Rob Hotakainen

High hopes for more exports, from chickens to cheese, as Obama heads to Europe

As President Barack Obama prepares to go to Northern Ireland on Sunday to promote a new trade pact with the European Union, hopes are running high for many U.S. businesses eager to squeeze more cash from one of the world’s most lucrative markets. | 06/14/13 15:36:41 By - By Rob Hotakainen and Lindsay Wise

Pot comes to Capitol Hill as U.S. marijuana movement blooms

As she prepares to open the Metropolitan Wellness Center above a Popeyes chicken restaurant a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, general manager Vanessa West isn’t worried that her medical marijuana shop will get raided. West knows she’ll be selling a drug that’s illegal under federal law, even though the District of Columbia city council has approved sales for medical use, but she expects the city to have a tightly run system. | 06/05/13 15:26:21 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Clashing pot laws prompt search for middle ground

Under federal law, banks can’t accept money from retail shops that sell marijuana, even if they’re regulated by a state. | 05/31/13 18:49:20 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Marijuana is drug most often linked to crime, study finds

Marijuana is the drug most often linked to crime in the United States, the U.S. drug czar said Thursday, dismissing calls for legalization as a “bumper-sticker approach” that should be avoided. | 05/23/13 17:19:49 By - By Rob Hotakainen

A year later, U.S. trade with Colombia grows while anxiety mounts

Colombian Ambassador Carlos Urrutia says there’s no doubt that his country’s trade deal with the U.S. has paid off. U.S. officials are equally excited, saying U.S. businesses have improved their sales to the South American country by 20 percent. But a year after the agreement took effect, the growth in trade is producing mounting anxiety in some quarters. | 05/23/13 12:02:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

South Korea trade deal produces bleak first-year results for U.S.

More than a year after it took effect, a highly touted trade deal with South Korea has failed to produce as expected for the U.S.: Exports are down, imports are up and the trade deficit with the Asian economic powerhouse has ballooned. | 05/22/13 16:19:10 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Indian country torn over gay marriage

For Heather Purser, the first pang came more than a decade ago as she gathered clams on Puget Sound’s Chico Beach, watching her cousin’s new husband assist with the digging. She figured she’d never have a legal spouse to help with the backbreaking work. Then Purser, a member of Washington state’s Suquamish Tribe who knew she was gay at age 7, decided to act: She led a personal lobbying campaign that ended with her tribal council voting in 2011 to approve same-sex marriage. | 05/09/13 19:24:01 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske talks tough on marijuana as pressure grows

As Washington state and Colorado wait to see whether the federal government will allow them to sell marijuana legally, the Obama administration is busy talking about the dangerous health effects of smoking pot. | 04/24/13 18:22:59 By - By Rob Hotakainen

As Colorado celebrates pot holiday, marijuana tourism divides state

As marijuana users prepared for their unofficial national holiday on Saturday, Denver got a head start, with local promoters trying to showcase Colorado as a state that welcomes pot-smoking tourists after voters legalized the drug in November. | 04/19/13 17:38:53 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Alaska voters on track to decide in 2014 whether to legalize pot

Alaska voters likely will get a chance next year to make their state the third in the country to approve the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. | 04/16/13 16:49:09 By - By Rob Hotakainen

With new momentum to legalize, pot backers aim high

As one of the nation’s top marijuana lobbyists, Allen St. Pierre has come to believe in his product, which is why he tries to smoke high-potency, one-toke weed every night if possible. | 04/05/13 15:54:50 By - By Rob Hotakainen

For first time, majority of Americans back legal pot

Just five months after Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a poll released Thursday found that a majority of Americans now agree and say it should not be illegal to smoke the drug. | 04/04/13 21:02:04 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Sen. Patty Murray seeks new calm in partisan budget fight

After getting word in December that she’d be heading the Senate Budget Committee in 2013, Democrat Patty Murray picked up the check when she had breakfast with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan in the Senate Dining Room. | 03/21/13 21:06:44 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Climate emerges as hot issue in Columbia River Treaty talks with Canada

When Eisenhower signed the treaty with Canada as one of his last official acts in 1961, global warming did not rank as a public concern. Fifty-two years later, it’s a different story. The treaty created a system of dams for flood control and electricity, but changing weather might mean fewer fish and might damage the river’s ability to feed the turbines that produce hydropower for the two nations. Consequently, environmentalists want climate change to take center stage as U.S. and Canadian officials try to decide whether to extend the treaty. | 03/16/13 00:00:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Frustrated Sen. Murkowski takes heat as Alaska tribes get left out of new domestic violence law

Across the nation, Indian tribes cheered when President Barack Obama signed a new Violence Against Women Act last week, expanding the power of tribal courts to try non-Indians for crimes of domestic violence committed on reservations. | 03/15/13 16:30:21 By - By Rob Hotakainen

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