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Advocacy Group Founders Charged with Drug Trafficking in Vancouver

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Advocacy Group Founders Charged with Drug Trafficking in Vancouver
Rally in Vancouver: Image @AndreaWoo

Two founders of the Drug User Liberation Front (DUFL), which sold cocaine, crystal meth, and heroin in defiance of Canada’s federal government, have been charged with trafficking-related crimes in Vancouver, British Columbia.

On May 31, police in Vancouver approved charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking against 28-year-old Jeremy Kalicum and 33-year-old Eris Nyx, co-founders of the Drug User Liberation Front. Kalicum and Nyx were arrested in October but were only charged lately.

They are scheduled to appear in court on July 2.

In 2022, Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) made news when the volunteer-led organization stated that it will provide pure cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin to addicts as part of a “compassion club” to prevent overdose deaths.

“If you label people’s drugs so that they clearly indicate what a person is putting into their body, people will not overdose,” Nyx told the Guardian at the time. “No one takes more than they intend to take.”

Store on Vancouver’s east-side

The group sought an exemption from Canada’s Controlled pharmaceuticals and Substances Act, allowing them to purchase and distribute pharmaceuticals. With few legal choices for purchasing pharmaceutical-grade opioids, the two informed Canada’s public health ministry that they would have to obtain the medicines on the dark web.

However, this revelation prompted Health Canada to reject their proposal.

Despite the court loss, the activists continued to sell pure drugs at cost price from their store on Vancouver’s downtown east side, in open defiance of the law. Nyx and Kalicum were eventually detained in October during a police raid.

The pair challenged Health Canada’s decision not to approve the exemption in March, arguing that it leaves people who use drugs “fully and directly exposed” to the toxicity crisis and violates two clauses of Canada’s charter of rights and freedoms: the right to life and the right to equal protection under the law.

They also cited data showing that their strategy reduced non-fatal overdoses by 49%. Non-fatal overdoses requiring naloxone, indicating the presence of fentanyl, decreased 63%.

“We are surprised the crown made this decision before the federal court decides whether Health Canada’s denial of an exemption for the compassion club was constitutional,” a statement from DULF lawyers said.

“If the crown is serious about pursuing these charges, our clients will challenge the constitutionality of prohibiting a life-saving safer supply program in light of this devastating toxic drug crisis.”

Drug Overdoses Surge

The fight over drug sales comes as Canada’s westernmost province is grappling with a historic public health catastrophe that has ripped families apart and killed about 14,000 people as a result of toxic, unregulated opioids.

Last year was the worst on record, with officials in British Columbia reporting 2,539 suspected overdoses, the vast majority of which involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogues. Experts warn that reducing drug-related deaths will require tackling an increasingly contaminated drug supply.

Last year, British Columbia launched a highly watched pilot experiment to decriminalize, but not legalize, the possession of small amounts of illicit narcotics.

Politicians have recently used British Columbia’s drug decriminalization experiment as a political wedge issue, with Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre referring to Vancouver’s downtown east side as “hell on earth”.

In April, British Columbia reversed key aspects of its drug decriminalization initiatives in the face of growing public opposition.

Meanwhile, Dr. Stephen Ellis, Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, and Laila Goodridge, Conservative Shadow Minister for Addictions, have issued the following statement:

“The Trudeau-NDP approach to drug policy is a complete failure. Nowhere is this more apparent than in British Columbia, where Trudeau and his NDP allies have allowed taxpayer-funded hazardous drugs and drug decriminalization to claim thousands of lives.

“The Trudeau Liberals have flooded the streets with toxic opioids, ignoring all evidence that this has destroyed the lives of countless Canadians and wrecked multiple towns.

“We are profoundly concerned about Canada’s current direction, and we fear for the safety of our communities and the future of our country, as its government openly promotes the use of harmful narcotics by vulnerable Canadians, particularly children.

“Common sense Conservatives will prioritize treatment and recovery over taxpayer-funded dangerous drugs.” We will restore hope to our most vulnerable citizens. Recovery from addiction is possible.”

Source: Guardian, CPP

 

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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2024: Supreme Court Rules California Man Can’t Trademark ‘Trump Too Small’

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Trump | Pixa Bay Image

WASHINGTON The Supreme Court decided unanimously on Thursday against a man seeking to trademark the oblique phrase “Trump too small.”

The court maintained that the government had the right to refuse Steve Elster, a Californian who wanted to use the slogan only on T-shirts and maybe other products, a trademark. It is one of many legal proceedings involving former President Donald Trump, including significant ones about the bloody assault on the Capitol in 2021. The court established guidelines earlier in the current term enabling public officials to be sued for removing detractors from their social media accounts. These instances had to do with Donald as well.

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trump | AP News image

Supreme Court Rules California Man Can’t Trademark ‘Trump Too Small’

The Justice Department backed President Joe Biden’s presumed opponent in the 2024 election, his predecessor. According to government representatives, the phrase “Trump too small” may still be used, but as Donald had not given his approval, it could not be trademarked. You can already buy “Trump too small” T-shirts online.

Elster’s attorneys had contended that the ruling infringed his right to free speech, and a federal appeals court agreed.

Chief Justice John Roberts warned at arguments that if Elster prevailed, individuals would rush to trademark “Trump too this, Trump too that.”

While the nine judges unanimously agreed to reject Elster’s First Amendment argument, their reasoning varied and comprised 53 pages of opinions.

In the last six years, the justices have twice overturned federal law clauses that denied trademarks deemed scandalous or immoral in one case and insulting in another.

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Trump | PixaBay Image

Supreme Court Rules California Man Can’t Trademark

Elster’s case addressed a different rule that states that unless the person has provided “written consent,” a trademark application containing a name, photograph, or signature “identifying a particular living individual” will be denied.

The core of the lawsuit refers to a conversation Donald had with Florida Senator Marco Rubio during the 2016 campaign. At the time, Rubio was vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

At a speech, Rubio started the verbal sparring by telling supporters that Donald, who claims to be 6 feet 3 inches tall, had disproportionately small hands and that Donald had always called him “little Marco.” Had you looked at his hands? And you are aware of the saying regarding males with little hands, Rubio added. “You can’t rely on them.”

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Trump | Pixa Bay Image

Supreme Court Rules California Man Can’t Trademark ‘Trump Too Small’

Donald later brought up the remark during a televised debate on March 3, 2016.

Stare at those hands. Are those little hands? And he said something about my hands being small, so something else had to be, too. There is no difficulty, I promise you. You have my word,” he declared.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

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Chinese “overconcentrated supply chains” threaten American jobs and recent investments intended to strengthen the country’s green energy industry, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The Asian superpower’s trade policies “may interfere significantly with our efforts to build a healthy economic relationship.”

Yellen endorsed Biden administration initiatives meant to boost American economic competitiveness in a prepared speech she gave to Wall Street and corporate executives at the Economic Club of New York on Thursday afternoon.

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Yellen | AP News Image

Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

“When foreign subsidies threaten the viability of domestic firms” in important industries like green energy, she added, the United States should react. China’s green energy products are especially feared to undercut significant climate-friendly investments made possible by the Democrats’ August 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law.

Former President Donald Trump is making his argument to the Business Roundtable in Washington, an organization of over 200 CEOs, on why the economy would be better if he were back in the White House while Yellen is speaking.

Voters have heard from Biden and Trump, his likely Republican opponent, that they will be harsh on China.

The United States imposed major new duties this month on Chinese electric cars, cutting-edge batteries, solar cells, steel, aluminum, and medical equipment. On Wednesday, the European Union also acted to increase import duties, or tariffs, on Chinese-made electric vehicles after preliminary findings of a continuing inquiry into Chinese EV subsidies revealed that the nation’s battery electric vehicle “value chain” benefited from “unfair subsidization” that damaged EU competitors.

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Yellen | Forbes Image

Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

Chinese companies can charge as little as $12,000 for an electric vehicle. Chinese officials contend that their manufacturing keeps costs low and would support a shift to a green economy. They also claim that their solar cells and steel and aluminum mills have enough capacity to supply most of the world’s demand.

Among other concerns, Yellen mentioned in her statement on Thursday the proportion of Chinese manufacturing companies that are losing money, the high savings rates compared to other OECD nations, and the stringent investment regulations.

Yellen listed industries where Chinese government subsidies have fueled fast output growth, including the production of electric cars and their batteries and solar energy equipment, which the U.S. administration is attempting to boost domestically.

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Yellen | CNN Image

Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

“I reject the idea that ‘decoupling’ would help the US economy in any way,” she stated. Concurrently, a level playing field is necessary for us to fully enjoy the possible advantages of our economic partnership.

Her trip to Guangzhou and Beijing earlier this year was centered on industrial strategy and what the United States and Europe call China’s manufacturing overcapacity.

SOURCE – (AP)

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President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

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Biden Administration Plans for Potential Presidential Transition

Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, a coalition of immigrant advocacy groups sued the Biden administration, claiming that President Joe Biden’s recent order to essentially stop asylum claims at the southern border is no different from a similar action by the Trump administration that was thwarted by the courts.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Centre and the Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. It is the first legal challenge to Biden’s broad border crackdown, which followed months of internal White House deliberations and is intended in part to fend off political criticism of the president’s immigration policy.

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Joe Biden | AP News Image

President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

“We were forced to file this lawsuit by enacting an asylum ban that is legally indistinguishable from the Trump ban we successfully blocked,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

The directive Biden issued last week will restrict the processing of asylum applications once 2,500 people are encountered between ports of entry each day. The current estimates were significantly higher, at almost 4,000 daily, so it went into effect right away.

The limits would remain in place for two weeks following the seven-day average of those daily encounter counts at or below 1,500. When the numbers might fall that low, though, is unclear; the last time was in July 2020, during the COVID-19 epidemic.

When the order entered into force on June 5, officials of the Biden administration stated they anticipated record numbers of deportations.

Advocates counter that, among other issues, suspending asylum for refugees who fail to show up at a predetermined point of entry—as the Biden administration is attempting to do—violates current federal immigration law.

For a long time, the United States has welcomed refugees seeking protection from persecution. That national commitment became legally codified with the Refugee Act of 1980. The groups said in their case filed on Wednesday that although Congress has, throughout time, imposed certain restrictions on the right to seek asylum, it has never allowed the Executive Branch to outright prohibit asylum based on where a noncitizen enters the nation.

Biden cited Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the same legal basis that the Trump administration used to justify its asylum restriction. Under this clause, a president may restrict the number of migrants admitted if it is judged “detrimental” to the country’s interests.

While running, Biden has frequently attacked the immigration policy of former President Donald Trump. His government counters that his order is unique because it has multiple humanitarian exclusions. Limits would not apply, for instance, to victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied minors, or people experiencing serious medical difficulties.

“The Securing the Border rule is legal, important to enhancing border security, and is already having an impact,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said, declining to comment on the complaint. We shall keep putting the contested actions into practice; they are still in force.

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Joe Biden | AP news Image

President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

The immigrant rights organisations contend in the complaint that exceptions are “extremely limited.”

The White House forwarded questions regarding the complaint to the Justice Department, which declined to comment. According to White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández, Biden’s action was required because congressional Republicans thwarted a bipartisan agreement that “would have provided critical resources, statutory changes, and additional personnel to the border.”

As per Biden’s decision, migrants who show up at the border without expressing a fear of going back to their own countries will be deported from the US in a few days or even hours. Sanctions for those migrants can include a five-year ban on entering the country again or criminal prosecution.

Proponents of the lawsuit contended that it is the migrants’ responsibility to exhibit fear, which is sometimes known as displaying fear.

“In practice, noncitizens who have just crossed the border, and may be hungry, exhausted, ill, or traumatised after fleeing persecution in their home countries and danger in Mexico, are likely to be intimidated by armed, uniformed Border Patrol officers, and are thus unlikely to ‘manifest’ their fear of return,” the lawsuit states.

However, a U.S. asylum officer will evaluate anyone who indicates fear or a desire to seek asylum, but to a higher level than is now in place. Should they clear the screening, they are eligible for more restricted humanitarian protection, such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which forbids sending someone back to a nation where they are likely to be subjected to torture.

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Joe Biden | NY Times Image

President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

These revised, more stringent asylum limitations do not apply to migrants who utilise the CBP One app while in Mexico to make an appointment to present themselves at an official border crossing point to seek admission. The app is a component of the administration’s attempts to persuade migrants to attempt to enter the nation through its preferred routes rather than just crossing the border, locating a Border Patrol agent, and turning themselves in.

Advocates did, however, provide a laundry list of grievances against the app in the case. Many immigrants, for instance, lack the Wi-Fi connectivity or cellphone data plan required to use it. While some migrants are illiterates, others do not speak any of the languages the programme offers. And compared to the amount of migrants wishing to enter the nation, there are only a few spots open each day.

“As a result, numerous asylum seekers have been forced to wait indefinitely under precarious conditions in Mexico in the hope of obtaining scarce appointments,” the lawsuit says.

Together with the ACLU, additional organisations filing the complaint were the Texas Civil Rights Project, Jenner & Block LLP, National Immigrant Justice Centre, Centre for Gender & Refugee Studies, and ACLU of the District of Columbia.

SOURCE – (AP)

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