Arguments against legalizing marijuana ridiculously outdated
The Dec. 29 opinion by McClatchy Newspapers’ Ben Barber, “Mad rush to legalize pot ignores the problem of a stoned populace,” contained arguments that were debunked decades ago.
Strict cannabis laws were originally pushed in the 1930s by Harry Anslinger, a former alcohol prohibitionist and the nation’s first drug czar. “Pot destroys — in many people and at many times — all initiative,” Barber wrote. Anslinger had expressed identical opinions while exploiting public fears about Mexican immigrants. That era gave us ridiculous films like “Reefer Madness” and the slang word “marijuana.”
A 1944 report from New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and the 1972 National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse report, both concluded that smoking cannabis is not as dangerous as public officials claim.
In 1988, a judge in the Drug Enforcement Administration DEA, Francis L. Young, issued another report saying that “marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.” Young recommended moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II in the Federal Controlled Substances Act. For 25 years, though, DEA officials have ignored that recommendation.
Today, cannabis advocates do not want “pot” legalized for minors; nor do they aim to undermine what Barber called “the intellectual maturity to contribute to the greater society.” They simply want equality, freedom, justice and liberty for all responsible cannabis consumers in America.
Marijuana prohibition is more harmful to society than a few lazy pot smokers will ever be. Legalizing cannabis will put drug dealers out of business and free up vital public resources, bringing new jobs and more safety to our communities.
New York can’t give up fight vs. tobacco now
The Dec. 27 Gazette editorial, “How far for smoking prevention?” recognizes the significant successes of New York’s tobacco control program in dramatically reducing the adult smoking rate and the youth initiation rate.
What the editorial fails to consider is the effectiveness of current tobacco control funding in the face of tobacco industry spending.
Currently, New York state tobacco control funding is only 16 percent of the $254 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to sustain a comprehensive evidence-based program to prevent youth initiation and help adult smokers quit. For every $5 the tobacco industry currently spends to recruit new smokers and keep existing ones, the state spends less than $1 trying to undermine its efforts. It’s a hard-fought battle and the battle is far from over.
The tobacco industry spends nearly its entire marketing budget on tobacco displays and promotions in stores — marketing designed to recruit new smokers, 90 percent of whom are under age 18.
And as important as individual motivations to quit are, the ability of smokers to quit and quit successfully is greatly enhanced when the community supports their tobacco-free choices. This means decreasing the availability and accessibility of tobacco products, reducing the reach of tobacco marketing, and expanding the availability of tobacco-free public spaces, work sites, and housing.
To rest on our laurels now would be to surrender to the tobacco industry whose pockets run deep and whose survival depends on recruiting new smokers. They won’t stop spending to achieve their goals, and neither should the state of New York.
The writer is a program coordinator for the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition.
Obama obeys laws that suit him, ignores others
Barack Obama’s speeches during the 2008 presidential campaign made clear his agenda for transforming America.
Voters, mesmerized by this young, charismatic figure, ignored the consequences of the man’s intentions. He was looked upon as a messiah.
In order to achieve this grandiose scheme, he needed to sidestep constitutional constraints. He managed it with considerable help from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and a compliant Senate and House.
For instance: The Constitution does not allow a president to unilaterally appoint un-elected “czars” to control every aspect of our economy.
For instance: Killing an American bald eagle is punishable by a $15,000 fine and one year imprisonment. A second offense is $100,000 and two years in prison. The maximum is a $100,000 fine and, in addition, an individual can be fined $250,000 with a felony conviction.
Obama is a global warming adherent and, in an example of ideology run amok, he has allowed wind power companies to kill or injure eagles without fear of prosecution for up to three decades. Eagles and migratory birds in general are mangled as a consequence of being sucked in by a vortex created by the turning blades. With one stroke of the pen, our commander-in-chief has sanctioned the slaughter of an American icon, ignoring the penalties that apply to individuals.
Where is the outrage? I have yet to see any action taken by the Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] or any other environmentalist group. Their collective silence proves that nothing is sacrosanct if it stands in the way of a stultified ideology.
Like it or not, Saratoga will be getting a casino
The gambling industry (now re-christened “gaming industry”) wants to open a Las Vegas-style casino in Saratoga Springs.
Fact: The residents of Saratoga County have voted against such a venture by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. They don’t want it.
Fact: The “gaming industry” has donated $360,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign fund.
Fact: The residents of Saratoga Springs will be getting a gambling casino whether they like it or not.