I toke thee to be my wife: inside a cannabis wedding in California

From a pot sommelier to cannabis buds in the corsages, Zak Walton and Dani Geens ceremony was not Carmels typical nuptials

It was a scene postcard California beach wedding. The bride wore white. The Pacific Ocean lapped at the altar. The violinist played Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love.

Then, upon being proclaimed husband and wife, Zak Walton and Dani Geen inclined their heads, puckered their lips, closed their eyes and took long, deep whiffs of potent cannabis.

A table by the altar had all the accoutrements: pots of cannabis concentrate, a torch lighter to heat it up, and glass boats known as rigs, through which they inhaled the vapour.

The family and friends sat before them minded not a little bit. This, after all, was a weed bridal and most of them had also ingested.

Melissa Cunningham, the bridal planner, said:” The clairvoyant effect you get from it is very calming. Dani and Zak want to be on the same spectrum going into their wedlock .”

Dani
Dani Geen and Zak Walton create their glasses to years of weeded bliss and check out their rings. Photograph: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

Everybody seemed to be on the same spectrum during the ceremony on Thursday at Stewart’s Cove, a bucolic beach near Carmel, south of San Francisco.

Walton, 30, savouring his first minutes of married life with a joint alongside bridesmaids and groomsmen, all smoking, said:” I’m feeling good. Nice and relaxed, medicated .”

What had he ate so far?” I had some dabs at the hotel, a joint, some edibles. Not too much , not too little ,” he said.

It was all legal: the cannabis bud in the posy and floral arrangements, the goody pouches with joints and cannabis vapes, the cannabis-infused munchies (” handcrafted to melt in your mind “) and the dab bar at the reception in nearby Monterey, where a pot sommelier in a three-piece suit offered guests different ways to get gently, blissfully stoned.

California voters approved recreational marijuana last November, a landmark victory in the fight for legalisation that has paved the way for the largest commercial pot market in the US.

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The smartly dressed weed sommelier presides over the dab bar at the reception venue in Monterey. Photo: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

Activists and entrepreneurs have found ways to “weedify” multiple products and services, including weddings.

It was news to the catering guys setting up chairs on the beach before the ceremony.” A cannabis bridal, truly ?” said one, astonished.” Is it, like, a thing ?” asked another.

To evangelists, it’s the future.

Philip Wolf, the co-founder of the Cannabis Wedding Expo, which showcases industry products and services, said:” Down the road, people won’t call it a cannabis wedding, because bud bars will be normalised. Smoking makes a bonding facet. People did it in ancient times. It enhances dialogues .”

Luna Stower, 33, a friend of the bride, said cannabis soothed nerves and made couples more romantic. Stower, the wedding officiant and sales director for a cannabis distribution company, had benefited from munching toffee hours earlier made by a company called Mind Tricks.” It’s very relaxing. An aphrodisiac and a euphoric sedative that lasts a very long time. It has organic sugar so it’s a quality high ,” she said.

Marijuana-based
Cannabis-based snacks, just some of the baked goods on offer, laid out for the soon to be hungry guests. Photograph: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

The high did not addle Stower’s brain. She resulted the ceremony fluidly, without notes, and made a quip about the the couple caring and honouring one another ” till dab do you part “. Dabbing is the term for heating a dosage of concentrate on a hot surface and inhaling it through glass.

Cannabis brought the Oakland-based couple together because they started out as smoking buddies, said Walton, who works on automobiles.” One thing led to another and here we are 12 years later ,” he added.

He uses the herb to ease backache and Geen, 31, employs it for fibromyalgia, cancers and other conditions.” Cannabis has been my medicine and my saviour ,” she said. Not to mention her employer: she works for Harborside Health Center, a medical cannabis dispensary.

She wanted her bridal to show that cannabis could be classy- integrated into decoration and menus, with the reception hosted at Monterey’s Victorian-era Perry House- and safe, with controls to keep it away from children.

Geen giggled off the stereotype of zonked stoners, saying certain stress of pot sharpened concentration.” I’m going to remember my night better than someone who has had a lot of alcohol ,” she said.

Steve DeAngelo, her boss and guest, concurred, quoting Carl Sagan, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as evidence that weed did not spawn low functionality.

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A bridesmaid holds a bouquet containing cannabis bud. Some guests said the weed helped de-stress them. Photo: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

The drug also did wonders for intimacy, he said.” It opens you to more sensual experiences. It allows men, especially young men, to match their sex rhythm to a woman’s rhythm ,” DeAngelo added.

Geen was indicated that about 60 of the 70 guests were utilizing cannabis.

Some were exultant, like David Nevitt, 34, who dabbed, munched, vaped and toked.” We’re at a weeding! Usually at bridals you have to be discreet, do it in the car park. Doing it here right in front of everybody, it feels revolutionary ,” he said.

Others were grateful. Holly Alberti, 34, said:” I’ve taken several concentrated dabs and I could use some more. The ride over was quite stressful, we got lost .”

And some, including a pair of college profs, were coy, saying they might partake. They declined to give their names lest Google for ever link them to pot.

The groom’s mother, Aurea Walton, 55, was one of the few to opt out.” I’m Catholic ,” she said.” So no, I won’t partake .” Then she smiled.” Unless it’s by mistake .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Guns, terror, and LGBT rights: Orlando shooting creates stakes for next president

Following the worst mass shooting in modern American history, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have built their ideological divisions clear

Gun control, homegrown extremism, homophobic violence and the war against Islamic State have all been highlighted by the Orlando nightclub carnage, but deadlock in Washington entails major legislation will probably have to wait until after the November election.

Whoever wins the US presidency knows where to find an in-tray where the risk of being terrorism at home, and its pledge to wars abroad, grinds on 15 years after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Senate Democrat went on the front foot on Monday, calling for statutes that would make it harder for terrorists to get their hands on firearms, in particular assault rifles.

In a vivid illustration of ideological division, however, Republican flag-bearer Donald Trump opposed gun control measures, lambasted the immigration system as dysfunctional and claimed vindication in his call for a ban on foreign-born Muslims entering the US.

A landslide victory for Clinton or Trump, with reflected gains in Congress, could give one or the other a mandate for change lacking during the Obama years. In the meantime there is realpolitik. With Obama facing a Republican-led House and Senate, the prospects for action are remote even after the killing of 49 people in the worst mass shooting in American history.

Even so, Senate Democrat lost little time on Monday in advising quick passageway of the regulations defeated last year to impose additional gun controls. The bill would prevent people on terror watch lists and other suspected terrorists from buying firearms or explosives.

The killer in Orlando has been identified as Omar Mateen, a 29 -year-old American-born Muslim, whose weapons included an AR-1 5 semi-automatic rifle. FBI officials said they had investigated him in 2013 and 2014 on suspicion of terrorist sympathies but could not make a suit against him.

Obama himself weighed in on Monday. The fact that we make it this challenging for law enforcement, for example, even to get alerted that somebody who they are watching has purchased a handgun and if they do get alerted, sometimes its hard for them to stop them from getting a firearm is crazy. Its a problem. And we have to, I believe, do some soul-searching.

But again, the peril here is, is that then it aims up being the usual political debate. And the NRA and the gun control folks say that, oh, Obama doesnt want to talk about terrorism. And if “were talking about” terrorism, then people say: why arent you looking at issues of gun control?

At the start of his second word, Obama pushed legislation to expand background checks, banning certain assault-style weapons and cap the size of ammunition clips. That measure collapsed in the Senate and there has been little movement since.

But if Trump elicits an electoral backlash, handing sweeping victories to Democrats, there could be new opportunities for Clinton, who has been more outspoken on such issues than candidates in previous years.

On Monday, she told a rally in Cleveland, Ohio: If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist connections, you should not be able to got to go buy a firearm with no questions asked. And you shouldnt be allowed to exploit loopholes and escape criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun indicate. And yes, if youre too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a handgun in America.

Yet the watchlist argument is less simple than fulfills the eye. The no-fly list, for example, has come under flame from left and right. Drawn up by the FBI in the wake of the 9/11 assaults, it contains 700,000 names, according to one estimate, and has erroneously included infants, US military veterans and politicians, including Edward Kennedy and John Lewis. Analysts describe it as an unfocused and unwieldy blunt instrument.

This is one reason why a Congress that blocked gun control measures after the shooting of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, seems unlikely to transformation gear now. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, acknowledged: I dont know whether this profound tragedy will have more of an effect on the minds of members of Congress. Hopefully it will.

But Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the Senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs, disagreed that stricter handgun laws were the solution. I think theres other root causes in play, he told the Associated Press. I think mental health is a huge issue.

These are the tangibles, more readily quantified. What the White House and Congress should do to promote harmony with both the Muslim and LGBT communities is a more textured long-term challenge, where tone is crucial.

With characteristic bombast, Trump charged straight-out in on Monday. When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats, he said.

We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom using the same thought process as this barbarian killer.

He added: The Muslim communitys so important. They have to work with us and turn in the people who are bad.

At Clintons rally, the tone was very different. We should avoid eroding trust in that community inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the family and friends of Muslim Americans, and millions of Muslim business people, hurts the vast majority of Muslims, who love freedom and detest terror.

It is no coincidence, she added, that hate crimes against American Muslims and mosques have tripled since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

She called on local leaders, teachers and communities to develop education to recognize signs of radicalisation. And in contrast to Trumps proposed banning on someones, she instead took aim at foreign governments, implying she would take a tougher stand than Obama. It is long past hour for Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organisations.

The Orlando attack has also focused attention on hate crimes against gay men and lesbians in America. The Obama administration has overseen great strides, including the legalisation of lesbian wedding, but, activists note, this can conceal ongoing aggression and racism in many communities. The recent political debate over transgender bathroom utilize is seen as one example that contributes to a hostile climate.

It was reported on Monday that members of Congress plan to ask the White House to end a decades-old policy that prohibits many homosexuals men from donating blood. Senators including Elizabeth Warren have long criticised the rule as discriminatory.

Using the alternative word Isil, Obama recognise the targeting of LGBT people by Islamic State but dedicated little clue of new concrete measures. Regardless of the particular motivations of this murderer, there are the linkages between this vicious, bankrupt ideology and general attitudes of gays and lesbians. And unfortunately, thats something that the LGBT community is subject to not just by Isil but by a lot of groups that purport to speak on behalf of God around the world.

Trump, meanwhile, set himself up as an unlikely champion of the LGBT community. Ask yourself: who is really the friend of women and the LBGT[ sic] community Donald Trump, with his actions, or Hillary Clinton, with her words? Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country they enslave women, and slaying gays. I dont want them in our country.

But Trumps remarks met with scepticism from homosexual rights activists, who argue that he has vowed to appoint supreme court justices who would roll back nationwide wedding equality.

Jay Brown, communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, said: Lets be clear: LGBTQ people are Muslims.

And induce no mistake, Donald Trump is no friend of the LGBTQ community. Donald Trump has vowed to roll back matrimony equality, pass Kim Davis-style discrimination and allow governors from coast to coast to pass laws like North Carolinas HB2. Trumps rhetoric today isnt fooling anyone and what he is peddling isnt protection. Its poison.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Resistance Now: marchers across US to demand Trump’s tax returns

Tens of thousands of people expected to take part in marchings Saturday; Democrat attempt to flip a House seat; Sanders launches his own talk show

#showusyourtaxes

It may be the biggest national demo since the womens marches in January.

Tens of thousands of people from across the country are expected to take part in a mass procession on Saturday, to demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns and raise awareness about economic justice.

Since tax wonks rarely get their own mass protests, expect some creative signs. One proposed motto circulating on Facebook: Grab them by the net operating loss carry function .

The march was triggered by a single tweet by the law professor Julie Taub, after she watched a video of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway declaring that Trump was not going to release his tax returns and that voters didnt care.

That annoyed me … people do care, said Taub, whose research focuses on corruption and the links between politics and money.

Buoyed by the huge turnout at the womens march, she posted on Twitter.

Jennifer Taub (@ jentaub)

Let’s plan a nationwide #DivestDonald and #showusyourtaxes protest for Saturday, April 15 https :// t.co/ Wo9DY9eEGP

January 22, 2017

Her idea ran viral and became Tax March .

Now, more than 130 demoes are schemed on Saturday, including events in New Zealand in Tokyo. The largest will be in Washington DC, where 50, 000 people have expressed interest in attending.

Donald
No return policy. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/ AFP/ Getty Images

Can Dems flip a house seat to blue?

Democrat Jon Ossoff is polling well ahead of a special election in Georgias sixth congressional district on Tuesday. The 30 -year-old has raised $8.3 m much of it in gifts from out of state as he tries to win the seat vacated by Tom Price, who left to become Donald Trumps secretary of health and human services.

Ossoff is no Sanders-esque progressive theres no mention of single-payer healthcare on his website, or of free university education but a victory could be encouraging for liberals ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Jon
Jon Ossoff. Photo: Erik S Lesser/ EPA

Bernie Sanders: the activists Oprah

Bernie Sanders has launched a new Facebook Live reveal specifically, The Bernie Sanders Show which is already attracting millions of viewers.

Early episodes have find Sanders interview Bill Nye and the documentary film-maker Josh Fox, and the Vermont senator plans to take the depict on the road in the future.

Josh Miller-Lewis, a Sanders staffer, told the Guardian that Sanders get ideas for his interviews from reading advocates commentaries on his Facebook page.

Bernie
Hes listening. Photograph: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

Trumps Tower targeted over traveling ban

Twenty-five people were arrested at Trump Tower on Thursday after infiltrating the foyer in a protest against Trumps immigration policies.

The protesters, from Rise and Resist NYC, sat in front of the buildings elevators holding signs saying no wall and no banning in reference to Trumps now twice-thwarted travelling ban.

Protesters
Occupy Trump Tower. Photo: ErikMcG/ Pacific/ BarcroftImages

What were reading

The Democratic party is undermining its progressive candidates , writes Jamie Peck. The Berniecrat James Thompson came close to winning a traditionally Republican congressional seat in Kansas on Tuesday but did so without support from the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

There is hope for liberal Democrats, however. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Sanders influence is growing within the party. Sanders is touring swing nations with DNC chair Tom Perez next week and one expert believes the center of gravity has definitely moved to the left since the election.

Look at that!

This week watched the first protest in space , and it was directed at Donald Trump.

ASAN, which promotes independent, open source space exploration, sent a weather balloon carrying a tweet directed at Trump to 90,000 ft above earth.

ASAN (@ ASANspace)

. @realDonaldTrump:

LOOK AT THAT, YOU SON OF A BITCHhttps :// t.co/ Vu7q2j8g1t pic.twitter.com/ EU1obtes4q

April 12, 2017

The tweet echoes a comment made by the astronaut and sixth man on the moon Edgar Mitchell 😛 TAGEND

From out there on the moon, international politics appear so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a one-quarter of a million miles out and say, Appear at that, you son of a bitch.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Aim of the road: will automation put an end to the American trucker?

Americas 2 million truckers have long been mythologised in popular culture. But self-driving trucks are set to lay waste to one of the countrys most beloved jobs and the fallout could be huge

Jeff Baxter’s sunflower-yellow Kenworth truck glistens as bright and almost as big as the sunlight. Four men clean the glint cab in the hangar-like truck wash at Iowa 80, the world’s largest truck stop.

Baxter has made a pitstop at Iowa 80 before picking up a 116 ft-long gust turbine blade that he’s driving down to Texas, 900 miles away.

Baxter, 48, is one of the 1.8 million Americans, principally humen, who drive heavy trucks for a living, the single most common job in many US countries. Driving is one of the biggest occupations in the world. Another 1.7 million people drive taxis, buses and delivery vehicles in the US alone. But for how long? Having “disrupted” industries including manufacturing, music, journalism and retail, Silicon Valley has its eyes on trucking.

Google, Uber, Tesla and the major truck producers are looking to a future in which people like Baxter will be replaced- or at the very least downgraded to co-pilots- by automated vehicles that will save billions but will cost millions of jobs. It will be one of the biggest changes to the jobs market since the invention of the automated loom- challenging the livelihoods of millions across the world.

” I’m scared to death of that ,” says Baxter, an impish human with bad teeth that he conceals behind his hand as he laughs.” I can’t operate a pocket calculator !”

But Baxter is in the minority. Iowa 80 is a great place to check the heartbeat of the trucking community. Interstate 80- the second longest in the country- runnings from downtown San Francisco to the edge of New York City. The truck stop, about 40 miles east of Iowa City, serves 5,000 customers each day, offering everything they could need from shops and restaurants to a cinema, chiropractor, dentist, barber and a chapel.

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“I’m scared to death of[ automation ]. I can’t operate a pocket calculator”Jeff Baxter

“>

Every week, a major tech company seems to announce some new development in automated trucking. Next month, the Tesla founder, Elon Musk, will unveil an electric-powered semi that is likely to be semi-autonomous. But most of the truckers I spoke to were not concerned by the rise of the robots.” I don’t think a robot could do my job ,” says Ray Rodriguez, 38, who has driven up a batch of cars from Tennessee.” Twenty years from now, perhaps .”

Nor do the managers of the Iowa 80 assure their jobs changing any time soon.” The infrastructure only isn’t there ,” says Heather DeBaillie, marketing administrator of Iowa 80. Nor does she think that people are ready for autonomous trucks.” Suppose about the airplane. They could automate an airplane now. So why don’t they have airplanes without pilots ?” She also argues that the politics of laying off so many people will not pass muster in Washington.

The family-run Iowa 80 has been serving truckers for 53 years, and is so confident about its future that it is expanding to secure its claim to being the world’s biggest truck stop, adding more eateries and shopping space to the” Disneyland of truckers “.

But not everyone is so confident that truck stops will survive the age of the algorithm. Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul, the histories of their own lives as a long-distance truck driver, says the working day of the truck driver as we know him are coming to an end. Trucking is a $700 bn industry, in which a third of costs go to compensating drivers, and, he says, if the tech firms can grab a slice of that, they will.

Left
Left to right: Iowa 80, known as the’ Disneyland of truck stops ‘; Jeff Baxter, 49, with his truck after having it washed; Douglas Berry, 55, with his truck and trailer. Composite: John Richard for the Guardian

” The only human beings left in the modern render chain are truck driver. If you go to a modern warehouse now, say Amazon or Walmart, the trucks are unloaded by machines, the trucks are loaded by machines, they are put into the warehouse by machines. Then there is a guy, probably inducing $10 an hour, with a loading of screens watching these machines. Then what you have is a truckers’ lounge with 20 or 30 guys standing around getting paid. And that drives the furnish chain people nuts ,” he says.

The goal, he believes, is to get rid of the drivers and” have ultimate efficiency “.

” I think this is imminent. Five years or so. This is a space race- the race to get the first driverless vehicle that is viable ,” says Murphy.” My fellow drivers don’t appear to be particularly concerned about this. They think it’s way off into the future. All the person or persons I have talked to on this book tour , nobody thinks this is imminent except for me. Me and Elon Musk, I guess .”

The future is coming. Arguably it is already here. Several nations have already laid the groundwork for a future with fewer truckers. California, Florida, Michigan and Utah have passed laws permitting trucks to drive autonomously in “platoons”, where two or more big rigs drive together and synchronize their movements.

The stage has been set for a battle between the forces of labor and the tech titans. In July, the powerful Teamsters union successfully pushed Congress to slow legislation for nations looking to broaden the use of autonomous vehicles. After arm-twisting by the union, the US House of Representatives energy and commerce committee exempted vehicles over 10,000 lb from new rules meant to velocity the development of autonomous cars. Many truckers came into the industry after being be replaced by automation in other industries, and the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, has said she is “very concerned” about the impact of self-driving autoes on US jobs.

The Budweiser cans driven by self-driving truck.

But Ryan Petersen watches the Teamsters’ move as a velocity bump at best. Petersen, the founder of Flexport, a tech-savvy freight logistics company, says fully operational self-driving trucks will start replacing undertakings within the next year, and will probably become commonplace within 10.

” Labor accounts for 75% of the cost of transporting shipments by truck, so adopters can begin to realize those savings. Beyond that, while truckers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an eight-hour breach, a driverless truck can drive for the entire day. This effectively doubles the output of the trucking network at a one-quarter of the cost. That’s an eight-times increased number of productivity, without taking into consideration other benefits gained by automation ,” he says.

Larger trucks making highway trips, like those occupying the 900 -truck parking places at Iowa 90, are the lowest-hanging fruit and will be automated first, Petersen says.

Last year, Otto, a self-driving truck company owned by Uber, successfully delivered 45,000 cans of Budweiser in a truck that drove the 130 -odd miles from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs. A semi-automated platoon of trucks crossed Europe last year in an experiment coordinated by DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Scania and Volvo.

But the automation that seems to most fear drivers at Iowa 80 concerns their log books. Truck firms are shifting drivers over to computerized logs- and they dislike it. The new system adds another layer of oversight to an industry that is already heavily governed, and will restriction where and when drivers can stop. A driver looking to add an extra 30 minutes to his ride in order to make it to the truck stop rather than rest up in a layby might find that alternative gone, under a system that is centrally controlled rather than filled in by him in the log volumes that occupy a long shelf in Iowa 80′ s giant trucker store.

The trucker holds a special place in American myth: sometimes a emblem of freedom and the open road, sometimes a threat. Truckers entered popular culture from all directions, from the existential horror of Spielberg’s Duel, to Convoy, the bizarre trucker protest anthem that became a global reach and introduced the world to CB radio slang-” Let them truckers roll, 10 -4 !”

Left
Left to right: Ray Rodriguez sets wheel-bolt cover-ups on his truck; promotional material for Smokey and the Bandit; the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. Composite: John Richard/ The Guardian/ Universal Pictures

In the 1970 s, Hollywood’s he-men wanted to be truckers: Kris Kristofferson in Convoy, inspired by the song; Burt Reynolds CB-slanging his style through Smokey and the Bandit I and II. Thelma and Louise took their retaliation on a cat-calling trucker in 1991. Hollywood, presciently, had a cyborg drive a big rig in Terminator 2, and ran full robot with Optimus Prime in the Transformers franchise. At the turn of the 21 st century, the ever nostalgic hipsters’ love of trucker hats and T-shirts resurrected America’s fetishization of the long-distance driver.

But it’s a nostalgia out of sync with a reality of declining wages, thanks in part to declining union powers, restricted freedoms, and a chore under mortal threat from technology, says Murphy. Truckers made an average of $38,618 a year in 1980. If wages had just kept pace with inflation, that would be over $114,722 today- but last year the average wage was $41,340.

” The myth is that the long-haul truck driver is the culture evolution of the free-range cowboy from the 19 th century ,” says Murphy.” In fact, trucking is one of the most regulated industries in the United States. Every move the trucker makes is tracked by a computer. We have logs we need to keep every time we stop, pulling over, take a leak. The truck’s speed, braking, acceleration is all recorded. This is not a cowboy on the open range. This is more like 1984 than 1894.”

Douglas Barry has been driving trucks since 1990. A wiry firecracker of a human, Barry says those pushing for automation are failing to see the bigger image. The general public is simply not ready to see 80,000 lb of 18-wheeler flying down the highway with no one at the wheel.

” That big old rig could blow sky-high, slam into a school. It needs a human being. There isn’t a machine that can equal a human being ,” he says.” Artificial intelligence can be hacked … Who is ready for that? I wouldn’t want my family going down the road next to a truck that’s computer-operated .”

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“They are going to look at driver operated vehicles the route people now look at a pregnant woman smoking”Finn Murphy

“>

He says the involvement of the tech companies has stopped people from go looking for more holistic solutions to transportation problems. The answer is better roads, more delivery points for trains, streamlining the supply system- not just looking for ways of cutting manpower.

” A plenty of these people at Google and so forth are very intelligent. But in a lot of ways they are out of touch with reality ,” Barry says.

Yet computers don’t get tired, don’t drink or take drugs, and don’t get distracted or get road rage. Murphy, the author, says the debate that people are better than machines will not hold for long- especially as more and more people get are applied to autonomous cars.

” The premise is that we are living in some kind of driver utopia now and machines are going to destroy that ,” he says.” The fact is that we have 41,000 freeway deaths in America every year. If we piled those bodies up, that would be a public health crisis. But we are so used to the 41,000 demises that we don’t even think about it .”

Virtually all those demises are from driver error, he says.” What if we took that number down to 200? Here’s how it seems to me. Thirty years from now my grandchildren are going to say to me:’ You people had pedals on machines that you slowed down and sped up with? You had a wheel to turn it? And everybody had their own? And you were killing 41,000 people a year? You people were savages !’

” They are going to look at driver-operated vehicles the style people now look at a pregnant woman smoking ,” he says.” It’ll be the absolute epitome of barbarism .”

It will also be a altered in the workplace of historical proportions.” I watch a lot of Star Trek ,” says Baxter, as he prepares to get back on the road.” The inventions of an innovative intellect can accomplish a lot of things. I simply don’t want to see automated trucks coming down the road in my lifetime .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Tracking Trump: chairwoman decries a ‘witch hunt’ and planes out of the US

This week in Trumpland: Trump said he had an absolute right to share information with Russia, contradicted his staff and headed out on tour

Another quiet week in Trumpland. Merely joking a stunning series of revelations have buffeted Donald Trumps administration and induced the presidents posture seem perhaps less secure than at any time since he took office in January.

Last weekend

The reverberations from Trumps controversial decision to fire FBI chief James Comey continued to be felt last weekend, with James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, accusing the president of placing American democratic institutions under assault, and cautioning that the dismissal of Comey represented another victory for Russia. The FBI under Comey was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 general elections and links between Moscow and Trumps campaign and associates.

Monday

On Monday Trumps White House announced the happy news that the presidents wife, Melania, and their young son Barron would be moving to Washington this summer, after having remained in New York for the last few months. But Trumps mood may have darkened when the Washington Post published the shock assert that the president disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during an Oval Office meeting last week. The claim, which other news outlets subsequently also reported, caused an instant firestorm, with national security consultant HR McMaster sent out to tell the press: The narrative that came out tonight, as reported, is false. McMaster said that intelligence sources and methods had not been discussed with the Russians although the Post report had not claimed that. The accusation was that Trump had shared some information about laptops on airplanes which potentially set a source at risk and was intelligence given to the US by an friend who did not give consent for it to be shared with Russia. The Posts report led to further calls for an independent advise to supervise an investigation into Russias interference in the election and links to Trump and his aides.

Tuesday

Just as he had the week before in relation to the firing of Comey, Trump awoke and set to work undermining his own staffs attempts to tamp down the previous days controversywhen he fired off two early-morning tweets in which he proclaimed he had an absolute right to share information of a terrorist plot with Russia. As president I wanted to share with Russia( at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining … to terrorism and airline flight security, the president wrote. He did not say whether the information shared was categorized. McMaster briefed the press again, this time telling them: What Im saying is that the premise of the article was false that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security. Multiple US news organisations reported the country whose intelligence Trump shared was Israel, as reports claimed that allies were questioning whether they could safely continue to share intelligence with the US.

Even some Republican seemed taken aback by Trumps behaviour. We could do with a little less drama from the White House, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said. He was not to get his wish. Within hours, the New York Times had dropped what may come to be seen as the most significant tale about the president since he took office that Trump immediately asked Comey to fell an investigation into his former national security consultant, Michael Flynn, and that Comey had contemporaneous notes to that effect. The new disagreement seemingly much more clear-cut and easy to prove than the swirl and murky Russia allegations speedily triggered claims that Trumps alleged behaviour might amount to obstruction of justice, and the prospect of impeachment at some phase in the next few years suddenly seemed within the bounds of prospect. Some stunned congressional Republicans were forced out of their usual passive support for the president, with Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the oversight and government reform committee, formally asking the FBI to turn over to the committee all memoranda , notes, summing-ups and recordings referring or related to any communications between Comey and the president.

Wednesday

Trump began Wednesday with his unique combining of self-pity and self-importance, announcing in a speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut: No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. But the Senate intelligence committee joined the House oversight committee in asking the acting FBI chief, Andrew McCabe, to hand over any notes or memoranda from Comey, and wrote to Comey asking him to appear in both open and closed session. And the bad news was not yet over for Trump. That evening, Washington was stunned again when deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein announced that former FBI director Robert Mueller would take over the FBI investigation into Russia, the election and Trump as a special counseling. The move entails a semi-independent figure rather than an FBI chief be submitted by Trump will be in charge of an investigation into the president and his allies. Subsequently that night a new NYT report alleged that the Trump team were aware before his appointment that Flynn was being investigated for working, in secret, as a paid lobbyist for Turkey. McClatchy reported that Flynn had intervened to stop a military plan to retake Raqqa, the Islamic States de facto capital, with Syrian Kurdish forces-out a move consistent with the desire of Turkey.

Thursday

On Thursday morning Trump responded to the ever-growing series of disputes with a tweet claiming he was the target of the greatest witch hunt in US political history. He railed against Muellers appointment, calling it a very negative thing that hurts our country terribly because it presents were a divided, mixed-up , not unified country. At a press conference with the Colombian chairman, he denied there had been collusion between his campaign and Russia, saying I can always speak for myself and the Russians zero, leaving open for the first time the possibility his personnel may have been involved. In one memorable moment, Trump, a serving chairwoman standing alongside a world leader, had to issue a denial to a questioner who asked whether he had committed any crimes. Apparently having forgotten that he had told the media last week that he was thinking about this Russia thing where reference is dismissed the FBI chief and that he had decided to bag him even before deputy attorney general Rosenstein had suggested it, he returned to that notion, saying that the very, very strong recommendation from Rosenstein had played a part. Two miles back on Capitol Hill Rosenstein had reportedly just told a group of senators that he knew before drafting his memoranda to Trump that the president had already decided to fire the FBI director.

Friday

Everyone has had that moment of relief when the wheels go up on the flight taking them away from the office. Squad Trump left Joint Base Andrews at 2.28 pm bind for Riyadh and the first leg of a nine-day foreign tour which will take in virtually every major global issue from the fight against Islamic State to the state of the global economy and Natos posture against Russian aspiration in eastern Europe.

Shortly before Us air force One took off, it emerged that the hold contained a precious shipment – the presidents supplies of comfort food – expect a week of ketchup with everything.

Will the trip provide sanctuary or a new sea of troubles for the Trump entourage? Probably the latter: fresh narratives breaking within the hour of wheels up had Trump confiding in his Russian visitors to the Oval Office that Comey was a nut undertaking which has recently fired, while the Washington Post disclosed sources claiming that a current White House adviser was now a significant person of interest in the investigation of possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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Read more: www.theguardian.com

Madonna raises $7.5 m for Malawi and criticises Trump at Miami show

Singer says plight of Native Americans induces her ashamed to be an American at benefit performance and auction

Madonna has repeatedly criticised Donald Trump and said she is ashamed to be an American, in a performance and auction in Miami that created more than $7.5 m( 5.9 m) for her Malawi foundation.

Images of the president-elect appeared behind her as she sang the line You know that youre toxic from her covering of the Britney Spears hit.

The singer also uncovered she had once been in Trumps bed for a publication photoshoot when the tycoon was not at home. She took a shot at his cheap sheets, saying: They wont be Egyptian cotton since we all know how he feels about Muslims, dont we?

Madonna encompasses Toxic

Madonna also spoke about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed. It just really stimulates me feel ashamed ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, really, she said before performing her 2003 hit American Life.

The benefit show, billed as an evening of music, arts and mischief, insured Madonna resuscitate her cabaret depict, Tears of a Clown, first performed in Australia earlier this year.

It was one of the many parties held during Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art fair in North America, which attracts super-rich art collectors and celebrities from across the world. Guests, who paid at least $5,000 to attend, included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, former boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, Courtney Love and James Corden.

Before her hour-long performance, Madonna auctioned pieces from her personal art collecting, including a Tracey Emin print that sold for $550,000 and three Herb Ritts photographs from her 1985 bridal to Sean Penn that fetched $230,000.

Other plenties included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by the magician David Blaine, who also attended, and a week-long stay at DiCaprios home in Palm Springs that went for $140,000.

Penn bid on several items when the auction stalled. At one point, Madonna strolled into the audience, climbed on tables and dedicated one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also want to get auction it , noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school. The chair selling off $10,000.

Madonna adopted her 11 -year-old son, David, from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said she didnt know where Malawi was. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was at the event to introduces the singer, telling the audience: I realise Im one of the lucky ones.

Madonna indicated videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a paediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Half the population are under the age of 15, according to her foundation, Raising Malawi.

As well as political statements and corny buffoon jokes, Madonna lamented the fact she was very single and had not had sex for some time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

‘Sanctuary cities’ endangered by Trump order threatening to cut federal monies

Executive order claims cities that provide refuge to undocumented migrants, including New York and Los Angeles, are in violation of immigration laws

An executive order on sanctuary cities signed by Donald Trump on Wednesday has placed in the crosshairs over 400 cities and districts that offer some sort of safe haven to Americas 11 million undocumented migrants.

These localities include some of the largest, most progressive metropolises in the United States, many of which have already begun preparations to fight one of Trumps most aggressive campaign pledges to force compliance with federal immigration agencies in a bid to ramp up expulsions. The beginnings of that pledge have now been formalised by executive action within Trumps first week in office.

The order issued on Wednesday asserts these jurisdictions willfully contravene federal law causing immeasurable harm to the American people, and informs the Department of Homeland Security( DHS) and the US Department of Justice( DoJ) to investigated which cities could be in violation of federal law and ways of stripping sanctuary jurisdictions of federal grant fund, which amounts to billions of dollars across many different federal departments.

The order also instructs the US attorney general to explore appropriate enforcement action against any local government agency it deems to be in violation of a broad federal law that encourages but does not compel communication between local authorities and the DHS.

Trumps mandate also issues an extraordinary instruction to the DHS to publish a weekly listing of so-called criminal actions committed by undocumented migrants and publicly announce which jurisdictions had previously ignored or otherwise failed to imprison the accused individuals.

Researchers at the American Immigration Council concluded in a 2015 report that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.

Although they vary by jurisdiction, sanctuary laws often prevent local law enforcement from aiding federal immigration authorities to identify undocumented migrants who are eligible for expulsion unless they have been charged with severe crimes. Supporters argue these policies encourage cooperation and trust between large undocumented communities and local police. Critics argue, with little statistical evidence, that the policies result in dangerous criminal migrants being allowed to remain in the US.

Trumps order is broad, and will require substantial review by the DHS and DoJ and potentially legislative reform in Congress, but it is an aggressive statement of intent that has already provoked fury from powerful local politicians.

The New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, said on Wednesday that Trump absence the constitutional authority to cut off funding to states and cities simply because they have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families.

Local governments seeking to protect their immigrant communities from federal overreach has quite rightly to do so, Schneiderman said in a statement.

Any attempt to bully local governments into abandoning policies that have proven to keep our cities safe is not only unconstitutional, but threatens the safety of our citizens.

He added: I recommend President Trump to rescind this executive order right away. If he does not, I will do everything in my power to opposed it.

New Yorks mayor, Bill De Blasio, who has vowed to preserve sanctuary statutes in the city, said on Wednesday that Trumps order carried grave security threats for the city as federal anti-terror fund could be at stake.

President Trump issued an executive order today and its reported purpose was to enhance public safety, but here in New York City and in cities across nation, this executive order could in fact undermine public safety and make it left safe, De Blasio said.

It could undermine relationships between police and communities and second, potential funding cuts would come first and foremost from the NYPD, said De Blasio.

Federal money at risk included $156 m in urban area security fund, $110 m of which goes towards anti-terrorism efforts, De Blasio said.

The mayor on Tuesday announced an $84.7 bn budget that skirted assumptions about any federal cutbacks from the Trump administration. Nonetheless, some city legislators said on Wednesday the signal of intent from the new president could wipe out every dollar of city savings.

Chicagos mayor, Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff to Barack Obama, has also vowed to preserve his citys sanctuary status.

The sentiment of uneasy resilience was echoed on the west coast by the Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, who argued Trumps order would result in serious economic and public safety repercussions.

Splitting up families and cutting funding to any city especially Los Angeles, where 40% of the nations goods enter the US at our port, and more than 80 m passengers traveled through our airport last year puts the personal safety and economic health of our entire nation at risk. It is not the way forward for the United States, Garcetti said in a statement.

Both Garcetti and Ed Lee, the mayor of San Francisco, another major sanctuary city, have announced additional legal services for immigrants since Trumps election, citing their commitment to protecting undocumented residents.

The San Francisco city attorney is also exploring whether it could seek legal action against the federal government if it withholds funds, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Federal grant money is usually administered through two different mechanisms, either through discretionary funding that is awarded to local authorities or non-government entities following a competitive application process, or formula funding that is mandatorily administered through legislation.

In theory, the latter of these two mechanisms would be harder for the Trump administration to rescind. But a source with knowledge of the administrations thinking on the matter said the White House could argue that these formula grants could be rescinded by arguing that the local authority being targeted had violated the law and was therefore in violation of words of the grant.

Trumps endeavours will also face a serious fightback from Democrat in Congress.

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, accused Trump of turning his back on both its own history and our values as a proud nation of immigrants.

Pelosis district autumns altogether within San Francisco, where the 2015 assassination of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by a human “whos” the country illegally, was seized on by Trump and conservatives to hit back against sanctuary cities. The suspect, Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had previously been turned over to authorities in San Francisco by the federal Bureau of Prisons but a lapse in communication over an arrest warrant inspired him to be released before Steinles murder.

Law-abiding, hard-working immigrant households deserve better than the Trump administrations revolutionary xenophobia, Pelosi said in a statement.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus( CHC ), slammed the president for what they dubbed draconian actions.

These executive orders fail to provide any practical solution to our nations transgressed immigration system, New Mexico representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, the chairwoman of the CHC, told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday.

The efforts, she added, is directed at tearing apart households and breaking any hope of productive economic reform.

Additional reporting by Amber Jamieson

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Summer camp with an open bar: retreats for stressed-out adults are big business

Marshmallows toasting on an open fire beneath a star-filled sky, kayaks, hammocks, mosquito bites, first kisses. Who doesnt love camp? Nostalgic adults can now rejoice: its not just for children anymore.

Adult camps are a booming business in the US as stressed adults head for the hills to unleash their inner child. On a hot but breezy Friday morning in June, it was easy to recognize fellow campers in midtown Manhattan. As most New Yorkers hastened to work, campers clutching their pillows and sleeping bags sported a sheepish smile. Are you going to camp? said one as we looked for the bus that would take us to Camp Bonfire in Pennsylvania.

Camp Bonfire was started by Jacob Winterstein and Ben Camp last year and is held at Lake Owego camp for boys, where the two met as children. This year, about 170 people attended the camps second sold-out conference, paying between $449 and $499 each.

With adults searching for new ways to achieve work-life balance and make friends, adult camps have become a million-dollar industry. This year, weeks before children across the nation finished off the school year, adults got first dibs on cabins and campsites in the hopes of reliving some of their happy childhood memories.

Camp
On Saturday night, campers attended a high-school style dance. Afterwards well past midnight many walked through the field under the stars to their cabins. Photo: Paul Gargagliano for the Guardian

While there are many activities such as card-printing, jewelry-making, canoeing, archery, rock climbing, kickball and so on, the campers are allowed to do whatever they like. The camps motto, reiterated over and over during the course of its weekend, is: Youre a grown-ass adult. Do what you like.

You want to lay in a hammock and read a book for six hours? OK, but other people might glare at you, said Winterstein, to laughter from the campers.

The only thing you cannot do at Camp Bonfire is be on your phone. That is, unless you are in the designated technology area, which is located in a far corner of the campground in a space used for most of the year as the shooting range. Amazingly few people took advantage of the tech zone, perhaps because we were encouraged to dishonor anyone using their telephone outside the region by trilling our best phone-ringing impression.

Camp
We want this to be a place thats welcoming to people of all ages. We want this to be a camp that it is possible to grow old into, said Jacob Winterstein, one of the co-founders of Camp Bonfire. Photo: Paul Gargagliano for the Guardian

Camp Bonfire started as a place to go with friends and friends of friends, but word to rapidly spread beyond Philadelphia, where both Winterstein and Camp live. This year, campers came from as far as Houston, Nashville and Cleveland.

We are trying to figure out if its a fad or if its something that will be around for a while, where people could come to for the next 30 years, said Camp , noting that they are hoping to expand Camp Bonfire along the eastern seaboard.

We want this to be a place thats welcoming to people of all ages, added Winterstein, pointing out that campers range in age from early 20 s to mid-7 0s. We want this to be a camp that it is possible to grow old into.

Ben
Ben Camp( right) and Jacob Winterstein( left) meet with one of Camp Bonfires counselors. The two founders could often be seen riding bikes through the campsite in order to get from one region to another. Photograph: Paul Gargagliano for the Guardian

Adam Tishauer, founder and head camper of Camp No Counselors, is available on Shark Tank, the US version of Dragons Den, in May in the hopes of creating funds to expand his camp. Serving the sharks with smores a typical camp snack Tishauer stood before them and asked for $300,000 investment in exchange for 7.5% of his business.

At this camp, mornings start with bloody marys and mimosas. Play like a kid. Party like a grown up. All the camp classics but with a twist … an open bar, according to Instagram and Facebook ads for the camp.

Charging $ 478 per person, four camps grossed $160,000 last year. This year, Camp No Counselors expanded to organize weekends in Boston, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Miami and more. At the time of Tishauers pitch, the camp schemed 11 weekend camps with 1,800 people, whose average age was 30. It had grossed $730,000 in so far and was expected to reach $800,000, with $165,000 in profit.

Tishauer wants to do 30 camps next year and projects gains will reach $800,000. His valuation of his adult camp business is$ 4m. Despite noting that Camp No Counselors is a brilliant idea and self-sustaining business , no sharks bit.

It sucks. Theres a lot of bugs. You get eaten alive, said Kevin OLeary, one of the sharks who used to be a camp counselor and described himself as masterful canoeist.

While
While spending the evening huddled around the bonfire, campers at Camp Bonfire enjoyed smores and beers provided by Brooklyn Brewery. Photo: Paul Gargagliano for the Guardian

Today, I like a mint on my pillow when I go to bed. I dont want to be anywhere near a camp. I dont know why these people would do this, he said.

Another shark, Daymond John, pointed out that overnight activities with alcohol can be a liability.

A New York Observer reporter who attended a weekend at Camp No Counselors this year reported on an impromptu 60 -person drinking game involving flipping cups. At Camp Throwback, another adult camp near Dayton, Ohio, or at Camp Bonfire, campers are more likely to break into anthem than start a drinking-game tournament.

While there is no day-long open bar at Camp Bonfire, some cocktails and beers were available both evenings courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery. As anyone who has ever watched a movie about camp will know, there are often rivalries between camps.

You
You dont have to unleash the inner child. Adults have the ability to play as they are and who they are, they just dont always have the opportunity, said Ben Camp, one of the co-founders of Camp Bonfire. Photograph: Paul Gargagliano for the Guardian

They are doing their thing, Camp said when asked about Camp No Counselors business model. I wouldnt want to go to that camp. I want to go to this camp.

That seems to be the consensus among other campers as well. Who wants to have a weekend free of drunk assholes? Winterstein and Camp asked on Friday. All hands ran up.

Its nice to be doing something that is not centered around alcohol, said Karine Semple, 29, who pointed out that many weekend activities like going out and brunch include drinkings. We live for the weekend. I love being outside with other people.

Semple, who works as a senior health analytics consultant, flew in all the way from Houston to attend the camp. Earlier this year, she made a list of things to do by herself before turning 30: go on a yoga retreat, travel to Europe, expend the weekend at an adult camp. Semple did not really do camps as small children. She lived in Scotland until she was 10, at which point her family moved to Texas.

Its truly a camp experience in every route, she said , noting that she had not been surrounded by such a diverse group of people in a long time.

Leora, 41, skipped her college reunion to attend Camp Bonfire for a second time this year.

Its nice to come back. You dont get nervous when you dont know anyone, she said. This year, her many activities included freestyle rap session with Winterstein and archery. I tried to do different things this year. I tried to push myself. I felt more empowered this time around.

Camp
A camper sways on the high ropes course at Camp Bonfire. Photograph: Paul Gargagliano for the Guardian

While not as brave as she was when she was younger, Hattie Johnson, 25, tried out the high ropes where other campers pull you up in the air and then let you swing over the trees.

I went to camp as a kid and “its one” of the best parts of my childhood and I wanted to experience that again, said Johnson, who flew in from Nashville, where she works as a logistics analyst.

Another challenge she faced that weekend? Surviving without her phone.

Telling time gets tricky, she says laugh, pointing at her bare wrist. At the same day, it was nice to be unplugged and not worry about work.

One camper admitted to checking her phone late at night inside her cabin. Afraid that the incandescence of her phone would give her away despite the low brightness setting, she zipped herself wholly inside her sleeping bag.

At Camp Throwback, phones are permitted and according to Brittany Gibbons, camps founder, most people use them in genuinely light social settings.

They are Instagramming pictures of where they are going or taking videos. Its great advertising on our objective but its also lasting memories for them, she said. I havent caught anybody working.

But Camp Bonfire wants to keep it old-school and its campers seem happy. Being without a phone was amazing, says Semple, on the bus back to New York as the weekend came to an end.

I have a few messages but none of them were urgent. Its a good reminder that there are more a case where I do not require my phone, she explained , noting that phones are often used as a crutch in social situations. If everyone around you is on the phone, you want to be on the phone, too.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Why is the US banning kratom, the virtually harmless herb? | Marc Lewis

It acts on opioid receptors, hence the panic. But since some heroin users take it to ease withdrawal, its prohibition could have some very harmful effects indeed

Just this morning I got an email from a head store Id dropped into on my last trip to San Francisco. I didnt recall leaving my email address, but I surely recollected the store, festooned with fascinating herbs in colorful packets, unfamiliar plants, water pipes like octopi, merging esthetics with efficiency. Sunshine streaming through the windows and the perfume of incense, barely noticeable but enchanting as always.

I was visiting the haunts of my hippy days, the famous intersection of Haight and Ashbury, and of course everything appeared so much cleaner, more commercial, and, well, more legal, than it had back then. But what to buy? I dont commonly take medications anymore, legal or not, but I distinguished the name kratom on several vividly coloured pouches on display behind the counter.

Kratom( Mitragyna speciosa) is sold as the crushed-up foliage of the kratom plant, grown in jungles throughout southeast Asia. You can make kratom tea or dissolve it in juice to experience its effects, and its become increasingly popular all over the Western world( though its been around for centuries ). You can buy it at head shops, hundreds of internet site, and now at kratom bars popping up in Los Angeles and other happening places. Obviously some people enjoy this legal high.

Kratom was indeed the topic of the email, and the tone of the message was urgent 😛 TAGEND

Important Info Regarding the Future of Kratom

In case you havent heard, theres a very important growth considering your access to this safe and unbelievably helpful herb!

And then:

On August 30 the DEA announced their intention to place Kratom on the Schedule I list of substances starting September 30.

You can read all about this remarkable decision by the drug police. Theres a tidy article in Forbes, theres plenties on YouTube, and the DEA sitesuccinctly states their rationale 😛 TAGEND

The Drug Enforcement Administration( DEA) today announced plans to place the active materials in the kratom plant into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.

The first thing you should know is that Schedule I narcotics most famously heroin, and somewhat embarrassingly marijuana and LSD call for the most severe controls and penalties.( Meth and cocaine are nearby on Schedule II ). So the kratom user may end up cell-mates with meth and heroin addicts.

The second issue is why? Whats the imminent hazard to public safety?

I wasnt well informed any hazard when I asked the pierced young woman behind the counter what type of kratom I should try. I had taken kratom with a friend in the Netherlands where I live. Here its fully legal and sold in stores, as it is in most( but not all) Western countries. Kratom happen to be illegal in Thailand, apparently because it undercuts the lucrative opium industry.

I hadnt felt much the first time Id taken kratom and wanted to give it another try. So I asked the young woman what she recommended and she brought out a menu card. Midnight Blue is the most relaxing, Sunrise is sort of inducing but mellows you out at the same day. Starshine simply helps you feel … centered. Each mixture was touted to profer a slightly different buzz. So I bought a couple of packs for about $20 and got a little … high?

High is a strong word for what kratom actually offers. This plant is just one of a listing of age-old plants and herbal extracts that build people feel a little bit peppier, a little bit happier, a bit more relaxed. A list that includes St Johns Wort, ginseng, wild lettuce, coffee( yes, coffee ), kava, lavender, valerian, betel nut the listing goes on and on. The term medicinal is sometimes use. But high? That would be stretching it.

You can read all about kratom on the web, but perhaps one reason the DEA considers it an imminent hazard is because part of its impact comes from stimulating opioid receptors. You know, those receptors that get you smashed when you shoot heroin. Anything that induces opioid receptors and stimulates “youre feeling” pleasant must be very dangerous, so we shouldnt take any chances. In fact, lets ban alcohol( martinis owe much of their buzz to opioid receptors ), lets ban jogging( that notorious athletes high a long, gale road to the gutter ). And while were at it, lets ban breast milk, which helps newborns feel relaxed because it too stimulates opioid receptors.

But kratom is not an opiate. The molecule isnt even vaguely related to morphine or heroin. Its merely an herb. Its impossible to overdose on kratom. Youre likely to get a headache if you take too much. The roughly 20 demises attributed to kratom in recent history are thought to be caused by other narcotics: the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that commercial different forms of kratom are sometimes laced with other compounds that have caused deaths. And considering the 88, 000 deaths per year linked to alcohol and the 28, 000 overdose demises from opiates( heroin and painkillers) in the US alone, it seems someone isnt doing their math.

Is kratom addictive? Maybe a little. But not as much as coffee and cigarettes or Q-tips, tattoos, and Pokemon Go. And if you take it daily, guess what? It loses its effect.

Ive induced the DEAs announcement sound silly, even stupid. There they go again, banning whatever bothers them until voters in Colorado or somewhere start to object. But theres a awfully tragic outcome to be expected if kratom is banned. Because kratom attaches to opioid receptors, its an ideal route for heroin addicts to get off heroin with minimal withdrawal symptoms a harmless, herbal methadone substitute. This folk-wisdom is splashed all over the net and freely shared among drug users. If kratom is banned in the US, many heroin junkies who want to quit will go back to heroin instead, and many, many more people will die.

Read more: www.theguardian.com