Tag: Sheyla

  • Mercosur suspends Venezuela for failure to follow rules

    by Hannah Dreier, The Associated Press Posted Dec 2, 2016 10:22 am MDT Last Updated Dec 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Mercosur suspends Venezuela for failure to follow rules CARACAS, Venezuela – South American nations suspended Venezuela on Friday from the Mercosur trade group over what they said was its failure to comply with the commitments made when it joined the group in 2012.Argentina’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Venezuela had failed to meet a Thursday deadline to adopt certain standards required for membership. The foreign ministers of the four founding members— Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay — notified Venezuela’s government of the decision in a letter.Mercosur accepted Venezuela as a member when South America was dominated by leftist governments in an effort to link the region’s biggest agricultural and energy markets.But the socialist-run Venezuela fell afoul of its neighbours as it cracked down on the opposition and conservative governments assumed power in Argentina and Brazil. Venezuela’s regional influence also waned as the country cut back on oil shipments once provided to allies at cut-rate prices.This strong rebuke from Venezuela’s one-time friends could open the door to stronger action from countries and regional blocs. The head of the Organization of American States for months has threatened moves against Venezuela for its increasing authoritarianism. Some U.S. Congress members have called for sanctions and other forms of pressure.Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Friday she had not been informed of the suspension. She rejected the notion that Venezuela had failed to conform to the trade group’s rules.“Venezuela does not recognize the null action carried out under the law of the jungle taken by the officials who are destroying Mercosur,” she said.Earlier in the week, Venezuela’s opposition coalition threatened to walk away from ongoing dialogue with the socialist government. The Vatican-mediated talks were intended to head off a growing political crisis as critics of President Nicolas Maduro allege he has become a dictator and call for him to resign.Venezuela has arrested hundreds of opposition activists in recent years and stifled opposition media. A local human rights group counts 100 political prisoners still in jail. This fall, the government killed an effort stage a recall referendum against Maduro.___Hannah Dreier is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hannahdreier. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/hannah-dreier. read more

  • Colorado warms to pot clubs despite federal uncertainty

    Colorado warms to pot clubs despite federal uncertainty by Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press Posted Feb 16, 2017 1:34 am MDT Last Updated Feb 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this Dec. 31, 2013 file photo, partygoers smoke marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year’s Eve invite-only party celebrating the start of retail pot sales, at a bar in Denver. Colorado is on the brink of becoming the first state with licensed pot clubs. Denver officials are working on regulations to open a one-year pilot of bring-your-own marijuana clubs. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file) DENVER – At risk of raising the ire of the White House, Colorado is on the brink of becoming the first state with licensed pot clubs. But the details of how these clubs will operate are as hazy as the underground clubs operating already.Denver officials are working on regulations to open a one-year pilot of bring-your-own marijuana clubs, while state lawmakers are expected to consider measures to allow either marijuana “tasting rooms” run by marijuana dispensaries, or smoke-friendly clubs akin to cigar bars.Alaska regulators, spooked by how the Trump administration might view marijuana, recently decided not to move forward with rules for use of marijuana at authorized stores, though the issue there isn’t dead.California and Maine voters expressly signed off on public marijuana consumption but haven’t settled on rules. Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation to allow marijuana use at special events like concerts, and in cannabis lounges. But Colorado may be first out of the gate with statewide pot-club regulations, possibly by this summer.Colorado officials from both parties have come around to the idea of Amsterdam-style pot clubs for a simple reason: Everyone is tired of seeing pot smokers on public sidewalks.“It’s a problem we’ve got to address,” said state Sen. Chris Holbert, a suburban Denver Republican who opposed marijuana legalization but doesn’t like seeing its use on the sidewalk, either.Pointing jokingly to his suit and tie, the grey-haired Holbert said he’s even had panhandlers ask him for marijuana near the state capitol.“I mean, look at me. If I’m getting hassled, everyone’s getting hassled,” Holbert told reporters.Democrats here agree tourists need an out-of-sight place to use marijuana.“No voter in Colorado voted to allow the use of marijuana on their sidewalk, in their parks, in their public view,” said Democratic state Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver. “But that’s essentially what we’ve done by not allowing private club space for marijuana uses.”So both parties seem to agree that Colorado needs to allow for places that let patrons smoke weed. But that’s where agreement breaks down.A Republican-sponsored measure to allow marijuana clubs to be regulated like cigar bars was put on hold for a re-write. That’s because sponsors are trying to address concerns that pot clubs shouldn’t allow medical marijuana use, along with other legal wrinkles.“Telling people to socially use their medicine? That’s like we’re legalizing pill parties,” said Rachel O’Bryan, who opposes marijuana clubs and ran an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a Denver social-use measure last fall.There’s also intense disagreement over whether establishing pot clubs would invite a federal crackdown.Some say the clubs would be too much for federal authorities to ignore; others insist the Justice Department would view clubs as a way to keep pot away from children, a priority according to previous Justice Department directions.“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now,” said Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Singer, referring to the newly minted, anti-marijuana U.S. attorney general. “I think we need to send a message to him that Colorado’s doing it right.”Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed pot legalization but is undecided on signing a bill to allow clubs. He said he’s not sure how the administration would respond to such establishments.“I don’t know whether we’d be inviting federal intervention, but certainly that’s one argument I’ve heard used persuasively,” Hickenlooper said Thursday.The governor did indicate he’d veto a bill that allowed indoor smoking, not just smoking on enclosed private patios. The Denver clubs would have to abide by clean-air laws banning burned marijuana inside; the statewide proposal would allow indoor smoking with “proper ventilation.”“We spent a long time letting everyone know that smoking is bad for you,” Hickenlooper said. “Just cause that smoke makes you happy, and dumb, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”The marijuana industry seems frustrated by Colorado’s halting attempts to figure out how to allow pot clubs. Because current marijuana law is vague, Colorado currently has a patchwork of underground clubs, many of them raided when they try to file permits or pay taxes.“The situation right now is a disaster,” said Chris Jetter, a licensed marijuana grower who owned a west Denver pot club that was raided twice. Jetter said authorities took more than six pounds of marijuana, along with tens of thousands in cash, then charged him with illegally distributing pot.(Jetter eventually pleaded guilty to public consumption of marijuana, and was fined $100. He disputes he was doing anything illegal and says he pleaded guilty to end the matter. He has since closed his club.)“Two or more people can get together and consume alcohol almost anywhere, and there’s no problem with that,” Jetter said. “But we’re not treating marijuana like alcohol. What’s going to happen with the feds? If they start kicking in doors, I don’t know. But we need to figure something out.”___Kristen Wyatt can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt read more