Legislative Alert - Thursday, November 10th, 2016: 8 of 9 States Vote for Pot
- Marijuana Wins Big this Election
- Huge International Fraud Ring Indicted
- Drug Problems on the Nation’s Rails
Marijuana Wins Big this Election
Legalized marijuana no longer looks like a passing fad. Voters in nine states faced various ballot initiatives. The vast majority passed easily. Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota approved medical marijuana. Voters in Montana rolled back some of the restrictions in their current medical marijuana law. Those in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada said yes to recreational marijuana use. Arizona is the only initiative to fail -- 52% said no to free use by adults.
Huge International Fraud Ring Indicted
Over the past year millions of Americans all across the country have been receiving calls from a crime ring operated out of Indian call centers. The callers used MagicJack technology to spoof government phone numbers. Once they got a victim on the phone, they claimed to be from the IRS or U.S. Customs and Immigration. They threated their victims with jail or deportation if they didn’t pay taxes or penalties. Thousands paid up, and many even took short-term loans from the scammers. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth said more than $250 million was stolen through this massive scam. Now the Department of Justice has indicted 61 people and entities. Even with the arrests, you should not let your guard down. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell says these arrests might only put a dent in the criminal enterprise.
Drug Problems on the Nation’s Rails
The number of railway workers testing positive in random drug tests jumped 43 percent last year. According to documents obtained by the Washington Post, the number of positive post-accident drug test results has tripled in just 10 years. In addition to the growing number of drug users in their ranks, investigators have found another problem. The required DOT tests are only a five-panel screen that looks for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and PCP. Commonly abused prescription drugs like oxycodone and synthetic drugs don’t show up on the test. Critics say the railroad testing requirements were set more than 20 years ago and haven’t kept up with other industries. Only workers considered “safety sensitive” are required to submit to the drug testing, but there are tens of thousands of people who maintain the tracks and right-of-ways who are not covered. A new rule to include these workers is supposed to go into effect on April 1, 2017, but the railroads are asking for an extension.