contractual obligations, as it did here. The Estate of Michael Jackson is confident that HBO’s latest attempt to avoid its contractual obligations will fail.”

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 19.

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California Woman Claims School Bully Left Son With Permanent Brain Damage

A Southern California mom says her son suffered permanent brain damage after a violent run-in with a bully, CBS Los Angeles reports.  The woman, identified only as “Sarah” to protect her and her son’s identity, is suing Animo Westside Charter Middle School in Playa Vista, California, over a 2018 altercation in which her son was attacked by a bully and placed in the school office for several minutes before paramedics were called.

Footage of the altercation was caught on the school’s surveillance cameras and appears to show her 12-year-old son getting off the bus before being approached by a larger student. The apparent bully punched her son and put him in a chokehold.

Ben Meiselas, a lawyer representing the family, claims the bully did a YouTube search for “the most painful pressure points on the neck” prior to altercation. A school staff member can also be seen walking by as the boy is being attacked. The boy is eventually brought inside the school.

Staff members realize that the boy is hurt and take him into the school’s main office to lay him on the floor. The boy suffered a seizure in the office, and lost consciousness twice, the lawsuit states. School officials are also accused of failing to call paramedics for several minutes.

“By the time I get there, I’m thinking paramedics [arrived] and he’s going to have help,” said the boy’s mother. “My son is literally laying there still in the middle of the office floor completely black and blue.”

Despite viewing video of the altercation, the school district has yet to apologize to the victim and his mother, Meiselas said. “The fact that they can watch that video and not so much offer an apology is really, really, really disgusting.”

See more in the video below.

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Jay-Z To Reportedly Become Part Owner Of NFL Team

It’s been a whirlwind few days for Jay-Z and the NFL, and it seems that the relationship could run deeper than their recently announced partnership. According to TMZ Sports, Jay is in line to own a “significant” portion of an NFL team.

Although it's unclear which team he plans to purchase, a source told the website that the deal is expected to be secured in the “near future.” The Brooklyn native allegedly wants to buy into a team because he’s a “huge fan” of the league, and already works in the business by way of his Roc Nation Sports imprint.

The source added that Hov “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL,” and that the deal doesn't conflict with him owning a sports agency because he's not involved in the “operations of NFL players” on the Roc Nation roster.

Jay previously owned a small stake in the Brooklyn Nets, which he sold in 2013. The timing of the potential team purchase comes as Jay continues to receive backlash after formally announcing his collaboration with the league. The decision to partner with the NFL was “partially motivated” by Jay’s desire to own a team, according to Bleacher Report.

During a press conference alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier in the week, Jay was asked if Colin Kapernick (who remains without a job in the NFL after launching a protest against police brutality) knew about the partnership. Jay initially told reporters that he spoke with Kapernick about working with the NFL but the athlete's girlfriend, radio personality Nessa, denied that the conversation took place. She also expressed her disappointment with how the partnership is being promoted.

“The disappointment in Jay-Z isn’t in the partnership. The disappointment is wrapping it in social justice,” Nessa told Hot 97 Wednesday (Aug. 14). “I don’t mind you doing a business deal, but I do mind you wrapping it in social justice when you’re working with an organization that denies someone an opportunity.”

 

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