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One of the most influential groups helping set policy for New York's legal cannabis industry is led mostly by farmers with little prior political experience -- but with early success in representing small to mid-sized marijuana businesses, the group is punching above its weight.

The New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Associationconsisted of five people and one paid lobbyist when it formed about three years ago. Today, the association stands at about 250 members, according to the group, and its board members point to several accomplishments within the state's cannabis legalization law as evidence of its increasing clout in Albany.


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Andrew Denney More from This Author

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ith COVID-19 cases surging in courthouses across New York, the association representing state Supreme Court justices is calling on officials to put the brakes on plans to move forward with in-person trials.

According to daily reports from the court system, a growing number of employees from courthouses in seemingly every corner of the state have reported that they have caught the bug over the last few weeks, with dozens more being posted each day. 


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COVID cases surge in NYC courts - New York Daily News

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In New York City's courthouses, omicron is so out of control that arraignments have turned into a hot zone where anyone present receives a COVID-19 exposure alert, public defenders said Wednesday.

"Everyone who is entering these spaces is getting sick," Legal Aid Society union president Lisa Ohta said at a virtual press conference.



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We appreciate that the Law Journal has reported extensively on the issue of the denial of certification to justices over 70. We write to highlight several important issues in response to your recent article, "Advocates Await Fate of Popular Legislation, Fiercely Opposed by Top Court Officials, to Keep Older Judges on the Bench."

The pending bill is consistent with the constitutional mandate, and it will not minimize the role of the Administrative Board. The board will still be charged with conducting an individualized determination as to whether each justice who applies for certification is necessary to the work of the courts and is both mentally and physically able and competent to do the job.

Importantly, this law will prevent a repetition of the Office of Court Administration's arbitrary action in 2020, when 46 justices were involuntarily retired, without individualized evaluations, while only three were permitted to continue working. This action severely impaired the ability of the courts to process their calendars and exacerbated the backlogs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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A new HGTV series promises to "Kickstart" an Upstate New York town with a revitalization project.

The Hudson Valley Post reports Cornwall, N.Y., is one of six small communities nationwide that will be given "a boost to re-energize their revitalization efforts" on the upcoming TV show "Home Town Kickstart Presented By PEOPLE," hosted by Ben and Erin Napier. The Napiers previously renovated their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi on HGTV's "Home Town," and led a similar effort in Wetumpka, Alabama, on "Home Town Takeover."

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Effective January 1, 2022, the NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law requires businesses and institutions that generate an annual average of two tons of wasted food per week or more must:

  1. donate excess edible food; and
  2. recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler (composting facility, anaerobic digester, etc.).

Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law Overview (PDF)

This law does NOT include:

  • New York City (which already has a local law in place requiring the diversion of food scraps from disposal)
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Adult Care Facilities
  • K-12 Schools
  • Farms

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US FISC rulings will stay secret • The Register

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Liam Proven


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The US Supreme Court this week refused [PDF] to hear a case that would have forced the country's hush-hush Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to explain its justifications for giving the Feds the right to help themselves to bulk amounts of the public's data.

The FISC decides who the Feds can follow according to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

In a blistering dissent filed on Monday [PDF], Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor asked why the court would decline to review a case with "profound implications for Americans' privacy and their rights to speak and associate freely."

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A new blueprint for solo and small firm lawyers to best navigate times of crisis has been issued by the New York State Bar Association's Emergency Task Force for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners.

The task force's review of the impact of COVID-19 on solo and small-firm practitioners found that the pandemic exponentially increased day-to-day stresses on the operations of law firms, especially solo and small firm practices.

"No part of society escaped COVID's reach, including New York's legal system. Lasting changes will occur," said NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown, of Rochester (Brown Hutchinson). "This timely report expertly details how solo and small firm practitioners can navigate a crisis and continue to serve clients."

Created in March 2020 by Past President Hank Greenberg (Greenberg Traurig), the task force's mandate was to comprehensively examine the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on all aspects of solo and small firm practices, and to make meaningful recommendations as to how solo and small firm practitioners can maintain their practices in times of crisis.

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Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.64/A.1524) establishing a statewide Restaurant Meals Program as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The legislation mandates the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to apply for USDA approval to authorize the program, which would allow homeless, elderly and disabled SNAP recipients to use their benefits for prepared or hot food from participating restaurants. Governor Hochul signed this legislation at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn, NY on October 4.  

The Governor also announced the launch of the $25 million Restaurant Resiliency Program to provide relief to the restaurant industry, which continues to face severe challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, proposed by the legislature, will build on the successful Nourish New York initiative. It will provide funding to New York's network of food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from New York restaurants and deliver them to families in need. 

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Marijuana is now legal in New York, but that doesn't mean you can smoke it everywhere.

Here's a look at some of the rules on where you can and can't smoke in the state.

Generally, anywhere you're not allowed to smoke a cigarette, you're also not allowed to smoke a joint.

That includes a host of places where smoking is banned under New York's Clean Indoor Air Act:

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By Sean Lyngaas, CNN Business

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(CNN Business)Apple has updated its software for iPhones to address a critical vulnerability that independent researchers say has been exploited by notorious surveillance software to spy on a Saudi activist.

Researchers from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said the software exploit has been in use since February and has been used to deploy Pegasus, the spyware made by Israeli firm NSO Group that has allegedly been used to surveil journalists and human rights advocates in multiple countries.
The urgent update that Apple (AAPL) released Monday plugs a hole in the iMessage software that allowed hackers to infiltrate a user's phone without the user clicking on any links, according to Citizen Lab. The Saudi activist chose to remain anonymous, Citizen Lab said.
    Apple credited the Citizen Lab researchers for finding the vulnerability.
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    Lawyr

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    It's not got a lot of the bells and whistles you might be used to. What it has got is a whole load of legal types including solicitors, barristers, law students and legal PAs, a whole bunch of people who want to meet them, and you, pecking like a magpie through their profiles. If you're a lawyer, it's finally a chance to trade off your status. You slogged through law school, you scored a great gig, but today the only people you see are either telling you to work all weekend, or trying to avoid you telling them to work all weekend. Now is your time. Meet other lawyers and share your hopes, dreams, fears, bodies and favourite judgments. Or, meet non-lawyers who can appreciate what you bring to the table, such as, well, everything about you, surely. 

    Lawyr is also for anyone who's interested in dating someone in the legal community. 

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    DOJ says it will 'protect' women seeking abortions in Texas | TheHill

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    BY OLAFIMIHAN OSHIN 

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    The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said it will protect women who are seeking abortions in the state of Texas amid turmoil following the passage of a controversial restrictive abortion law in the state. 

    In a press release, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the department will explore "all options" to challenge the new Texas law, adding that they will provide support for women in the Lone Star State who are still seeking abortions.

    "The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack. We have reached out to U.S. Attorneys' Offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country to discuss our enforcement authorities," Garland said in the statement. 

    "We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act," he said.

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    By Phil McCausland

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    Religious exemptions could prove to be the latest legal battlefield of the pandemic, as Americans opposed to the coronavirus vaccines try to find ways around employer and government vaccination mandates.

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    One driver for testing sincerity is the fact that no major organized religion objects to the vaccines, and Roman Catholic, other Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders have advised followers to get the shots. Pope Francis went so far as to say that getting vaccinated was "the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others."

    Individually held beliefs, however, could provide some protections.

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    By Andy Rose, CNN

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    Washington, DC (CNN)A district judge in Texas has issued a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life, blocking the anti-abortion group from suing abortion providers employed by Planned Parenthood under the state's strict new abortion law, according to a copy of the order provided by Planned Parenthood.

    The law, which took effect this week, bans abortions after as early as six weeks into pregnancy and allows private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the law. It is among the strictest in the nation and bars abortions just after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is often before a woman knows that she is pregnant.
    Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Travis County ruled that the medical providers faced "probable, irreparable, and imminent injury" if they were sued by the private group in connection with abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, as provided for under the law.
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    Ten of the city's storm drowning victims perished in illegally converted basement apartments, with the helpless tenants trapped by water pouring into their subterranean homes, the Department of Buildings said Friday.

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    "DOB inspectors have confirmed that five of the six properties where New Yorkers tragically lost their lives during the floods were illegally converted cellar and basement apartments," said LaRocca, adding inspectors were out Friday conducting safety inspections at more than 1,000 damaged city properties.

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    By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

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    In the novel legal strategy, the state Legislature designed the law to prevent government officials from directly enforcing it. The move was meant to make it much more difficult to bring a pre-enforcement challenge because there are not the usual government officials to hold accountable in court. 
    Instead, the law allows private citizens -- anywhere in the country -- to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the ban. 
    Opponents say the law is part of a new wave of laws put forward by states hostile to abortion rights and will inspire other states to follow suit.
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    By Tierney Sneed, CNN

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    CNN)Texas state law that bans abortion after as early as six weeks into the pregnancy could provide the playbook for red states to pass extreme abortion restrictions -- without having to wait for the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.

    The measure -- signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May -- prohibits abortion providers from conducting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. It would effectively outlaw at least 85% of the abortions sought in the state, according to opponents of the law, since that point is around six weeks into the pregnancy, before some women know they're pregnant.
    The law took effect early Wednesday morning after the Supreme Court and a federal appeals court did not rule on attempts to block it.
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    The defendant was charged with a number of minor crimes, including drug possession and shoplifting. He was prepared to plead guilty, and prosecutors agreed. But a Bronx judge approving the deal added his own unusual condition.

    The defendant had to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

    A week later, a Manhattan judge made the same order, this time of a woman seeking bail before a trial.

    Neither defendant appeared to object. But legal observers said the two judges' orders -- made in different courts and for different reasons -- raise important questions about the line between civic responsibility and civil liberties.

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