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FBI balks at pot background checks PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press   
Friday, 14 March 2014 10:15

SEATTLE (AP) — The FBI is refusing to run nationwide background checks on people applying to run legal marijuana businesses in Washington state, even though it has conducted similar checks in Colorado — a discrepancy that illustrates the quandary the Justice Department faces as it allows the states to experiment with regulating a drug that's long been illegal under federal law.

Washington state has been asking for nearly a year if the FBI would conduct background checks on its applicants, to no avail. The bureau's refusal raises the possibility that people with troublesome criminal histories could wind up with pot licenses in the state — undermining the department's own priorities in ensuring that states keep a tight rein on the nascent industry.

It's a strange jam for the feds, who announced last summer that they wouldn't sue to prevent Washington and Colorado from regulating marijuana after 75 years of prohibition.

The Obama administration has said it wants the states to make sure pot revenue doesn't go to organized crime and that state marijuana industries don't become a cover for the trafficking of other illegal drugs. At the same time, it might be tough for the FBI to stomach conducting such background checks — essentially helping the states violate federal law.

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Retail group urges youth e-cig ban PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, AP Tobacco Writer   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 13:39

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A trade group is encouraging convenience stores and gas stations not to sell electronic cigarettes to minors, according to a position statement obtained by The Associated Press.

The National Association of Convenience Stores' new position states that, as a best practice, e-cigarettes should be treated just like other age-restricted tobacco products. The move was communicated to its members on Thursday.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. The category has grown from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide.

The more than 151,280 convenience stores in the U.S. accounted for nearly $540 million in e-cigarette sales in 2013, making it the largest retail channel for the products, the Alexandria, Va.-based association said.

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Ex-CEO of Fiesta Bowl gets eight months in prison PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JACQUES BILLEAUD, Associated Press   
Friday, 14 March 2014 10:13

PHOENIX (AP) — For years, John Junker enjoyed the prestige of running the Fiesta Bowl organization, pulling in a six-figure salary, rubbing elbows with powerful people and taking advantage of the perks of the job such as spending $33,000 in bowl money on his birthday bash.

Then the longtime Fiesta Bowl chief executive suffered a bruising reversal of fortune. Three years ago, he was fired amid an illegal campaign contribution scandal that jeopardized the bowl's NCAA license.

His fall from grace was punctuated Thursday when he was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for participating in a scheme in which bowl employees made illegal campaign contributions to politicians and were reimbursed by the nonprofit bowl. Bowl employees were reimbursed at least $46,000 for such contributions.

In seeking leniency, Junker said he was a changed man and has had to live with sadness from his mistakes. "Every day of the last four years, I have lived with that sorrow," Junker told the judge, his voice cracking with emotion as he explained the negative impact the case has had on his family.

Junker, 58, is the only person to face time behind bars as a result of the scandal that jeopardized the bowl's NCAA license and its status as one of four bowls in the national college football championship rotation.

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Mandalay Bay agrees to $500,000 fine in drug sting PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by HANNAH DREIER, Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 13:27

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Mandalay Bay Resort plans to pay a half-million-dollar fine after employees at an upscale Las Vegas Strip lounge provided prostitutes and drugs to undercover officers.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a proposed settlement with the casino this week. It's awaiting approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Authorities say undercover officers bought cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs from employees of the House of Blues Foundation Room over the summer of 2012. Officials say employees also connected officers with four prostitutes and a private room for sex. The sting caught 10 employees and five non-employees engaging in this kind of illegal activity.

Officials with Mandalay Bay parent company MGM Resorts do not contest the findings of the complaint. The company said the employees involved in the activities have been fired, and the lounge has increased its training procedures to prevent future misconduct.

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