TIME Marijuana

These Could Be the Next States to Legalize Marijuana

Pot Prices Double as Colorado Retailers Roll Out Green Carpet
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Marijuana inside the Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colo.

The prediction is based on two criteria

If you’ve been watching with jealousy as citizens of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C., smoke legal marijuana, you might soon be in luck. The finance blog 24/7 Wall St. has a plausible theory as to which states are most likely to legalize the plant next.

The likely candidates are those states where medical marijuana is legal and possession of a small amount of marijuana does not carry a prison sentence. There are 11 states that currently meet that criteria: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

In most of those, 24/7 Wall St. reports, polls have shown that more than half of the residents support a form of legalization. They also already use it: nine of these states over-index for marijuana users, with a rate that is higher than the national average, which is 12.3% of Americans aged 12 and older.

If those 11 states were to legalize, it would bring the total count to 15, plus our nation’s capital. For many Americans, that high total would sow the seeds of real momentum indeed.

TIME Travel

These Are the World’s Best Biking Cities

From Amsterdam to Portland

Whether you’re hungering for wide-open vistas, riverfront views, or access to cultural sites, here’s how to pound the pavement from your bicycle seat this summer.

  • Malmö, Sweden

    Peter Forsberg—Alamy

    As proof that Sweden’s third-largest city (pop. 318,000) adores bicycles, look no further than the free bike pumps along cycling paths. Then there’s the 300-plus miles of paths reserved for bikes (more than in Stockholm), which are used for nearly 30 percent of trips within Malmö. In under three hours you can easily tour the city by bike.

  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    Dennis Cox—Alamy

    In central Amsterdam, bikes—as opposed to cars—are the norm, and 60 percent of people use the mode of two-wheel transportation. On the down side: bicyclists tend to whiz past you during a leisurely ride. Witness Dutch icons like windmills, fields of tulips, and storied castles by straying outward to North Amsterdam. With your rental bike in tow, hop a free ferry behind the central Amsterdam station and, once in North Amsterdam, travel through farm villages like Broek-in-Waterland and Uidam (11 miles total) before heading back to your hotel.

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

    Greg Ryan—Alamy

    The Midwestern city counts five percent of its population (that’s 20,000 people, and the second-highest percentage in the U.S.) as two-wheel commuters—yes, even through the often bitter-cold winter. Local roaster Peace Coffee even delivers its beans by bike. Visitors can tool around the city on shared bikes through Nice Ride MN, or try out some 118 miles of on-street bikeways and 92 miles of off-street bikeways. Try the 5.7-mile Midtown Greenway, which takes you over the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge and grants access to the Chain of Lakes.

  • Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

    Danita Delimont—Alamy

    This Pacific Northwest city is crammed with cyclists—so much so that the city developed nine urban routes. The “Short, Steep, & Sweet,” a 15-mile hilly climb, winds through Portland’s West Hills neighborhood and affords views of Tualatin Valley before coasting downhill to Washington Park. Promoting paths like this is all part of the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030, which hopes that 25 percent of all residents’ trips will be done on bike.

  • Copenhagen, Denmark

    Niels Quist—Alamy

    Copenhagen is arguably the best biking city in the world, as evidenced by its 242 miles of designated bike lanes and the new Cycle Super Highway—a 13.7-mile stretch connecting Copenhagen with the suburb of Albertslund ,and the first of 26 “highways” just for bicyclists. There’s also the Instagram-worthy, year-old Cykelslangen, an elevated two-way bike lane painted bright orange, which connects the highway and harbor bridge.

  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    All Canada Photos/Alamy

    Canada’s most French metropolis is naturally going to be en amour with bicycles. Rent a two-wheeler through Bixi and opt for a ride along the Lachine Canal, where a bike path debuted during the 1970s. To reach the canal, depart from downtown on either Guy or Peel Streets. Bonus: along the 18.6-mile trip, you’ll have the chance to pop into Old Montreal and Old Port, adding just six miles to the journey.

  • Bordeaux, France

    Vito Arcomano—Alamy

    In this bustling, pedestrian-friendly region, about 124 miles of bike paths satisfy a city of only 236,000. For a quick five-mile route that straddles both left and right banks, depart from Place Gambetta for views of world-class monuments (Grand Théâtre, Place de la Bourse, Porte Cailhau and Place du Palais) from your bicycle seat along Cours de l’Intendance, Cours du Chapeau Rouge, and Pont de Pierre.

  • Beijing, China

    maurice joseph—Alamy

    While the chief reason for bicycling in this city—home to 20.2 million people—might be automobile congestion, it’s nonetheless a valid one. To avoid Beijing’s auto-traffic crunch, cruise along the Tongzhou canal, a 10-mile flat route that’s mostly vehicle-free and kicks off from the Grand Canal’s east bank (where Yunhe Xi Dajie turns into Tonghu Nan Lu). From this route it’s easy to enter the Grand Canal Ecological Route. Expect to see wetlands, bridges, river islands, and garden sculptures. There are also many spots along the way to stop for a picnic, so long as you’ve packed your own food.

  • Bogotá, Colombia

    Robert Harding World Imagery/Alamy

    Outfitted with a 211-mile network of bicycle paths, Colombia’s largest city is in the middle of a commuting renaissance. Plan your trip over a Sunday to experience car-free roads between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., a tradition that’s been going strong since the 1970s. Among today’s most popular cycling routes in Bogotá are those on the Complementary Network, which showcases the city’s green spaces and traveling along riverbanks.

    Read the full list here. This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure

    More from Travel + Leisure:

  • Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

TIME oregon

Oil Ship Leaves Portland After Police Force Greenpeace Protesters Off Bridge

Protesters had been attempting to block an icebreaking vessel from leaving Portland to go to the Arctic for oil drilling

An controversial oil ship managed to sail past a group of Greenpeace protesters hanging from a bridge in Portland after police and Coast Guard officers forced the activists from the area.

The protesters had gathered to block a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaking vessel from leaving the area to head to a oil drilling site in the Arctic. Environmental activists had suspended themselves from the St. Johns bridge and formed a line of kayaks along the Willamette River in an effort to block the ship from leaving the city, but the ship, named Fennica, managed to slip through a gap in the dangling protesters just before 6:00 p.m. Pacific time.

For about six hours, according to local outlets, there was relative quiet. But Thursday afternoon, the Coast Guard and local officials began insisting that the protesters move.

According to OregonLive, which hosted a liveblog of the protest, officials at one point attempted to grab kayakers—called “kayaktivists” by organizers”—using boat hooks. Some of the activists who had situated themselves in slings underneath the bridge left voluntarily, but others were still dangling from it at about 6 p.m. local time.

Earlier on Thursday, activists were involved in a standoff with the vessel and the Coast Guard during which they temporarily blocked the ship from leaving dock. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, protesters cheered and declared victor when the vessel turned around. A judge on Thursday fined Greenpeace USA $2,500 for every hour that protesters blocked the vessel from passing through.

MONEY real estate

Seniors Are Seeking Out States Where Marijuana is Legal

senior woman smoking marijuana pipe
Norma Jean Gargasz—Alamy

The top moving destination in 2014 was Oregon, which voted to legalize marijuana last November.

When choosing retirement locales, a few factors pop to mind: climate, amenities, proximity to grandchildren, access to quality healthcare.

Chris Cooper had something else to consider – marijuana laws.

The investment adviser from Toledo had long struggled with back pain due to a fractured vertebra and crushed disc from a fall. He hated powerful prescription drugs like Vicodin, but one thing did help ease the pain and spasms: marijuana.

So when Cooper, 57, was looking for a place to retire, he ended up in San Diego, since California allows medical marijuana. A growing number of retirees are also factoring in the legalization of pot when choosing where to spend their golden years.

“Stores are packed with every type of person you can imagine,” said Cooper who takes marijuana once or twice a week, often orally. “There are old men in wheelchairs, or women whose hair is falling out from chemotherapy. You see literally everybody.”

Cooper, who figures he spends about $150 on the drug each month, is not alone in retiring to a marijuana-friendly state.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing medical marijuana use. A handful – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and D.C. – allow recreational use as well.

The U.S. legal marijuana market was $2.7 billion in 2014, a figure expected to rise to $3.4 billion this year, according to ArcView Market Research.

Figuring out how many people are retiring to states that let you smoke pot is challenging since retirees do not have to check off a box on a form saying why they chose a particular location to their final years.

But “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana,” said Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at University of California, Los Angeles who studies retiree migration trends.

He cited data from United Van Lines, which show the top U.S. moving destinations in 2014 was Oregon, where marijuana had been expected to be legalized for several years and finally passed a ballot initiative last November.

Two-thirds of moves involving Oregon last year were inbound. That is a 5 percent jump over the previous year, as the state “continues to pull away from the pack,” the moving company said in a report.

The Mountain West – including Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000, and recreational use in 2012 – boasted the highest percentage of people moving there to retire, United Van Lines said. One-third of movers to the region said they were going there specifically to retire.

Lining Up for Pot

The image of marijuana-using seniors might seem strange, but it is the byproduct of a graying counterculture. Much of the baby boom generation was in college during the 1960s and 70s, and have had much more familiarity with the drug than previous generations.

Many of the health afflictions of older Americans push them to seek out dispensaries for relief.

“A lot of the things marijuana is best at are conditions which become more of an issue as you get older,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association. “Chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite: All of those things are widespread among seniors.”

Since those in their 60s and 70s presumably have no desire to be skulking around on the criminal market in states where usage is outlawed, it makes sense they would gravitate to states where marijuana is legal.

“In Colorado, since legalization, many dispensaries have seen the largest portion of sales going to baby boomers and people of retirement age,” West said.

The folks at the sales counters agree: Their clientele has proven to be surprisingly mature.

“Our demographic is not punk kids,” added Karl Keich, founder of Seattle Medical Marijuana Association, a collective garden in Washington State. “About half of the people coming into our shop are seniors. It’s a place where your mother or grandmother can come in and feel safe.”

Read next: Can You Buy Marijuana With a Credit Card?

TIME fire

Wildfires Continue to Ravage Washington State, Pacific Northwest and Beyond

A U.S. flag is seen as a commercial building burns after being ignited by the Sleepy Hollow fire in Wenatchee, Washington
David Ryder—Reuters A commercial building burns after being ignited by the Sleepy Hollow fire in Wenatchee, Washington June 29, 2015

An exceptionally hot and dry summer has contributed to a spike in seasonal fires

Wildfires in various stages of containment continued to consume Washington state Wednesday, with major fires also burning throughout the west in Idaho, California, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

There are 21 fires burning in Washington and Oregon alone, NBC News reports, with an additional 100 just over the Canadian border.

The weekend of July 4 was the hottest on record in western Washington, local station KREM reports, and the area has just tied the record for most consecutive days of above 90°F temperatures. As a result, there have been close to 400 wildfires already reported this July compared with 275 for the same month last year, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

The red portion of the map highlights the volatility of the area around the Washington-Idaho border, which saw multiple fires start this week. A conflagration raged in Cape Horn, Idaho over as much as 2,000 acres, and over the border in Spokane evacuations just outside the city ordered residents to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice after a fire threatened an area popular with hikers, KREM reports.

Elsewhere, the so-called “Paradise Fire” continued to burn in the depths of Olympic National Park, usually one of the wettest places in the country, with the blaze still only 21% contained after several weeks. And further south close to the Oregon border, the so-called “Gilmore Gulch” fire continued its slow march. Local station KXLY reports that the fire had consumed more than 5,000 acres and was only 10% contained by Tuesday.

Linda Weatherly, a fourth generation rancher whose property was at risk if the fire continued its advance, said she could not remember a summer so dry and was deeply concerned about what the next week might hold. “It’s our livelihood,” she told TIME. “We have animals and crops. And they’re talking about thunderstorms now… it would devastate families.” Should the fire approach, she said her first priority would be to “try to get my animals out of here. I don’t have any water to fight it. It would have to be, you know… all the ranchers try to kick in and help.”

Eric Beckemeir, a waiter at the Idle Hour Eatery near Quincy, Wash., reported similar reactions from his neighbors when a fire consumed 10,000 acres north of town after the July 4 holiday before being contained. The town is 30 miles southeast of Wenatchee, where the Sleepy Hollow fire destroyed dozens of homes earlier this week, and several of its own houses were temporarily evacuated during the fire. But Beckemeir told TIME the community came together to help: local businesses donated water and gatorade, farmers used their tractors to make fire lines, and orchardists sprayed their neighbors’ homes down with hoses. “In a rural area you can take care of each other,” he said.

TIME animals

Hey Enormous Fake Orca, You Had One Job

Odd Fake Orca Sea Lions
Joshua Bessex—AP A fake life-sized orca sits on the docks of Pier Two in Astoria, Ore., Thursday, June 4, 2015

Officials in Astoria, Ore., deployed a motorized fake whale to try and scare off invading sea lions. They failed

In a disastrous but innovative attempt at wildlife control, officials in the Oregon fishing town of Astoria deployed a motorized fake orca whale today in a desperate effort to scare off hundreds of sea lions that have invaded their port.

“We simply don’t have the financial resources to build barriers. We have no choice but to look for very creative and low-cost solutions,” Port of Astoria executive director Jim Knight said.

Enter the fake orca — the latest in a string of creative solutions that have included placing electrified mats and brightly colored beach balls just outside the docks, Reuters reports.

Usually, the sea lions are seasonal visitors to Astoria, a town of 10,000 not far from Portland whose population relies heavily on fishing for its livelihood. But this year, instead of staying only for the winter, they seem to have moved in permanently. Some scientists posit that they may have been driven to Astoria in search of food by warming water in the Pacific Ocean; whatever the reason, local officials complain that the unwelcome visitors are loud and messy and are eating the fish on which so many townspeople rely (and disrupting the local caviar industry while they’re at it).

Luckily for Astorians and fake-whale enthusiasts alike, the Island Mariner, a whale-watch company from nearby Bellingham, Wash., volunteered its 32-ft. promotional boat, shaped like an orca, as a possible solution. The idea was to drive the boat, which emits whale song, into the dock area, scaring the sea lions away. However, the plan hit a series of snags from the start. First, the artificial whale’s motor flooded, causing hours of delays:

Then, when the engine was replaced and the mission under way, the orca capsized.

Still determined to see the plan through, the boat orca made it into the dock area, where its whale song did not scare the sea lions away and where it capsized a second time, a Twitter user reported.

Twitter, of course had a field day, referring to the boat as “Fauxby Dick.” Meanwhile, the sea lions continue their occupation of the Astoria docks, and officials there must return to square one.



Oregon Becomes Third State to Ban Conversion Therapy on Minors

OR: Kate Brown Attends Oregon Statehood Day Event
Alex Milan Tracy—Sipa USA/AP Then Secretary of State Kate Brown, who is currently Governor, attends a Statehood Day celebration at the Oregon Historical Society, in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 14, 2015.

The Beaver State is the third to pass such a prohbition

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made her state the third to outlaw the use of conversion therapy on minors on Monday, eliminating the controversial practice that President Barack Obama called to ban in early April. Oregon joins California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., in prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a child.

“We hope Oregon will prove to be just [one] of many states to ban this harmful and discredited practice that uses rejection, shame and psychological abuse,” said Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which supports LGBT youth. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association and the American Psychiatric Association have all come out against the practice, also known as reparative therapy.

Oregon’s new law comes at a time when there is some movement in Washington responding to Obama’s call. On Tuesday, California Rep. Ted Lieu introduced a bill that would classify commercial conversion therapy—and advertising claims that promise changes to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity—as fraud. This could essentially ban the practice for all ages nationwide.

“The truth is that being LGBT cannot be and does not need to be cured,” said Lieu, who authored the California state ban on conversion therapy for minors. “It’s a dangerous scam, and the government must act to protect LGBT Americans from fraudsters who take their money and lie to them.”

In April, California Rep. Jackie Speier introduced a resolution calling on states to end the practice and said she was “also pursuing the possibility of a full federal ban of the practice.”

Opponents of the new state laws, who claim they are violations of free speech and the freedom of religion, have tried and so far failed to challenge them in court. In 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to the California law. And earlier this month the Court declined to hear a challenge to the New Jersey law, leaving a ruling that upheld the ban as the final legal word on the matter.

Obama called for an end to the practice among minors in response to a petition started in honor of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender youth who walked into oncoming traffic and was killed. She left a suicide note detailing the trauma she experienced from conversion therapy pushed by her parents. The petition started on the White House’s website gained more than 120,000 signatures.

Oregon Gov. Brown, who took office in 2015, is the country’s first openly bisexual sitting governor. She signed the law with little publicity, issuing no press release on her website or tweet on her feed. But LGBT rights groups were happy to sound the trumpets. “We all owe them an enormous debt of gratitude,” the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Samantha Ames said of lawmakers who pushed the bill, “one we can only repay by promising we will continue this fight until the day no child knows the devastation of being told they were born anything but perfect.”

TIME States

Nebraska Has Ordered a State of Emergency Over Bird Flu

In this May 11, 2015 photo provided by John Gaps III, men in hazardous materials suits load dead poultry to be buried at Rose Acre Farms, Inc., just west of Winterset, Iowa.
John Gaps III—AP In this May 11, 2015 photo provided by John Gaps III, men in hazardous materials suits load dead poultry to be buried at Rose Acre Farms, Inc., just west of Winterset, Iowa.

Over 33 million birds in 16 states have now been affected by the pathogen

Governor Pete Ricketts ordered a state of emergency Thursday after Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture confirmed the highly contagious H5N2 avian flu virus had infected a second farm.

The declaration opens up emergency funding in the hopes it can help contain the pathogen that now threatens what is, according to local officials, a $1.1 billion poultry industry in Nebraska.

“While not a human health threat, the discovery of avian influenza is a serious situation for our poultry sector, and I want to provide responders with access to all appropriate tools to address it,” said Ricketts in a statement.

The proclamation follows similar actions taken in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. More than 33 million birds in 16 states have now been affected by the outbreak, which originated in a small backyard flock in Oregon.

The outbreak has hit Americans’ pocketbooks as, the Associated Press reports, the price of large eggs in the Midwest rose by 17% since mid-April and other price increases are being seen in turkey, boneless breast meat and mixing eggs.

TIME Natural Disasters

143 Million Americans Are Now Living in Earthquake Zones, Scientists Say

A youngster walks past a parking structure that collapsed during Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California August 25, 2014
Robert Galbraith—Reuters A youngster walks past a parking structure that collapsed during Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California August 25, 2014

Nearly 20,000 schools may be exposed to ground shaking

Some 143 million Americans in the Lower 48 states are at risk of experiencing an earthquake — with 28 million being in danger of “strong shaking,” scientists claimed on Wednesday.

In a press release, researchers attributed the record numbers to both population migration, with ever more people moving to earthquake hot-zones on the West Coast, and a “change in hazard assessments.”

The data nearly doubles the 1994 FEMA estimation of 75 million Americans who could potentially experience tremors during their lifetime, according to a collaborative study from researchers at the United States Geological Survey, FEMA and the California Geological Survey.

The new report also calculated the potential financial loss from damages to buildings like schools, hospitals and fire stations. They said the average long-term cost is $4.5 billion per year with 80% of total being concentrated in California, Oregon and Washington.

“While the West Coast may carry the larger burden of potential losses and the greatest threat from the strongest shaking, this report shows that the threat from earthquakes is widespread,” said Kishor Jaiswal, the researcher who presented the findings.

Researchers identified 6,000 fire stations, 800 hospitals and nearly 20,000 schools throughout the Lower 48 they deemed “may be exposed to strong ground motion from earthquakes.”

TIME animals

See Firefighters Resuscitate Unconscious Cats

Clackamas Fire District 1

After a blaze, they saved two cats with feline-fitted oxygen masks

These firefighters are rescuing cats—not from trees, but from smoke inhalation.

After extinguishing a blaze in Oregon City, Ore. on Monday, rescue workers discovered two unconscious cats on the second floor of the house, Clackamas Fire District 1 says in a press release.

The firefighters brought the cats outside and treated them with special pet resuscitation equipment—plastic, cone-shaped oxygen masks fitted to the animals’ size that funnel air to their lungs.

Both cats revived and were taken to the vet by the homeowner’s son.

The fire department carries its pet equipment on all calls, and stocks masks for cats and dogs, officials say. And this isn’t the first time the department’s machines have added to a feline’s nine lives: it’s the second time in two months that the equipment has helped revive cats.

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