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What you need to know for 01/18/2018

Political leaders have to get over their cannabis hangups

Political leaders have to get over their cannabis hangups

*Political leaders have to get over their cannabis hangups *Will wrong: sequester cuts will hit hom

Political leaders have to get over their cannabis hangups

Re Feb. 23 article, “County facing challenges, says leader”: I would dispute the findings of John Thayer, Republican chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors.

I’m sure that Thayer is troubled by the number of people in our communities who choose to consume cannabis. But I can remember a time when employers rarely imposed drug tests on job seekers. Today, that invasive practice is widely viewed as routine.

When evidence of marijuana use is found in a person’s body, it usually does not prove they are impaired at that moment. So I think it’s exceedingly unfair to deny so many people jobs because they can’t pass drug tests.

Exactly 80 years ago, lawmakers ended an expensive Prohibition targeting the producers, sellers and consumers of alcohol. In 2013, federal officials are again debating the repeal of a failed policy: the 75-year prohibition of cannabis hemp and marijuana plants.

Aside from the unemployment caused by drug testing, strict marijuana laws shackle many nonviolent citizens with criminal records and require taxpayers to shell out billions each year for police, court and prison costs. With budget problems abounding in most states, critics say it defies logic to maintain anti-marijuana spending priorities.

Thayer could at least look to federal leaders who support the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. Its passage would allow farmers to grow cannabis hemp crops, which produce non-narcotic seeds, pulp and durable fibers for manufacturing purposes.

If New York gets in on that impending “green rush,” local officials and developers could fix up and put back on the tax rolls large industrial properties, from Canajoharie to Amsterdam, that have been idle for ages. Job seekers across Montgomery County could find work in new hemp factories and businesses — ideally without being forced to take drug tests.

Please be aware of the movement to legalize cannabis, Mr. Thayer, and stop worrying about personal choices that are not nearly as dangerous as you claim.

Lawrence Goodwin


Will wrong: sequester cuts will hit home hard

Re Feb. 24 George Will column, “Sequester just another manufactured ‘crisis’”: Though George Will claims that the public is “crying ‘hamster,’” I think this time, the wolf is here.

The sequester is no joke, despite the recent claims that this will be yet another government cut.

Will’s jeremiad that the public is overreacting is sure to backfire when the spending cuts affect education, energy and medical research, three topics that directly affect those worrying.

Though the cuts will be just over the amount given to hurricane victims, this sequester means that those affected by the next Sandy might be out of luck.

Though cuts have been exaggerated in the past, the country is not as it was, and this should not be treated like the supposed end of the Mayan calendar.

The sequester is the meat cleaver, and we’re all on the chopping block.

Libby Aliberti


Obama deserves all the snipes he’s been getting

The recent spate of letters with liberals and conservatives sniping at one another only proves the divisiveness this president has inflicted on the country. The president, who vowed to unite the country in his 2008 campaign, has polarized the nation reminiscent of the Nixon administration.

The animus towards President Obama is due in large part to his lack of leadership. He came into office with no academic legacy, authoring no significant legislation, a mediocre state senator and a one-term U.S. senator. But with the liberal media in his corner, their protective walls make him impervious to any scrutiny.

He continues to blame Bush, embarrassingly, into his second term, and his supporters chant along almost as a mantra. And somehow, 51 percent of the 2012 vote is seen a great majority, a mandate by his supporters.

We’ve elected a man who is not the great communicator (see what happens without the ubiquitous teleprompter), nor the great unifier, but one who is woefully in way over his head.

Barbara Hyatt

Caroga Lake

Don’t use OT, vacation to boost state pensions

With all due respect to the Feb. 22 editorial, “The real problem with the pension fund,” there is another very real problem with the fund.

It is the loophole that allows top-ranking people in the fund to add overtime, vacation leave, etc., on to their last year income to gain an annual pension above the intended benefit.

This issue has been exposed for years, but as only the lowly taxpayers are suffering, little has been done. Perhaps if this problem were also brought to the attention of the masses by the media, another problem might be solved.

Gene Whitney


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