What we’re reading

unnamed4This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta–perhaps simultaneously one of the most cited and most often forgotten documents in legal history. The New Yorker‘s “The Rule of History” examines the document’s relevance throughout history and its lasting legacy in Western society, particularly the United States.

As China continues to urbanize and works towards its goal of having 60 percent of the country’s population living in urban centers by 2020, many citizens have been fighting to maintain their old way of life. The Atlantic‘s photo essay, “And Then There Was One,” documents several cases of “nail houses,” buildings whose owners have resisted selling their land to the government. The pictures show lone houses standing in the middle of construction sites, a phenomenon that can be seen all across the country.

Netflix has had one hell of a year so far, having just launched Daredevil, its 17th original series of 2015 (!). The company plans to air over 320 hours of original material in 2015–a threefold increase from last year. The New York Times explored the future of the company and the changing nature of television programming with Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive.

With the recent leak of the first four episodes of the latest season of Game of Thrones, many fans are wondering what the show would be like if it were released all at once a la Netflix. Though this doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, we can read about one phe’s quest to watch seasons one through four in one sitting. Vice News’ Allie Conti goes through all of the ups and downs, one episode at a time.  Continue Reading

It’s 4/20 tomorrow, but don’t expect a spark on stage

Despite a lead single about “women, weed and weather,” Kendrick Lamar will likely not spark a blunt when the clock strikes high during Saturday’s concert. See, way back when Lamar was Kendrick Duckworth he unintentionally smoked a joint laced with PCP (hence M.A.A.D aka “My Angel’s on Angel Dust”). For anybody who has seen Training Day, you can imagine what a profoundly unpleasant surprise that must have been. Though a point of debate on the kanyetothe forum (check it out if you like forum beef), Kendrick’s weedless lifestyle is a confirmed fact. While many rap artists swear by the chronic, Lamar insists that “it was never a dependent for [him]” and that he no longer bothers with it. So hold your joint high at 4:20 p.m. tomorrow, just don’t be discouraged when Lamar fails to join the festivities. The true letdown, however, is that Dr. Dre’s claim that he “pass the blunt then pass the torch” to K.Dot is really just speech in the rap vernacular and not an account of any actual blunt-torch passing.

RI marijuana decriminalization law in effect


In 2012, Rhode Island passed a law to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. This law is currently in effect as of April 1, 2013. This is not an April Fools joke, but rather an effort that Senator Joshua Miller, D-representing Cranston, and state Representative Jay Edwards, D–representing Tiverton and Portsmouth, have been working to pass for the past five years. A first-time offender who possesses one ounce or less of marijuana will now see a $150 civil fine, and no jail time.  An individual who is charged with possession three times in 18 months, however, must pay the original $500 civil fine, and will most likely spend a year in jail.

The implications are huge. The law hopes to debunk the “forbidden fruit” nature of the drug, which is why many young adults may find it so appealing in the first place. Perhaps more importantly, a portion of the money collected from fines will now go towards drug treatment and education programs. Now that possession is no longer criminal, it is hoped that people can seek proper treatment rather than becoming lost in the criminal justice system. This will save the state a great deal of money down the road by relying more on prevention and less on incarceration.

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Rhode Island to (maybe) legalize pot

Rhode Island is working on it.

Rhode Island is officially looking to help you enjoy your favorite weekly daily never 4/20 activity. Following Colorado’s and Washington (state)’s successes in November, your friendly neighborhood State Representatives and Senators have a filed a bill to legalize marijuana for students adults 21 and older.

Federal law still technically has a ban on the substance, a bill to give states the right to do- ahem– whatever regarding pot will be introduced next Tuesday to the House of Representatives.

RI State Rep. Edith Ajello believes “it is time for Rhode Island… to adopt a more sensible approach [to pot] just as our nation did with alcohol 80 years ago.”

Today, illegal substances don’t give way to fun speakeasies and awesome flapper dresses (i.e. Gatsby trailer). Today there are just more crowded dorm rooms. No awesome dresses.

Legalization will help the economy in ways that I don’t quite understand (I am taking Econ S/NC)… but it’ll create jobs, tax revenue, and other stuff, I think. Plus, we’ll be able to smoke.

(That is, if the bill passes…)

Beyond 4/20: marijuana treatment

Brown Visiting Lecturer in Ethnic Studies Marie Myung-Ok Lee provides a pointed perspective on medical marijuana in her three-part series for Slate explaining why she gives pot to her nine-year-old autistic son. Check out parts one, two, and three.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

A friend whose child was once diagnosed with autism, but no longer (he attends school at his grade level and had three developmental assessments showing he no longer merits the diagnosis), wanted to embark on a kind of karmic mission to help other children. After extensive research, she landed on cannabis the way I had. “It has dramatic implications for the autism community,” she says, and it’s true. We have pictures of J. from a year ago when he would actually claw at his own face. None of the experts had a clue what to do. That little child with the horrifically bleeding and scabbed face looks to us now like a visitor from another world. The J. we know now doesn’t look stoned. He just looks like a happy little boy.

Carbonized Fossil, Vol. 8

Retro-style “Diamonds and Coal” from The Herald’s issue on February 9, 2007:

A diamond to those enrolled in Rhode Island’s Medical Marijuana Program who get their medical marijuana from a friend, who gets it from an unknown source. Yeah, that’s how we get ours too.

Can’t get enough D & C? Read slightly more current incarnations in yesterday’s Herald, or submit your own at DiamondsandCoal.com!