The Weeds-logo

The Weeds

Vox Media

The Weeds is Vox's podcast for politics and policy discussions. Every Tuesday, Jonquilyn Hill and guests take a deep dive into the policies shaping our world — from immigration to climate change to crypto and more. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


United States


Vox Media


The Weeds is Vox's podcast for politics and policy discussions. Every Tuesday, Jonquilyn Hill and guests take a deep dive into the policies shaping our world — from immigration to climate change to crypto and more. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.




Why Illinois wants to end cash bail

This month, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case examining the Safe-T Act. The legislation would bring sweeping reform to the state’s criminal justice system, but one policy in particular has caught the eye and the ire of prosecutors: the elimination of cash bail. Proponents say ending cash bail bonds will get rid of inequities that favor the rich; opponents say it will lead to a rise in crime. What does the fight over cash bail in Illinois tell us about criminal justice...


The debt ceiling drama

You’ve probably heard by now that President Joe Biden released his 2024 budget proposal. You’ve also probably heard that it has almost no chance of passing through both chambers of Congress. What is likely to come to pass is more drama over a recurring problem: the fight over the debt ceiling. If the US doesn’t raise the ceiling and defaults on its debt, financial catastrophe would ensue. What does that mean for the country’s fiscal future? References: What’s in Biden’s new White House...


What East Palestine can tell us about the rail industry

On the evening of February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed outside of East Palestine, Ohio. The environmental impact was almost immediate: Residents were forced to evacuate while authorities carried out a controlled release of the hazardous chemical vinyl chloride. The aftermath also raises questions about freight rail policy and regulation. Host Jonquilyn Hill talks with Joanna Marsh of FreightWaves and Ian Duncan of the Washington Post about what East...


How a 1996 US immigration policy changed everything

Almost 30 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act into law. This policy would have far-reaching implications and ripple effects that are still present today. Here to explain are two beloved Weeds alumni: Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. References: (2016) The disastrous, forgotten 1996 law that created today's immigration problem (2016) "If the goal was to get rid of poverty, we failed": the legacy of the 1996 welfare reform...


Will the Supreme Court ruin the internet?

On Tuesday, February 21, the Supreme Court will hear two cases that could dramatically change the way we use the internet. The cases are against two tech giants, Google and Twitter. More specifically, it hits their algorithms. The big question is: can these companies be held responsible for crimes like terrorism because of how their algorithms prioritize content? Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser explains. References: The Supreme Court hears two cases that could ruin the internet Host:...


The Ukraine war: past, present, and future

It’s been almost one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Since the invasion, thousands have died, millions have been displaced, and the world has felt the ripple effects of the war. After a year of fighting, is anyone winning? What’s next for Ukraine, Russia, and the nations’ respective allies? Jonquilyn Hill sits down with Vox’s Jen Kirby and Jonathan Guyer to find out. References: One year in, both Ukraine and Russia still think they can win - Vox What to know about the $60 price cap, the...


$14 trillion and no mules

Paying the price. One of the typical questions asked during conversations about reparations is how to pay for them. Fabiola talks with economist William “Sandy” Darity and folklorist Kirsten Mullen about how reparations could be executed. The husband-and-wife team lays out a comprehensive framework in their book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, for who would qualify and how the federal government would afford the $14 trillion price tag....


The Biden policy that could change your neighborhood

One of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in American history is the Fair Housing Act of 1968. It is also a piece of legislation that has rarely been properly enforced. So, in early January, the Biden administration released a proposal that would give the FHA a new set of teeth. Vox senior policy reporter Rachel Cohen (@rmc031) explains. PLUS: The Biden administration wants to hear from you. Click here to find out how to submit your feedback about the new proposal....


Insulin is for the world

When insulin was discovered in 1923, the scientists sold the patent for only a dollar, hoping to make it accessible to those who need it. At the time, one of the discoverers said, “Insulin is for the world.” Fast-forward over 100 years, and some diabetics are rationing the lifesaving drug because the price is so high. Why does insulin cost so much, and what does that cost tell us about the American health care system? Host Jonquilyn Hill talks with Vox Senior Correspondent Dylan Scott about...


Weeds Time Machine: The Voting Rights Act

Buckle up for another trip in the Weeds Time Machine! Today, we are going back in time to 1965 to talk about one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in American history: the Voting Rights Act. Once again, its fate is in the hands of the Supreme Court. Professor Atiba R. Ellis walks us through the legislative and judicial history of this landmark policy. References: Atiba Ellis Brief amici curiae of Boston University Center for Antiracist Research & Professor Atiba R....


The great American gerrymander

Gerrymandering shapes our political maps, which in turn shape our policies. While there are concerns about how hyperpartisan voting maps are becoming, there’s one state where grassroots organizers have changed the system. On today’s episode of The Weeds, we pass the mike to one of you and answer your burning questions about redistricting in this polarized era. References: Where Did the Term “Gerrymander” Come From? | History| Smithsonian Magazine Opinion: Gerrymandering on steroids is the...


The scourge of the “time tax”

(Originally aired May 2022) Dylan Matthews and Dara Lind are joined by Annie Lowrey (@annielowrey), a staff writer at the Atlantic, to talk about why it’s so hard for people to get government benefits. Frequently called the “time tax,” the administrative burden of applying for and distributing government benefits leads to thousands of people not getting the aid they qualify for. References: Annie Lowrey on Code America’s efforts to fight the Time Tax Pamela Herd and Don Moynihan's book on...


Climate optimism in 2023

In 2022, we saw a lot of climate change news. Europe hit record-high temperatures, Pakistan was devastated by flooding, and in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency got a little less powerful. While those are major causes for concern, there is a bright spot on the climate change policy landscape: 2023. Vox’s Rebecca Leber (@rebleber) tells us what to look forward to next year. References: The next frontier for climate action is the great indoors The mystery of methane gone...


Our mental health doom loop

Last month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new mental health policy that lowers the threshold for involuntary commitments for psychiatric care. While the Adams administration argues this shift is a solution for growing crime and homelessness numbers, critics argue it’s a step in the wrong direction. What’s the history behind involuntary holds, and what does it say about mental health policy in America? References: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline SAMHSA Introducing the "Designed...


The bipartisan bill that could protect elections

With the 2022 midterm elections mostly over, members of Congress are back on the Hill to wrap up loose legislative ends. One of the bipartisan bills floating through the lame-duck session is the Electoral Count Reform Act, a bill that would add protections to the presidential transfer of power. So, what exactly does this legislation do to protect elections, and is it enough? Hosts: Jonquilyn Hill (@jonquilynhill) Credits: Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer Libby Nelson,...


The rebirth of industrial policy

(Originally aired August 2022) Vox senior correspondent Dylan Matthews sits down with Felicia Wong (@FeliciaWongRI), president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, to talk about a new era of industrial policy. They discuss the theory of modern supply-side economics, the passage of the Inflation Reduction and CHIPS acts, and how much common ground exists between the political left and the right. Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox Credits: Sofi LaLonde, producer and...


It’s time to regulate crypto

The world of cryptocurrency is infamously unregulated, but what happens when a major crypto exchange crashes, uprooting almost the entire crypto ecosystem, and there’s no regulatory body in charge? You have the FTX crash of 2022. And it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room: why don’t we have a regulation framework for crypto? It seems like an obvious solution, but as The Verge’s Liz Lopatto (@mslopatto) and financial regulation expert Yesha Yadav explain, it’s not as simple as it...


The Weeds’ weed episode

Let’s be blunt: Weed policy is complicated. As with many elections in the past decade, recreational marijuana was on the ballot again during the 2022 midterm elections. After Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational use in 2012, more and more states have decided to ride the green wave. And recent moves by the Biden administration signal the federal government may finally come around to decriminalizing marijuana. But do these policies have any power? References: Marijuana...


How to call an election

We did it, y’all – we made it to Election Day! And if you’re like us, tonight you’ll be glued to your TV and constantly refreshing waiting for the returns to come in. We’re pretty used to knowing the winner that same night, but in 2020, we had to wait days before a winner was announced. So this got us thinking: How do news networks know when to make a call? And how has that changed through the years? We talked to three experts to find out. References: The 2022 midterm elections,...


How to fix inflation

With only a week to go until the US midterm elections, inflation is the issue at the top of most voters’ minds. As Democrats and Republicans make their cases for who can get prices to come down, one thing remains true: High prices are not going to go away overnight. Economists Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) of the Roosevelt Institute and Michael Strain (@MichaelRStrain) of the American Enterprise Institute discuss how we got here and the least painful way out of this. References: Is the cure for...