This governor wants to make a big move in the War on Drugs before he leaves office.

Before he leaves office in January, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin wants to do something bold.

He called a meeting with his staff to discuss ideas, and they came up with a plan that will make the lives of thousands of Vermont prisoners and their families better — just in time for the holidays too.

Gov. Peter Shumlin. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.


Gov. Shumlin has decided to let people who are currently in prison for possessing small amounts of marijuana go home as soon as possible.

As part of Shumlin's initiative to introduce a "more sane" drug policy in his state, from now until Christmas, people in Vermont prisons who were convicted of carrying small amounts of marijuana will be able to apply for an official pardon. While the pardons themselves won’t go through until after the holidays, the opportunity to apply is an unexpected and potentially life-changing gift.

In 2013, Vermont passed a decriminalization law that brought the sentence for marijuana possession down to a $200 fine (in most cases) and would no longer result in a criminal record.

"We've got folks who got charged for an ounce or less of marijuana in a different era when we were running a failed war on drugs," the governor told WCAX. "Let's give those folks the opportunity to have a clean record."

Edward Harris, who spent time in jail for a minor drug possession, attends a rally outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

"There's some injustice in not having the new rules apply to those who are having their lives held back because of the old rules," Shumlin said.

This is just one more example of the nationwide tipping point we've reached regarding marijuana and the War on Drugs.

28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it in some form — with eight of those legalizations occurring in 2016.

In a November 2016 interview with Bill Maher, President Obama noted that soon, having a federal law banning marijuana would make no sense. "You now have about a fifth of the country that’s operating under one set of laws, and four-fifths in another," the president said. "I think that we’re going to have to have a more serious conversation about how we are treating marijuana and our drug laws generally."

Shumlin meeting with Obama in 2014. Photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images.

Many cite marijuana's medical benefits or the potential tax profit as reasons enough to legalize the drug, but one of the biggest reasons is the sheer number of people who are in prison because of it.

Hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders go to prison every year. 574,641 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2015 alone, and it costs tens of thousands of dollars a year in taxpayer money to keep them there. Not to mention the fact that a disproportionate number of those prisoners are black and Latino.

In Vermont alone, Governor Shumlin's office is estimating there anywhere from 10,000 to 17,000 people currently serving time for low-level marijuana convictions who would now be eligible to apply for a pardon and go home with a clean record.

That's thousands of families who will be reunited and thousands of people who will be able to get jobs, start over, and not have their lives ruined by drug that is legal in more than half the country.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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