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Pot Party At Space Needle; Poll Says Most Want Pot Legalized; Apple To Build Mac Computer In USA; Apple Builds in USA; Panetta Warns Syria
Aired December 6, 2012 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: -- a look at the first day of legal pot in Washington state. A debate also, too, over the fiscal cliff and an update on the bazaar case of a millionaire caught in a murder investigation. We want to get right to it.
It is a new day for marijuana in Washington state. So, at the stroke of midnight, the recreational use of pot became legal. That is thanks to a law that voters across the state authorized last month. It allows people 21 and older to have as much as an ounce of pot for personal use. Now, voters in Colorado passed a similar law last month, but pot smokers there, they're going to have to wait until January 5th before they can legally light up. Now, 18 states, including Washington and Colorado, plus the District of Columbia, already let adults have marijuana for medical purposes. Now, these new laws mark a shift towards legal personal use. Our Miguel Marquez, he was in Seattle at the moment when the new law became official.
CROWD: Three, two, one!
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The moment recreational pot, anything less than an ounce, no longer illegal in Washington state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing. I'm not a criminal anymore. I can't go to jail for small amounts of marijuana. You know? It's -- I'm free to be free.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Well, several dozen hard core smokers showed up here to the base of the Space Needle, a symbol of the city and of the state to light up at the stroke of midnight. And while the new law does not allow smoking in public places, Seattle police and police departments across the state are turning a blind eye tonight allowing celebrations to light up.
This is what you assume the stores will look like or something along these lines?
JAMEN SHIVELY, ENTREPRENEUR: Yes. Our stores are going to have the feel of a fine cigar shop.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Jamen Shively was a high profile executive at Microsoft now preparing to open as many as two dozen high-end marijuana shops in Washington and Colorado. Yesterday, he'd be called a drug dealer. Today, an entrepreneur.
SHIVELY: Our target market is actually baby boomers, so these are folks who maybe tried it in college a couple of times, maybe they didn't inhale, and -- but now, it's actually safe to inhale.
MARQUEZ: He's already working on packaging and attractive he displays for future clients. The state liquor control board has a year to regulate and license the growing, processing, and retailing of marijuana here. All of it taxable at a very high 25 percent.
ALISON HOLCOMB, DIRECTOR, INITIATIVE 502: But we are looking at the potential of bringing in more than $500 million each year in new tax revenue.
MARQUEZ: The big question, still, what will the federal government do? Pot still illegal federally. Today, a legal toke up revolution burning here and soon Colorado. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Seattle.
MALVEAUX: By early next month, we expect the law of the land in Colorado to allow adults 21 and older to legally have small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but the change already creating some legal headaches. Will prosecutors drop pot possession cases that get into the pipeline before January 5th? And what about the federal laws that actually bar marijuana use? Our Jim Spellman, he's got that report.
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On election day, Colorado voted to legalize marijuana, and by early January, the governor will make it official. But don't expect the streets of Denver to look like this. Smoking pot in public will remain illegal. But behind closed doors, the times, they are a changing.
BRIAN VICENTE, AMENDMENT 64, ADVOCATE: And adults 21 and over can possess small amounts of marijuana and grow small amounts of marijuana privately, so it really is a fundamental shift from, you know, the 80 odd years of marijuana prohibition.
SPELLMAN: Brian Vicente is a co-author o of Amendment 64 that legalized marijuana. Built into the amendment is a year-long waiting period for the state to come up with a system to regulate pot like alcohol and ultimately set up marijuana stores by early 2014.
VICENTE: We want to be a model for the rest of the states on how to treat this policy issue correctly.
SPELLMAN: The effects of the amendment are already being felt. In several jurisdictions, pending marijuana cases have been dropped but not everywhere. Ken Buck is the Weld County D.A.
KEN BUCK, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, WELD COUNTY: The law is it is still illegal to possess marijuana, and we are still prosecuting marijuana cases. SPELLMAN: But composed Amendment 64. He says of the 120 pending marijuana cases in his county, three-quarters involve other crimes. He relies on marijuana charges to divert users into drug treatment programs which he says helps reduce crime.
BUCK: And we're going to see an increased crime rate. I think we're going to see de-motivation among high school students and others who end up smoke this. I think we're going to see the impact for years to come as a result of this experiment.
SPELLMAN: Marijuana is still against federal law, and regulators worry the administration could block legalization.
MARK COUCH, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, COLORADO: it is the will of the voters of Colorado that these actions in Amendment 64 take place. That said, you know, the federal government has a very strong interest here, and so we need to know what they plan to do.
SPELLMAN: If the federal government does intend to block Amendment 64, advocates say they're ready to fight.
VICENTE: I'm an attorney, and we have a team of attorneys in Colorado and nationally and we're prepared to defend the will of these voters.
MALVEAUX: Jim Spellman, he's joining us live from Denver. Jim, it's a little confusing for people who are not there, because you've got federal authorities. They might step in to block this constitutional amendment from becoming law. So, on the one hand, people are saying it's legal there, but, on the other hand, federal law says it's not legal. How do they sort all that out?
SPELLMAN (live): Sure. So, the Colorado governor's office have reached out to the Justice Department saying, give us guidance. As of this morning, they still haven't heard back. But here's the model that advocates, for Amendment 64, hope will happen. About four years ago, when the first Obama administration came in, Eric Holder signaled that they were not going to prosecute, go after medical marijuana in states that had approved it. Since that time, a huge medical marijuana industry has popped up here. We have about 500 medical marijuana stores here and over 100,000 people on the medical marijuana registry. And even though it's still against federal law, medical or not, so the advocates here are hoping that at the minimum, they'll get that kind of wink and a nod, sort of, for the federal government. It still doesn't really settle anything, --
SPELLMAN: -- but that's their sort of early stage hope. But they're realistic. They know that this could well end up in court. And as you heard in the piece, they are ready to fight for what they call the will of Colorado voters.
MALVEAUX: So, in the meantime here, if you're one of these people who is smoking in Colorado or you want to smoke in Colorado, could you get arrested, or it's just considered legal and it's OK?
SPELLMAN: Well, you're not going to get arrested in the short-term because it would really take, I guess, federal authorities to come and arrest you.
SPELLMAN: So, I don't think realistically that's going to happen. State police, county police, city police, they're not going to be arresting people for possession or growing a small number of plants. Plus, again, we do have this medical marijuana industry here. So, honestly, anybody here who really wants to buy and use marijuana, can get a medical marijuana card. It's not that hard and buy this stuff, so I don't think there's going to be a huge amount of change here. But what these advocates want to do is really set up a model -- they've done it with medical marijuana, set up a model for using recreational marijuana and hoping that that will spread across the country.
MALVEAUX: All right. Jim, thank you. You know, there's a lot of confusion about this, but a majority of Americans say that they actually do support making marijuana legal. And a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 51 percent of those surveyed said they favor legalization. There's a significant gender gap, however. Check this out. While almost 60 percent of men say they support legalization, only 44 percent of women actually want it to be legal.
Pot users in Washington, they're also facing a legal conundrum as well. Recreational use of the drug is it's legal as of today, but there's still a crime to grow and sell pot for personal use. So, let's sort all this out with our Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin. Sunny, it's confusing. It's just confusing here, right?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is. It is. It sort of even has me sort of scratching my head, and I think the legal geeks are really struggling with this, because, as you mentioned, it's now OK to smoke pot, not in public, but at your home. But it's not OK to grow or sell it. So, I always have the question when looking at this law, how do you get it? How do you get it? Because to acquire it, you then have to go to someone that's doing something illegal, and you become part of sort of a criminal enterprise, right?
MALVEAUX: And explain this to us, because I think I understand what Jim was saying here. But on the one hand, if marijuana, for personal, recreational use, is legal on a state level, then you wouldn't be arrested, people would not be arrested by state troopers or local officials, but if there was a federal official because it's still a federal crime, they could be arrested from a federal official, like a DEA or some somebody like that. Is that the accurate reading?
HOSTON: That's the accurate reading, no question about it. I mean, if you are in one of these states that has passed this law, you've got to be careful. You can't take your marijuana with you on to federal property, right, federal parks, federal courthouses. You could be arrested and certainly tried and convicted of a marijuana offense. And so, federal law, typically, Suzanne, trumps state law, and so while it's OK, again, in these states that have passed these laws to possess and to smoke marijuana in your home, it's not OK federally. And so, I think the feds really are going to have to weigh in on this because it's such a legal conundrum. People really don't know what to do, and I think we're all now looking for some guidance from the Justice Department.
MALVEAUS: And people are looking for some guidance from the attorney general, Eric Holder, in particular, but trafficking of marijuana is still a federal crime. I'm assuming as well that if you were to travel with marijuana from one state where it's legal to another state where it's not that you could be in jeopardy of being arrested.
HOSTON: Absolutely, absolutely. Again, because if you are going from one state to another, that makes it federally -- a federal jurisdiction there, crossing state lines. And if you are crossing state lines with marijuana, that is still an illegal drug under federal law. And so, the last thing you need is to be caught trafficking in marijuana, and there certainly is, again, that issue. If you are in Washington state, even though you can possess it, you can't grow it. You can't sell it. How do you get it? Are you going to try to go across state lines to get it and then go back? It really, really is problematic.
MALVEAUX: All right. Sunny, thank you for helping us kind of sort it all out. I'm sure there's --
HOSTON: I tried.
MALVEAUX: -- still a lot of -- a lot of questions still that this is going to play out from state to state around the country. Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
Here is what we're working on for this hour. Fears that Syria could use chemical weapons against its own people now growing. We're going to look at what deadly nerve gas, like Sarin, has done to civilians that have been exposed to it in the past.
And millionaire software developer John McAfee is arrested for entering Guatemala illegally. It is on camera. Hear what he said.
MALVEAUX: An Apple Mac computer made in the USA. Well, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, says it's going to happen starting next year. He says a computer giant is going to spend more than $100 million on the new made-in-the-USA product. Now, the company moved most of its manufacturing to Asia back in the late 1990s to take advantage of low labor costs. Dan Simon, he's outside Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. So, Dan, we are talking about $100 million. Seems like a small investment for a multibillion dollar company like Apple. Do we think we're going to see more of these made in the USA products?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey, Suzanne. All the company is talking about, right now, is a single product, something from its Mac product family line. Obviously, that pales in comparison to the number of units they produce for the iPhone or the iPad, for instance, but it does represent a start.
You know, there are a couple of different ways of looking at this. Some might say $100 million. That's chump change to a company that has, you know, $10 billion in the bank and that it won't employ all that many workers. My own analysis of this, and I cover this -- have been covering this company for a long time, is that, yes, Apple has the greatest PR machine in the world, but, look, this is a beginning for them. This is good PR for them, but it will establish a presence in the United States and it may encourage other companies to do the same thing.
You know, it's no secret why the vast majority of Apple products are made in China, because we're talking about cheap labor and we're talking about infrastructure capacity, which we don't currently have in the U.S. Tim Cook says he wants to bring that to the U.S. Here's what he told "Business Week. "Next year we're going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We've been working on this for a long time and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We're really proud of it."
And additionally, Suzanne, I want to play you something that Tim Cook said earlier this year about the possibility of bringing manufacturing to the United States. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM COOK, APPLE CEO: Even though it doesn't say that today, you could put down there, several parts are from the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Well, the question -- the question coming up is, you know, how many jobs are we talking about? Where will they be located? What kind of skills will be required to get these jobs? At this point we just don't know. We've got to wait for the company to announce, you know, where they're going to put, you know, these plants. They seem to be partnering with others, though. They're going to invest $100 million and probably let other folks do most of the work.
MALVEAUX: All right, Dan, thank you. Dan Simon.
An American multimillionaire who is wanted for questioning in a murder case in Belize might be forced to return to that country today. John McAfee, this is a bizarre story, he created McAfee computer security software. Well, he is now under arrest in Guatemala. He's accused of entering that country illegally. Now, authorities in Belize want to question McAfee about the killing of his neighbor there. It looks like they're going to get their wish because Guatemala officials say they are likely to send him back to Belize today. And McAfee says he's got nothing to do with his neighbor's death. Well, Vice Media shot exclusive video of McAfee being arrested last night. Watch this.
JOHN MCAFEE, INTERNET SECURITY PIONEER: They're trying to arrest me. Guatemalan jails have beds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John, where are you going?
MCAFEE: To jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you be out?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: So, yesterday, McAfee applied for asylum in Guatemala. During a news conference he accused Belize of persecuting him for refusing to pay a bribe to a local politician. Well, as he walked up to that news conference, he described his life in the United States to his girlfriend, and then he spoke to reporters. Now, Vice Media caught all of this, so watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCAFEE: You've never seen this before, have you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, never in my life.
MCAFEE: This is -- this is my life in America, sweetie. So you'll see that I'm quite comfortable with this.
I have, for five years, lived in Belize peacefully. Seven months ago the Belizean government sent 42 armed soldiers into my property. They killed one of my dogs. They broke into all of my houses. They stole. They arrested me and kept me handcuffed in the sun for 14 hours. I was taken to jail. And it was only the intervention of the U.S. embassy that got me out of jail.
Since that time, I have been continually harassed by the government. They have attempted to charge me with every crime ranging from running an antibiotics laboratory without a license, to hiring security guards without a license, to having improper paperworks for my company, and most recently, the murder of my neighbor. I had to leave, but the story has to get out. I have documentation that proves the intense corruption at all levels of the Belizean government. Now that I'm in a safe place, I can speak freely. I will be talking on my blog, whoismcafee.com, starting tonight revealing the truth about Belize. And thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: So McAfee did write on his blog. He says a Guatemalan judge is reviewing his case now. He says he's -- he'd like to go back to the United States. According to a spokesman for the Belize police department, authorities seem to be angered and baffled by his blog and his accusations. They have not commented to CNN on his arrest.
Reports today that Syria is loading components for chemical weapons into bombs. It is a flashback of the days of "Chemical Ali." He is a man who released chemical weapons on a Kurdish town. We're going to take a look at the damage that gases like sarin can do.
MALVEAUX: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta just echoed President Obama's warnings of consequences if Syria uses chemical weapons against its own people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching very closely. And the president of the United States has made very clear that there will be consequences. There will be consequences if the Assad regime makes a terrible mistake by using these chemical weapons on their own people. I'm not going to speculate or comment on what those potential consequences would be, and I think it's fair enough to say that their use of those weapons would cross a red line for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: NBC News says that Syria's military has loaded the component chemicals for the deadly nerve gas sarin into aerial bombs that could be dropped from fighter jets. Our national security contributor Fran Townsend, she's joining us via Skype from New York to discuss this.
Fran, first of all, Leon Panetta, the defense secretary, said this. I want to read this and get your take on this. He says, "the intelligence that we have causes serious concerns that this is being considered." What does he mean by that? What do you think the intelligence he has in his hands to say such a thing?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it sounds, when you read -- (INAUDIBLE) "The New York Times" report earlier this week put it together with the NBC report, it appears that they're taking steps to certainly mix the precursor chemicals that would be required to load them into warheads and NBC went as far as to say that the sarin had been loaded into the weapons.
Either way, it's a -- one, a serious step, and, second, something we've not seen before. You remember the earlier reports, Suzanne, that their intelligence community believed there was some movement of the weapons. That was concerning enough. But the notion that they've gone yet a step further, that is to either prepare or actually, in fact, load the chemical weapons into the warheads is very serious because, of course, it limits your options for how you may react.
MALVEAUX: Fran, does this bring us any closer to the red line that the president has talked about, that he would have to see some sort of intention from Syria to use that type of nerve gas against its own people? Are we closer to that?
TOWNSEND: Oh, most definitely, Suzanne, because I'm not sure how much closer you get to the red line than load the weapons, right? I mean this is -- and, frankly, I think that you will hear, in Congress especially, a real debate about whether or not we've waited too long, because as I said earlier, you -- when they've got the weapons this close to launch -- the capability of launch, you've really limited yourself in terms of what you can do. Remember, if you wanted to now have an air operation and bomb inside Syria to prevent such a launch, you now risk the fact that any bombing could trigger a release, right, and the very gas that you're trying to sort of keep control of in a bombing could be released inadvertently.
MALVEAUX: Senator John McCain has just reacted to what the defense secretary said. I want you to listen to what he believes is necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), RANKING MEMBER< ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The time for talking about what to do may now be coming to a close, and we may instead be left with an awful and very difficult decision, whether to continue on the sidelines and hope that a man was has slaughtered nearly 40,000 men, women, and children in Syria will decide not to take the next step and use far more destructive weapons to kill significantly larger numbers of people, or whether to take military action of some kind that could prevent a mass atrocity. If that is the choice we now face, it is a grave and sobering decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Fran, what do you think? I mean, do you think it is time now to consider military action on the part of the United States?
TOWNSEND: Well, I think what's going on now, you know, if you look, you see Secretary Clinton is traveling to the Middle East on Monday. I think what the administration is scrambling to do now is to try and put together an international coalition, much as we saw them do with Libya, talking to the Arab League, talking to Gulf allies, talking to NATO. Because, of course, we're better off if we don't have to act alone. If we have the support of the international community. You know, but, frankly, I think I probably fall down where Senator McCain was at least implying, and that is we've waited awfully long and we've made it a far more difficult task by waiting until now to intervene there.
MALVEAUX: Give us a sense, Fran, of what we are talking about here. What's at stake? Because this is not the first time that chemical weapons were used in the region. We all know and remember when Saddam Hussein used nerve gas on the Kurds in Iraq. Explain what happens.
TOWNSEND: Well, it takes -- I think people really underestimate or don't appreciate sort of just how powerful these are. You know, back the Unsheriko (ph) group in Japan used it on a train, and the train doors opened and most everyone there was dead. And it takes a very small bit. It travels through the air, over an extensive swath, and it takes very little to kill people and very quickly. I'm talking in a matter of minutes. So this is not just a threat. It's a very grave threat to the Syrian people themselves. But you can imagine if you were a neighbor, Turkey, who has seen so many refugees, Jordan, Israel. If you're a neighbor of Syria's, you feel directly threatened by a potential release, even if it wasn't sort of purposefully directed at you. You could -- and you your citizens could fall victim to it. And so it's very powerful. It's very difficult to control once it's been released, and very, very deadly. MALVEAUX: All right. Fran Townsend, thank you very much. Appreciate your perspective, as always.
This just in to CNN. A spokesperson for the president of Guatemala says the American software mogul, John McAfee, is going to be denied asylum. He's going to be denied asylum. He was seeking asylum. That is going to be now denied. John McAfee, he created, of course, McAfee computer security software. He's currently in police custody in Guatemala. He is accused of entering that country illegally, but it's authorities in Belize who want to question him about the death of his neighbor there in Belize when he was living in Belize. Now, McAfee, he says he's got nothing to do with his neighbor's death. So, obviously, he has been arrested, he has been on the run, he's been talking to media and now he has been denied asylum in Guatemala.
Some folks worried now about the fiscal cliff. One economist worried that a budget deal is actually going to hurt the economy and send unemployment sky-high. We're going to hear what he's got to say up next.