Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

Reporter

Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment.

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Yes, People Are Giving Their Pets Medical Marijuana

| Fri May 3, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

Is it ever a good idea to get your dog or cat stoned? California veterinarian Doug Kramer says the answer depends on whether your pet could be classified as a medical marijuana patient.

"I do think there are therapeutic benefits to it," says Kramer, who some years ago found that his homemade pot tinctures helped his own dog, a husky named Nikita, fight pain and regain her appetite after she came down with cancer.

Despite the spread of medical pot laws around the country, marijuana still remains taboo within the veterinary establishment; its medical journals won't publish anything about it, and Kramer is one of the few veterinarians even willing to discuss using medical marijuana for pets. He points out that a slew of medical studies on the effects of pot have relied on rats and dogs as substitutes for humans, suggesting that "mammals have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans do" and "would benefit in the same ways."

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Bulletproof Clothing for America's Schoolkids? Seriously?

| Tue Apr. 23, 2013 6:27 PM EDT

The collapse of the Senate's gun control efforts last week has left parents to wonder what, if anything, might protect their children from another Newtown-style massacre. The world's leading high-fashion bulletproof clothing company has an answer: discreet kid-sized body armor woven into school backpacks, t-shirts, and puffer vests. The new line of clothing from Miguel Caballero, a Colombia-based company best-known for outfitting celebrities, executives, and political figures, is aimed specifically at the US market as a response to the number of mass shootings here. Watch:

Via TechEBlog

Facebook Shoots Down Giveaways of Assault Weapons

| Tue Apr. 23, 2013 4:21 PM EDT

The months since the Newtown massacre have seen an explosion of gun and ammo giveaways on Facebook. For some gun enthusiasts, scoring a free AR-15 assault weapon has been as easy as clicking a "like" button on the Facebook page of a firearms marketer such as 556 Tactical, Pittsburgh Tactical, or AR15News.com. Since December, the number of gun and ammo giveaways on the social networking site has increased seven-fold, according to research by the media startup Vocativ:

Facebook has allowed companies to give away guns as sweepstakes prizes since 2011. However, a Facebook spokesperson told Vocativ that the sweepstakes in question are technically ads, and therefore still violate a Facebook policy banning "the promotion and sale of weapons." As of yesterday, the Facebook pages of the three major firearms marketers had been taken down, though Facebook apparently still allows assault weapons giveaways as long as they aren't used as tools for selling guns.

A GOP Bill to End the War on Pot

| Sat Apr. 20, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

Few ideas have more support from voters and less from national politicians than legalizing marijuana. While major polls now show that most Americans back the concept, the president and leaders in Congress won't touch the issue except to laugh it off.

Like pothead soccer dads in the sitcom Weeds, however, some of the biggest backers of legalization are turning up where you'd least expect them. Take, for example, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who last week introduced a bill designed to prevent the feds from arresting pot growers and tokers in states where the drug is legal. "This approach is consistent with responsible, constitutional, and conservative governance," the 13-term congressman from California's ultraconservative Orange County told me.

"The federal government's total prohibition of marijuana has been neither effective nor efficient."

Until recently, Republicans who supported ending pot prohibition were about as common as unicorns. There were US Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), and, well, some prominent former Republicans such as New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo. After ditching her Alaska governor job for a Fox News gig a few years ago, Sarah Palin finally stuck her neck out: "If somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm," she said on Fox's Freedom Watch in 2010, "then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in, and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society."

Back then that was crazy talk. Now it's mainstream enough that Rohrabacher's new marijuana bill has already attracted two other Republican cosponsors: Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Don Young of Alaska.

Rohrabacher got turned on to marijuana activism about 10 years ago, when he had to spoon-feed his dying mother because she'd lost her appetite. He learned that medical marijuana might help her eat. "My interest has evolved from there," he says.

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