Move over, Big Pharma and Big Oil, Big Marijuana is here

Legalization ‘looking inevitable,’ spokesman says

If there’s one group of people who get their way in Washington, it’s lobbyists.

Now, advocates of marijuana legalization may have a reason to cheer that political reality: They’re getting their own marijuana lobby group.

And just Big Pharma and Big Oil lobby for greater leeway for their businesses, so too will Big Marijuana push for their industry to be given the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the newly formed National Cannabis Industry Association, says that marijuana legalization is “looking inevitable.”

Smith told McClatchy news service: “It’s pretty clear that the medical marijuana industry is becoming recognized more and more by the mainstream as a fully legitimate part of the economy.”

Legalization “didn’t happen in 2010, but it’s likely to happen in 2012,” he added. “It’s going to be relatively soon we’re going to see states move from medical marijuana into broader legal markets. And the federal government needs to catch up. Frequently the American people are ahead of the Congress.”

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Report: Growing mental health problems in military

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Vladimir Putin’s rendition of Blueberry Hill

Marine suspected of murdering toddler now in civilian hands

A New River Marine accused of killing a toddler last month in California has been transferred from base to the Onslow County Jail.

Joshua Kruzik, 21, is awaiting extradition on charges of murder and injury to a child resulting in death. He is accused of killing 18-month-old Audrey Allen, the daughter of Marines he was staying with while training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued in San Bernardino County, Calif., and in accordance with Marine Corps policy, we transferred custody of Cpl. Kruzik to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department,” New River spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said. “There, he will be processed for extradition to California where he will face criminal charges brought by local authorities.”

While Kruzik is “in the hands of civilian authorities,” he has not been discharged from the Marine Corps, Dalton said, clearing up an erroneous report from California authorities that Kruzik had been dishonorably discharged.

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Ex-soldier found guilty of Barstow woman’s murder

VICTORVILLE • A jury found a former Fort Irwin soldier guilty of the murder and robbery of a fellow ex-soldier from Barstow.

Melvin Lee Satcher, 24, was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, and a special firearms allegation in the killing of Sandi Duncan, 29, who was also a former Fort Irwin soldier. The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for five hours.

Ex-Fort Irwin soldier Phillip Ryan Franke, 27, of Las Vegas, is also charged with Duncan’s murder and robbery. Judge John M. Tomberlin separated their trials before jury selection. Franke’s trial is expected to begin in January.

Duncan’s body was found in a remote desert area in Apple Valley on Sept. 21, 2009. Authorities determined that Duncan was strangled — and likely unconscious — before she was shot twice.

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Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

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Continental guilty for Concorde crash

Continental Airlines has been found guilty and “criminally responsible” by a French court for the Concorde crash that occurred 10 years ago.

The airline, now United Continental Holdings, was fined EUR 202,000 (USD 268,400). The ruling also stipulated that that Continental should pay 70 percent of any compensation claims to the families of the victims.

Aerospace group EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V.) – the owner of the French factories which partly built the Concorde airliners — was ordered to pay the remaining 30 percent, according to state-funded BBC.

It has also been ordered to pay EUR 1 million to the jet’s operator Air France.

John Taylor, a Continental mechanic, received a fine of EUR 2,000 (USD 2,656) and a 15-month suspended prison sentenced over the crash.

In July 2000, the Concorde caught fire shortly after take-off from Paris, killing 113 people on board.
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