TIME Television

Watch John Oliver Sing for Voting Rights for Washington, D.C.

So long, Florida!

“No taxation without representation” was a rallying cry during the American Revolution, but on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver noted that paying taxes without having a vote in Congress is still a way of life for residents of the District of Columbia.

Oliver decried that the U.S. is the only democracy in the world that does not give the residents of its capital the right to vote in Congress, a situation that even the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, called “quite strange.”

While the District does have a representative in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, she wields what Oliver called “pretend power, like a child watching Dora the Explorer,” due to the fact that she can’t vote on the House floor.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress a lot of power to determine how the District is run, or as Oliver says, “as far as documents demanding control go, it’s right up there with the one Christian Grey made Anastasia Steele sign in 50 Shades of Grey.” Despite that power, D.C. has figured out some ways to circumvent Congressional strictures and made decisions that address the needs of their populace. However, Congress has frequently stripped funding for what they don’t agree with, including needle exchange programs to curb the spread of HIV and legalizing marijuana.

The problem could be resolved by an act of Congress, but when voting rights for the District last came up for a vote, only two members of Congress showed up for the debate, a number so low that Oliver considered it even “pathetic for a one-year old’s birthday party.”

Luckily, Oliver has a possible solution to the problem — but Floridians aren’t going to like it.

TIME Travel

Your Guide to Marijuana Tourism in America

Recommendations for the classiest of cannabis connoisseurs

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but only Colorado and Washington have licensed dispensaries that can legally sell recreational cannabis. Since legalization and sale came to those communities, the budding pot industry in these two states has tried to shape a future of vineyard-esque tours of marijuana farms, and fatty-friendly salons reminiscent of Amsterdam’s cafes. (The phrase “Napa Valley of weed” gets tossed around a fair bit.)

In the meantime, Colorado and Washington still have a ways to go before pot tourism can flourish. Jeremy Bamford, who started the Colorado Pot Guide website in 2013, directs thousands of daily readers to 420 tours and “Bud & Breakfasts,” but official barriers remain. City and state tourism boards still shy away from promoting weed as an attraction, marijuana lounges are still against the law, and hotels tend to give a pretty firm reiteration of their no-smoking policies when you ask about, say, using a marijuana vaporizer in your room, or smoking a joint on your balcony. (Though a few have vague advertisements on Bamford’s site that provide neither their names nor their addresses.)

One of the problems when it comes to official support is the lack of hard numbers. Over the 4/20 holiday, says Bamford, Visit Denver took stock of hotel occupancy rates, and found they were no greater than on an average weekend. Which makes sense, he points out, because Denver’s weed pilgrims are booking cannabis-friendly accommodations instead. The ongoing stigma of marijuana usage among big-name hospitality brands “reflects a bit of a perception problem, because Colorado’s cannabis tourists actually tend to skew older,” says Bamford. This reefer madness mindset is causing hotels to turn away Terry Gross listeners, not Miley Cirus fans.

Still, marijuana-themed tours of Denver and Seattle continue to fill up, and the boom in recreational dispensaries in Colorado and Washington has produced a range of offerings, with highlights and must-sees for newbies and discerning connoisseurs alike.

  • Denver, Colorado

    medicine-man-denver
    Courtesy of Medicine Man

    Despite a lack of promotion from the Colorado Tourism Office, a handful of cannabis-themed tour operators have sprouted up in the Mile High City. For the most part, they don’t offer anything you couldn’t get into on your own, but the aim is to be “your Colorado friend who holds your hand and shows you this is real,” says Matt Brown, who founded My 420 Tours with business partner James Walker. What their company offers is easily the most complete of those guided experiences. In the four-hour Dispensary & Grow tour, which starts at $129, guests are loaded onto a tinted-windowed party bus (that will, throughout the day, intermittently be filled with pot smoke, the shine of green LEDs, and the soothing tones of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”) and given a short marijuana user’s guide, outlining the differences between sativa and indica plants; the effects of THC and CBD; and the pros and cons of smoking methods, vaporizers, and edibles.

    After being treated to a mixture of those sampling options, guests are whisked off to the Native Roots Apothecary for some discounted weed shopping. Out-of-staters can buy up to a quarter ounce of marijuana at a time, but edibles, says Bamford, “are the more popular option, because of the novelty, and because people on the street don’t have to know that’s a weed cookie you’re eating.” Which helps, because public consumption of pot is still banned in the state. Luckily, Colorado’s new regulations on labeling and potency restrictions makes it easier than ever to stay at or below the state’s (very sensible) recommended dose of 10 milligrams of activated THC per edible serving.

    Next up is a tour of Medicine Man, one of the biggest commercial marijuana grow facilities in the U.S. After a somewhat forgettable but by that point pretty satisfying meal at the Icehouse Tavern, the tour ends at Illuzion Glass Gallery, a high-artistry head shop with an extensive selection of smoking paraphernalia and “functional glass art.”

    For $1,000, a full weekend excursion with My 420 Tours includes airport transportation and a two-hour cannabis cooking class (pot-infused pumpkin muffins, anyone?) with chef Blaine Alexandr of Conscious Confections, which can also be booked on its own for $129. The $1,000 weekend package also comes with two nights at the Denver Crowne Plaza and a Silver Surfer vaporizer on loan. Edibles aside, vaporizing is the only way you can legally consume marijuana in a hotel room, but even that is best done on the sly, with a pocket vaporizer, as the city’s hotels remain wary of marijuana use, and include it with general smoking bans when it comes to balconies, outdoor lounges, and plazas.

    PuffPassPaint-Denver
    Adam Jeffers

    If you’d like to smoke marijuana in your room, your best bet in Colorado (or anywhere else in the U.S.) is to search Airbnb or HomeAway for the words “420 friendly.” Otherwise, in downtown Denver, there’s the Adagio “Bud & Breakfast,” a 122-year-old Victorian house in the Wyman Historic District, which has a well-reviewed “420 Happy Hour” and on-site cannabis-infused massages, done with a “blend of unique oils high in THC, CBD, and CBN, utilizing a full cannabinoid spectrum and allowing for maximum healing potential.”

    If Cannabis concierges and “Puff, Pass, Paint” art classes aren’t really your speed, Denver has no shortage of recreational dispensaries and head shops you can visit on your own. For a relaxing, controlled buzz, try the Cherry Slider at LoDo Wellness, or for something more euphoric, order the Ed Rosenthal Super Bud at EuFlora. Both dispensaries are a short walk from the 16th Street Mall, Denver’s pedestrian-friendly shopping district.

  • Colorado

    Other noteworthy shops from Colorado’s early dispensary boom include Helping Hands, an all-organic dispensary in Boulder; Telluride Bud Company, the only dispensary in Telluride that grows all its weed in town; and Aspen’s STASH, where strains come with print-outs detailing soil nutrients and grow conditions. Maggie’s Farm, which is touted as Colorado’s only true outdoor marijuana grow, runs a handful of dispensaries throughout the state, but its Manitou Springs location is the most popular, due to its location at the foot of Pike’s Peak. It’s not hard to find a dispensary near any one of Colorado’s many national parks, but keep in mind that possession of marijuana on federal land is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

  • Seattle, Washington

    CannabisCity-Seattle
    Courtesy of Cannabis City

    Seattle’s leader in kush tourism is Kush Tourism, a tour operator founded by Chase Nobles and Michael Gordon. For $150, they offer a three-and-a-half hour jaunt led by employees dressed in refreshingly non-stonerish khakis and polos. The education-focused tour includes a walkthrough of Sky High Gardens, a 30,000-square-foot growing facility on Harbor Island; a visit to Analytical360, a pot-testing lab; a demonstration at the Boro School of glassblowing, which also offer beginners classes where you make your own pipe; and Uncle Ike’s, a popular local pot shop. “You can get stoned anywhere in this country,” Nobles once told the Seattle Times. “Our tour’s more about education … we take you to see something you can’t otherwise see.” The menu at Uncle Ike’s changes fast, but a few current highlights are the Bettie Page, which offers a potent but clear high that is great for daytime smoking, and Champagne Kush, which has a refreshing, bubbly-reminiscent taste.

    bacon-mansion
    Courtesy of Bacon Mansion

    If you’re stationed in Lower Queen Anne (Space Needle territory), Cannabis City, the first recreational marijuana store in the city, is another great place to buy weed. Short-term rental sites will be your best bet if 420-friendly accommodations are a must, but the Bacon Mansion, a Capitol Hill bed-and-breakfast, permits marijuana smoking on outside porches and patios, or the use of vaporizers indoors.

  • Washington

    the-evergreen-market-renton
    Courtesy of The Evergreen Market

    Head outside Seattle, and you can check out the Evergreen Market, which offers a pretty awesome vision for what the weed dispensary could be, with modern fixtures, a generous, open floor plan with an industrial vibe, and hardly a pot-leaf insignia in sight. In Olympia, Green Lady Marijuana is an unassuming little pot shop with a great selection of edibles and discreet vaping pens. Spokane also has a fine selection of weed shops, including Satori, which is known for its friendly, knowledgeable staff and impressive selection.

    As of July of this year, recreational marijuana use is legal in Oregon, but production and retail licenses won’t be approved until January of 2016. (Alaska is in a similar situation.) Just across the Columbia River from Portland, however, you can spend a few hours touring the grow operation of farmer Tom Lauerman, the “Walt Whitman of weed,” in Bush Prairie, Washington. On the first tour, in June of 2014, Oregon Live reported that he “spoke with equal pride about his tasty sugar snap peas and his Chemdawg, a popular strain of marijuana,” and began the event “with an offer of a complimentary joint.”

    This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure

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TIME District of Columbia

Vehicle Hits Barricade Near U.S. Capitol

US Capitol Barricade Struck
Alan Fram—AP A car is is moved after crashing into a barrier on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 31, 2015.

The incident is currently under investigation

(WASHINGTON) — Police say a person is in custody after a vehicle struck a barricade near the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement Friday morning that they’re investigating after a vehicle hit the south barricade at the entrance to the Capitol grounds. Police say the vehicle has been cleared of hazards.

Police say the driver, the only person in the vehicle, was taken into custody and is being processed at headquarters.

Police say the D.C. Fire Department responded to the scene and some streets in the area are closed temporarily.

Photos tweeted by people in the area show a maroon sedan with a crumpled hood that had apparently crashed head-on into the barricade.

TIME Terrorism

Could Twitter and Facebook Stop the Next Terrorist Attack?

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Legislation would require them to alert law enforcement of possible attacks

Tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo are fighting another battle in Washington of late, this time to resist pending legislation that would require them to alert law enforcement of possible terrorist attacks, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The legislation, which has been proposed as a part of a larger intelligence bill, is now under review by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s inspired by the fact that terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State have increasingly used social media to recruit and disseminate propaganda. Nevertheless, the tech firms feel that the language in the proposed bill is too broad, and “would potentially put companies on the hook legally if they miss a tweet, video or blog that hints of an attack,” the AP said.

The firms have also reportedly said in private meetings that they are already doing their part by banning “grisly content like beheadings and [alerting] law enforcement if they suspect someone might get hurt, as soon as they are aware of a threat.”

TIME Washington

‘Miracle’ Teen Autumn Veatch: Surviving Plane Crash Gave Me ‘Newfound Respect for Life’

Missing Plane
Sierra Lundy—AP Autumn Veatch in Bellingham, Wash.

Veatch made her way into the wilderness and spent two nights in the forest without food

The “miracle” teenager found alive days after a plane crash in the wilderness of Washington state told NBC News that she has a newfound respect for life.

Autumn Veatch, 16, was aboard a small plane flying from Montana to Washington with her step-grandparents when the aircraft crashed into a remote area in the northern part of the state.

Veatch was the sole survivor of the crash and fought her way from the burning wreckage and through dense woods for more than two days before she was found by hikers on Monday.

The teenager shared her dramatic story of survival with NBC…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Crime

Children Lose Mother to Cave Collapse and Father to Shooting in Less Than a Week

Tragedy hits twice

Four children whose mother was killed in an ice cave collapse earlier this month lost their father as well six days later when he died in a bar shooting.

Anna Santana, the children’s mother, died July 6 in a partial collapse at Big Four Ice Caves in Washington. Less than a week later, Adrian Martinez Cardona, the children’s father, was shot late on Sunday evening outside a San Bernardino bar, Reuters reports. Cardona had been asked to leave the bar after getting into an argument; he was shot multiple times soon afterward while standing near his car.

Police have not arrested any suspects in Cardona’s murder.

[Reuters]

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 White House

See the First Tourist Instagrams Taken at the White House

“Visitors are now able to take photos and keep those memories for a lifetime!” Michelle Obama announced on Instagram Wednesday, lifting a 40-year ban on tourist photography inside the White House

TIME natural disaster

See the Devastation of Washington State’s Wildfire From Above

The worst fire of the season devastated entire neighborhoods, as the state struggles with an ongoing drought

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