Time to Remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 in Minnesota? Amend SF 1219

Minneapolis Criminal Law News

Has the time come to remove marijuana from Minnesota’s Schedule 1 of the Minnesota Controlled Substances Act?  Yes, the time has come.  Here is an explanation of why; and how you can help make it happen before more lives are destroyed by this irrational and unjust law. we-the-people-norml

The Minnesota Controlled Substances Act (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 152) is similar to the Federal Controlled Substances Act (21 United States Code Sections 801 et seq) in that it creates lists, or “schedules” of drugs, numbered one through five.

Drugs listed in Schedule 1 are supposed to be a drug or other substance that has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or lacks accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.  Examples of Schedule 1 drugs include the opiates, such as heroin, morphine, etc.

A “Schedule…

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Disability Viewpoints: My Daughter is a Cohost

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Disability Viewpoints is a great platform for the disability community and last night we had an amazing show about Partnership Resources (PRI) and the ReelAbilities Disability Film Festival. I hope a lot of you can attend June 11-14. It’s a celebration of disability and our shared human experience through film, put on with a huge collaborative effort involving many groups and advocates. Art can change the world and touch our hearts in a powerful way like nothing else can. It’s going to be magnificent!

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Imani’s guests said she made them feel comfortable and she was a good listener, so it helped to ad lib in spots to make it more natural. The show’s director, Jo, said that was one of her best episodes. She has been participating for several years now, and like all things, you get a little better every time you try. Everyone seemed to have a great time!

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Being In Bloom – Musings…

Being In Bloom

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Compassion

Chapter 2: Courage

Chapter 3: Contemplation

Chapter 4: Grace

Chapter 5: Love

Chapter 6: Legacy

Chapter 1: Compassion

Empathy is not only right and good, but strategic for our own preservation.

Thank you to all the good people in the world. You’re the only reason that many of us feel safe to open up. And that is a gift.

A lack of compassion is the root of all evil.

If someone can see the person in you that they love no matter what is happening in terms of circumstances or the external, that is truly powerful, wise, and authentic.

It takes courage for your friends to stand by you at times. I understand when they can’t. It’s beautiful when they can.

I love people who care, have heart, and stand up for principles, no matter the risk or consequence. You are the ones who change the world. Thank you!

Women sometimes like the idea of powerful women when it is they who are on top, but are not necessarily ready for the idea of other women succeeding and being powerful in their own unique way. Let’s celebrate many brands of what it means to be powerful. If we are sincere women leaders, we can.

If you’re exposed to enough people, you don’t see anyone as different.

I know what a sincere heart looks like.

We can remember and acknowledge people that we appreciate for who they are and what they do, and for putting their heart into making the world a better place.

I’m not less because of how I think, feel or express myself, or because of what I have been through. I’m a survivor and I’m proud of it.

The world has changed, thanks to loving, courageous people who created safe spaces to share, express, and be, as ourselves.

A friend is someone you don’t have to hide yourself from, but who makes it safe and good to emerge as you are into a loving space.

As I was driving through the night, I stopped at one of many gas stations. I explained that I was going to try to make it back and hoped I would be able to stay awake long enough to do so. A man working at a gas station said that might not be a good idea and he didn’t want to see me get into a wreck, so he offered me a safe place to park my car and take a nap, wake up call, and a cup of coffee. After camping out for an hour and a half, I felt ready to get back on the road, and I wanted to avoid rush-hour traffic because I knew that would make me even more anxious than nighttime driving. This man is one of those ordinary heroes that nobody knows about and probably would never consider himself one.

Chapter 2: Courage

Ode to my parents: 
We took a vote in the family. Instead of building a house in the desert, we were moving to Minnesota. It would be bittersweet leaving Arizona. My earliest memories emerged there. The world that I first saw. What I first opened my eyes to. My mother gave birth to me in Minneapolis, but my parents decided to move to Phoenix when I was a baby because they had so enjoyed their honeymoon there. What a romantic beginning for a family. A young couple in love with their new baby girl.
It was magical. My mom and dad doted on me. I was very loved and felt special. They delighted in the things that I did, and treated me like they had not only wanted me, but were even happier now that I was there. They cuddled with me, read books to me, sang with me, and took me everywhere. They were so proud.

“Bridgie, show grandma how you can say the alphabet!”

“Bridgie, walk silly!”

“Bridgie, tell us again about the dream you had!”

They were very sweet. Every child should enter the world to such a grand welcome. I’m not sure where they learned how to be so amazing, but they made life so good that I would go back and relive it.

Thank you, Mom and Dad! I love you!

I’m so tired of women feeling like they have to be skinny and pretty. How about powerful? Smart? Accomplished? Bad-ass? It is so sexist that we are expected to look a certain way and be the ones to give up everything. So glad we have some role models that aren’t fake beauty babes in the mags!

A girl who isn’t afraid of science, being smart, and expressing her opinion on something controversial – that’s what’s hip!

Sending love to all the sad people who need it most. The mean and angry ones also because deep down, they are hurting. Much of our negativity is rooted in pain and comforted by love and compassion.

I was once a young single mom with a sick baby, living in subsidized housing, walking to work, and getting a holiday meal from the food shelf. Now, I’m working to help people like me. That’s the beauty of America. Help your neighbor, pay it forward, be American.

Chapter 3: Contemplation

Being poor is not immoral, but shaming the poor is! A society that kicks people when they’re down, instead of trying to understand how to solve systemic problems that contribute poverty in the first place, needs to engage in some deep, long overdue self-examination.

My daughter received a letter in the mail from her good friend who moved away. This morning, she had a letter of her own to send in return. When we got outside to the car, which takes a while with a walker and partial paralysis, I asked if she wanted to put it in the mailbox, or if she would like me to. At this point, she was holding onto the door handle with her walker off to the side, getting ready to get in the car. She smiled at me, gestured to leave the walker behind, stood tall, and said, “Just hold onto my arm, mom.” So I gave her my arm and she proudly started off, each step increasingly confident. We were surprised by her agility. Sometimes she needs a lot of support, and each step can be an achievement. But this morning, why, she delivered that letter herself, putting the flag up, and going back to the car. What could have been a very ordinary exercise was instead a delightful one. What could have been a moment to wish things were easier became a proud one. That set the tone for our day – a little trip to the mailbox. I hope you have a nice moment to set the course of your day, too. Or redirect it.

Chapter 4: Love

Love is all around us.

My Grandma doesn’t know me anymore, but we shared such intimate moments today. We sang together – “Jesus Loves Me” – just like when I was a girl. After a couple verses, I got too choked up to continue, so I just watched her beautiful face carry on. She sang for the next hour, wherever she went, her eyes so bright, her smile so joyful. It was breathtaking. And when I left her to her dinner, after she settled in for a few minutes, I kissed her and said I love her. She sweetly, almost still singing, and without hesitation, said “I love you” back to me. And as I walked away, she called, “I love you!” Our seniors are such treasures. We need to spend more time with them before they leave us. Their time is short, and precious.

I still get to snuggle with my daughter like I did when she was brand new. I told her at bedtime that I love her always and that she is forever my baby. I cherished the moment, knowing she will one day grow up…but, not today, not just yet. I know I will run out of time to have such moments, but they will be gifts in my heart, and there will be more, different moments waiting ahead. I hope she’s having sweet dreams, knowing how special she is to me. I will sleep happy, knowing she’s happy.

There is nothing quite like a sunset at my parents’ home in the country, and a dinner with the family. Cozy and warm inside a house filled with the aromas of spices released from cooking, the chatter of our clan, the babbling and crying of babies, and the ambiance of good energy and happiness.

Chapter 5: Grace

Tonight, after work, I waited for a long time at the store behind a woman who was buying a lot of toys. I figured she was gift shopping, so I amused myself with looking at tabloid magazine covers and items I wasn’t the least bit interested in. When she had finished her purchase, she proceeded to put every single toy into the toy drive box on the counter, leaving only a gallon of milk on the counter to take with her. It was none of my business, but I was so delighted by her generosity that I blurted, “Wow, you’re donating all of that to the toy drive? You’re a sweetheart!” She responded with a modest answer about how it was no big deal and that she had saved money on her total bill, and then left with her gallon of milk. Right under our noses, people do so much good – like it’s completely ordinary.

Freshly-fallen, very fluffy snow. I love how it hangs on the branches of the trees.

We need to do a better job of loving each other in this world. Less hate, more love. That is all.

Take care of each other.

Our hearts are wells of both sadness and joy, which would not exist without each other.

When I was a teen single mom with a medically-fragile baby, I told myself that I would use my experiences to help others, and that kept my spirits up. This year, I went further into politics to make a bigger difference, fully mindful of where I’ve come from. I am doing what I promised myself I would do. It’s happening right now.

My daughter told me this morning that she likes her limp because it’s like a dance that tells part of her story.

Chapter 6: Legacy

I am being tested in every which way right now. Yet, I feel like a graceful tree dancing with the hurricane winds. Seems that every adversity until now has taught me well. I can remain whole, I can breathe, and I can smile. I am not afraid, weak, or retreating. I am only dancing.

Hold your head high.

Love yourself.

You are original art.

I was at a park in Minneapolis today when a preschool class swarmed the playground. I noticed a darling little girl at the bottom of a slide. While thinking to myself how cute she was and wondering her age, I noticed that she had a physical disability affecting her legs. She was totally inconspicuous because nobody treated her like she was ‘disabled.’ When the class was rounded up, she fell in line – just like everyone else. These preschool teachers ‘get it’ and may not fully realize the level of inclusion they are practicing. Fabulous moment.

When one dream dies, breathe life into a new one.

My life is rich because of the people I’ve met and the people I’m lucky to know.

And when all is said and done, the trail we leave behind us shines brightest where we sprinkled kindness.

A Trip to the Mailbox

My daughter received a letter in the mail from her good friend who moved away. This morning, she had a letter of her own to send in return. When we got outside to the car, which takes a while with a walker and partial paralysis, I asked if she wanted to put it in the mailbox, or if she would like me to. At this point, she was holding onto the door handle with her walker off to the side, getting ready to get in the car. She smiled at me, gestured to leave the walker behind, stood tall, and said, “Just hold onto my arm, mom.” So I gave her my arm and she proudly started off, each step increasingly confident. We were surprised by her agility. Sometimes she needs a lot of support, and each step can be an achievement. But this morning, why, she delivered that letter herself, putting the flag up, and going back to the car. What could have been a very ordinary exercise was instead a delightful one. What could have been a moment to wish things were easier became a proud one. That set the tone for our day – a little trip to the mailbox. I hope you have a nice moment to set the course of your day, too. Or redirect it.

The Trial of Jesus: A Criminal Law Perspective

Minneapolis Criminal Law News

The Trial of Jesus is the most famous trial in history – really, two trials.  From a criminal law perspective, the trials are fascinating for many reasons, on many levels.  This article is based upon a book The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth by Law Professor Max Radin published by the University of Chicago Press in 1931.  Radin brings a lawyer’s eye to the historical record, from Christian, Roman, and Jewish sources, as well as succinctly developing the context.  A few areas of interest to be discussed here include: 
  • The Snitch identifies Jesus and betrays him, but later refuses to testify.
  • Prosecutor asks “why would they lie?”
  • Jesus pleads the Fifth
  • The Witness Corroboration Rule more stringent then, than now
  • Politics influences criminal law
  • Death Penalty for slaves and foreigners, not Romans
 The most credible Christian Gospel and likely the oldest written is “Mark.”  His account contains the most attention to detail and reflects the best…

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What I’ve Been Doing

Kurtis Scaletta's Site

Kids playing baseballFourteen months ago I started an ambitious writing project — ambitious because it would be set in a foreign country; one where I have not lived or even visited: The Dominican Republic.

It was supposed to be about an aspiring baseball player growing up on the streets of San Pedro de Macorís, “The Cradle of Shortstops.” It is still about him, but it is also about a sensitive American girl named Maya who takes an interest in the same player, years later when he is in the minor leagues and struggling. It is about a baseball blogger named Grace, and a Haitian girl named Bijou, and it’s about bees.

I’ve learned a lot from the writing. I’ve learned a bit of Spanish and a heck of a lot about the D.R. I’ve come to think of it with the same fondness and familiarity as places I’ve lived.

It’s really different from…

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Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer

Ideas

Gregory Currie, a professor of philosophy at the University of Nottingham, recently argued in the New York Times that we ought not to claim that literature improves us as people, because there is no “compelling evidence that suggests that people are morally or socially better for reading Tolstoy” or other great books.

Actually, there is such evidence. Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, reported in studies published in 2006 and 2009 that individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective. This link persisted even after the researchers factored in the possibility that more empathetic individuals might choose to read more novels. A 2010 study by Mar found a similar result in young children: the more stories…

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The Necessity Defense for Medical Marijuana Patients – 2015 Minnesota Proposed Legislation HF 542 – SF 404 Redux

Minneapolis Criminal Law News

The problem:  In Minnesota today, a medical marijuana patient charged with a marijuana crime is no longer allowed by the courts to tell the jury they were treating illness with marijuana.

shhhhThe solution:  A Bill in the 2015 Legislature would legislatively overrule the court decision that took away “the necessity defense” from medical marijuana patients facing marijuana charges.

Marijuana has been used as effective medicine for thousands of years.  In the 1930s, Minnesota joined a social experiment of Prohibition outlawing the plant – even for medical use. Today though, a majority in the U.S.A. believe that medical marijuana should not be a crime.

Trial by jury limits the power of the government to enforce laws in ways that violate the conscience of the community.  Yet when a chronic pain patient using marijuana as medicine is charged with a marijuana crime, but is not permitted to have their…

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