Marijuana Cultivators in Arkansas Face Class Action RICO Lawsuit
On July 12, three Arkansas residents filed a class action complaint in federal court in Little Rock against a group of medical marijuana cultivators and a marijuana testing company. The complaint alleges that Natural State Medicinals (NSMC-OPCO LLC), Bold Team LLC and Osage Creek Cultivation falsely labeled the marijuana they cultivated by overstating the amount of THC in their marijuana products. The complaint also alleges that Steep Hill — a marijuana testing company — “routinely overstates the amount of THC in its (marijuana) flower” that it tests.
Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment requires marijuana sold in the state to be tested. The complaint alleges that the defendants conspired to falsify the marijuana lab results. The suit was filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a federal anti-racketeering law, and it requests a trial by jury in the case.
In 2018 the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission authorized Natural State Medicinals, Bold Team LLC and Osage Creek Cultivation to grow marijuana in Arkansas. According to reports filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, Bold Team LLC and Osage Creek Cultivators have donated $700,000 each toward the campaign to legalize marijuana in Arkansas. Natural State Medicinals has donated $350,000. (familycouncil.org)
Star Trek Star Helps Share The Gospel with Co-star
Nichelle Nichols, known for her iconic role as Lt. Nyota Uhura in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” passed away over the weekend. One incredible aspect of her story most in the media will leave out is her Christian faith and the surprising way she helped share the gospel with co-star William Shatner.
To so many, Nichols was known for blazing a new trail for black women in the entertainment industry. In fact, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. who convinced Nichols — who wanted to leave screen acting for the stage — to continue starring in the TV show. He told her, “You cannot abdicate your position. You are changing the minds of people across the world, because, for the first time through you, we see ourselves and what can be.”
Nichols was also reportedly a woman of deep and abiding Christian faith. Dylan Novak, known online as “The Celebrity Evangelist,” shared on Facebook Sunday that he met Nichols in 2016 at a comic convention. It was there he learned — after sharing the gospel with her — that Nichols was already a believer. He recalled her telling him, “No fan has ever cared about my eternal life before.”
He then explained the powerful way Nichols contributed to his effort to witness to Shatner. “She went on to share her testimony of coming to know Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior,” Novak wrote. “She asked if I was going to share Jesus with William (Shatner), who was at the same comic con. I told her I was, and she handed me $100 and said, ‘It’s on me. Go show him Jesus’ love.’”
For years, Novak, now a youth pastor in Knoxville, Tenn., has traveled around the country sharing the gospel with actors, authors and recording artists. (faithwire.com)
22 States Sue USDA For Threat of Withholding Funds
More than 20 state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for threatening to withhold funds for the National School Lunch Program from schools that do not comply with the Biden administration’s LGBT ideology.
On May 5, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service announced its intention to interpret “the prohibition on discrimination based on sex found in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972” to include “discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” In a memorandum published that same day, the agency informed state and regional directors of all Food and Nutrition Services programs of the policy change.
The department cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County finding that the provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination based on sex also applies to sexual orientation and gender identity as the justification for the new interpretation of Title IX. As a result of the USDA’s interpretation of Title IX, “state and local agencies, program operators and sponsors that receive funds from FNS must investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation” and “update their non-discrimination policies and signage to include prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”
The FNS administers the National School Lunch Program, which provides low-cost and free lunches to 29.6 million children at nearly 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools in the fiscal year 2019.
Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General Herbert Slatery joined 21 other Republican attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the USDA and its top officials in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee Knoxville Division. The attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The states contend that USDA’s interpretation of Title IX would cause the plaintiff states to lose federal funding for the National School Lunch Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) Program.
Describing the USDA as the latest example of the Biden administration’s “misinterpretation” of Title IX, the lawsuit states that the final rule issued by the department requires states to ensure that “no person, on the grounds of sex, including gender identity and sexual orientation, race, color, age, political belief, religious creed, disability or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be otherwise subject to discrimination under SNAP.” The final rule takes effect on Aug. 15.
The complaint urged a federal judge to issue “a declaratory judgment holding unlawful the Department’s Memoranda and Final Rule” and a “declaratory judgment holding that Plaintiffs are not bound by the Department’s Memoranda and Final Rule.”
The complaint also sought a declaration that the department did not have the authority to penalize and withhold federal funds from Title IX and Food and Nutrition Act recipients that “continue to separate students by biological sex in appropriate circumstances.”
The plaintiff states requested similar declarations preventing retaliation against Title IX and Food and Nutrition Act recipients that “maintain showers, locker rooms, bathrooms, residential facilities and other living facilities separated by biological sex or regulate each individual’s access to those facilities based on the individual’s biological sex.”
The states also want the court to prohibit retaliation against schools that “do not require employees or students to use a transgender individual’s preferred pronouns,” “maintain athletic teams separated by biological sex” or assign individuals to teams based on biological sex.
The lawsuit comes a month after 26 state attorneys general wrote a letter to President Joe Biden outlining their concerns with the USDA’s administrative action and asking the administration to rescind the guidance. (christianpost.com)
Abortion Centers Closed, Some States Are Abortion-Free
Already, 43 abortion facilities have closed across the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. And more are expected to close in the coming months because they no longer are allowed to make money killing unborn babies in abortions.
According to a new report at The 19th, seven states are completely abortion-free, and four more saw abortion facilities close as a result of their newly-enforced pro-life laws. The report highlighted new data from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group, that examined the impact of state pro-life laws on abortion facilities since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling.
The Guttmacher researchers found that all of the abortion facilities in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas have closed or stopped doing abortions as a result of their laws banning abortions. According to Axios, 23 closed in Texas alone, along with five each in Alabama and Oklahoma, two in Arkansas and one each in Mississippi, Missouri and South Dakota.
States that are enforcing heartbeat laws, which ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable (about six weeks of pregnancy) have also seen abortion facilities close. In Tennessee, four have closed so far, and one shut down in Georgia. Ohio and South Carolina also have heartbeat laws that ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable but none of the abortion facilities there have closed yet, according to the report.
The closures are forcing abortion providers to admit that killing unborn babies in abortions is big business. As Axios noted, “While clinics that offer abortion offer other reproductive health services, many of them depend financially on abortion” to stay open.
Some of the abortion facilities that closed plan to re-open in states like New Mexico and Virginia where abortions are still legal, but others have stopped doing abortions for good. As a result, babies are being saved from abortions. In the seven states with full abortion bans, about 80,500 unborn babies used to be aborted annually, according to The 19th. While some pregnant mothers will travel to other states for abortions, many others will have their babies instead. Pro-life laws do save lives, and even abortion activists admit it. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates more than 110,000 unborn babies are being saved from abortion as a result of the pro-life laws currently in place.
More states are trying to protect unborn babies from abortion. Indiana lawmakers met for a special session this week to pass pro-life legislation, and legal battles are being fought in Kentucky, Utah, Louisiana, Michigan and Wyoming to enforce their pro-life laws. (lifenews.com)