Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

He was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence.
By Tim Stelloh

A sixth-grader in Florida was arrested after his refusal to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance escalated into a confrontation with police and school officials, authorities said.

The unnamed boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence on Feb. 4, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.

A local news outlet, Bay News 9, reported that the confrontation began after the student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, near Tampa, called the flag racist and described the national anthem as offensive.

Citing a statement provided to the Polk School District by the boy’s substitute teacher, the station reported that the teacher asked him, “why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.”

“They brought me here,” the boy replied, according to the statement.

After the teacher told him he could “always go back,” she called the school’s office “because I did not want to continue dealing with him,” the station reported.

The district did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but a school spokesman told the Ledger, a local newspaper, that students are not required to participate in the pledge.

The spokesman, Kyle Kennedy, told the newspaper that the teacher, Ana Alvarez, wasn’t aware of that policy and would no longer work with the district.

The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputed the school’s claims, telling NBC News that her son “is not a disrespectful kid.”

“What I do know is when she asked my son about it, he responded to her enlightening her on his reasonings,” Talbot said. “It wasn’t just that the flag is racist. I don’t teach my children that the flag is racist.”

After the confrontation began, the school’s dean of students tried unsuccessfully to calm the student down, asking him to leave the class 20 times, police said.

“The school resource officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused,” the department said. “The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”

The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement that the boy was not arrested for refusing to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom.”

Talbot denied that her son made any threats and said the school “didn’t handle it the way they should have handled it.”

She told NBC News her son was overwhelmed with the situation, and she transferred him to another school.

“I want my son to know, I don’t care what any other parent say or any other parents do, that I’m going to stand up for him,” Talbot said.

Just My Chatter For The Day About Court Judges

Just My Chatter For The Day About Court Judges

 

My first thought is, damn what a job, no thank you! I noticed in the news a few moments ago about Our Newest United States Supreme Court Justice Mr. Kavanaugh. The article was from ‘The Hill’ about Mr. Kavanaugh having issued his first Decision while on The Bench.

First I would like to say Howdy Judge to this Very Honorable Position you find yourself in. Now this note is to all of you folks who find yourself sitting on a position where you are required to sit in Judgement.  I am thankful that I sit on no judgement seats. I pray that I will never be forced to toward another.

 

Well, what do you think about a person who is a Judge or aspires to become a Judge? I think that this is a Hugely difficult job to be put in charge of, or even a job anyone would want. I would not want to be anyones judge. What I honestly care less about is if a Judge carries an (R) or a (D) with their name as it seems it is a necessary evil at this moment. What I want from a Sitting Judge is for them to be honest to their Constitutional Beliefs. I just want Judge Kavanaugh to be Pro U.S. Constitution.

Again, I am so glad that I do not have to be a Judge.

Trump Was In The Room When Illegal Payments Were Being Discussed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 Ohio on July 18, 2016.John Taggart / Bloomberg via Getty Images file Dec. 13, 2018 / 3:41 PM ESTBy Tom Winter

Donald Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 when his lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump’s relationships with women, NBC News has confirmed.

As part of a nonprosecution agreement disclosed Wednesday by federal prosecutors, American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, admitted that “Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.”

The “statement of admitted facts” says that AMI admitted making a $150,000 payment “in concert with the campaign,” and says that Pecker, Cohen and “at least one other member of the campaign” were in the meeting. According to a person familiar with the matter, the “other member” was Trump.

David Pecker attends an event in Paris in 2012.
David Pecker attends an event in Paris in 2012.Francois Durand / Getty Images

Trump was first identified as attending the meeting by The Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Goldman, an NBC News analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney said the agreement doesn’t detail what Trump said and did in the meeting. “But if Trump is now in the room, as early as August of 2015 and in combination with the recording where Trump clearly knows what Cohen is talking about with regarding to David Pecker, you now squarely place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which investigated Cohen’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, declined to comment.

Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison

DEC. 13, 201802:37

McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate, and her lawyers have said that the National Enquirer paid her $150,000 in August 2016 as part of a “catch-and-kill” strategy to keep the story from circulating publicly.

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When Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging the payments in August, he said he had done so “at the direction” of an unnamed candidate, and that a $150,000 payment prior to the 2016 election was “for the principal purpose of influencing” the election. The meeting between Cohen, Pecker and unnamed other parties to discuss suppressing stories was referenced in the criminal information document to which Cohen pleaded guilty. The document also refers to “at least one other member of the campaign” being present.

The statement of admitted facts says that AMI’s “principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.” Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, has said the payments were made to spare Trump’s family from embarrassment.

I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly……

44K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

On Wednesday, Judge William Pauley sentenced Cohen to a total of 36 months behind bars, and three years of post-release supervision, for tax evasion, violating campaign finance law and other charges. The judge ordered him to pay almost $1.4 million in restitution and forfeit $500,000, while fining him $50,000 for lying to Congress. Cohen must turn himself in to start serving his sentence by March 6.

At his sentencing, Cohen said that “time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up [Trump’s] dirty deeds.”

President Trump tweeted after the sentencing that he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tom Winter

Tom Winter is a producer and reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit based in New York, covering crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast.

Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Fox News Contributor: Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

“It’s clear that Trump is the target,” former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy said.
X

Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy has bad news for President Donald Trump: Get ready to be indicted for violating federal campaign finance laws.

McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, said on “Fox & Friends” Sunday that attorneys with the Southern District of New York are “clearly” going after Trump, given recent revelations about statements by Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, to the U.S. district court.

“They are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations and I think if you read the sentencing memo the Southern District filed in Cohen’s case, it’s clear that Trump is the target and he’ll be indicted eventually,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District for 18 years before leaving the Justice Department in 2003.

On Friday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District filed a sentencing memo recommending Cohen receive a 42-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, making false statements to Congress and violating campaign finance law.

Cohen told the court in August that during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump directed him to make hush money payments to at least two women who say they’ve had affairs with him after he married his third wife, Melania. The president has denied the affairs and the hush money allegations.

Prosecutors say the payments violate federal campaign finance laws.

The first payment in question ―  $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels ― violated campaign finance law restrictions against donations of more than $2,700 in a general election, according to federal prosecutors.

The second payment under legal scrutiny is $150,000 made by American Media Inc. to silence Karen McDougal, which prosecutors say constituted an illegal corporate donation to Trump’s campaign. The National Enquirer’s parent company was chaired at the time by Trump’s longtime confidante, David Pecker.

The Southern District case involving Cohen stems from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice.

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Mueller did not take a position on Cohen’s sentence but the special counsel’s office wrote in their sentencing memo that Cohen has “gone to significant lengths” to help in their investigation.

Fox News host Ed Henry on Sunday appeared taken aback by McCarthy’s prediction.

“You think the president of the United States is going to be indicted… I mean that kind of stops me in my tracks,” Henry said.

McCarthy said he can’t be positive whether the Justice Department would indict a sitting president or wait until Trump is out of office.

“I think what can happen is they could indict and he could be tried down the road when he’s out of office,” McCarthy said. “But will [Trump] be charged? Are they setting the stage to file charges against him? If you read that sentencing memo, I can’t come to any other conclusion.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” Schiff said.

Embedded video

Face The Nation

@FaceTheNation

.@AdamSchiff on the Russia Investigation: My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the justice department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

1,188 people are talking about this

McCarthy delved deeper into the case in an Op-Ed published Sunday on Fox News’ website.

“Campaign finance violations have a high proof threshold for intent,” McCarthy wrote. “President Trump could argue that because there was no spending limit on his contributions, he did not think about the campaign-finance implications, much less willfully violate them.”

“The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen,” he concluded. “The president is in peril of being charged.”

Brazil: STF Postpones Lula’s Case Until 2019

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247)

 

ON INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, THE COUNTRY WILL ASK LULA LIVRE

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247 NEWS)

(POLITICAL PRISONERS ARE SELDOM FREED NY THE DICTATORS WHO IMPRISONED)

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

(I AM NOT A LEGAL EXPERT ON  INDIA’S LEGAL AFFAIRS BUT DOES NOT THIS TYPE OF A CASE DAMAGE INDIA’S CLAIM OF BEING A DEMOCRACY?)(oldpoet56)

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 01:26 IST

Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Bhubaneswar
Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future. (ANI)

Forty three days after his arrest over allegedly insulting Odia sentiments and tradition in his tweets, Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future.

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him. Iyer-Mitra was hospitalised on Sunday following acute pain in his stomach.

Soon after his release, Abhijit will head to Chennai to meet his mother VS Chandralekha, Tamil Nadu’s first Woman collector and a close associate of Subramanian Swamy.

The withdrawal of the cases came after he petitioned to the Odisha chief secretary seeking withdrawal of sanction to prosecute him under Section 196 of the CrPC in the 2 cases citing lack of intent or malice. “In addition to my apology to the Odisha assembly, I have unreservedly and unconditionally apologized for my words and actions that may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha, the Chief Minister and any others,” he wrote. Last month, the Assembly pardoned him after he begged apology.

In September this year, Iyer-Mitra landed in a doghouse after he flew in a chopper with former BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda over waters of Chilika lake. He became a collateral victim of fight between the CM and his bete noire Baijayant Panda, when he went to the Sun temple at Konark in Puri district and posted a video blog on Twitter in which he said the temple was a humple(a slang for sex). An FIR was lodged at Konark police station, but Iyer-Mitra managed to secure bail from a metropolitan court in Delhi in September.

However, his ordeal began when he passed some offensive remarks against MLAs of the State leading to breach of privilege motion. He landed in further trouble when a second FIR was lodged against him by a one Manoranjan Swain of Bhubaneswar over an year-old tweet of him ridiculing Odisha and Jagannath temple. In a tweet dated November 16, 2017, he wrote “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa”.

Iyer-Mitra was arrested and sent to judicial custody after being booked under sections 294, 295-A, 506, 500, 153-A of IPC and 67 IT Act on Sept 20 for allegedly making offensive remarks that could cause communal disturbances. Soon after he landed in jail, he stopped eating.

Though his arrest was condemned by several intellectuals as well as Amnesty India, the government did not move till his health deteriorated on Sunday leading to his hospitalisation.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 22:40 IST

Ecuador’s president says “the road is clear” for Julian Assange to leave embassy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Ecuador’s president says “the road is clear” for Julian Assange to leave embassy

QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador’s president has ramped up pressure on Julian Assange to leave the country’s embassy in London. Lenin Moreno said Britain had provided sufficient guarantees the WikiLeaks founder won’t be extradited to face the death penalty abroad.

Moreno’s comments in a radio interview Thursday suggest that months of quiet diplomacy between the U.K. and Ecuador to resolve Assange’s situation is bearing fruit at a time when questions are swirling about the former Australian hacker’s legal fate in the U.S.

“The road is clear for Mr. Assange to take the decision to leave,” Moreno said, referring to written assurances he said he had received from Britain.

Lenin Moreno

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said conditions have been met for Assange to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

 GETTY

Moreno didn’t say he would force Assange out, but said the activist’s legal team is considering its next steps.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the U.S.

But his relations with his hosts have soured to the point that Moreno earlier this year cut off his access to the internet, purportedly for violating the terms of his asylum by speaking out on political matters.

Assange in turn sued, saying his rights as an Ecuadorian — he was granted citizenship last year as part of an apparent attempt to name him a diplomat and ferry him to Russia — were being violated.

Julian Assange

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador on May 19, 2017, in London, England.

 GETTY

The mounting tensions has drawn Moreno closer to the position of Britain, which for years has said it is barred by law from extraditing suspects to any jurisdiction where they would face capital punishment.

But nothing is preventing it from extraditing him to the U.S. if prosecutors there were to pledge not to seek the death penalty.

Assange has long maintained the he faces charges under seal in the U.S for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

Those fears were heightened when U.S prosecutors last month mistakenly referenced criminal charges against him in an unrelated case.

The Associated Press and other outlets have reported Assange is indeed facing unspecified charges under seal, but prosecutors have so far provided no official confirmation.

https://www.cbsnews.com/embed/video/?v=a74f3e89d34bf41f790bb7039f8e180c9a1684de#xVf9b6NGE%2F5XED%2B0fSVjwGAMlk7VXZr2kktPadO79HpU1sIOsDGwdBfsuJH%2F984ASezrpV9q740UgXdn5%2BOZZ2aHO3MjOEhzeWfyTrFWyNpchuHErJrb7yE74%2BbSTOvQOTtLugzKncwufmQvX2fBefju9Lvnpyfzt8ycmG3RVUnNRIniRds2ehnbsZ0muoatnk3xRegWtafTVFaxXXRJbIvYVrE9c9xFbLsu%2Fs9jO3RnPo%2FcwAqiFCw%2FcXwryeZgBZCxII1YEKZ%2BbD9Yi%2B3Ad269wIntKFr42cx1%2FShI3QWDLPQ97vgcFjPHh0VCNlzf0jIVrLS2Yi1KYGttub7vRq5njYqmN01O8chGpDWrAOM5eXH1%2Bn7pkimo26uyywkXDA83oBFacpR0J6YGpglB0zXpR16h9LChUsK4KDU9EtEi1nhk7tDfxGwEAc0vpVJOe8HfyW%2FJ4q4h%2B3RmYnbqHtseWtEwbulWAatEnU9HpAd0K%2BCC4aO5%2FRBe14kCb77wfS90wtgmFNzgNloNIPgrdOfjq9PK60L0IpOqYhiRyZqmFGnPl9i%2BtaoG8jffX5j7Cbm72jAlWN2umkLWcBSwexDu7hbOV9dn353szk6Pwv3g%2FCcKvjf2DwNtWVJC%2B2SkP%2FnRq92Ps4sXXrH%2BeKSjgk8U6mDtH8Yq26cD9dywufJfn%2FFzcD8eKJ3%2BRFGiqb8Romqr5iiuBbaEx8iqKLp%2B9eolb8Pw7WNk%2FaH7cO4qVosMdLuskUl72hvaYBOFXuBNgeeQpXpaQxvbsuaA8jy2v2RdWzzDmD9jImuebRzH%2FUyX2C%2Bf3fWPSwWZuN3fJQjPej%2BsfY3d65K1xX5E5%2B8A464WUTCtGv8DVY%2FuZ361f8jNmAxrU0zZmlVMFHyI4NfYHjQsl63qYJmxUsN%2BmuqKGvO9sikqe9SM6fgLmsWfaNYtqD6zD4r3hznubzRijE953YpMHOfVP%2By51%2FB2xeBFmn%2Fz4vwxr%2F2h39GUy21dSsb%2FHYJiHnyH8vC0715%2B5PnsyPObTeM0N2934btfTh499%2FL%2F3u%2FZH%2FuNjusu0akSCfATWbf9JXiHMrClxmP2WT0QUuaQ4okpdOBgC8gUq9NCaDjaOL1FHI5W%2FBCLg9SOq73lplGg8Zqtu7KcDI61oiWz5nXBWkNo4xojuqDr32glZ7svjyAbZpftdnsM1xjhFlVYQh9MEL2K2KYLf5gLnhAhI12fOdd3whkDZrkeJJYfOTMrdFLHSv0Zm7OUR8k8MUfXOazxxA8FGOddiR3UeK41q3OwMtlhC%2BHGFnC4asFQkDPFtSFaDWVmMG0wI1WdZhyUgXkycrkBVdNEYiCOtW5olkl3U%2BNbVu%2BMN9OrqSGzTNB8pCfGtpCGbKAud8YvHVYYNkyjRS9Gc5%2Bj%2BhxqziZGorBSS5jee9woWckC%2BB%2FhjYlqSrajGkcxPIk9UF7iirlEfqN76RovAiKN0Kc1kYbfs4YpHCNLeI5NUyqaT9%2BbnsMRtSS1AhYiqC7MrIi7Mws7aZhByBwnccyfPzj6up%2Fu3ptjko0vCsE51EaCXtXwvwP5fgjOstl8zt0Mbfie5QdRYrEEfIvN3WDuhXNYeJH5cOSyS77qS9bEygot8iUwZs5yFi4PxX4YeQlpx7hUCCpxF0HEHGm200ZsEuYKa5dgxBNMxWafzZuBDWxgA%2BJq4OYGDKgSXNsd2Bj6QjrU4WpcxX2OlZPeb3PQa5xwTaqrr2BDjuN7gzkeBQijFSa%2BIp7j86Wgsn1vbqUqOYFFi1eQDl8Q4%2FKwOmrAyBpZa7HpSXQ%2FUffgBs5inmFRWIt5yJ9K4HhgyNuDgU6DGg0wvHZxJVlfoVHS63kesqkUlUCW%2BQ%2BIXMlOpTAM8LHNKOgEC4Ij%2F1pqaMNHz0CLFQWwekSHfo4ejBI9kpXMFWsKkb6CnSZYbmTydVcPaEzo1wnSIZeKEiNq3uGwQ6%2FYWZoOb7NLJanyqB7HVazJK%2FEr5YnKDLFG93P4Rsmu6SW6mjQg7i2wUnQV1UpDWsoD38hb%2BkKpKaG4y6nw%2BiJ98y%2B0u5QAx2Gq%2FFNl9BbbA2WtkbJWJfKitXrWWmMBWCN7rRLHI1lbmBBsPYNJ67GSeuvEzf%2Bb4ZEC%2F40BoV%2BCkg8XXX9PX0rMJZJppDpqw4643%2F8G

Thursday’s development comes after a revelation that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort traveled to Ecuador in 2017 in an effort to broker an investment deal between that country and China, his spokesman told CBS News. And during that trip, the spokesman said, Ecuador’s president raised the possibility of a deal that would remove Assange from the embassy.

Manafort’s trip to Ecuador and what he discussed regarding Assange has become a subject of speculation in recent weeks. Manafort recently dismissed a story that he met with Assange in person during the 2016 campaign as “false and deliberately libelous.”

On Monday, The New York Times reported that Manafort discussed Assange’s fate with Moreno at least twice.

Israel Releases Jerusalem Governor, 9 Fatah members

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Israel Releases Jerusalem Governor, 9 Fatah members

Monday, 3 December, 2018 – 10:00
Gheith and members from Fatah movement warmly welcomed after their release. AFP
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat
Jerusalem magistrate court released on Sunday Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Governor Adnan Gheith and nine activists of Fatah movement, but it banned them from entering the West Bank for two other weeks.

The prosecution confirmed that their arrest was due to their “involvement in military activities serving the interests of PA security services” and their role in pursuing Palestinians who sell real estate to Jews.

The prosecutor spoke about Gheith and his colleagues’ role in arresting one of the Palestinians, who was suspected of selling real estate to settlement associations, and torturing him in intelligence prisons in Ramallah.

He said that the Israeli government decided to fight this phenomenon and punish every Palestinian who contributes to it.

In addition to releasing Gheith, the court decided to release Hatem Mahlus, Alaa Abu al-Hawa, Amer Awwad, Khalil Bashir, Mohammad al-Qaq, Ahmad Mustafa, Iyad Hadra, Hadi Mahmoud and Hussam Abu Isnineh.

According to the lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Mohammad Mahmoud, the court decided to release Geith and the rest of the detainees because their arrest turned into a major political scandal.

Notably, these arrests have raised a wave of public protests in Jerusalem and its environs.

Administrative and educational cadres and students of al-Umma Secondary School in Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, organized Sunday morning a rally to express solidarity with Governor Gheith.

They raised banners calling releasing Gheith and all the other prisoners.

In addition, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education circulated an order in schools throughout the governorates to organize a silent sit-in for three minutes in support for Jerusalem’s governor and his fellow detainees.

It also asked these schools to use the school radio to talk about the detainees and the role of the students in defending Jerusalem and its Arabism.

The 11th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Is …

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘MOTLEY FOOL’ WEB SITE)

 

The 11th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Is …

This state could see $850 million in annual cannabis sales by 2022 if recreational weed is legalized.

Dec 2, 2018 at 11:41AM
This has been a big year for the North American cannabis industry. Without question, the highlight was the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada on Oct. 17. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had spoken for years about legalization and was finally able to see his vision realized with the passage of the Cannabis Act. A few years from now, when capacity-expansion projects are complete, the Canadian legal weed industry could be generating upward of $5 billion in added annual sales.

It’s also been a banner year for the U.S. market. During midterm elections in November, voters in two new states approved medical marijuana initiatives, bringing the number of states to have legalized pot in some capacity to 32. Residents of Michigan also voted to green-light adult-use cannabis, becoming the 10th state to do so.

Now cannabis enthusiasts and investors have turned their attention to which state(s) could be next to legalize. Thankfully, not much guesswork may be needed.

A judge's gavel next to a pile of dried cannabis buds.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

The Garden State has its eyes set on legalizing adult-use pot

On Monday, Nov. 26, two panels in New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to approve three new cannabis bills — one of which aims to legalize adult-use marijuana.

These panels, from the state’s Senate and Assembly, voted 7 to 4, with two abstentions in the Senate, and 7 to 3, with one abstention in the Assembly, in favor of the bill that would legalize recreational marijuana within the state. The additional two bills that also passed cover an expansion of the state’s existing medical cannabis program and the creation of a system that would speed up criminal expungements of low-level cannabis offenses. Now all three bills move on for an official vote from the full Senate and Assembly. Assuming passage, a recreational marijuana bill could find its way to Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) desk within a few weeks.

What might recreational legalization look like in the Garden State? As with other legalized states, it would allow adults aged 21 and up to purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis. There would be an attached tax rate of 12%, which would be considerably lower than the aggregate tax rates that some folks might pay in Washington state or California of up to 37% and 45%, respectively. For what it’s worth, Gov. Murphy has suggested that a 12% tax rate is too low. Instead, Murphy has called for an excise tax of 25% on legal weed sales for what could be an $850 million industry within the state by 2022.

A bearded man holding up a lit cannabis joint with his fingertips.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Beyond the basics, the broad-based legalization bill also includes a section on the expedited expungement of low-level marijuana offenses. Though a separate bill is being worked on that would tackle this faster and more efficiently, the mere existence of this clause is worth noting. It’s also worth pointing out that North Dakota voters turned down a recreational legalization initiative in the recent midterms that had an expungement clause, suggesting that it’s no given to attract support.

Finally, the bill would allow for marijuana delivery services within the state, as well as give permission for dispensaries to create “consumption areas.” Essentially, New Jersey would permit pot shops within dispensaries where consumers could enjoy their product outside of their homes.

Needless to say, it’s an ambitious bill with a lot more going on than a simple cut-and-dried legalization of recreational pot.

An indoor commercial cannabis growing facility.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Marijuana stocks and investors are paying close attention

Though Gov. Murphy has taken exception to the proposed tax rate, he’s been very clear in the past about his support for legalizing recreational marijuana as both a revenue driver within the state and a means to reduce cannabis enforcement costs. This, presumably, gives New Jersey a very good chance of becoming the 11th state to legalize recreational pot. Should this happen, a number of pot stocks could be all smiles, and none more so than Curaleaf Holdings(NASDAQOTH:LDVTF).

Curaleaf, which IPO’d in late October with more than a $4 billion valuation, making it the largest IPO in marijuana history, currently has 28 dispensaries, 12 cultivation facilities, and nine processing sites throughout select legalized U.S. states. As a reminder, since the federal government has stood firm on its Schedule I classification for cannabis (i.e., wholly illegal), interstate transport of marijuana isn’t permissible. Therefore, the only way to vertically control supply and costs as a U.S. dispensary is to also grow and process cannabis within a state, which is what Curaleaf is doing.

As noted by analyst Robert Fagan of GMP Securities, courtesy of Investor’s Business Daily, the broad-based legalization bill would allow existing dispensaries in the state (which includes Curaleaf’s) to immediately begin recreational sales, assuming approval, without the need to apply for any new licensing.

Furthermore, Curaleaf is working on a 435,000-square-foot greenhouse facility in New Jersey. The first phase of that production should come online next year, allowing it to become a key producer and retailer within the Garden State.

A marijuana processor holding a freshly trimmed bud in their gloved left hand.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

By a similar token, the also-newly public Acreage Holdings (NASDAQOTH:ACRZF) would likely benefit from a New Jersey legalization. Back in March, the vertically integrated Acreage made the decision to enter the New Jersey market by partnering with the Compassionate Care Foundation (CCF) in the state. CCF is one of only six licensed alternative treatment center operators in New Jersey, with Acreage providing the financial resources to help meet patient demand. Presumably, with Acreage having assets up and down the cannabis supply chain, it could broaden its horizons if the New Jersey legalization bill passes.

Last, and per the norm, don’t sleep on KushCo Holdings (NASDAQOTH:KSHB). Pretty much anytime a new country or state legalizes in some capacity, KushCo is there chomping at the bit to get its piece of the packaging-and-branding-solutions pie. As a provider of tamper- and child-resistant packaging, KushCo ensures that medical and recreational growers remain compliant with local, state, and federal laws. Also, because packaging requirements tend to be so strict, KushCo takes on the task of helping growers and their products stand out. It’s an indispensable behind-the-scenes pot stock that could benefit if the Garden State goes green.

Sean Williams has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends KushCo Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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