Massachusetts To Start Selling Recreational Marijuana

A man smokes marijuana on Parliament Hill on 4/20 in Ottawa, Ontario. Credit: Lars Hagberg / AFP


Massachusetts is joining the growing list of US states where Americans can walk into a shop and legally buy recreational marijuana, with two stores due to open next Tuesday.

The Cannabis Control Commission issued notices Friday for two outlets to start selling to adults legally without a prescription in three days. The stores will operate in Leicester and Northampton, both west of Boston.

“There probably will be a big crowd,” said an employee at the Northampton dispensary, which already sells medical marijuana to those with a prescription, and who answered the telephone to AFP.

“I’d recommend you wait till after Thanksgiving,” he added of the upcoming US family holiday celebrated next Thursday.

According to the law passed by Massachusetts, marijuana cannot be consumed while driving nor in public places. Adults aged 21 or over get up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis or five grams of marijuana concentrate.

The US federal capital Washington and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Most other states allow for limited use of medical marijuana.

It remains outlawed at the federal level. The two stores in Massachusetts will be the first on the US East Coast able to sell marijuana for recreational use.

“Licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety,” said Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts.

“As patrons look forward to visiting Massachusetts stores, we hope they will do their part by first familiarizing themselves with the law and understanding what is required of responsible consumers,” he added.

Last month, Canada became the world’s first major economy to fully legalize cannabis, making good on a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Ex-NFL Star, Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide In Jail

Ex-NFL Star Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide In Jial
Courtesy: Reuters

Former New England Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, has reportedly hung himself in the jail cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder.

The incident is coming days after he was found not guilty of killing two other people, according to state prison officials.

Hernandez, 27, was a rising star in the National Football League when he was arrested in June 2013 and accused of murdering an acquaintance near his Massachusetts home.

He was convicted of that killing and sentenced to life in prison in 2015, however on Friday, he was acquitted of a separate 2012 double murder.

Staff at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, found Hernandez hanging in his prison cell at about 3:05 a.m. on Wednesday.

He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Massachusetts State Police are investigating the death, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston is conducting an autopsy, officials said.

However, Hernandez’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US Snowstorm: New York Lifts Travel Ban

New YorkNew York lifted a travel ban and mass transit started getting back to normal on Sunday after a near-record blizzard in the U.S. Northeast.

Washington, however, remained at a standstill following storms that killed at least 19 people across the country.

Some 7,000 flights were cancelled during the weekend, with forecast that the disruption would continue during the week.

The storm was the second-biggest in New York City history, with 26.8 inches (68 cm) of snow in Central Park by midnight on Saturday, just shy of the record 26.9 inches (68 cm) set in 2006, the National Weather Service said.

Thirteen people were killed in weather-related car crashes in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia on Saturday. One person died in Maryland and three in New York while shoveling snow. Two died of hypothermia in Virginia, officials said.

The heaviest fall was recorded in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which had at least 103cm of snow.

At least 85 million people have been affected by the storm, dubbed Snowmageddon and Snowzilla on social media, while more than 200,000 people are experiencing power outages.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday would be a major clean-up day. He urged residents to stay off streets so city crews could clear roads.

“We still have some areas that we have to do a lot more work on. But we’ve come through it pretty well,” he said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous.”

“The snow pile is going to be with us for a while, but I think we’ll be in good shape in the next 24 hours,” de Blasio said.

After the storm moved out into the Atlantic Ocean, much of the Northeast was expected to see a mix of sun and clouds on Sunday with temperatures just above freezing.

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted a travel ban on New York City-area roads and on Long Island at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT) on Sunday. A state of emergency declared by Cuomo was still in place.

Most bus and subway services operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority were up and running again by 9 a.m. (1400 GMT), officials said, and the agency was working on restoring full service on Sunday.

The Metro-North rail line, which serves suburbs north and east of New York City, expected to have commuter train service running into and out of New York by 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Sunday. A spokeswoman for the New York Stock Exchange said the market planned to open as usual on Monday.

US Snowstorm: Massive US Blizzard Advances North

blizzardAbout 75 million people in the United States have been warned to stay at home as a massive blizzard bringing more than two feet of snow and fierce winds is advancing up the US east coast.

Reports said that the nation’s capital, Washington, could lie under a record 30 inches of snow by the time the storm passes on Sunday.

Eight people had been killed, six states had declared states of emergency, and thousands of flights had been cancelled.

The weather system is affecting a large part of the country, from Arkansas in the south to Massachusetts in the north-east.

Extremely Dangerous Storm

On Friday afternoon, as the first snow fell in Washington, the National Weather Service said it could be one of the worst storms in the city’s history.

The BBC reports that residents in the capital and surrounding suburbs in Virginia and Maryland have been warned the snowfall could eclipse the district’s record of 28in that fell during a two-day period in 1922.

As the weather system approached the country’s most populous city, New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, urged residents to be ready.

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, returned from the campaign trail in New Hampshire to take charge of snow preparation.

Catholics in Washington, Baltimore, and Delaware were told by archdiocese officials that missing Mass this Sunday was excusable given the terrible conditions.

National Weather Service Director, Louis Uccellini, said the system had “the potential of being an extremely dangerous storm that could affect over 50 million people”.

Bus crashes into Boston, injuring 34 people

A bus carrying 42 passengers traveling from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Pennsylvania crashed into a Boston overpass on Saturday night, injuring 34 people, according to emergency officials.

The crash happened about 7:30 p.m. EST on Soldiers Field Road in Boston, according to Boston Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Jennifer Mehigan.

Medical workers transported 34 people to four area hospitals – 30 with minor injuries, three serious, and one life-threatening, Mehigan said. Some people had to be removed through the bus roof, strapped onto backboards, according to the Boston Fire Department’s Twitter feed.

Mehigan said the injured included teenagers and adults.

“A number of patients were trapped at some point during the incident,” Mehigan said. All the victims had been removed from the bus by about 9:30 p.m. She said the fire department had to remove part of the roof of the private Calvary Coach charter bus to perform the rescues.