Two football players lost their positions on their team rosters after being busted with weed.
University of Kentucky linebacker Jason Hatcher had a pound of weed on him when he was pulled over for speeding on Feb. 22, cops say. The college later announced his dismissal from the roster for breaking team rules. According to the Courier-Journal, Hatcher had been cited for marijuana possession before, but had taken a class to dismiss the charge.
A few days before that, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jonathan Newsome was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana after cops responded to a noise complaint at his apartment. He was released by the team less than a week later.
In the sober light of post-Super Bowl 2016, maybe it's time to re-assess weed policies in sports. I've already pointed out in this column how ridiculous it is for teams — professional and collegiate — to bring the hammer down on talented young people for possession arrests. It's a practice, on its face, that disproportionately affects minority players. (Colts CEO and owner Jim Irsay, for example, was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 after he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of opiates in 2014. Hardly a career-ending punishment for the billionaire.) Neither Newsome nor Hatcher had been convicted of a crime. It's unclear if either had even been charged with a crime. Meanwhile, player violence is overlooked, college players go unpaid, and misplaced hero worship perpetuates racist and misogynist tenets of our society.
Meanwhile, a local hot dog kingpin was recently sentenced to two years in federal prison for running an interstate marijuana enterprise. Jonathan Quaccia, who sold franks from his Humboldt Hot Dogs cart on the Arcata plaza (for which he was the subject of a Journal story in 2011), pleaded guilty to charges that he'd laundered more than $2 million he'd earned growing weed on the North Coast and selling it in New York and Georgia. According to a sentencing memorandum, Quaccia sold 785 to 1,000 pounds of weed to the East Coast From 2012 through 2014.
As first reported by the Lost Coast Outpost, Quaccia also forfeited $100,000 and a 2013 Honda Accord in the plea deal.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is practically going prog, if you look at its successful, humanitarian pursuit of dignity and decency that's housed thousands of homeless people in Utah (see this week's cover story). Not content to rest there, the church recently softened its stance on a Utah Senate bill that would allow medical marijuana in the state. To be clear, the church still opposes the bill, given its belief that "drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, especially among youth."
But, in its statement on the proposed law, the church said, "In our view, the issue for the Utah Legislature is how to enable the use of marijuana extracts to help people who are suffering. ... We continue to urge legislators to take into account the acknowledged need for scientific research in this matter and to fully address regulatory controls on manufacture and distribution for the health and safety of all Utahns."
Finally, Humboldt County's Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance goes into effect on Friday, Feb. 26, which means cultivators the county wide can apply for local business permits for their operations. In a press release, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chair Mark Lovelace was quick to point out that the county was the first to enact a regulatory system since state medical marijuana regulations went into effect last September.
In addition to cultivation, business owners can apply for permits to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana products. Visit the county website, www.humboldtgov.org/MMJ, for more information.