June 25, 2019

Starting next year, the Windy City might also become a very ... hungry city.

Tuesday afternoon, the Illinois state legislature voted to legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana, Vox reports. Illinois is now the eleventh state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, although the drug remains illegal under federal law. The bill passed the state House in May, in a 66-47 vote, before being sent to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign.

The legalization of recreational marijuana was a campaign promise of recently-elected Pritzker, a former businessman and philanthropist who defeated incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner last November.

The law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will also expunge arrests for marijuana possession up to 30 grams by non-violent offenders. One-fifth of all revenue received from marijuana taxes will fund mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities, and a quarter will support marijuana business ownership in communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

In Chicago, the number of arrests for marijuana possession has been dropping for years, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2011, more than 21,000 people were arrested, but that number dropped to 129 in 2017, following new sentencing guidelines.

"Illinoisans have had enough," Pritzker told the Chicago Tribune. "This legalization of adult use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it's the right thing to do." Watch Pritzker officially sign the bill below. Steven Orlofsky

12:53 p.m.

Who shot first?

It might not be one of Forky's questions, but it is perhaps the greatest conundrum of our time, up there with "what happens after you die," "what existed before the Big Bang," and "is the hit movie Frozen actually a giant cover up so people don't stumble onto the 'truth' about Walt Disney having been cryogenically frozen?" But truth-seekers who want to know which version of Han Solo's showdown with Greedo made it onto Disney+ are going to have more questions than just that. Chiefly: What on Earth is a Maclunkey?

In the original 1977 Star Wars film, Han Solo famously shot the bounty hunter Greedo, who was holding him at gunpoint, after a few threats. When director George Lucas re-released the film in 1997, he went back to edit the scene so Greedo actually fires on Han first, making Han's shot a return-fire, so the murder of Greedo is a little more justified. The question of who shot first has been the subject of controversy and endless discussion ever since.

On Tuesday, Disney+ uploaded a completely new version of the divisive scene in Star Wars: A New Hope. In this one, Han and Greedo still exchange their barbs, but then Greedo has an extra line of dialog before shooting first: He shouts "Maclunkey!"

What does it mean? Even Star Wars superfans are stumped by the utterance, although there is a rumor that "maclunkey" was added back during a 4K restoration that was never released.

Most impressive of all: Who'd have thought that after all these years, we'd have a new question about Greedo to keep us up at night? Jeva Lange

12:42 p.m.

Mark Sanford is officially calling it quits.

The former congressman and South Carolina governor, who sought to challenge President Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020, announced Tuesday he's ending his campaign, Axios reports.

Sanford, who while in Congress said that Trump has "fanned the flames of intolerance," said in July he was considering a run against the president, announcing in September he'd be joining the race and saying, "As a Republican Party, we have lost our way." His campaign was, to put it mildly, a long shot effort; a formal kickoff event he held in October drew just a single person.

Upon announcing Tuesday he'd already be exiting the race, Sanford said Tuesday, per The Washington Post's Dave Weigel, "I don't think on the Republican side there's any appetite for a serious nuanced debate with impeachment in the air." Brendan Morrow

12:14 p.m.

The families of Newtown, Connecticut shooting victims officially have a path to pursue justice.

The Sandy Hook families had previously sued Remington, the gun manufacturer that produced the weapon used in the 2012 shooting, prompting Remington to try to to get the case taken down. But the Supreme Court on Tuesday decided it wouldn't hear Remington's appeal of a ruling in favor of the families, letting the families proceed in their suit.

Earlier this year, Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against throwing out Sandy Hook victims' families' suit against Remington. Remington tried to appeal the decision to the highest federal court, saying a 2005 federal law meant it couldn't be sued when its weapons were used in a deadly shooting. But the Supreme Court decided against hearing it, giving no comment on its decision. "The families are grateful that the Supreme Court upheld precedent and denied Remington’s latest attempt to avoid accountability," Josh Koskoff, a lawyer for the families, told The Associated Press.

The Sandy Hook school shooting left 20 young children and six adults dead after a 20-year-old man with a Remington AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle opened fire. Families of the victims later sued Remington over the availability and marketing of the weapon, saying it was "targeted younger, at-risk males," per AP. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:50 a.m.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has dropped his plans for an impeachment lawsuit, saying he'll defy a congressional subpoena.

Mulvaney after receiving a subpoena for testimony had been trying to join in a lawsuit that essentially meant, as the New York Times reported, he aimed for the courts to "tell him whether to listen to his own boss, who wants him to remain silent, or to comply with a subpoena from the House, which wants his testimony." Mulvaney later decided he would file his own lawsuit.

The acting chief of staff "finds himself caught in that division, trapped between the commands of two of its co-equal branches — with one of those branches threatening him with contempt," his attorneys said in a filing, per The Hill. "He turns to this court for aid."

But now, Mulvaney has dropped this effort entirely, deciding upon listening to his old boss.

"After further consideration, Mr. Mulvaney does not intend to pursue litigation regarding the deposition subpoena issued to him by the U.S. House of Representatives," his attorneys said, CNN reports. "Rather, he will rely on the direction of the President, as supported by an opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, in not appearing for the relevant deposition."

Mulvaney already skipped his scheduled impeachment deposition last week, as two witnesses testified he was involved in tying a White House meeting with Ukraine's president with investigations Trump wanted. Brendan Morrow

10:59 a.m.

The race to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings' seat has its first contender.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Cummings' widow and the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, will run in the Baltimore district's special election, she told The Baltimore Sun in an interview published Monday night. While she is "of course devastated at the loss of my spouse," Rockeymoore Cummings said his "spirit is with me" in making this decision.

Cummings died last month at age 68 after a long fight with cancer, capping his congressional career as House Oversight Committee chair, leading one of the groups investigating President Trump for impeachment. As Cummings' health declined, he had considered resigning, but ultimately decided to stay in because "we thought there might be a turnaround," Rockeymoore Cummings told The Baltimore Sun. Cummings told his wife in the months before he died that he'd like her to take his congressional seat, with Rockeymoore Cummings saying she'd run "as if he's still right here by my side."

Rockeymoore Cummings will maintain Cummings' focus on the opioid crisis and "fighting for the soul of our democracy," and also campaign on her specialties in health care and education, she said. The seat will be decided in an April 28 special election. Meanwhile, several House Democrats are looking to take Cummings' spot on the Oversight committee, with Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) serving as acting chair.

Read more about Rockeymoore Cummings' decision at The Baltimore Sun. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:15 a.m.

Fans have been putting the Disney+ servers to the test, and so far, it hasn't been the smoothest of launches.

Disney officially debuted its new streaming service, Disney+, on Tuesday morning, but some of those who rushed to download the app and watch the premiere of the live-action Star Wars show The Mandalorian were met with error messages, as the service experienced technical difficulties.

These issues ranged from a message telling users that "we're currently experiencing slow internet connection speeds," to one that read, "there seems to be an issue connecting to the Disney+ service." The launch day hasn't been quite as disastrous and glitch-ridden as had been feared, but it's still been enough to interrupt the rollout and likely delay plenty of Mandalorian viewings.

Asked about the potential of day-one crashes earlier this year, Michael Paull, president of Disney's streaming services, told The Verge "we're thinking very much about [overload]" but "we are ready" and "we're spending a lot of time planning for this launch." But technical issues arose on launch day all the same.

The Disney+ help account on Twitter said Tuesday morning that "consumer demand" for the service has "exceeded our high expectations," promising to "quickly resolve the current user issue." Disney+, perhaps, just needed just a bit more server power in its corner. Brendan Morrow

10:06 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made it clear his 2020 campaign isn't funded by billionaires.

Except for a little while, it was. Marta Thoma Hall, the wife of a billionaire inventor, gave $470 to Sanders' campaign this summer — and when Sanders' team realized, they promptly returned it, Forbes reports.

Hall's husband David Hall, who "doesn't have as much of an interest in politics," holds a patent on a self-driving car sensor, and his stake in the Velodyne company has recently been valued at over $1 billion, Forbes writes. That essentially makes Hall a billionaire too — and the only one Forbes could find who donated to Sanders' campaign. She's also given around $500 to some other Democratic contenders, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and says she wasn't even aware of the $2,800 individual limit on single campaign donations.

Sanders' campaign, meanwhile, makes it clear his website is "paid for by Bernie 2020 (not the billionaires). He's also publicly claimed billionaires "shouldn't exist." So when Forbes asked why there was a billionaire on his donor list, a Sanders spokesperson thanked the publication and said it would be "returning Ms. Hall's contributions."

Hall found the return of her money "disappointing," she said. "I don't understand why they would do that. That's ridiculous," she told Forbes. Still, one has to respect the adherence to the brand. Kathryn Krawczyk

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