Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

On Monday, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris vowed that a Biden-Harris administration would “decriminalize” the use of marijuana.

“Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone,” Harris said during a Facebook Live virtual round-table.

“We need to deal with the system, and there needs to be significant change in the design of the system,” she continued.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a boon for cannabis-rights activists who have long said that marijuana’s potential health risks “pale in comparison” to the harm that criminalization has done to communities of color in America.

We’ve known for a while that the U.S.’s drug policies disproportionately affect people of color. While the stats suggest that Americans across all demographics use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be arrested and charged for possession.

For example, in New York City in 2017, the NYPD arrested 17,000 people for marijuana-related offenses. 86% of those were Black or Latino.

via Getty Images

Historically, politicians on both the left and the right haven’t done much to fix this disparity. Although both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the largely ineffective “War On Drugs” policies of the ’90s that left a large number of people of color incarcerated, the Dems have recently changed their tune.

In the ’90s, there was an erroneous belief that marijuana was a “gateway” drug to harder, more destructive drugs, like crack-cocaine. Cracking down on marijuana possession was seen as a preventative tactic to keep people from trying crack.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a marked change for Biden in particular who has held quite stringent anti-marijuana positions throughout his career.

“The school of thought was that we had to do everything we could to dissuade the use of crack cocaine,” Biden said in 2008 Senate hearing. “And so I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then.”

This falls in line with what Senator Harris’s policy stances have been of late. She recently spear-headed a bill called the MORE Act that, if passed according to Politico, would “remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records”.

It’s worth noting that there is a marked distinction between the decriminalization of marijuana vs its legalization.

via Getty Images

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, decriminalization means “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption”. In essence, a marijuana-related offense would be treated similarly to a traffic violation.

Legalization, on the other hand, would mean a federal policy that “supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.”

Whether it’s decriminalization or legalization, one thing’s for sure: the data shows that hyper-punitive laws towards cannabis possession has done the American people more harm than good. Especially in communities of color.

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Kamala Harris Has Moved Into One Observatory Circle – Her New Home As Vice President

Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Has Moved Into One Observatory Circle – Her New Home As Vice President

Pablo Martinez / Getty Images

Vice President Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff have officailly moved into their new home in Washington, D.C. – One Observatory Circle. Many people don’t realize that the VP doesn’t just live in a section of the White House alongside the sitting president.

As the family settles into their new home, many are wondering what the veep’s residence is really like and where it’s at. Well, thankfully we’re getting a special look inside the home thanks to social media.

The Vice President has her own official home not far from the White House.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff have moved into Number One Observatory Circle in Washington, D.C., making them the eighth vice-presidential family in American history to do so.

The official residence of the veep — often referred to as the Superintendent’s House, the Admiral’s House, or simply VPR (vice president’s residence) — the property has been home to every vice president since Walter Mondale (who served under Jimmy Carter) in 1977.

The house is known as Number One Observatory Circle and is located on a naval compound.

Built in 1893, the home is located on 12 of the 72 acres of land that comprise the U.S. Naval Observatory, a government agency where scientists work on providing astronomy-related insights for the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense. It’s located approximately two-and-a-half miles north of the White House, the President’s official residence. 

Before it housed American vice presidents, Number One Observatory Circle first served as a home for U.S. Naval Observatory superintendents. 

Today, the home measures approximately 9,150 square feet of living space. The second floor is where the main suite, office and den are located, while the other bedrooms — typically used for guests and family members — can be found on the third floor.

Unlike the White House, the veep’s residence has its own pool.

Presidential homes: Kamala Harris and Joe Biden | loveproperty.com

In 2010, now-President Biden told reporters that Quayle was his “favorite vice president” because he put in the pool, noting, “my granddaughters love it.” The Bidens welcomed many guests and even made it a tradition to host Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny on St. Patrick’s Day for all eight years they were in the home.

Pence and his wife, Karen, used it to hold yearly pool parties for military families. 

Before 1974, the Vice President was often put up in hotels.

Prior to 1974, vice presidents lived in their own homes, and those who did not own properties in or around Washington were put up in hotels, according to the New York Times

“The cost of securing these private residences grew substantially over the years,” according to the White House. This cost — plus the challenges the Secret Service faced by having to learn how to properly secure all the different locations — led Congress to come up with a more permanent solution.

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Latino Twitter Gifted The World With These Seriously Good Inauguration Memes

Things That Matter

Latino Twitter Gifted The World With These Seriously Good Inauguration Memes

Google/NBC

It’s official: the United States has a new president! Yesterday was Inauguration Day in the U.S. and we welcomed Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President.

It was an historic day full of major milestones for the country and the world – and that was made obvious by the sheer amount of attention paid to the day’s events. One has to look no further than the amount of memes that were produced in the wake of the inauguration, from Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga to Bernie Sanders and the adiós to Donald and Melania Trump.

As usual, Latino Twitter showed up with the memes and left many of us on the floor laughing our a** off. These are some of the honorable mentions from a day full of historical moments and incredible memes.

Tío Bernie may have stolen the spotlight from President Biden with his very practical inauguration attire.

The long-serving Vermont senator was there to watch proceedings, bracing the D.C. cold to witness Biden being sworn in as president. To withstand the cold climes, Sanders came prepared in a big old reliable coat and mittens – with his inaugural look and general demeanour waiting for the event to begin capturing the creativity of the internet through a series of ‘Cold Bernie’ memes.

Bernie was everywhere!

The former presidential candidate was popping up in all sorts of places as the Internet memed him into a frenzy.

And he was all of us…

The former aspiring presidential candidate later addressed the attention his outfit was getting in an interview with Gayle King, noting: ‘You know in Vermont we know something about the cold and are not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm and that’s what I did today.’

The Internet has even created a website where you can insert Tío Bernie into any scene you want with Google Maps.

And yes, it actually works!

Michelle Obama told us all how she felt without telling us all how she felt.

When Michelle and Barack Obama departed the White House in 2017 to make way for Donald and Melania Trump to take over the reigns, Michelle did not hide how difficult and upsetting she found the moment. So a lot of people were thrilled to see the Michelle we know and love, happy, thrilled and generally paving the way at the 2021 inauguration ceremony.

Lady Gaga giving the world Hunger Games vibes…

Lady Gaga had the honour of performing the American national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and, of course, she ‘killed’ it. The dramatic and rousing performance was made even better by her custom-made Schiaparelli gown, adorned in the US colours and complete with patriotic hidden meanings. However some thought they’d seen it – particularly the brooch – before…

Then there were the adiós Trump memes that left Mexican Twitter on fire!

A la verga! Adiós, Señor Trump! 👋

This one is too good!

I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Mexican Facebook was also on fire!

This Twitter user is too right, Mexican Facebook really is undefeated!

And some want to reclaim red hats!

If you could bring back red hats, what would yours say?

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