The Weeds

The Weeds

Politics is how people achieve power. Policy is what they do with it. Every week on The Weeds, host Jonquilyn Hill and guests break down the policies that shape our lives, from abortion to financial regulations to affirmative action to housing. We dive deep and we get wonky, but we have fun along the way. New episodes drop every Wednesday. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


November 29, 2023 41 mins
Most of us love a bargain, but when it comes to our wardrobe, there’s a high cost for those cheap clothes. Fast fashion has taken the world by storm, with brands having tens of thousands — if not over a million — designs available at any moment. The consumption comes at a cost: the factory workers making those outfits are often underpaid and working in terrible conditions, and some countries have literal mountains of synthetic clot...
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This episode of Decoder with Nilay Patel originally ran in early November. Patel and former President Barack Obama discuss AI and the future of the internet. They talk about President Biden’s recent executive order on AI, the First Amendment, democracy, and if the government could – or even should – regulate social media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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November 15, 2023 42 mins
If you are frustrated with how expensive everything feels right now, you’re not alone. Inflation has fallen from last year’s high, but prices haven’t. And while the rise in prices of goods has slowed, people are pretty unhappy with the economy right now. But a lot of experts are saying the economy is in a good spot right now. So why doesn’t it feel that way? Weeds host Jonquilyn Hill discusses with Vox senior correspondent Emily St...
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November 8, 2023 47 mins
If you turn on the news, or scroll through your social media feed of choice, there’s a good chance you’ll see the latest on the Israel-Hamas war — and the reaction to it. But there’s one call to action making its way down social media feeds that feels different from all these other responses. It’s called BDS, short for boycott, divest, and sanction. And like just about everything related to this conflict, it’s complicated and contr...
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The school choice movement is having a moment again. Charter schools and voucher programs have been around for decades, but the Covid-19 pandemic has created another explosion in popularity for the choice movement. And since the pandemic, a slew of Republican-led states have passed choice policy aimed increasing access to other choice options. But does the choice movement come at the expense of public schools? Cara Fitzpatrick, aut...
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The struggles of caretaking are nothing new, but there’s a trend emerging as baby boomers get older: More and more younger adults are becoming part of the “sandwich generation.” That means they’re caring for young children and aging loved ones at the same time, and this change is exposing gaps in eldercare policy. More than half of Americans in their 40s and a quarter of adults overall are becoming part of this growing cohort. This...
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October 18, 2023 45 mins
Open enrollment is around the corner, which means soon it will be time to pick your health insurance again. And you may ask yourself: Why do we do it this way? In 2022, almost 55 percent of Americans got their insurance through an employer, meaning that your employment status and where you work are major factors in the kind of coverage you get. This week on The Weeds, we go back in time with Senior Correspondent Dylan Scott about w...
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October 11, 2023 56 mins
What will American politics look like after Trump? Sean Illing is joined by Sohrab Ahmari to discuss his new book, Tyranny, Inc. Ahmari is one of the conservative intellectuals trying to map out a post-Trump future for the Republican Party, and his book is an attempt to justify a form of democratic socialism from the right. The two discuss whether his vision could ever be the basis for a broader coalition. Host: Sean Illing (@sean...
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October 4, 2023 45 mins
Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown when it passed a bill funding the government for the next 45 days. And while keeping the government open is a good thing, Congress just kicked the can down the road. The bill didn’t actually resolve the big-picture budget fight, and certainly didn’t solve the inevitable problem of political fights delaying the appropriations process. Molly Reynolds, senior fellow at The Brookings Inst...
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September 27, 2023 51 mins
Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the current migrant crisis would “destroy the city.” Since April 2022, more than 115,000 migrants have arrived in New York City, many fleeing hardship from their home countries. In response, the Biden administration granted Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan migrants. But while the move may provide some immediate relief to migrants seeking work authorization, some expert...
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September 20, 2023 43 mins
Summer is over, school is back, and the Supreme Court is getting ready for a new term. The term starts in early October, and the docket is stacked. Host Jonquilyn Hill sits down with Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser to get into the major cases the court will hear this term. Read More: The Supreme Court will spend its new term cleaning up after rogue MAGA judges — Vox  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’r...
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September 13, 2023 46 mins
No matter where you live in the US, this summer was hot. Extremely hot. Temperatures soared all over the country, breaking records almost daily. Even Arizona saw unprecedented heat: Phoenix baked under 110º heat for 31 days straight, with little to no relief at night. The extreme heat poses a grave threat to workers in America, both indoor and outdoor, because there are few to no heat-related protections for workers. It asks the qu...
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August 30, 2023 38 mins
The problem of school lunch debt is not a new one. But during the early days of the Covid-19 public health emergency, Congress had a solution: universal free school lunch. Suddenly, federal waivers were available to public schools around the country, and food insecurity in at-risk households dropped by 7 percent. But, like many other Covid-era policies, it lapsed. And while some states moved to make universal free lunch permanent, ...
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August 23, 2023 47 mins
In case you missed it, Donald Trump was indicted once again, this time for his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. But this indictment is different from the others, because it involves a RICO charge. RICO, short for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, is most commonly used to prosecute organized crime. These cases can also be exceedingly complicated, and often take months to even make it to...
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August 16, 2023 43 mins
In early July, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott installed a chain of buoys and barbed wire in the Rio Grande as part of his “Operation Lone Star” plan to crack down on illegal border crossings. Then, a few days later, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in response to the floating buoy border. The DOJ is using an obscure 1899 law called the Rivers and Harbors Act as the legal basis for this suit, claiming the border obstructs navigable wa...
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August 9, 2023 40 mins
Finding a therapist can be exhausting. Between connecting with a clinician you like and locating someone who takes your insurance, it can be a daunting process. And despite a 2008 law that requires parity between mental and physical health care, insurers have found workarounds. Now, the Biden administration is moving to strengthen the parity law to make it easier for folks to access mental health care. Will it work? Vox’s Dylan Sco...
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August 2, 2023 51 mins
For the first time ever in America, a birth control pill will be available over the counter. In July 2023, the Food and Drug Administration approved Opill, a progestin-only form of daily oral contraception. This move could open the doors to millions of people who need, and want, to use birth control. To understand the court rulings that got us here, the potential obstacles to equal access, and what Opill means for the future of con...
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July 26, 2023 52 mins
Last month, the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. Student loan debt these days weighs in at about $1.7 trillion. Leah Litman and Josh Mitchell join us on the latest episode of The Weeds to dive into the legal landscape and discuss how we got this student loan system in the first place.  Read More: The Supreme Court’s student loan decision in Biden v. Nebraska is lawless and completely pa...
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July 19, 2023 42 mins
Many states have extremely punitive policies around cannabis and pregnancy. But researchers don't actually have great data on cannabis's harms. This episode of Unexplainable originally aired in May 2023. Read More: Weed in pregnancy: Is it safe? - Vox  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: Learn more about...
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If you’re buying a new home, there’s a good chance it’s part of a homeowners association. HOAs are a form of common interest housing, and roughly a quarter of Americans live in communities with one. These private entities work as a pseudo-government in many neighborhoods, and they’re shaping housing policy across the country. Read More: When your neighbors become your overlords  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what ...
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