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California bill would decriminalize psychedelic drugs like acid and magic mushrooms

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California bill would decriminalize psychedelic drugs like acid and magic mushrooms

A bill was introduced in California Thursday that would decriminalize the personal use of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine for all Californians over the age of 21. 

It comes on the heels of Oregon’s blockbuster drug decriminalization bill, which just went into effect earlier this month and aims to replace incarceration with a $100 fine and addiction counseling. 

Multiples cities have also decriminalized psychedelic drugs recently, including Oakland, Santa Cruz, Washington, DC, Ann Arbor and Denver. 

Under the bill introduced Thursday by California State Senator Scott Weiner, a Democrat who represents parts of San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County, possession of psychedelic drugs by people under 21 and possession on school grounds would still be illegal. Previous convictions for possession of these drugs would be expunged under the legislation. 

Wiener’s bill would also create a commission tasked with regulating the legal and therapeutic use of these drugs. 

There has been a flurry of research into the potential therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs to treat depression, drug addiction, PTSD and a range of other mental health afflictions in recent years. 

A 2016 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that a single dose of psilocybin mushrooms “produced substantial and enduring decreases in depressed mood and anxiety… in patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.”

More than half, 54.2 percent, of participants with PTSD in a 2019 study no longer qualified as having PTSD after two doses of MDMA. The FDA classified MDMA as a “breakthrough therapy” in 2017. 

The bill is co-sponsored by two veterans groups, Heroic Hearts Project and Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions, which work to provide veterans with effective mental health treatments. 

Psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin have also shown promise in treating alcoholism, according to a 2019 survey published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology

Weiner said he hopes this potential for therapeutic benefits of psychedelics is what unites people on the issue.

“Whether you’re living in San Francisco or you’re living in rural Ohio, we all — every single one of us — have experience with mental health and addiction trauma in our communities,” Weiner told Fox News. “The mental health and addiction crisis in this country is everywhere.”

Wiener also framed the bill as “part of the larger movement to end the racist War on Drugs,” which he described as “a failed set of racist policies starting in the early 20th century and accelerating in the 1970s and 1980s, established under the guise of addressing addiction and drug dealing.”

There is some evidence of racial disparities in the enforcement of drug laws. For instance, despite the fact that Black Americans and White Americans use marijuana at the same rate, Black people are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than White people, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report last year. 

Despite the push for decriminalization by some lawmakers, many Americans bristle at the idea of decriminalizing drugs like LSD and MDMA. 

When Oregon voters were considering the state’s drug decriminalization bill last year, two dozen district attorneys urged against it, saying it “recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs (and) will lead to an increase in acceptability of dangerous drugs.”

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How do I get back into the workforce after a long gap?

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How do I get back into the workforce after a long gap?

I’ve been out of the job market for years, caring for an elderly relative who recently passed. How do I explain this big gap, and how do I make myself relevant? I used to work in a bank, but the job I did is basically obsolete now.

I’m going to tell you what you already know. The job search is hard enough for people with jobs, so transitioning back after being away is that much more difficult. I say this not to discourage you but to prepare you. “More difficult” doesn’t mean “impossible.” You have to prepare differently so that you can overcome the challenge. Your first goal is to just get back into the workforce and not try to pick up where you left off in the same job at the same level. It’s far easier to navigate your way to the job you want over time while you are employed. Make sure your skills are up to date by taking online courses. Stay positive, be persistent, flexible and leverage your contacts. As for explaining the gap, just tell the truth. It has the benefit of being true, and people can relate.

A friend of mine was told she could work remotely full time but has to take less money. Is that lawful?

Oh, the old “asking for a friend” routine. No worries, your secret is safe with me, and it’s not like your question is so unique that your “friends” will know it’s you. Basically, unless your employment is governed by some contract or collective-bargaining agreement, the terms of employment are between you and your employer and subject to change at the discretion of your employer, including compensation, responsibilities and work arrangements. Many employers and employees are considering the trade-offs for working remotely and the savings in the form of reduced office space and commuting expenses, respectively. For many employees, it includes more flexibility, too. You can choose to accept the new arrangements, or decline and continue with your current ones. If your employer isn’t offering you an option and you decline, you should be eligible for whatever layoff benefits the company provides, as well as unemployment benefits. I hope this works out for your “friend.”

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com.

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Bill Gates said to be growing potatoes for McDonald’s fries

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Bill Gates said to be growing potatoes for McDonald's fries

Next time you savor a McDonald’s french fry, remember to thank Bill Gates for the tasty spud.

As reported in The Post, the soon-to-be single computer magnate happens to own more farmland than anyone else in the United States. Known for loving fast food — although his burger of choice comes from the Washington-based chainlet Burgermaster — Gates, according to NBC News, grows potatoes for McDonald’s in fields so vast they can be scoped from outer space.

Although Gates has focused his energies on saving our climate, he has made clear that the tater patches are strictly money-making operations.

“My investment group chose to do this,” stated Farmer Bill during an AMA on Reddit. “It is not connected to climate.”

Considering that Gates is said to own 269,000 acres of fertile land in 18 states, it’s easy to imagine him keeping track of it all on some souped-up series of spreadsheets. If so, gangs of divorce lawyers — including some who worked on the Jeff Bezos bust-up — have surely been scrutinizing the potato haul. Gates, the fourth-richest person in the world, married his impending ex, Melinda, without a prenuptial agreement, so they will be splitting property via a so-called “separation contract.”

No word on whether or not she will soon reign as McDonald’s potato queen.

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Honeybee worker can produce millions of identical clones, study shows

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Honeybee worker can produce millions of identical clones, study shows

A South African subspecies of the honeybee is reportedly able to produce millions of clones of itself. 

According to new research published in the journal Current Biology and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, one such insect – known as the Cape honeybee or Apis mellifera capensis– has managed to do so many times over the past 30 years. 

It’s a process called thelytokous parthenogenesis, which a group of international scientists said is akin to the “virgin birth of a female.” 

While asexual reproduction is fairly common, genetically identical offspring is not. 

The exchange of genetic material between different organisms, or “recombination,” normally leads to the production of offspring with combinations of different traits.

If there even is only one parent, New Scientist noted, offspring born from thelytokous parthenogenesis will still be born with a slightly different genetic makeup.

And yet, the worker Cape honeybee has reportedly found a way to reduce recombination and remain genetically healthy, whereas asexual reproduction has been lethal in honeybees before, resulting in inbred larvae that don’t survive. 

“For workers, it is important to reduce the frequency of recombination so as to not produce offspring that are homozygous.”

In order to learn more, the paper’s authors “experimentally manipulated” Cape workers and Cape queens to reproduce thelytokously.

“The two female castes of the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis, differ in their mode of reproduction. While workers always reproduce thelytokously, queens always mate and reproduce sexually,” the researchers explained in the paper’s abstract.

Performing fieldwork at South Africa’s Plant Protection Research Institute in Stellenbosch, the team instrumentally inseminated a queen with the semen of a single male and then introduced a brood comb holding several hundred eggs laid by the queen into a colony to be reared. 

Queens were made to reproduce asexually using what researchers said amounted to a “chastity belt.”

“When the queens were 5 days post eclosion we constrained them in an artificial insemination apparatus [37] without narcosis. We then glued a 5 mm piece of surgical tape (Micropore, 3M, Minnesota) over the sting chamber using nail varnish,” the paper explained. 

The researchers monitored the queens, confirming the chastity belts were intact after each flight around the colony and, eventually, compared asexually reproduced larvae of the queen to those of the workers.

“We monitored the queens closely for the next two weeks, to determine if and when oviposition had commenced. We collected larvae as soon as they appeared into ethanol,” the researchers wrote.

“Not all queens flew, not all returned from mating flights, and not all laid. In the end, we were able to harvest one queen and 25 of her larval progeny into ethanol.”

The group also genotyped four workers and 63 of their larvae.

Ultimately, the authors found that the queen showed levels of genetic recombination 100 times more than seen in the cloned offspring of the worker bees.

“Using a combination of microsatellite genotyping and whole-genome sequencing we find that a reduction in recombination is confined to workers only,” the abstract concluded.

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