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Sixteen states and the District of Columbia make a distinction between the medical and recreational uses of marijuana. But both are illegal under federal law. Now the Obama Administration is trying to put for-profit growers and dispensers of medical marijuana out of business. What are the goals? What are the likely consequences? Also, more deaths and UN calls for international action in Syria, and a masked crime fighter has revealed himself as a citizen of Seattle, but that's not the only city with a real life superhero.

Banner image: Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Making News Three Thousand Deaths in Syrian Uprising

More protesters were killed today after Friday prayers in Syria, where the total is now more than 3000, including 187 children. The human rights chief of the United Nations is calling for immediate international action. Borzou Deragahi is with the Financial Times, reporting from Breirut, Lebanon.

Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)

Main Topic The Crackdown on Medical Marijuana: Prohibition Revisited?

Marijuana-Prohibition.jpgSixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, but it's still an illegal, "Schedule 1" drug under federal law. Now the Obama Administration is cracking down, insisting that medical marijuana is a front for recreational use, and generating huge, illicit profits. The poster child is California, which started the movement in 1996 and where medical marijuana reportedly is a multi-billion-dollar business. Is the federal government blind to “compassionate use" by needy patients? Is medical marijuana a scam?  What are the parallels to the era of Prohibition?

Andre Birotte, Jr., United States Attorney's Office
Daniel Okrent, author and advisor to 'Prohibition'
Kevin Sabet, University of Florida / Smart Approaches to Marijuana (@kevinsabet)
Richard Lee, Oaksterdam University
Richard Bonnie, Virginia Law School

Marijuana Conviction

Richard J. Bonnie

Reporter's Notebook Real Life 'Superheroes' in American Cities

It's reported that 300 or 400 US cities have been visited by fantastically costumed citizens calling themselves real life superheroes, patrolling the streets to stop crime or perform good works. They don't claim super powers, but some do carry Tasers and pepper spray. Outside a Seattle courtroom, Ben Fodor ripped off his business suit to reveal the black and gold costume of “Phoenix Jones," a self-appointed real life superhero. Local prosecutors had just declined to press charges against him for pepper-spraying people he thought were fighting outside a bar. Jonathan Martin reports for the Seattle Times.

Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times

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