11/10/13

Will Iowa Be the Next State to Legalize Medical Marijuana?

I asked that question in 2009, to open my comprehensive report on medical marijuana's history in Iowa. It popped up again a few days ago as the headline for this Iowa State Daily story. In 2009, 13 states had medical marijuana laws; now there are 20. But the answer's still almost certainly no.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, said Steve Jenison, a native of Ames, Iowa, and the former director of New Mexico's medical marijuana program, who spoke Sunday evening at Iowa State University. In 2007, after years of discussion, New Mexico became the seventh state to legalize medical marijuana through its legislature. That approach, Jenison said, allowed more time to implement the sort of tightly regulated program that states like California are so frequently criticized for lacking. (A common red herring used by Iowa foes of medical marijuana is that they don't want to see the state turn into California, where the streets in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco often reek of weed.)

11/6/13

Monsanto Helps Kill Washington's GMO Labeling Initiative

In my recent story for Al Jazeera America, on the Monsanto executive who won the World Food Prize, I took a look at the more than $5 million Monsanto has given the prize's foundation since 1999. But unfortunately, I didn't manage to find enough room to delve into the debate over efforts to mandate labeling genetically modified (GM) foods—so I didn't mention the ballot initiative to label GM foods in Washington state, which Monsanto helped defeat on Tuesday by spending nearly $5.4 million campaigning against it.

11/5/13

Same-Day Voter Registration Shenanigans at the Polls in Ankeny

If you're registering to vote at the polls today in Iowa, don't let a poll worker tell you that you can't register if you've got a photo ID with your current address.

That's what happened to me today at the Ankeny Free Church after I provided my driver's license to the man handling same-day registration. He asked for a second form of ID, like a utility bill, which by Iowa law is only required if your photo ID has an outdated address.