Poor data resulted in the diluted new marijuana law
Gov. Cuomo has placed so many restrictions on the latest effort by legislators to pass medical marijuana that its passage can hardly be deemed a victory for patients who need pot. The main basis for his rejecting the Senate version of the Compassionate Care Act was the lie that marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs.
Drug prohibitionists dating back to 1937 argued in front of Congress that pot leads to insanity, criminal behavior and death. This claim was a desperate, but successful, attempt to gain more funding to prohibit marijuana's use.
Fast forward to 2006, when a 12-year study by the University of Pittsburgh concluded that pot doesn't lead to harder drugs. Yet, drug warriors and politicians still make this bogus claim that goes unchallenged by the media. Just look at the raw numbers of pot smokers and heroin users. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 100 million U.S. citizens have tried pot. The number of U.S. heroin users is 3.5 million. The gateway theory for pot is analogized to claim that people who ride bicycles will go on to drive buses.
The "gateway effect" has to do with the fact that marijuana is a gateway to illicit markets (because we made it illegal) and because the person who sells marijuana often sells other drugs. This often introduces people to harder drugs. Cuomo's demand that marijuana not be smoked is beyond reason. For some, smoking is the most effective mechanism to deliver relief. Add on Cuomo's sunset provision to the CCA, and the governor has effectively scared off businesses that might want to distribute marijuana in New York. These amendments are so restrictive that they destroy any hope for having a workable medical marijuana system in this state.
Finally, Cuomo was able to put in a provision to pull the plug on the program at any time for what appear to be arbitrary reasons. This law is so micromanaged by Cuomo, it leaves little authority for doctors to decide what is the best treatment for their patients. What are patients to do if the governor decides to pull the rug out from these patients? What recourse do they have? The bill's sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino, should have rejected Cuomo's demands and let him veto the bill as it was originally written.
Either way, it's the families with loved ones who suffer from debilitating illnesses that will lose out with this watered-down law.
Society must take back control of itself
In regards to Mr. Sid Gordon's June 18 letter, "We need to give up freedoms for change," he is absolutely correct that most folks will not like it.
First and foremost, he should be ashamed of suggesting we give up any of our freedoms after so many of our Armed Forces men and women have given their lives or had life-altering injuries to make sure we maintain the rights and freedoms our country was founded upon.
His primary focus appears to be on TV censorship, and he alludes to the violence on TV as being the primary culprit to many of the ills of society. Nowhere does he suggest it might be the breakdown of the family unit that should begin with parents knowing what their children are watching and using the "censorship" tools available on the TV.
Nor about parents not having a clue to the mental fitness of their children or the issues they face, causing them to act out against society. Nor about the fact that our schools no longer have the ability to discipline children in the classroom or during school activities without fear of the parents suing them for something they, themselves, should be involved in or policing. There needs to be a better partnership with parents and the schools.
No, it's easier for him to blame the TV and movie industry for the ills of our society instead of poor parenting involvement or lack thereof. When I went to school, I knew if I did something wrong in school, my bigger issue was going to occur at home when my parents found out.
He also alludes to the shootings and killings over the country every day. I have to assume he's also referring to giving up our right to bear arms, guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Again, he fails to acknowledge the lack of parenting or the breakdown of our mental-health system with the issues involving the reasons for the violence involving shootings.
Parenting is the not the sole reason for how our children grow to be responsible young adults. But taking freedoms from us will not solve our ills.
Society needs to look within itself for basic respect of others. We also need to look at the poor choices we continue to make in our elected officials, who refuse to police themselves, and the lack of accountability we should be demanding.
Censorship and removal of freedoms sends a pretty poor message to most Americans.
Grand jury, not DA, was right in stab case
Re June 25 article, "Teen cleared in fatal knifing": I'm glad the grand jury declined to indict Matthew Brown on the murder charge. However, I can't say that justice was done.
District Attorney James A. Murphy III should be censured or perhaps disbarred for having filed charges in the first place, let alone charging second-degree murder.
Matthew's conduct clearly didn't meet the standard for manslaughter, let alone murder -- look up Article 125 of the New York Penal Law for yourself. And his conduct clearly did meet the standard under Article 35 of the Penal Law (Justification).
Overcharging is a common form of prosecutorial misconduct; "We're charging you with murder, but if you plead guilty to manslaughter, we'll give you a light sentence." Fine, unless you're innocent.
This effectively punishes defendants for exercising their right to a trial. Why spend tens of thousands on legal fees and risk a long prison sentence when you can just plead to a crime you didn't commit and get off easy?
This is why the Founding Fathers established the grand jury system in the first place, and I am very glad that it still works.
How does someone get to be a native?
The June 2 article regarding the passing of Ann B. Davis raised a question. The article described Ms. Davis as being a "native" of Schenectady. It went on to say that she was born in Schenectady, but grew up in Erie, Pa.
The qualification for being a "native" would, therefore, appear to be the location of one's birth.
I've also read many fine articles regarding Mr. Pat Riley, Hall of Fame basketball coach, player and team president, as well as a Linton High School standout, etc. Those articles have also described Mr. Riley as a "native" of Schenectady. Following the aforesaid qualification, one should conclude that he, like Ms. Davis, was born in Schenectady.
Imagine then the surprise of Schenectady visitors to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., when they read Mr. Riley's plaque stating that he was not born in Schenectady -- "native" indeed.