Former Obama official joins National Cannabis Roundtable

A former member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet has joined the National Cannabis Trade Association, giving even more political weight to the group that supports marijuana reform.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Obama, will be the honorary co-chair of the National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR), according to a press release from the group.

Sebelius, a Democrat and former governor of Kansas, is the second high-profile politician to join the Washington-based DNC.

Republican John Boehner, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, joined the group as an honorary co-chair in 2019.

Sebelius said in a press release that if Congress is to pass federal marijuana reform, “it will require a holistic approach.

She also emphasized that changes at the federal level must take into account both business interests and social justice, in a way that “takes into account how policies affect real people.”

“I look forward to working with the Roundtable and President Boehner to help shape the important debates ahead,” Sebelius said. “I am confident that together we can make significant progress in the 117th Congress and beyond.”

Boehner called Sebelius a “great partner” and Charlie Bachtell, president of Cresco Labs, a Chicago-based marijuana company, said it brought “a unique set of tools.”

It is noteworthy, however, that the NCR is not part of the recently announced coalition, the American Cannabis Council, which also wants to push for reforms at the federal level.

The US Cannabis Council is composed of various professional associations and interest groups.

Why mandatory covid screening for domestic travel may cost more lives than it saves
Gary Leff February 10, 2021

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has questioned whether a negative Covid test was necessary for a domestic flight.

Covid-19 is already common among the population, although the absolute peak of infections in the United States appears to have passed. Mandating testing will not prevent Covid-19 from gaining a foothold in the community. Nor would it stop variant B.1.1.7 in the United Kingdom, which already seems to be becoming dominant. Restrictions on domestic travel might be useful if the country could contain the virus rather than just limit it. However, restrictions on air travel alone would not be sufficient to achieve this objective.

Air traffic restrictions, however, can harm public health rather than contribute to it or even be neutral.

Making travel more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean less travel, it often just means a different mode of transportation. So it doesn’t reduce dispersal. Instead, it shifts people to less safe modes of transportation. Driving a car is not as safe as flying (and neither is Amtrak). If air travel becomes less convenient and more expensive, that means more travel by car, and road travel means more car accidents. Making people make more dangerous choices is often called “state murder.”

On most days, most flights between Houston and Dallas cost $67 one-way. It’s also a one-way trip, but the route that Southwest Airlines (and United and United to other airports) has been taking since its inception is their real bread and butter. Requiring an audit can triple the cost of such a trip.

In fact, the increasing problems with TSA testing have led to an increase in the number of people driving shorter distances, resulting in an additional 500 car accidents per year. The time, effort and cost of Covid testing is much greater.

The issue of introducing a requirement for Covid testing should not be limited to an examination of the possibility of stopping the spread of the virus and a comparison with other possible public health measures. Possible unintended consequences should also be considered.

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