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Vox Sentences: Iceland gets serious about equal pay

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The Trump administration signals a much tougher stance on recreational pot; Iceland gives its equal pay laws some teeth.


Jeff Sessions’s new marijuana policy is pissing off both Republicans and Democrats

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
  • The Trump administration signaled a dramatic shift in marijuana policy today, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that basically told federal drug prosecutors to stand down and let states decide for themselves whether to legalize marijuana. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Sessions is taking a much tougher stance on pot than his predecessors. The Obama-era memo made it clear that federal prosecutors wouldn’t go after marijuana businesses in states that have legalized recreational pot, including Colorado, Washington state, California, and the District of Columbia. (Maine and Massachusetts also legalized pot, but it isn’t set to go into effect until the summer.) [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Right now Sessions has just rescinded the old memo, so it’s not exactly clear what the next steps are. Some in the Justice Department say it will give US attorneys more ability to decide which cases to prosecute. [BuzzFeed / Dominic Holden and Zoe Tillman]
  • But by taking this position, the Trump administration is pissing off liberals and conservatives alike. Many Republicans see marijuana as a states’ rights issue, and something the federal government should stay out of. [National Review / Michael Tanner]
  • Trump is also directly contradicting one of the campaign promises he made during the 2016 election, when he said he would leave marijuana legalization up to the states. [Brandon Rittiman via Twitter]
  • Right away, senators from both parties started calling out Trump on the move. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) even threatened to hold up Trump’s DOJ nominations until the policy was changed, a rare sign of actual rebellion in the Republican-controlled Senate. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • Recreational marijuana businesses aren’t the only ones worried by the move — the few banks and credit unions that accept the cash from these businesses could be vulnerable as well. [NYT Magazine / Robb Mandelbaum]

Iceland is guilt-tripping companies into paying women as much as men

  • Iceland just took a big step toward ending wage discrimination and making sure men and women are being paid the same amount. Iceland officials have estimated there’s currently a nearly 6 percent pay gap. [Associated Press]
  • The big change here is that Iceland’s new law is putting the onus on the company — not the workers — to demonstrate fair compensation. In many other countries, workers who aren’t being paid fairly usually have to fight for it. This system flips that on its head. [NPR / Camila Domonoske]
  • Specifically, companies that have more than 24 employees will have to submit paperwork to the government showing that male and female workers are being paid equally. The law comes after ones passed in previous years that failed to make a dent. [Washington Post / Rick Noack]
  • One US politician who took notice was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who tweeted his support for Iceland’s move and suggested the US should do the same thing. On average, women in the US earn 83 percent of what their male counterparts do, according to analysis from the Pew Research Center. [Pew Research Center / Anna Brown and Eileen Patten]

Miscellaneous

  • No, the iguanas suffering through Florida’s unnaturally cold winter are not dead. They’re just frozen solid. [Palm Beach Post / Kimberly Miller]
  • Diets for men used to be all the rage in the 1860s, when self-control and a slim physique were prized possessions, in addition to whiskers and three-piece suits. [JSTOR Daily / Livia Gershon]
  • Virginia’s swing election was decided by putting the candidates’ names into two film canisters and picking one out of some homemade pottery. Democracy in action! [Washington Post / Laura Vozzella]
  • Thieves in Italy have made off with thousands of jewels owned by members of the Qatari royal family. Police are blaming an alarm system that didn’t go off fast enough. [NYT / Elisabetta Povoledo]

Verbatim

“God was with me that night. I avoided death and killing somebody else.” [Garbage truck driver Rodney Miles, talking about the dangers of New York City’s private garbage industry, to ProPublica / Kiera Feldman]


Watch this: Why the market for skin whitening is growing

Skin whitening has proven to be damaging, physically and mentally. But sales are booming. The market is predicted to be worth $31.2 billion by 2024. [YouTube / Aleli May Vuelta]


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