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This 19-Year-Old Saudi Gang Rape Victim Was Punished With 200 Lashes

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 A 19-year-old woman who was the victim of a violent gang rape in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail after being found guilty of being “indecent” at the time of the attack because she was not accompanied by a male guardian.




According to CNN, The government defended the outrageous court decision, saying that the victim was at fault, and noting that Saudi courts abide by Sharia law which dictates that a woman cannot be in public without a male guardian.

The original incident reportedly took place in 2006. At that time the victim was in a car with a friend when two men commandeered their vehicle and drove them to a secluded area. She was then violently raped by seven men, three of whom also attacked her friend.

Initially, the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes, while the men who raped her were given minor custodial sentences.

The obviously unfair verdict was appealed by the woman’s lawyer. However, instead of overturning the punishment, the court reportedly more than doubled the punishment for the woman, sentencing her to 200 lashes and six months in jail after being found guilty of indecency and talking to the media.




Middle East Monitor reports Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, who defended the woman, reached out to the media after the sentences were handed down. The court has since banned him from further defending the woman, as well as confiscating his license and summoning him to a disciplinary hearing.

Saudi Arabia defended the controversial decision to punish the victim, saying:

The Ministry of Justice welcomes constructive criticism, away from emotions.
In Saudi Arabia, women are second class citizens, treated more like children than adults. Women are required to dress in black from head to toe, and require permission from a male guardian to work, to marry, to simply leave the home.




Adding insult to injury, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which does not allow women to drive.

In Saudi Arabia there is no political freedom, no religious freedom, no freedom of speech. It is, in fact, one of the most repressive regimes in recent history, and an affront to human rights and human dignity.

In fact, Saudi Arabia is one of the very few countries in the world not to accept the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

More on the Qatif rape case:

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/11/20/saudi.rape.victim/index.html

48 decapitations in 4 months in Saudi Arabia: Saudi executions persist despite “Charm Offensive”

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Despite apparent wide-ranging reforms in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom is certainly sticking to its death-penalty tradition, decapitating 48 criminals this year alone.

(RT) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has been lauded by Western media as the ‘great reformer,’ he’s even been given the catchy, friendly acronym –- MbS. Bin Salman has been praised for finally allowing women to drive, enter sports stadia and opening the country’s first cinemas in a generation.




Bin Salman has been busy too, he has recently been on a worldwide charm offensive, with millions of dollars being spent on an army of PR firms, selling the image of Saudi Arabia as a modern country looking to reform, and diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy.

Yet some things don’t change. He continues to purchase a massive amount of weaponry from Britain and America while at home ‘the great reformer’ maintains the kingdom’s age-old practice of beheading people as punishment for serious crime.

Many of the 48 people who have been executed so far this year, according to Human Rights watch (HRW), have died for their involvement in non-violent crime while many more convicted of drug-related crime “remain on death row following convictions by Saudi Arabia’s notoriously unfair criminal justice system.”




In an interview with Time magazine on April 5, MbS said that the kingdom has a plan to decrease the overall number of executions but that this strategy did not pertain to those convicted of murder.

“Any plan to limit drug executions needs to include improvements to a justice system that doesn’t provide for fair trials,” HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson said in a Thursday press release.




According to HRW Saudi Arabia has carried out almost 600 executions, in which the condemned are beheaded using a sword, since 2014. Over 200 of these were for drug offenses. The rest were for crimes such as murder, terrorism, rape, incest and sorcery.

Los Angeles Painting Streets White in Bid to Combat Climate Change

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California officials are hoping their latest attempt to stem the rising tides of climate change leads to a more socially conscious — and cooler — summer.

(FOX LOS ANGELES) Officials in Los Angeles have been painting streets white to reduce the effect of urban “heat islands” and combat the effects of climate change.




The LA Street Services began rolling out the project last May, which preliminary testing shows has reduced the temperature of roadways by up to 10 degrees. The project involves applying a light gray coating of the product CoolSeal, made by the company GuardTop.

“CoolSeal is applied like conventional sealcoats to asphalt surfaces to protect and maintain the quality and longevity of the surface,” according to the company website. “While most cool pavements on the market are polymer based, CoolSeal is a water-based, asphalt emulsion.”

While each coasting could can last up to seven years, they are also pricey, with the estimated cost of $40,000 per mile, the L.A. Daily News reported.

LA street 2

Each coating of CoolSeal is estimated to cost $40,000 a mile, city officials told the LA Daily News.  (LA Street Services)




CoolSeal does pass the California skid test in addition to the slip test for wet traction, and is applied in two coats, each 50 microns thick, over an asphalt roadway or a slurry-sealed asphalt roadway, according to the streets department.

BOY, 13, FOUND ALIVE AFTER FALLING INTO LOS ANGELES DRAINAGE DITCH ‘MAZE’

By reducing the temperature of the city streets, officials say it can help reduce temperatures in the neighborhoods where the sealant is applied.

With its numerous streets and freeways, Los Angeles suffers from the “heat island” effect, which causes urban regions to become warmer than their rural surroundings, forming an “island” of higher temperatures.

LA Street 3

The sealant has reduced roadway temperatures by up to 10 degrees in testing.  (LA Street Services)




“Heat islands occur on the surface and in the atmosphere,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “On a hot, sunny summer day, the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50–90°F hotter than the air1, while shaded or moist surfaces—often in more rural surroundings—remain close to air temperatures.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who may make a run for president in 2020, has used the project as part of an overall plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2025.

“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — and it is not debatable or negotiable,” he said in a statement last year after President Trump said he would walk away from the Paris Climate Agreement.

CNN REPORTER SMELLS ‘SARIN BACKPACK’ TO PROVE ASSAD RESPONSIBLE FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK

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Video footage shows a CNN reporter visiting victims of the Douma chemical weapons attack and then sniffing their belongings, prompting some to question why the woman chose to inhale possibly dangerous substances.




“There’s definitely something that stings,” comments CNN’s Arwa Damon as she sniffs a backpack that belongs to a child who was caught up in the chemical weapons attack.

“The smell is still quite strong, maybe these were the things they weren’t able to wash,” she subsequently states.

Towards the end of the report, Damon suggests that the air strikes launched on Syria were not enough and that more intervention is necessary.
and could not be detected by smelling objects.




Why Damon has apparently no concerns about inhaling substances used in a chemical weapons attack is also unclear.

Respondents on CNN’s YouTube channel questioned why the reporter was trying to inhale chemical weapons.

“Take another whiff of that potentially chemical covered backpack,” remarked one.




“Sniffing a backpack contaminated by Sarin gas would kill you,” added another.

“Make sure we save some of the chemical laced clothes for when CNN comes and smells them. We don’t want people thinking this entire event was a hoax or anything,” joked another.

Watch the full report from CNN below.

No, Students, Words Are Not Violence

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Fight with words social issue concept as a person screaming with bullets flying out of the mouth as a metaphor for strong communication and aggressive shouting with 3D illustration elements.

Of all the ideas percolating on college campuses these days, the most dangerous one might be that speech is sometimes violence. We’re not talking about verbal threats of violence, which are used to coerce and intimidate, and which are illegal and not protected by the First Amendment. We’re talking about speech that is deemed by members of an identity group to be critical of the group, or speech that is otherwise upsetting to members of the group. This is the kind of speech that many students today refer to as a form of violence. If Milo Yiannopoulos speaks on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, is that an act of violence?




Recently, the psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, a highly respected emotion researcher at Northeastern University, published an essay in The New York Timestitled, “When is speech violence?” She offered support from neuroscience and health-psychology research for students who want to use the word “violence” in this expansive way. The essay made two points that we think are valid and important, but it drew two inferences from those points that we think are invalid.

First valid point: Chronic stress can cause physical damage. Feldman Barrett cited research on the ways that chronic (not short-term) stressors “can make you sick,alter your brain—even kill neurons—and shorten your life.” The research here is indeed clear.




First invalid inference: Feldman Barrett used these empirical findings to advance a syllogism: “If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech—at least certain types of speech—can be a form of violence.” It is logically true that if A can cause B and B can cause C, then A can cause C. But following this logic, the resulting inference should be merely that words can cause physical harm, not that words are violence. If you’re not convinced, just re-run the syllogism starting with “gossiping about a rival,” for example, or “giving one’s students a lot of homework.” Both practices can cause prolonged stress to others, but that doesn’t turn them into forms of violence.

Feldman Barrett’s second valid point lies in her argument that young people areantifragile—they grow from facing and overcoming adversity:

Offensiveness is not bad for your body and brain. Your nervous system evolved to withstand periodic bouts of stress, such as fleeing from a tiger, taking a punch or encountering an odious idea in a university lecture. Entertaining someone else’s distasteful perspective can be educational. … When you’re forced to engage a position you strongly disagree with, you learn something about the other perspective as well as your own. The process feels unpleasant, but it’s a good kind of stress — temporary and not harmful to your body — and you reap the longer-term benefits of learning.

Feldman Barrett could have gone a step further: This “good kind of stress” isn’t just “not harmful,” it also sometimes makes an individual stronger and more resilient. The next time that person faces a similar situation, she’ll experience a milder stress response because it is no longer novel, and because her coping repertoire has grown. This was the argument at the heart of our 2015 essay in The Atlantic, “The Coddling of the American Mind.” We worried that colleges were making students more fragile—more easily harmed—by trying to protect them from the sorts of small and brief offensive experiences that Feldman Barrett is talking about.




Feldman Barrett then contrasted brief experiences of offensiveness with chronic stressors:

What’s bad for your nervous system, in contrast, are long stretches of simmering stress. If you spend a lot of time in a harsh environment worrying about your safety, that’s the kind of stress that brings on illness and remodels your brain. That’s also true of a political climate in which groups of people endlessly hurl hateful words at one another, and of rampant bullying in school or on social media. A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it.

We agree. But what, then, are the implications for college campuses?

In Feldman Barrett’s second invalid inference, she writes:

That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.

But wait, wasn’t Feldman Barrett’s key point the contrast between short- and long-term stressors? What would have happened had Yiannopoulos been allowed to speak at Berkeley? He would have faced a gigantic crowd of peaceful protesters, inside and outside the venue. The event would have been over in two hours. Any students who thought his words would cause them trauma could have avoided the talk and left the protesting to others. Anyone who joined the protests would have left with a strong sense of campus solidarity. And most importantly, all Berkeley students would have learned an essential lesson for life in 2017: How to encounter a troll without losing one’s cool. (The goal of a troll, after all, is to make people lose their cool.)

The War on Drugs is a Failure on Every Level

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The goal of the war on drugs is to reduce drug use. The specific aim is to destroy and inhibit the international drug trade — making drugs scarcer and costlier, and therefore making drug habits in the US unaffordable. And although some of the data shows drugs getting cheaper, drug policy experts generally believe that the drug war is nonetheless preventing some drug abuse by making the substances less accessible.




(VOX)The prices of most drugs, as tracked by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, have plummeted. Between 1981 and 2007, the median bulk price of heroin is down by roughly 93 percent, and the median bulk price of powder cocaine is down by about 87 percent. Between 1986 and 2007, the median bulk price of crack cocaine fell by around 54 percent. The prices of meth and marijuana, meanwhile, have remained largely stable since the 1980s.

heroin price

Much of this is explained by what’s known as the balloon effect: Cracking down on drugs in one area doesn’t necessarily reduce the overall supply of drugs. Instead, drug production and trafficking shift elsewhere, because the drug trade is so lucrative that someone will always want to take it up — particularly in countries where the drug trade might be one of the only economic opportunities and governments won’t be strong enough to suppress the drug trade.

The balloon effect has been documented in multiple instances, including Peru and Bolivia to Colombia in the 1990s, the Netherlands Antilles to West Africa in the early 2000s, and Colombia and Mexico to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in the 2000s and 2010s.




Sometimes the drug war has failed to push down production altogether, like in Afghanistan. The US spent $7.6 billion between 2002 and 2014 to crack down on opium in Afghanistan, where a bulk of the world’s supply for heroin comes from. Despite the efforts, Afghanistan’s opium poppy crop cultivation reached record levels in 2013.On the demand side, illicit drug use has dramatically fluctuated since the drug war began. The Monitoring the Future survey, which tracks illicit drug use among high school students, offers a useful proxy: In 1975, four years after President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs, 30.7 percent of high school seniors reportedly used drugs in the previous month. In 1992, the rate was 14.4 percent. In 2013, it was back up to 25.5 percent.

past-month illicit drug use seniors

Still, prohibition does likely make drugs less accessible than they would be if they were legal. A 2014 study by Jon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested that prohibition multiplies the price of hard drugs like cocaine by as much as 10 times. And illicit drugs obviously aren’t available through easy means — one can’t just walk into a CVS and buy heroin. So the drug war is likely stopping some drug use: Caulkins estimates that legalization could lead hard drug abuse to triple, although he told me it could go much higher.




But there’s also evidence that the drug war is too punitive: A 2014 studyfrom Peter Reuter at the University of Maryland and Harold Pollack at the University of Chicago found there’s no good evidence that tougher punishments or harsher supply-elimination efforts do a better job of pushing down access to drugs and substance abuse than lighter penalties. So increasing the severity of the punishment doesn’t do much, if anything, to slow the flow of drugs.Instead, most of the reduction in accessibility from the drug war appears to be a result of the simple fact that drugs are illegal, which by itself makes drugs more expensive and less accessible by eliminating avenues toward mass production and distribution.

The question is whether the possible reduction of potential drug use is worth the drawbacks that come in other areas, including a strained criminal justice system and the global proliferation of violence fueled by illegal drug markets. If the drug war has failed to significantly reduce drug use, production, and trafficking, then perhaps it’s not worth these costs, and a new approach is preferable.

Illinois town votes to ban assault weapons, violators fined $1,000 per day

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The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has once again ignited the public debate around assault weapons and large capacity magazines. And while no sweeping gun control laws have been enacted at the federal level, one town in Illinois is taking matters into its own hands by discarding the second amendment.




(CBS News) The Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois voted on Monday to ban the possession, sale, and manufacture of assault weapons and large capacity magazines to “increase the public’s sense of safety.” What’s more, CBS Chicago reports, anyone refusing to give up their banned firearm will be fined $1,000 a day until the weapon is handed over or removed from the town’s limits.

The ordinance states, “The possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the Village of Deerfield is not reasonably necessary to protect an individual’s right of self-defense or the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”




So, beginning June 13, banned assault weapons in Deerfield will include semiautomatic rifles with a fixed magazine and a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, shotguns with revolving cylinders, and conversion kits from which assault weapons can be assembled. And those are just a few of the firearm varieties banned. The list is long and includes all the following models or duplicates thereof: AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, Misr, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR, AR-10, AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, Olympic Arms PCR, AR70, Calico Liberty, Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle, Dragunov SVU, Fabrique NationalFN/FAL, FN/LAR, FNC, Hi-Point Carbine, HK-91, Kel-Tec Sub Rifle, SAR-8, Sturm, Ruger Mini-14, and more.Antique handguns that have been rendered permanently inoperable and weapons designed for Olympic target shooting events are exempt, as are retired police officers.

“We hope that our local decision helps spur state and national leaders to take steps to make our communities safer,” Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said in a press release, after the ban on assault weapons passed unanimously.

The nearby suburb of Highland Park passed a similar ban in 2013, which was contested as unconstitutional by one of the city’s residents and the Illinois State Rifle Association. Ultimately, however, the ordinance was upheld in court.

Reckless Trump and Syria – Violence Will Only Increase

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Last year on the campaign trail, crowds roared when Donald Trump denounced his opponent as “trigger-happy” Hillary. But President Trump is rapidly incarnating the vice he condemned. Nowhere is this more evident than in Syria, where Trump’s recklessness risks dragging America into a major war.




(USA TODAY) U.S. policy toward Syria has been a tangle of absurdities since 2012. President Obama promised 16 times that he would never put U.S. “boots on the ground” in the four-sided Syrian civil war. He quietly abandoned that pledge and, starting in 2014, launched more more than 5,000 airstrikes that dropped more than 15,000 bombs on terrorist groups in Syria.

Four years ago, Trump warned in a tweet: “If the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets, killing civilians, there will be worldwide hell to pay.” But the Trump administration has sharply increased U.S. bombing while curtailing restrictions that sought to protect innocents. A British-based human rights monitoring group estimated Friday that U.S.-led coalition strikes had killed almost 500 civilians in the past month — more than any month since U.S. bombing began. A United Nations commission of inquiry concluded that coalition airstrikes have caused a “staggering loss of civilian life.”

The carnage is sufficiently embarrassing that “the Pentagon will no longer acknowledge when its own aircraft are responsible for civilian casualty incidents,” Micah Zenko of the Council of Foreign Relations recently noted.

U.S.-led forces are reportedly bombarding the besieged city of Raqqa with white phosphorous, a munition that burns intensely and is prohibited by international law from use against civilians. Deploying white phosphorous to attack Raqqa could be a war crime, Amnesty International warns.

Trump’s most dangerous innovation involves direct attacks on Syrian government forces, including last week’s shootdown of a Syrian jet fighter. The Russian government, which is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, responded by threatening to shoot down any aircraft over much of Syria.




After the Syrian government was accused of killing at least 70 civilians with sarin gas in April, Trump speedily ordered the launch of 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian military airfield. Much of the American news media hailed the Syrian missile attack as Trump’s finest hour. When he gave the commencement address at Liberty University in May, the audience cheered when Trump was introduced as the man who “bombed those in the Middle East who were persecuting and killing Christians.” But America could pay a harsh price for Trump’s “virtue signalling” with bombs and missiles.

The biggest delusion driving U.S. policy is the quest for viable “moderate rebels” — which apparently means groups who oppose Assad but refrain from making grisly videos of beheadings. America has spent billions aiding and training Syrian forces who either quickly collapsed on the battlefield or teamed up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or al-Qaeda-linked forces. Policy is so muddled that Pentagon-backed Syrian rebels have openly battled CIA-backed rebels.

The United States has armed and aided al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria despite federal law prohibiting providing material support to terrorist groups. A prominent Assad opponent who organized a conference of anti-Assad groups financed by the CIA was recently denied political asylum. The Department of Homeland Security notified Radwan Ziadeh that because he provided “material support” to the Free Syrian Army, he has “engaged in terrorist activity.”




By the same standard, thousands of CIA, State Department, Pentagon and White House officials should be jailed. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has introduced The Stop Arming Terrorists Act to prohibit any funding, support or weapons for al-Qaeda, ISIS and allied terrorist groups.

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Every side in the Syrian conflict has committed atrocities, often with approval of their foreign patrons. Former CIA officer Phil Giraldi observed, “The Saudis, Qataris, Turks and Israelis are all currently (or have been recently) in bed with terrorist groups (in Syria) that the United States is pledged to destroy.” The Wall Street Journal reported this month that “Israel has been regularly supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years.”

The Syrian government has never threatened the United States, and Congress has not approved attacking it. White House spokesman Sean Spicer justified Trump’s cruise missile attack because “when it’s in the national interest of the country, the president has the full authority to act.” But this is a recipe for unlimited power — warring limited solely by self-serving presidential proclamations.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., condemned Trump’s attacks on Syrian government forces as “unconstitutional” and a “completely unlawful use of power.” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., concurs: “This is illegal war at this point.”

Killing vast numbers of innocent civilians sows the seeds of future terrorist attacks on America. There are no good options for continuing U.S. intervention in Syria. The only question is whether Trump’s blundering will turn that war into a catastrophe for Americans as well as Syrians. As Trump tweeted about Obama’s Syria policy in 2013: “Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.”

There Are Now ‘Food Pharmacies’ That Dispense Fruit And Vegetables

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Many medical issues have symptoms that can be managed or preventative with exercise and nutritional care, but access to things like fresh fruits and vegetables or healthy protein can be challenging for certain populations. An experiment in San Francisco called a “food pharmacy” has had amazing results.




The Silver Avenue Family Health Center has expanded a traditional food pantry into a place where patients struggling with high blood pressure and diabetes can discuss nutrition, recipes, and receive cooking demonstrations for improving their diet and health. Mother Jones reports that patients can access the food pharmacy with a referral, and that the program has been so successful, it will be expanding to four other primary care clinics in the coming year.

The program was based on another successful enterprise in Boston, called the Preventative Food Pantry and run by the Boston Medical Center. According to their website, this pantry welcomes patients with “cancer, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, food allergies and other chronic conditions,” offering them a “prescription” to come by twice a month and pick up enough food for three or four days worth of meals.




While many food pantries emphasize goods that can be stored for a long time, like grains or canned items, BMC’s pantry focuses on healthy perishables that don’t last on shelves, but are good for patients. They offer fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. They now feed over 7,000 people a month, and derive some of their produce from the hospital’s rooftop garden.




Dr. Rita Nguyen, of the San Francisco public health department, spearheaded the effort to open a similar location on her city.

“Often we just pile on prescriptions and ignore the other half of the equation for wellness, which is food,” Nguyen told Mother Jones. She pointed out that most primary care physicians prioritize care that will make them money, which means action over discussion. She says most will not “spend 15 minutes talking to someone about their diet” when they could prescribe something and send them on their way.

It’s difficult to measure the efficiency of the food pantry, since patients are getting their food form other sources as well. But initial findings are positive.

In a three-month trial, 75 percent of patients said they had “greater access to healthy foods.” Half had better blood sugar levels, and 38 percent reported lower blood pressure. For many, the issue isn’t so much a reluctance to eat healthy, but a lack of access to what the pharmacy can offer. With a combination of education and supply, doctors may be able to bridge the gap to health that so many people struggling with poverty and illness need help getting over.

Article originally appeared in Green Matters 

Former Federal Prosecutor Purchases California’s First Legal Cannabis

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(Greenstate) In one of the many surprises from the launch of commercial cannabis sales in California on Jan. 1 was the backstory of the first buyer.
A former federal prosecutor turned legal mastermind of the marijuana industry named Henry Wykowski bought the Golden State’s first legal bag of marijuana. 



 Wykowski paid $20.01 cash for a gram of Neville’s Purple at 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 at the Oakland dispensary Harborside. He didn’t wait in line for hours, either. He’s Harborside’s tax attorney, so the purchase opportunity was a sort of gift from client to counsel for years of effective service.
Not only did cannabis prohibition end in California with a former federal attorney buying marijuana, but Wykowski did it in the very building he saved from federal asset forfeiture.
 Wykowski is one of the world’s top cannabis attorneys and specializes in complex white collar litigation like federal asset forfeiture and tax cases.
Among his many victories, Wykowski prevailed in federal court twice against prosecutors seeking to seize the state’s largest dispensaries — Harborside and Berkeley Patients Group. Both cases were some of the biggest of the 2011 federal crackdown on medical marijuana, and both ended in the government dismissing the forfeiture actions with prejudice, meaning they cannot be tried again for the same crime.
In 2017, Wykowski was in tax court battling for reasonable tax rates for lawful cannabis businesses. Under ‘80s-era tax law, licensed marijuana stores are treated like illegal street dealers and face taxation rates of as much as 80 percent. Harborside prevailing in tax court could help set national precedent.



We met up with Wykowski after his purchase at Harborside for a short Q&A:
GS: When you think back on the arc of your life, did you ever imagine it would lead to this point?
HW: I do remember when we used to smoke in New York and we talked about when we were going to be adults and cannabis would be legal and we’d go to cocktail parties where they’d be handing out not only wine but some joints.
The fact that it’s now legal, I’m so excited about it, I’m — it’s just — wow. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe.
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