Monday News: The other green economy


GROWING NUMBER OF NC LEADERS SUPPORT DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA: Business leaders were more pro-marijuana than some of their political counterparts. Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl said decriminalizing marijuana is the single biggest thing North Carolina could do to reduce crime, and the presidents of the Charlotte and Asheville chambers of commerce, Bob Morgan and Kit Cramer, both said the state should legalize and tax it. Others in the survey spoke of the racial implications of marijuana laws, which are often unevenly enforced by the police. Numerous scientific studies have found that white and black people report using marijuana and other drugs at similar rates, yet black people are significantly more likely to be arrested and to be incarcerated for marijuana specifically, as well as for drug crimes in general. “The criminalization of marijuana possession is the equivalent of a throw down gun that the police can use when it is convenient to remove people they consider undesirable,” said James Coleman, a professor at Duke University School of Law,

EXPANDING MEDICAID ONE OF THE KEYS TO BETTER TREATMENT OF OPIOID ADDICTION: Medicaid allows states to go beyond the basics with the grant money, while non-expansion states have to fill in for basic needs with fewer dollars, said Brendan Saloner, an addiction researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In effect, Medicaid expansion states had a running start on the opioid crisis, while states without the extra Medicaid funding hastened to catch up. "Non-expansion states are dealing with populations more likely to be uninsured and more likely to need coverage for addiction treatment," Saloner said. In contrast, states with Medicaid expansion can use the grants to create new infrastructure, "asking providers to take risks by investing in new personnel, new systems and new ways of doing things," Saloner said. "The puzzle is how to keep momentum going after the funds are gone." The Medicaid insurance expansion gives states a head start because they have "a coordinated, reliable and consistent source of coverage" for a demographic group hit hard by addiction, said Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. "It's not grant funded. It's not stopgap," Riley said.

MIGRANT CARAVAN CROSSES INTO MEXICO ON SLOW MARCH TO U.S.: In southern Mexico on Sunday, officials encouraged the migrants to apply for asylum or otherwise seek legal immigration status in Mexico, but they made barely any effort to halt the migrants as they walked along a main highway. Federal police officers were at times present on the road, monitoring the procession, and a police helicopter circled overhead, but the authorities allowed the procession to carry on unimpeded. At one point a senior migration official standing in the back of a police pickup truck urged the migrants to register themselves with the authorities and seek legal immigration status, saying that the migrants could not cross the country without documentation. But people said they feared being deported and the group kept moving north. By evening most of the migrants, extremely weary from the arduous walk, had reached the city of Tapachula, about a 20-mile journey by road from Ciudad Hidalgo.

SAUDIS USED BODY DOUBLE OF JOURNALIST IN ATTEMPT TO CONCEAL HIS MURDER: Newly leaked surveillance footage from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi appears to show a man walking around in the writer's clothes in Istanbul after his killing. CNN aired the footage on Monday, citing a Turkish official as describing the man as a "body double" and a member of a 15-man Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target the writer. CNN says the man walked out of the consulate via its back exit with an accomplice, then took a taxi to Istanbul's famed Sultan Ahmed Mosque, where he went into a public bathroom and changed back out of the clothes and left. The state-run broadcaster TRT later also reported that a man who entered the consulate building was seen leaving the building in Khashoggi's clothes. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that details of Khashoggi's killing will be revealed in a speech that Erdogan will give in parliament on Tuesday.