31 Mar 2021: New York Becomes 15th State To Legalize Marijuana.. "Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Wednesday [March 31, 2021] ... The legislation automatically clears the records of those with past marijuana-related convictions ... State lawmakers passed the legislation mainly along party lines late Tuesday, [clueless Republicans opposed it]."
22 Jan 2021: Recreational marijuana sales kick off in Arizona.. "Recreational marijuana sales have started in Arizona, with many of the state's medical-marijuana dispensaries getting the OK on Friday [Jan 22, 2021] to open sales to anyone 21 or older. ... It is the fastest that any of the 15 states with recreational marijuana has gone from voter approval [Nov 3, 2020] to actual sales."
15 Jan 2021:Local Massachusetts Lawmakers Unanimously Approve Psychedelics Decriminalization Measure. "Oakland, Santa Cruz and Ann Arbor—have also decriminalized possession of plant-and fungi-based psychedelics. In Oregon, November’s election saw the passage of a historic initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. ... Much of this reform progress can be traced back to Denver, which became the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in May 2019."
11 Dec 2020: What’s at stake in the Senate runoffs. "Add to that the fate of the Affordable Care Act, marijuana decriminalization, criminal justice legislation ... Obama needed a Democratic House and Senate to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010, while Trump could not have passed his massive tax cuts [for the rich] in 2017 without Republicans controlling both chambers."
Romance novelists raise $400,000 for Georgia Senate races – with help from Stacey Abrams 25 Nov 2020 article. Senate cannabis reform depends on Democratis winning. "Abrams’ work fighting against suppression of black voters and organizing voter registration efforts is widely credited with helping Joe Biden become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in more than a quarter century. Democrats have said her work was 'pivotal' in flipping Wisconsin and other battleground states."
Strange Fruit is still a song for today. 18 Sep 2010. The Guardian. "On the last day of 1999, Time magazine selected Strange Fruit as its choice for the best song of the passing century. ... Released in 1939, the record eventually sold over a million copies and became one of the most influential songs of all time."
April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959. Like many musicians of her time Billie Holiday used marijuana and other drugs, and suffered due to the growing drug war. Times are worse today in some ways. See Jim Crow, and search for info on the drug war and modern-day Jim Crow. See: Race, ethnicity, and the drug war.
At the famous Café Society in New York City, "everyone in that group smoked pot," remembered trumpeter Doc Cheatham. "They had a little room off the bandstand and some, including Mary Lou [Williams] and Billie [Holiday], would smoke pot in there. They would put me outside the door in a chair smoking a pipe that would cover the fumes of the pot."
Wikipedia: Café Society. The first racially integrated night club in the United States. Advertised as "The Wrong Place for the Right People." The club also prided itself on treating black and white customers equally, unlike many venues, such as the Cotton Club, that featured black performers but barred black customers except for prominent blacks in the entertainment industry. The club featured many of the greatest black musicians of the day, from a wide range of backgrounds, often presented with a strongly political bent.
Even so, as doctors began methadone treatment, Holiday began to improve, gaining some weight and improving slowly. But then Anslinger’s men prevented hospital staff from administering any further methadone. She succumbed to death within days.
"Imagine if the government chased sick people with diabetes, put a tax on insulin and drove it into the black market, told doctors they couldn’t treat them, and then caught them, prosecuted them for not paying their taxes, and then sent them to jail. If we did that, everyone would know we were crazy. Yet we do practically the same thing every day in the week to sick people hooked on drugs. The jails are full and the problem is getting worse every day." -- Billie Holiday, from chapter 17 of her 1956 autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues.
"To Anslinger, this [jazz] was musical anarchy, and evidence of a recurrence of the primitive impulses that lurk in black people, waiting to emerge. 'It sounded,' his internal memos said, 'like the jungles in the dead of night.' Another memo warned that 'unbelievably ancient indecent rites of the East Indies are resurrected' in this black man’s music.' ... 'Please prepare all cases in your jurisdiction involving musicians in violation of the marijuana laws. We will have a great national round-up arrest of all such persons on a single day.' ... But when Harry came for them, the jazz world would have one weapon that saved them: its absolute solidarity."
Ronald Reagan, 1980 campaign speech: "Leading medical researchers are coming to the conclusion that marijuana, pot, grass whatever you want to call it, is probably the most dangerous drug in the United States, and we haven't begun to find out all of the ill effects, but they are permanent ill effects. The loss of memory for example."
"By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries".
US federal minimum wage timeline below. Top line is adjusted for inflation. Middle class prosperity peaked under Truman and Roosevelt in the 1950s due to steep progressive taxation where the middle class paid less. And the minimum wage was increased. That also pushed up middle class wages.
Wikipedia: List of countries by wealth per adult - 2019 publication: The average median wealth per adult for Canada ($107,004) is much higher than that of the former great nation, the USA ($65,904). It's due to Republican trickle-down voodoo economics: Giving tax cuts to the rich instead of to the middle class and poor who actually need them. Plus predatory mortgage loans and foreclosure. And predatory unforgivable student loans. Google News search: student debt.
10 Jul 2018: National (US) Pay Trends. "Since 2006, wages have risen 12.9 percent overall in the US. But when you factor in inflation, real wages' have actually fallen 9.3 percent. In other words, the income for a typical worker today buys them less than it did in 2006."
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."