What is the Logan Act?

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Is the Logan Act somehow related to the Marvel Universe’s Wolverine and a prohibition against lacing a mutant’s skeleton with adamantium?  Well, no, Wolverine is Canadian and the actual act wouldn’t apply to him.  But it does have to do with the acts that occur between private US citizens and foreign governments, so the other X-Men may want to read up.

The Logan Act has been in the news a lot lately thanks to the exploits of ex-National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.  The controversy there surrounds the communications that Flynn had with a Russian ambassador about the sanctions the Obama administration was imposing on Russia for their attempts at influencing the Presidential election.  Is what he did really a violation of the Logan Act?

Turning to the act, it reads:  “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Conflicts of Law Regarding Recreational Marijuana (Cannabis) Laws in the U.S.

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This post is a continuation of the exploration of this subject in an earlier blog post.

The 2016 election saw the voters of 4 states—California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada-- elect to legalize recreational use by adults of marijuana in their jurisdictions while the 5th state where the issue was on the ballot, Arizona, voted not to legalize the use. This brings to 8 (the others being Colorado, Washington. Oregon and Alaska) the number of states where recreational use of cannabis has been legalized. (A complete listing of the status of laws regarding cannabis in U.S. jurisdictions can be found here.)

The New WhiteHouse.gov

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Since 1994, every President of the United States has had a website located at WhiteHouse.gov providing information and resources for citizens.  On Friday, January 20, 2017, President Trump’s new White House website was launched.  Though still under development, the site contains preliminary information about the new administration’s policies in a few areas.  It appears that, for the moment, the new administration has retained former President Obama’s We the People site, where citizens can petition the White House and receive responses, if they gather enough signatures.

Sugary Drinks Taxation

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Sugary drinks (including carbonated drinks or soda) taxes were on the ballot in several countries and cities this year. With the World Health Organization’s October 11, 2016 promotion of taxing sugary drinks as a way to curtail their consumption and health impacts, it is likely that more jurisdictions will join those who have instituted such taxes. However, there is not universal acceptance of the necessity or efficacy of such taxes.  It appears to be a good time to take a look at this global effort to improve health and the arguments for and against it.

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