June 16, 2024

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News from around our 50 states

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Alabama

Montgomery: The Alabama Democratic Party has launched a “Free Weed” website to support its effort to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. The site, www.FreeWeedAL.com, argues that prosecutions for small amounts of cannabis are a waste of criminal justice resources and have disproportionately affected communities of color. The party argued legalizing marijuana could also bring economic benefits to the state. “Alabama’s Republican politicians seem hellbent on wasting money criminalizing ordinary people, ruining lives in the process,” state Rep. Chris England, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said in a statement. “Criminalizing cannabis doesn’t make us safer.” The site is a mix of policy advocacy and promotion for the state Democratic Party and candidates. It includes statistics about marijuana prosecutions as well as links to donate to the state party, register to vote and volunteer to help candidates. It also offers “Free Weed” T-shirts and other merchandise. Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl called the site “a stunt.” “The Alabama Republican Party supports traditional family values. It’s important to us that our society and our families stay safe, strong, and healthy. The recreational use of marijuana does not encourage these principles,” Wahl said in a statement.

Alaska

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, right, laughs with Nelson Angapak Sr. on Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska, during Haaland’s visit to the state.

Juneau: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has proposed an expansion of lands available for selection by Alaska Native Vietnam War-era veterans who are entitled to allotments. Tom Heinlein, acting state director for the land agency in Alaska, on Thursday recommended opening about 27 million acres of land for allotment selections by eligible veterans. Currently, about 1.2 million acres are available. Concerns have been raised that some of the currently available lands are difficult to access or outside veterans’ cultural homelands. Heinlein said the next step is to provide detailed land descriptions to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. It would be up to Haaland to sign and issue an opening order for land selections, he said. The plan is to get her that information in the coming weeks, Heinlein said. He called the matter a “super high priority” for Haaland, who visited with veterans last week during her trip to Alaska – her first to the state as secretary. “We have a sacred obligation to America’s veterans,” she said in a statement, adding that she “will not ignore land allotments owed to our Alaska Native Vietnam-era veterans.” Under the 1906 Alaska Native Allotment Act, Alaska Natives were allowed to apply for up to 160 acres of land. Many Alaska Natives were unaware of this program, which was ultimately expanded and extended.

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